Top 10 favorite kpop "Variety- Idols"

Text: Joelle Chong
Being a Korean idol is difficult, but being part of a Korean idol group is even harder.
Korean idol groups can no longer be contented with just performing on stage. There's a rising trend with a need for them to branch out in other areas, not only to make a name for their group, but also to let the audience get to know them individually -- especially for those in big groups like Super Junior and ZE:A.
In recent years, Koreans coined the word 'variety-dol' to describe idols well-received on variety programmes because of their personalities, silver tongues or comedic timing.
The first few idols to be crowned 'variety-dols' were probably the members of legendary group Shinhwa, who dominated old-time variety shows such as X-Man where they showed TV audiences another side of themselves. Beast's Yoseob was even quoted as saying, 'Shinhwa members are variety-dols' 'textbooks'.'

Super Junior Eunhyuk

Variety Programmes: Strong Heart, Star King, Running Man
Success rate: ★★★
If Shinhwa had any successors, they would be Super Junior. The group has come a long way since their debut back in 2005 and the first member who actively participated on variety shows is Hee Chul, who is currently serving his mandatory military service.
Last year, after veteran host Kang Ho Dong announced his 'retirement' from the entertainment industry -- due to his involvement in a tax evasion case -- three Super Junior members Lee Teuk, Eun Hyuk and Shin Dong have rose to the occasion and taken a big share of the variety programme market.
We chose to feature Eun Hyuk here amongst the trio because of the innocent and sometimes silly image he portrays on talk shows, easily capturing hearts of fans and audience alike. Furthermore, the idol's strong athletic and dancing skills have also earned him spots in shows such as Let's Go, Dream Team and Running Man.

2AM JoKwon

Variety Programmes: Star King, We Got Married
Success rate: ★★★★★
If you didn't know Jo Kwon any better, you'd think he has split personalities -- one moment he's dancing flamboyantly and the next, singing emotionally on stage with his ballad group 2AM. The Koreans nicknamed the 22-year-old idol group member 'Kkap Kwon', with the Korean word kkap loosely translated to 'talented, but not serious and overly frivolous'.
Jo Kwon makes it into our list as one of the more successful idol group members who breaks into variety programmes because of his versatility to switch personalities and cater to the shows' needs. If you ask us, the idol most definitely did not spend his seven years of training (before his official debut) in vain!

Big Bang Seungri

Variety Programmes: Come to Play, Strong Heart
Success rate: ★★★★
Prior to his scandal, Seungri, the youngest Big Bang member, was making waves not only in Korean variety programmes, but was also featured in Japanese variety shows such as 'Yoshimoto Jounetsu Comedy'.
The reason for his success? His thick-skinned self!
Who could forget that first time Seungri proclaimed himself as 'the star of Gwangju (his hometown)' alongside idol veterans TVXQ's U-Know Yunho and Wonder Girl's Yubin on talk show Come to Play?
The idol's variety skill was later attested again, when he accompanied Big Bang's leader G-Dragon on the first episode of talk show Strong Heart, where he spilled the group's secret and bagged the one-day emcee spot on the programme.

SHINee's Key

Variety Programmes: SHINee's Yunhanam, Idol Maknae Rebellion
Success rate: ★★★★
SHINee debuted in 2008 and was quickly crowned 'Korea's younger brothers' because of their song 'Replay (Noona is so pretty)'. 'Noona' means 'elder sister' in Korean. Out of his four peers, Key is probably the first member in the quintet to show off his individuality.
When SHINee participated in their own reality show SHINee's Yunhanam -- 'Yunhanam' literally refers to the concept of a younger man dating an older woman -- three months after their debut, Key's desire to be the main emcee of the show was evident when he made a mic out of aluminum foil and carried it around.
Following SHINee's participation in various talk shows and variety programmes, Key's overtly direct answers at times, earned him a sharp-tongued image.
But that one special ability the 21-year-old has? The ability to mimic girl groups' dance moves right down to a T. Key was even asked to perform on several occasions!

