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09 June 2010

Super SORRY to Singapore ELFs

Apologising for skipping Singapore last year, Korean band Super Junior vow to be back here for a full concert

Sleek dance moves and tight bods drew fervent screams from the fans for the Korean men in black who performed for an hour on Sunday. Due to a packed schedule, Super Junior were in Singapore for only eight hours.
ST PHOTO: Aidah Rauf

Popular Korean boyband Super Junior felt bad that they did not come to Singapore last year during their second Asia tour Super Show 2 - which saw them stopping by China, Thailand, Hong Kong and more - to promote their third studio album, Sorry, Sorry.

In an exclusive interview with Life!, leader Leeteuk, 27, says in Korean through a translator: 'We saw many Singapore fans who flew to other countries to watch us perform during our Asia tour and we are very sorry that we couldn't make it here. We will try harder to come here more often.'

And they will have the chance to make it up to fans here as they are coming back for a full-length gig, Super Show 3, next year to promote their latest album Bonamana. The concert organiser, Running Into The Sun, could not confirm venue or ticketing details yet.

SingTel and Samsung collaborated to bring in the boys on Sunday for the first time for an hour-long showcase at Marina Bay Sands to launch a new Samsung cellphone. The singers had a packed schedule, flying in at 2pm on Sunday and leaving at 10pm. They were one guy short, as band member Kyu Hyun had an ear infection and could not make the trip.

Still, the other nine gave their all at the gig, which drew over 2,000 fans. They performed five songs including their latest hit Bonamana, complete with sleek dance moves. Tickets to the showcase were available only to the first 800 customers who bought the new cellphone online. Some hardcore fans started queueing for the showcase, which had free standing tickets, on Saturday morning.

The boyband, which were formed in 2005, have released four best-selling albums and won numerous awards in the region, including Favourite Artist Korea during the MTV Asia Awards in 2008.

There were originally 13 members in the group, which made it one of the largest boybands in the world. However, three members are not active at the moment. Kangin is serving in the military, Kibum is busy with his acting career and Han Geng is embroiled in a lawsuit against the management SM Entertainment, saying the exclusive 13-year contract worked him too hard.

With long working hours a norm, the members of Super Junior have plenty of time to bond and one favourite way is by playing pranks.

Leeteuk says: 'We love to disturb each other and the current prank is spraying water at others when they are asleep. Sometimes, we play scissors, paper, stone and the loser will have to perform a forfeit.'

The members, who look as airbrushed in real life as they do in their publicity stills with their thick make-up and perfect hair, shared an obvious camaraderie. As Leeteuk answered questions, the other members chatted quietly among themselves and twiddled with their cellphones, sending Twitter updates.

When asked who is the most popular among the members aged between 22 and 27, Eunhyuk jokes that it was him, before Leeteuk says: 'We don't compare among ourselves because we are divided into different age groups and we appeal to different crowds.'

He attributes the band's appeal to a number of factors: 'Because of the sheer number of our group, we already stand out from other Korean boybands. Also, our members are talented in separate ways, which attract different fans. The unique individualities in our group strengthen our appeal.'

The guys feel pressured to meet the high expectations of fans with their latest album, Bonamana, after the success of Sorry, Sorry. Leeteuk says: 'We were very stressed because we had set high standards for ourselves in the past. We are happy that the new album has got such good reactions from fans.'

Reported by Jocelyn Lee for The Straits Times (Singapore) [accessible to paid subscribers only]

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