[Jan/2014] Millie’s Top K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten January K-Pop Music Videos 

[2014]

2014 seemed to start off with a sexy wave as girl groups everywhere could be seen in tiny shorts, stockings and high heels. The males also strutted their feathers with confident songs about their looks. Both genders came to tease their fans this cold January, but despite the flash of skin, many of the songs that shined were the ones that focused on the vocals. And if they could combine a sexy song with powerful vocals, all the better. The ladies might have  won over this month, but 2014 has just begun.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. Rainbow Blaxx – Cha Cha

Rainbow Blaxx - Cha Cha

I have never seen a K-pop music video with so many sexually suggestive food props – and macaroons at that! Vibrant colors, royal furniture, jewels, and desserts of all sorts make up Rainbow’s first sub-unit music video. Rainbow BLAXX is the four member sub-unit, that was one of the many groups to come back this year with the sexy theme (unusually for Rainbow since they usually do the cute concepts). “I wanna feel you, I wanna love you…” The girls act seducing in this video to match the lyrics, daring them to come closer before they get too impatient. I found the song really catchy and I liked it a lot, I just wish the side story in the music video wasn’t so weird…what is it with the random jewels popping out of their mouths, and the creepy ghost lady measuring them?

9. Got7 – Girls Girls Girls

Got7 - Girls Girls Girls

JYP debuted a new seven member boy group, Got7. After seeing their debut music video “Girls, Girls, Girls” I got a mixed vibe of old school 2pm and JJ Project (very appropriate since both groups are from JYP Entertainment). The song sounded a lot like JJ Project’s single “Bounce”, which made sense since the duo JB and JR became members of this boy group, and the back-flips and other b-boy moves reminded me of 2pm’s debut song “10 out of 10”. When it came to the song, I preferred the verses and rap portions over the chorus which seemed boring for me and the lyrics where kind of a put off. But the music video did a good job in showing of the boys’ talent, especially with the split screen style that could show both the close up of the boy’s face and the rest of the group performing the choreography. “Girls, Girls, Girls” was alright for me – but it did make me extremely curious to see what this boy group has in store for the future.

 8. B1A4 – Lonely

B1A4 - Lonely

B1A4 made their comeback with “Lonely”,  a sad song about the after effects of a break-up. The music video was not that original, in fact  the lonely theme after a break-up has been done quite often, but what made the video different was B1A4’s little twist – the ex-girlfriend behaved like a balloon attached to the protagonist’s wrist (Jin-young, the leader, who starred in this music video). The magical element added B1A4’s style to it. Quite opposite from their last comeback that had the boys jumping up and down singing, “Lonely” was calm, yet beautiful, fully showing off the boys’ singing abilities. A perfect, sorrowful song for the ending of the winter season.

7. Spica – You Don’t Love Me

Spica - You Don't Love Me

Spica displayed their powerful vocals once again with “You Don’t Love Me”. The girls also came back with a sexy concept of their own; very retro with an over-the-top sexy act that left it more comedic than anything. From singing into toilet paper rolls, to throwing around cereal and streamers, to the exaggerated butt pads, Spica definitely stood out from the sexy singles this month. I always like Spica songs, but this one is not one of my favorites. If I didn’t hear the phrase “You Don’t Love Me” every other line, maybe I would have liked the song more. But none the less, I liked Spica’s creative music video – they always manage to make them sexy but have other interesting elements that balance them out.

6. TVXQ – Something

TVXQ - Something

TVXQ also went back in the past with the jazzy title track “Something”, a confident dance song about how hard it is when all the girls want you (how very modest of you boys). The dance is awesome in this video; with the dancers holding up string props to resemble bass strings that the boys strum too (Major props to all the back-up dancers who not only preformed but made seamless transitions through all the props). The song is upbeat and heavy on the vocals. The music video plays around with mirage special effects and upside down scene changes. It was quite a change from their last two hit songs that contained heavy audio effects and present day music styles, so this single was a nice, fresh new sound from the boys.

5. Sunny Hill – Don’t Say Anything

Sunny Hill - Don't Say Anything

“Don’t Say Anything” narrates the moment someone goes through a break-up; the sudden realization, the heartbreak and the tears that follow. This song is sorrowful, but has beautiful poetic lyrics and is very raw and easy to relate to. Filmed with white backgrounds and hazy focusing, and has the soft piano playing throughout the song, Sunny Hill’s “Don’t Say Anything” is a solid song.

4. Kiss&Cry – Domino Game

Kiss&Cry - Domino Game

Rookie girl group Kiss&Cry debuted with “Domino Game”, and wow did they make a debut! Defiantly one that is easily missed because of all the big named comebacks, but these girls made a great first impression. They weren’t  just sexy, but confident, and have vocals that amazed me during live performances. These girls don’t act like rookies, which makes me excited to see how they will grow in the future. The lyrics tell the story of a girl who wants to stop playing this “game” with the boy she loves, as it seems he doesn’t match the same loving sentiments towards her.