MBLAQ's Lee Joon

Variety Programmes: Running Man, Hello Baby, Idol Manager
Success rate: ★★★★
MBLAQ's Lee Joon maintains he's not silly and can go on like a broken tape recorder thousand, but we reckon no one will actually believe him.
Known amongst his fans as 'Babo Joon' ('babo' means 'fool' in Korean), Lee Joon's actions, expressions and words on talk shows and variety programmes have further proved that he is ... rather silly. Remember Running Man's Olympic special earlier this year? Lee Joon's jump at the wrong timing caused his team to lose the competition.
Lee Joon once said, 'I believe that as a singer, we must also be funny.'
Silly or not, we say Lee Joon has achieved his aim. After all, we broke out into peals of laughter because of him, did we not?

ZE:A's KwangHee

Variety Programmes: Strong Heart, Happy Together, We Got Married
Success rate: ★★★★★
This is something K-Pop fans would agree unanimously: If not for Kwanghee, we'd still be going 'ZE:A ... who?'
Nine-member K-Pop boyband ZE:A's debut period coincided with that of many rookie bands who were trying to find a place for themselves in the saturated K-Pop industry. And as a large group, it also meant that each member could be easily overlooked.
However, Kwanghee knew the exact solution to this. The idol proved he understood the workings of variety programmes and talk shows, when he shared that he had undergone plastic surgery unabashedly, despite the topic being something most Korean celebrities would vehemently deny.
Kwanghee's bold revelations may border on the line of irritation at times, but how can we dislike someone who willingly digs a pit for himself?

After School Lizzy

Variety Programmes: Running Man, Strong Heart
Success rate: ★★
Not long after After School member Lizzy joined the group in 2010, she guest-starred in an episode of one of Korea's top variety programme Running Man.
After a mere two episodes, the then 18-year-old was invited to be part of the regular cast because of her youth and cheerful personality, which gave her the nickname 'Running Man's vitamin'. However, Lizzy's popularity with the audience was most probably because of the way she speaks, in which her frequent use of the Busan dialect -- Busan being Lizzy's hometown -- earned her the moniker 'satoori ('dialect' in Korean) idol'.
With After School's sub-unit Orange Caramel, which Lizzy is a member of, making a comeback in the Korean music scene, we're pretty sure the idol will be an entertaining watch on various variety programmes!

2NE1's Dara

Variety Programmes: 2NE1 TV, Strong Heart
Success rate: ★★★
Girl group 2NE1 is a rare sight on variety programmes, so when Dara and Bom first went onto talk show Strong Heart, fans were in for a treat.
Dara was pretty nervous when she was sharing her story then, but her confidence quickly grew as time went by. She even admitted that she had taken variety classes from senior Seungri (Big Bang) to prepare herself the night before.
The 28-year-old then told a funny story of how Taeyang (Big Bang) grabbed her neck and twirled her on the ground with a straight face and even added her own sound effects, causing the entire studio of guest stars to cackle along.
On 2NE1's own reality TV 2NE1 TV, Dara may be the group's 'visual', but she sure didn't mind showing her goofy side. With her years of experience in showbiz (Dara was previously a star when she lived in the Philippines), we say, give the girl more chances on variety programmes, she will do a fine job!

SNSD's Sunny

Variety Programmes: Invincible Youth, Hello Baby
Success rate: ★★★
When you're part of Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment, it is almost a given that you will be in the limelight the moment you debut. The toughest part of being part of the nine-member Girls' Generation was then, how to let people know them individually.
Sunny was part of the regular cast of Invincible Youth, where girl group members had the chance to experience countryside life. While on the show, the idol shot to fame when her chicken-catching skills came almost second to none.
Sunny's hard-working attitude at farming and catching fish and her professionalism on the show was probably why she won the hearts of many viewers.

Secret's Sunhwa

Variety Programmes: Invincible Youth, We Got Married
Success rate: ★★
Right before her official debut with Secret back in 2009, Sunhwa was already chosen as a regular cast member on the variety programme Invincible Youth -- this was considered a feat for someone who is barely a rookie.
At that time, audiences were not expecting much from Sunhwa, since they did not know anything about her. However, her active participation in the show caused viewers to change their initial perceptions and Secret gradually gained fame along with Sunhwa's presence in the show.
Recently, Sunhwa, together with ZE:A's Kwanghee, were casted as a couple on reality TV We Got Married, where the bickering pair provided audiences with hours of entertainment despite being just a couple of weeks into their 'married life'.

Source: Xin MSN