Our Weekly Idol feature for today brings us to another group with lots of members. Say hello to 12 member boy group EXO.

A combination of eight South Koreans (Suho, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, D.O., Xiumin, Chen, Kai and Sehun) plus four Chinese (Kris, Luhan, Tao and Lay) , EXO held their first showcase in Seoul’s Olympic Stadium on 31 March 2012 and made their official debut on 8th April 2012 with the single “MAMA,” after numerous video teasers of each member were released by SM.

There are two sub-groups – “K” and “M”, the latter mainly consisting of the Chinese members with two Koreans who sing in Mandarin Chinese whilst the K group is evidently the Korean counterpart. The sub-groups promoted their debut EP in their respected territories i.e. China and Korea but also targeted the rest of Asia and other international hotspots like USA. In addition to promoting their music, EXO have often performed together with their SM seniors at concerts or festivals. Certain members have danced alongside the likes of BoA, SNSD or SHINee and appeared at Super Junior ‘s live concerts to show their support or perform as special guests. Even some of the EXO K members during their predebut days appeared in TVXQ‘s Ha Ha Ha Song video.

In November 2012, EXO won “Best New Asian Artist Group” at MAMA 2012 and many more awards the following year when they made their comeback with their first full length album XOXO in May/June 2013. Leading singles “Wolf” and “Growl” (the latter from the repackaged edition released in August 2013) helped the group gain more success since their debut EP and was also the first time the group collaborated on a song together. The XOXO album was named “Album Of The Year” at MAMA 2013 and “Growl” won “Song of the Year” at the 2013 MelOn Music Awards.

With the approach of the winter season, EXO released a special EP titled Miracles In December and also started promotions for their new reality tv show EXO’s Showtime which was first shown near the end of November 2013 and ended in February 2014.

Popular Songs

MAMA [Chinese version]

What Is Love? [Chinese version]

History [Chinese version]

Wolf [Chinese version]

The comeback song and first single from EXO‘s debut full-length album.  A lot of dubstep can be heard in this song.

Growl [Chinese version]
This is not your typical SM box video. The camera went full 360 degrees and this MV was filmed in one take.

SM also released a second MV for said song later on (Chinese version is here), as well as two drama videos to go with the Wolf promotions.

Miracles In December [Chinese version]

Christmas Day live performance on Music core, using suspenders as part of the dance routine.

Dubstep intro dance practice. Choreography by Shim Jae Won of Beatburger

A cover of Kim Kyung Ho‘s It’s Still A Dark Night on Immortal Song 2


Why I chose EXO as Weekly Idol

It took me a few obstacles to take EXO seriously, even though I definitely enjoyed their debut EP and “MAMA” was such a fierce track I could jam to. I was observing this group from a distance, keeping my fascination towards them very light when I made my slow trek back to Kpop land in 2012.

On the other hand when “Wolf” and “Growl” were released I was baffled and mystified all at once. I had no idea whether I liked the awooooo in “Wolf” as it made me laugh and the “Growl” chorus clung to my head from spontanous replays of the song’s MVs and dance practice videos. It was safe to say these two songs sealed the deal and prompted me to go further in researching these guys.

Like many popular groups EXO have cool choreography and it’s a challenge to get slick dance moves right when you have so many members, so I salute all those large groups out there who manage to perform a complicated dance routine on stage.

As far as singing goes, if people are still going to doubt or completely disregard EXO‘s vocal range and how well they blend together I recommend checking out an acapella of Journey‘s “Open Arms” on Global Request Show.

EXO is one of those groups whose music has provided me various feelings – happiness / making me smile genuinely, deep emotion but also catchy tunes to get me on my feet. Say what you will about this group but they have managed to accomplish a lot since their debut two years ago and evidently admire their seniors a great deal. In return the SM Sunbae speak in a similar level of praise for these twelve guys’ hard work, charm and performing talents.


About Author

**Jan 2013 - Jan 2015** British Born Chinese who occasionally self-reflects. Has more Aegyo than she should for 'old' age status. LinkedIn / Review Blog