2011: Year of Male Idol Duos and Boy Groups?


It’s safe to say that 2010 was dominated by girl groups and female solo singers. Well, that trend may be coming to an end this 2011. Already, two duos have been sweeping the music charts and music shows with their incomparable popularity: GD&TOP and TVXQ. GD&TOP are members of what’s arguably one of the most popular boy groups in Korean music — Big Bang. The only group that has been able to rival Big Bang at the time of their peak was maybe TVXQ. After the trio JYJ split off as their own entity, the two remaining members are pushing on as a duo now. Perfect timing to give GD&TOP a little friendly competition!

On top of that, the six-membered group BEAST has been split into three duos: Yoseop & Junhyung with the song “Thanks To”, Hyunseung & Kikwang with the song “Let It Snow”, and Doojoon & Dongwoon with the song “When The Door Shuts”.

In response to this, entertainment related sources from SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment have said that there are already talks that perhaps male duos are the next big thing in KPOP.

So what is the power behind the concept of just two male idol stars? BEAST representatives explained, “There are limits to showing off the talents of all the members when promoting as a six-membered group. When performing as a two-membered team, there’s more room to show off each of the members’ vocal abilities and unique sound. These may not be songs from their [BEAST’s] official album, but through their promotions as duos, the fans have been able to get a taste of what each member brings. Also, duet performances can offer something different musically compared to solo performances.”

There are some downsides to duos though. Dance and choreography don’t look as visually pleasing compared to larger group performances. Also, because the spotlight needs to be shared, it’s not as focused and powerful as solo performances.

Only time will tell whether the positive points will overpower the negative points!

2011 welcomes a battle of the boy groups

An early forecast reveals that the beginning of 2011 will be marked with an influx of girl group debuts, but with the return of various male groups looming near, fans will get their full doses of testosterone in the near future as well.Rookies including MBLAQ, Teen Top and Infinite have been generating lots of chatter and interest with their ongoing comebacks this month.

MBLAQ’s title track “Cry” was released just two days ago and has already secured high rankings on various charts including those of Mnet and Bugs. Their full album “BLAQ Style” will be released on the 10th with a live comeback on the 13th.

Teen Top, whose members got kpop fans doing double takes with their silver hair concept, released a MV teaser today for their comeback track ”Transform.” Due to member Niel’s injury, the group has pushed back their live comeback to the 13th.

Finally, Infinite will be returning with their second six-track mini-album “Evolution,” with concept photos and preview videos attracting much attention. Their comeback showcase is schedule to take place in just a few hours today at Seouls’ CGV.

On the other end, news of the impending returns of TVXQ and Big Bang, arguably the two largest male groups of the Korean music scene in recent years, has already been dominating headlines in regards to their comeback albums. TVXQ and Big Bang’s last albums, “Mirotic” and “Remember”, were released in September and November 2008 respectively, so these returns mark the end of two year hiatuses for both groups.

The special edition of TVXQ’s “Why (Keep Your Head Down)” album has been released today with the HoMin duo gearing up for a comeback on Music Bank on January 7, followed by appearances on Music Core, Inkigayo and possibly M! Countdown due to reconciliations between SME and Mnet. Choreographed by Rino Nakasone of the Beat Freaks, “Why (Keep Your Head Down)” also caught the attention of American gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

Big Bang’s sub-unit duo GD&TOP made waves with the release of “High High,” “Oh Yeah” and “Knock Out” last month, complete with the most expensive comeback stage in Mnet M. Countdown’s history. After Japanese promotion plans were delayed, it was also announced that GD&TOP will have a second round of promotions for “Don’t Go Home.” Furthermore, Big Bang’s maknae Seungri will be releasing a mini-album on January 13, and the entire group will be making a full comeback soon thereafter.

Unsurprisingly, TVXQ & Big Bang’s returns are being met with overwhelming receptions — “Keep Your Head Down” recorded massive sales immediately after release, and GD&TOP enjoyed 200,000 pre-orders for their album.

Like the 2009 domination of countless new girl groups including 2NE1, 4minute, f(x) and After School , it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of female debuts this year, but will 2011 mark the return of a boy group craze as well?


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