Currently in Manhattan, NY:

Why is NU’EST’s Ren Doing the Gender Bender?

On March 15th, Pledis Entertainments male rookie quintet, NUEST, plans to be the newest and hottest guilty pleasure to spring up on the K-pop scene yet. As the date nears closer and closer, the usual has been in effect to anticipate the groups debut: profiles, concept photos, and of course, teasers for nearly every member. And Ive got to be honest with you; normally Im not a fan of rookies. Heck, Im not normally a fan of Pledis. Ever.

But, from JR to Aron to Baekho (and damn, is Baekho fine), even Minhyun, I have got to admit, Pledis did these boys right. NUESTs first official teaser for their debut single Face dropped a few days ago, and sure, the song sounds lame already, but the visual is impressive. The boys are pretty good looking, and the concept looks clean, edgy and safe for a rookie group yet to debut. In fact, when Baekhos teaser was released, I was infatuated with the dark masculinity, dubstep fusion, the samurai style, and Baekhos face. I thought to myself, huh, boy groups are really stepping their game up this year.

Then Pledis throws their wild card.

This little blonde gem is Ren. Pledis golden boy, Ren. Oh Ren, where to begin?

The first thought that struck me was why? Why a small, pouty-lipped, effeminate member? What purpose does he serve? As these questions rolled around in the back of my head the past couple, I couldnt help but be reminded of f(x)s Amber. And then it hit me.

Why is NUESTs Ren Doing the Gender Bender? Amber is K-pops lovable tomboy. She is the image of the female K-pop idol turned on its head: shes got a short, boyish haircut, she wears long shorts and jeans and varsity jackets, her aegyo is practically nonexistent and shes got a spunky attitude to boot. But the greatest irony of it all is that so many people know f(x) because of Amber. Not because of the bubblegum princess Sulli or Jessicas darling sister Krystal or the lovely and limber Victoria or even moon-faced Luna.

Though maybe a bit unconventional, Amber is the attention grabber, she is the visual, she is what makes you look at f(x) that extra second longer and wonder, wait, was that a..

Perhaps NUEST and Ren are going for the same idea: play up the unconventional stereotype to demand attention. Entertainment companies are always trying to unearth ways to make their groups seem like the best new Asian phenomenon to hit the East or something along those lines. Just think about how rookies this year are trying to keep you focused on them: EXO has 20+ video teasers so far, and they havent even debuted, but are you bored yet?  The ever delicious boys of B.A.P. all dance under the bright lights with their blinding platinum blonde hair, but have you looked away yet?

If Ren plays the part of a womanly man for this hot debut, isnt he going to be the most talked about thing? Wont his gender-bending concept for Face make people start talking about him and NUEST?  Ill admit, its a genius marketing gimmickwhile people stop and stare, somewhere in the back of their minds, the hook and chorus will linger long after, and NUESTs logo will be burned behind their eyes. You are going to remember NUEST not because the members are handsome or because Baekho looks mad fine swinging that sword, but because Ren has shafted the conventional male-idol image and gone much farther than the pretty boy charm.

And while I say more power to him, (Ren looks prettier than I do even on my good days, so hes doing something right) I cant help but wonder if this tactic will produce the full effect Pledis is looking for. Sure, hes going to pull all the attention front and center for NUEST, at least during their debut promotions, but how are fans and music lovers alike receiving this image?

Why is NUESTs Ren Doing the Gender Bender? In Ambers scenario, she doesnt purposefully impose the boy image; in other words, its not an image she has to force for us to see, its an image we perceive as a result of her consistent style. Plainly put, you dont see Amber flaunting boyish behavior or exuding male charm in anything she or f(x) does with anything other than her fashion sense.

But in Ren’s case, he’s shown in his teaser embracing feminine qualities like vanity, adorned with a gem-encrusted manicure and long blonde hair. He even plays the role of temptress in some scenes when he pulls the open mouth, look imma goddess face. Suddenly the degree of his atypical image seems a little much, as his concept practically forces the idea of him playing the part of a woman. Uncomfortable yet?

Still, its hard to gauge they ways in which K-pop fans will receive Ren and NUEST. Will fans turn away with their noses held high or will they flock to Rens feet  because of his gorgeous looks? I dont know, and part of me doesnt want to know. Why and for how long Pledis will keep Ren gender-bending are also questions I still cant wrap my head around. But for the most part, NUEST is turning heads and gaining momentum. Will Ren always look like a woman, will NUEST live up the hype, will I still be in toBaekho later or will I be defaulting back to my eternal bias Jun.k? Come March 15, I guess well find out.

Chinese Corporate Alibaba Invests $30 Million In SM Entertainment

News via kpopstarz.com
Chinese Corporate Alibaba Invests $30 Million In SM Entertainment

(Photo : SM Entertainment and Alibaba.com)China's greatest online e-commerce website online Alibaba has bought a 4% stake in SM Entertainment, the firm housing some of K-pop's most smartly likedteamsadding Girls' Generation, EXO, and more.

On Feb. 11, Alibaba purchased 870,000 stocks of SM Entertainment at 41,808 KRW (~$35 USD) each, for a overallacquireworth of about 35.5 billion KRW (~$30 million USD).

Although 4% turns out like a small amount, it'll give Alibaba leverage to persuade company-wide selections and raises the query of what the 2firms volitionpaintingsin combination to accomplish in the future.

