Who are your fave second generation idols?
1 Jun 2018 - 5:21 PM  UPDATED 1 Jun 2018 - 5:21 PM

K-pop is gaining new fans like never before through the likes of BTS and TWICE, but that also means that a lot of newer K-pop fans don’t know about the second generation idols that influenced today’s K-pop superstars.

The second generation of K-pop kicked off in the early 2000s with the explosive popularity of polished pop stars like BoA and TVXQ!, and officially came to a close by the time third generation leaders EXO debuted in 2012. This era was largely defined by both the internet, which made K-pop more accessible than ever before, and the Hallyu wave that started with K-dramas like Winter Sonata.

Following their debut in 2003, SM Entertainment’s TVXQ! quickly established themselves as South Korea’s biggest pop act. They topped the charts with hits like “Hug” and “Rising Sun,” successfully cracked the Japanese music market, and broke the Guinness World Records for the most photographed celebrity AND the biggest fandom.

TVXQ! didn’t face any real competition until the debut of YG Entertainment’s BIGBANG, whose Americanised style and hip-hop sound was the antithesis of TVXQ!’s pretty boy looks and perfect choreography. BIGBANG were an instant success, and within two years they’d released two of the biggest K-pop hits of the noughties with “Lies” and “Haru Haru.”

A similar rivalry was playing out in the girl group scene, with SM Entertainment’s bubblegum queens Girls’ Generation going up against YG Entertainment’s edgier 2NE1. However, the group that really brought Korean girl groups back to the top of the charts was JYP Entertainment’s Wonder Girls, who debuted just before Girls’ Generation in 2007.

The retro-themed quintet’s popularity explode with their second single “Tell Me,” which sparked a national dance craze thanks to its easy-to-copy choreography. The girls followed up with the mega-hits “So Hot” and “Nobody,” before attempting an American advancement in 2009.

KARA also produced a national choreography craze of their own with their hit “Mister” and its accompanying “butt dance." The song’s success launched them in Japan, where they soon became the country's biggest female K-pop group with record sales in the millions.

Other iconic second generation hits include Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry,” which spread outside of Korea and into Taiwan and the Philippines, and Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra,” which still stands as the coolest K-pop hit of all time.

Other notable second generation artists include Hallyu stars SS501, serial hitmakers T-ara, and boy band SHINee, who are one of the only second generation idols still topping the charts today.

Who are you favourite second generation K-pop stars? Let us know!


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