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13 February 2010

Ok Taecyeon, floating to the surface as 2PM's new leadja

Since withdrawing from 2PM after the surfacing of comments of belittlement toward Korea, every move that Park Jaebum makes always becomes a hot topic. Even now the influence of Park Jaebum's popularity is no doubt a big one. Communicating with fans through videos and pictures of his participation in b-boy competitions, the fans' longing for Jaebum's return is only escalating. Ever since his last comment before departing, saying "Please give more love to 2PM", he has yet to give any hints regarding his possible comeback. We will never know whether or not he has been ordered to not say anything. Could it be possible that the company completely prohibited him from saying anything regarding his comeback? In a generation like this, whether it's via Twitter or Cyworld, we can write up our own opinions on things whenever we want, but Jaebum is living in America as silent as a grave like some sort of mute.

2PM is currently active as a Jaebum-less 6PM without any problems at all. It even feels like the 2PM members' desire for Jaebum's return is slowly dying down. Without Jaebum, 2PM won 'Artist of the Year' award at MAMA and after being selected for 'Best song of the Year' with 'Again & Again' at the KBS Gayo Daejun, they gave such a lively performance to the point where you couldn't even feel the missing spot of Jaebum. But of course, one cannot ignore the fact that the root of their winning and support was from the power of awaiting fans.

However from JYPE's perspective, they may be thinking that the 6 membered 2PM are completely sufficient to win all of those awards. As a replacement for Park Jaebum, 2PM have currently been going on different broadcasting shows and making it seem like Ok Taecyeon has become the new leader. The 'beast idol', an image which was first created by Park Jaebum, has now changed to form 'Jjit Taecyeon' and is now receiving popularity as the Beastly Idol Taecyeon. It's not just Taecyeon either; Wooyoung, Junho and the other members are all putting their names and faces out there, and now the previously known 'Jaebum's 2PM' is slowly turning into just 6PM. On portal site Daum, like the above picture, there are 7 names under group members but only 6 faces in the picture are shown. Next to it shows Jaebum's name under the category 'ex-members'.

Since Park Jaebum's withdrawal last September, Taecyeon has been emerging as 2PM's new leader. Like a solo artist, he performed alongside Baek Ji Young's 'My Ear's Candy', along with recent castings for 'Family Outing 2' and drama series 'Cinderella Sister'; out of all 2PM members it seems like Taecyeon is currently the best off at the moment. If a withdrawal had never occurred, the member who would've been able proven his true worth through variety shows and dramas would've been Park Jaebum. Before his withdrawal, many variety and drama producers all had their eyes on him during appearances on 'Infinity Challenge' and other various shows.

In this week's 'Strong Heart', it's safe to say that it was pretty much an 'Ok Taecyeon special' episode, with him, SNSD's Yoona and Lee Seung Gi having a couple matching showdown. Like 2AM's Kkab Kwon Jokwon, it is becoming a variety show generation of 'Jjit Taecyeon'. Similar to when Park Jaebum used the 'beast idol' image for variety shows, Taecyeon is now also using the same concept. If Park Jaebum did not withdraw from 2PM, Park Jaebum would have been cast as a regular on 'Family Outing 2'. Would this have been all? We also would've been able to see the 'variety idol Park Jaebum' image on shows which Jokwon regularly appear on such as Star King and Sebakwi. Park Jaebum's missing place has just been filled up by Taecyeon and Jokwon.

In that case will the Jaebum-less 6PM still be able to maintain the popularity they have now? Looking at the harsh reality of the ebb and flow of the music industry, 6PM's popularity cannot be guaranteed. After Jaebum's departure to America, the fans still sent the same love and support to 6PM with their longing desire still in mind. Even though they were 6PM, they received the same amount of love they would've received if Jaebum was still present. But now the situation has changed. The company may have succeeded in using the name of the withdrawn Park Jaebum as a marketing strategy, but as time goes by, the love 6PM are receiving may well turn into rage and anger. No matter how many times Park Jin Young, the 'shepherd boy', says "Jaebum will return", he has not given a promise of WHEN he will arrive. Because of this, fans are getting tired. Even if shepherd boy Park Jin Young says Park Jaebum really will come back, fans will not even bother hearing about it.

Even if Park Jaebum returns, it seems it will be hard for him to make a 2PM comeback. We do not know for sure whether Park Jin Young is planning for him to comeback as a solo artist or returning via an American debut. As time goes by, it is becoming harder for Jaebum to come back to 2PM as 6PM promotions continue, along with Taecyeon emerging as the 6PM's new leader. Officially speaking, 2PM currently has no leader. Instead, everyone is waiting for Jaebum's return and leaving his spot empty for the time being. 2PM's leader will be forever Park Jaebum in the eyes of the fans, and will wait even if one day seems like a lifetime. While the company thinks of ways to bring back Jaebum, of course the members are told not to say a word about it.

Even though on the surface Park Jin Young and other 2PM members are trying to show that they are all hoping for Jaebum to return, it looks like they are now starting to think 'we can do good without Park Jaebum'. As time goes on, it looks like that confidence will only grow, and unlike the days when fans protested 'we cannot accept 6PM' in front of the JYP building, they are now just feeling more and more disappointed in the Jaebum-less 2PM. Without a definite promise for a Jaebum comeback, the development of jjit Taecyeon, and the process of the public's mindset changing to '6PM is 2PM', there certainly are worries that 2PM may quietly be thinking 'can we just move on with Ok Taecyeon as leadja?', but nonetheless fans are still hoping and anticipating the day that Jaebum returns.

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