JYJ Kim Jae-joong reunited with lovers in Eastern hologram concert

News via hancinema.net

According to the agency, this hologram concert took 2 years to arrange for and the content was taken prior to Kim enlisted in the military. Thorough edition and arrangements made the concert even greater and keen on making the quality of sound better.

Lee Seung Gi’s Photo from Army Revealed

News via soompi.com
Lee Seung Gi’s Photo from Army Revealed

Lee Seung Gi’s Photo from ArmyPrinted leejojoba February 10, 2016 0 Singer and actor Lee Seung Gi’s photo from the army is revealed.

On February 11, the army camp released Lee Seung Gi’s photo from the military. He had enlisted on February 1 to satisfy his needed military service. In the photo, he'snoticed dressed in army uniform smiling brightly at the camera.

Before entering the army, Lee Seung Gi worked on a virtualunmarried “I’m Going To The Army” or even had an opportunity to work with PSY. He enlisted at age 30 (29 world age), regarded as older than reasonable for the army, receiving some considerations from the ones around him. However, his fanatics can relaxationconfident he’s doing fine seeing his smile in the photo.

B.A.P's Bang Yong Guk teases fanatics next with snippet of 'Feel So Good'!

News via allkpop.com
B.A.P's Bang Yong Guk teases fanatics next with snippet of 'Feel So Good'!

B.A.P participantshad beenlosing teaser after teaser in their upcoming 5th mini album 'Carnival' on their legit Twitters, and the following member in line is leader Bang Yong Guk!

Following members Daehyun, Himchan, and Jongup, Bang Yong Guk shared the quick clip under with the hashtags, #BAP, #CARNIVAL, #FeelSoGood. 

Goo Hara Solid As Lead Role In Upcoming Drama 'Babysitter'

News via kpopstarz.com
Goo Hara Solid As Lead Role In Upcoming Drama 'Babysitter'

(Photo : DSP Media)Former Kara member Goo Hara took her first steps as an actress beneath a new entertainment firm in January previous this year.

On Feb. 11, an insider operatingat the drama Babysitterinformed Korean news outlet Day-to-day Sportssaying,"Goo Hara used to be casted in the four-part series Babysitter on KBS 2TV."

Goo Hara will play the role of a babysitter named Jang Suk-Yu, a 24-year old English literature primary who attends a prestigious university and is fluent in five languages. The drama is a mystery-thriller that tells the tale of a richcircle of relatives alongside3 children, a nanny, and the occasions that transpire around them.

Girls’ Generation’s Yuri and T-ara’s Hyomin Experience a Cotton Sweet Date

News via soompi.com
Girls’ Generation’s Yuri and T-ara’s Hyomin Experience a Cotton Sweet Date

Girls Generations Yuri and T-aras Hyomin Experience a Cotton Sweet Dateehk38 February 10, 2016 0 Girls Generations Yuri and T-aras Hyomin share footageof one another from their candy cotton candy date.

Yuri, who is lately acting in OCN drama Community Hero and Hyomin, who is getting ready for her solo comeback, took a spoil from their busy schedules to catch up on lady time.

On February 11, the close buddies drew certain attention when they posted pictures from their date onto their private Instagrams. Yuri and Hyomin look like theyre having a wonderful time in the photographs equally they recreation adorable cotton candy mustaches at a cafe.

JYP Hints at Upcoming Two times Comeback

News via soompi.com
JYP Hints at Upcoming Two times Comeback

JYP Hints at Upcoming Two times Comebackehk38 February 10, 2016 0 Seems like TWICE is gearing up for a comeback!

On February 10, JYP Entertainment founder and CEO Park Jin Young posted a photo on Instagram of himself and the women of TWICE at a barbeque restaurant.

It turns out like he treated the girls out to barbecue out of guilt for making them prepare over the Lunar New Year holidays. He writes, #JYP #Twice #트와이스 Felt a little sorry to have them practice new songs on a holiday weekend so : ).

Photos Lee Hyun-woo, "Park Bo-geom is special", "We glance alike"

News via hancinema.net

About his look-alike actor Park Bo-geom, Lee Hyun-woo said, "I have turn out to be near alongside many buddies in my profession just Park Bo-geom is special. We met in a study room at university. I had heard someone gave the glance of me but we ended up getting close temporarilyperhaps because we appearance alike".

JYJ's Junsu thank you fanatics after final functionality of musical 'Dracula'

News via allkpop.com
JYJ's Junsu thank you  fanatics after final  functionality of musical 'Dracula'

Afterward, Junsu thanked the lovers with, "'Dracula' is a work I wish to exist with forever. Thank you to all your cheers, I used to bevery much encouraged and used to beready to give my all till the end. Thank you such a lot for your love and support. Look forward to seeing me thrumany various activities in the arrival year." 

Brave Women Set Comeback Date and New Song

News via soompi.com
Brave Women Set Comeback Date and New Song

Brave Women fix Comeback Date and New Songhellohalcyon February 10, 2016 0 On February 3, it used to be announced that Brave Girls will returning with five new members. Now a comeback date been announced and their new song is published to be titled, Changed.

After the free upin their single, For You, in 2013, Courageous Girls is creating a grand comeback in 3 years as a seven member group. Normalparticipants Yoojin and Hyeran are joined by capability of new additions – Minyoung, Yoojung, Eunji, Yuna, and Hayoon.

A representative from Brave Entertainment said, It glancedecades for this comeback because we needed to be completelyreadyto turn our very best image. Please watch over the rebirth of Brave Girls who have turn into more glamorous with more potentabilities and looks.