Today we are launching a new weekly feature counting down 10 of the most interesting and exciting K-pop stories and trends of the past week! As with everything we do here at UnitedKpop it will have a focus on UK related K-pop happenings and so, naturally, this week we are focussing on all things Olympics.
Both Team GB and South Korea are off to a great start in the tournament, particularly Korea who are currently in 3rd place! Although Britain is finally catching up in 5th as the finals for our stronger events like rowing and cycling begin. It looks like we may be battling it out the higher place on the table by the end of the games!
Korea seems to really be getting into the Olympic spirit and this is obvious even in the world of K-pop and entertainment…
Olympic themed variety shows
Variety shows love an excuse to use big over the top props and themed challenges and the Olympics is perfect for this. SBS and KBS both held Olympic concerts for all the athletes prior to their departure and there was also an Olympic episode of Running Man featuring a red London bus and lots of Union Jacks. Sadly however it appears that the Infinity Challenge London 2012 Special filmed in London that we had hoped for will not go ahead, probably mostly due to a long term strike at MBC which has only just been resolved.
2012 Mnet KPOP Championships
In celebration of the Olympics, Mnet have launched an event on their Mnet Global site the 2012 Mnet KPOP Championships. Fans will have the opportunity to both support their favourite stars and to win prizes! To find out more, click here.
Idols show their support for their Olympic athletes
Idols have been spotted showing their support of the national team and Girls’ Generation even did a photoshoot for High Cut magazine wearing outfits similar to the Republic of Korea uniform that the athletes were seen wearing at the Opening Ceremony but with much shorter shorts, of course…
Fight songs, fight songs and more fight songs!
First it was Team SIII, an all star cast of some of the biggest idols in K-pop (2PM, Sistar, MBLAQ, Miss A, 4Minute, B1A4, DalShabet, ZE:A and 9Muses) sponsored by Samsung with ‘Win The Day’. It is an extremely corporate sounding song (the lyrics repeatedly mention the Galaxy SIII phone) however it is also irritatingly catchy and will get stuck in your head. I warned you. Then Psy got in on the action with the straightforwardly titled Korea. It’s no less than we would expect from Psy, with an epic guitar driven beat and very patriotic lyrics. The video is equally epic featuring hundreds of people of all ages dressed in Korean sports uniforms and traditional dress. Perhaps if Britain had such a rousing Olympic anthem we would be doing as well as South Korea in the medal table right now!
In the UK
Korean celebrities come to London to support their team
Korea’s little sister, IU was pictured at Wembley Stadium yesterday cheering on Korea’s Olympic football team as they played Gabon dressed as a ‘red devil’ (the nickname for the supporters of the South Korean national football team). The pictures were released by Samsung electronics as part of a promotional campaign for the Samsung Galaxy phone series, the reason for IU’s visit to the UK. To read more, click here for our article.
IU’s Dream High co-star Kim Soo Hyun was also in London last week on a five day trip to support Korea in the Olympics. He was spotted at the Men’s 400m freestyle event supporting Korean swimmer Park Tae Hwan. Sadly he has now returned to Seoul however if you want to relive the moment you can read our coverage here.
In other non-Olympic News
T-ara, T-ara, T-ara
Normally we like to focus on positive news and events here at UnitedKpop but we couldn’t really ignore this one. If you have been on any K-pop or Korean entertainment related website this week you will have seen news and endless speculation regarding T-ara member Hwayoung leaving the band after her entertainment company terminated her contract along with rumours of bullying by other members and unprofessional behaviour on behalf of Hwayoung. No one yet knows the full story but as international fans we often act as unofficial ambassadors of K-pop and Korean culture and so we hope that this issue is resolved quickly and and professionally and will encourage companies in the K-pop industry to have a closer look at the well-being of their artists so that we can continue to be proud to be K-pop fans.
In much more positive news. We were on Korean TV!!! A documentary made by MBC covering the MBC concert last month and charting the rise of K-Pop in the UK which aired on July 21st finally made it’s way to youtube with subtitles so that British fans can enjoy it. To read more about it and watch the documentary, click here.
Watch out for the interview with Freya, our site founder, and Jackie, one of our photographers who took the stunning pictures from the MBC concert.
Robbie Williams is Gangnam Style!
First it was Lily Allen tweeting about 2NE1. Now Robbie Williams has got in on the act by blogging about Psy’s Gangnam Style. And who can blame him? This song is ridiculously amazing! It’s been dominating the Korean charts ever since it’s release and now it looks like it’s even found itself a famous UK fan! To find out more click here to read our article. And then go and watch Psy’s video again. Go on. You know you want to….
BIGBANG are definitely coming to the UK
We’ve known for a few months now that BIGBANG would be making at least one European stop on their world tour but it was confirmed through a new promotional video this week that one of those stops would be in the UK. The date and venue have yet to be confirmed but we’re assuming that the concert will take place in London although we’ll be interested to see which venue the promoters will choose. So far every announced stop has been an arena so we’re hoping this will be a big one!
To read our article and watch the promo video, click here.
All Age K-Pop Party
Ok so this isn’t for a couple of weeks yet but we’re already really excited. Along with KLUE, we are sponsoring the Invasian Events’ 2nd All Age K-pop Party and we want you to come along! It’s going to be a great night so if you live near London, we’d love to see you there. It’s starts at 6pm and tickets are £4 online or £5 on the door. To find out more visit the All Age K-Pop Party Facebook event page.
That’s it for this week’s round up but if you would like to read some more Olympics related K-pop news as well as other reviews and articles please make sure to check out this month’s Olympic themed E-mag.
If you have any thoughts on any of the stories above or think we’ve missed anything out, please leave a comment below.