3. Girl’s Day – Something

Girl's Day - Something

Girl’s Day started off 2014 strong with their New Year Day release of “Something”. Following the sexy singles from the last year that gained them so much popularity with “Expectations” and “Female President”, the four girls appeared with “Something”, a sexy but sad song about a girl’s suspicions of her boyfriend’s other ‘something’ on the sideline. Vocally this was one of the Girl’s Day strongest song, but what gathered attention was their many new iconic dances; the “feather dance” where they tie feathers to their pinkies and sensually run them down their leg, the “cat dance” which mimics a cat’s movement on the floor, the teasing way they open up their skirts to give a peek of their legs and of course, the bouncing in the chorus.

2. Ailee – Singing Got Better

Ailee - Singing Got Better

I don’t think it’s possible for Ailee’s singing to get better since it’s already fantastic. “Singing Got Better” is her latest song’ a powerful vocal piece that tells how a break-up improved her singing. She understood the lyrics and emotions behind a song from her own pain of a broken heart and transformed that into her strength. I love the originality of the song, and the simplicity behind it. Lee Joon from MBLAQ starred in this music video as her cheating boyfriend. Seems like another amazing song from Ailee!

1. Ga In – Fxxk U

Ga In - Fxxk U

When I say Ga In like to push the boundaries, I never thought she would take it this far – and I’m glad she did! Ga In as a solo artist likes to center her music videos and songs on taboo topics in South Korea. Her last single “Bloom” was completely about sex and female sexuality. This time around she hit on a darker note; “Fxxk U” is an emotional song about a girl in an abusive relationship, revealing that even sexual abuse can occur in relationships, and traumatic repercussions of rape. “Fxxk U” features Bumkey who sings his lines from the point of view of her abuser trying to convince her that it’s okay and to return to him once again. This song will probably be banned from music stations, not only because of the topic but simply because of the “overuse” of the word fuck. However, I hope that doesn’t stop Ga In from making more music videos like this one.

The First Annual 2013 Soju DramaQueen Awards

sojuaward

The First Annual

2013 Soju DramaQueen Awards

 

I did not realize what a busy, amazing year 2013 has been until I consulted the all-knowing Excel Spreadsheet and compiled the Contender’s List. Of the 35 dramas that I viewed, am viewing, or in very few cases, abandoned mid-series, just this year, the list was finally narrowed down to the following Top Ten Must-See Dramas for 2013. (A difficult choice, but my editor insisted…)

 

 

Cheongdam-dong Alice

Dating Agency Cyrano

Good Doctor

Gu Family Book (Kang Chi: The Beginning)

I Hear Your Voice

Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love

Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire

Monstar

Sword and Flower

The Master’s Sun

 

The choices were difficult, but listed are the nominees in each category, with the winners highlighted:

 

park shi hooBest Actor (tie)

It was tough narrowing down this category to just 5 nominees, but the winners were pretty clear. Scandals aside, Park Shi-hoo was positively brilliant in Cheongdam-dong Alice. I sincerely hope he make a comeback soon! Park Shi-hoo화이팅!  Joo Won also put in an amazing performance as the autistic Doctor Park Shi-on (Good Doctor). It was a difficult role played with empathy and credibility.

 

 

Nominees:

good doc joo wonPark Shi-hoo “Cheongdam-dong Alice”

Joo Won “Good Doctor”

Lee Jong-Suk “I Hear Your Voice”

Park Yoochun “I Miss You”

Jo In-sung “That Winter, the Wind Blows”

 

 

jae hee

Best Supporting Actor

This is another category with more nominees in the original list than I could include. The choice was more difficult here, but I settled on Lee Jae-hee. His character in When a Man Loves was very well-developed and complex.

 

Nominees:

Choi Jin-hyuk “Gu Family Book”

Seo In-guk “Master’s Sun”

Jo Jae-Hyun “Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident”

Kim Bum “That Winter, the Wind Blows”

Lee Jae-hee “When A Man Loves”

 

Masters_Sun_taeBest Actress

There were many fine performances this year by Korea’s leading actresses, but Gong Hyo-jin stood out with her quirky performance in The Master’s Sun.

 

Nominees:

Lee Bo-young “I Hear Your Voice”

Kim Tae-Hee “Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love”

Moon Geun-young “Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire”

Gong Hyo-jin “Master’s Sun”

Jo Yoon-hee “Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident”

 

master funny face

Best Supporting Actress

Secondary actresses typically have pretty one-dimensional characters, but Kim Yu-ri was blessed with an extraordinary role that she made her own. The character was engaging in all it’s iterations and aspects. Bravo!

 

Nominees:

So Yi-hyun “Cheongdam-dong Alice”

Hong Soo-hyun “Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love”

Kim Yu-ri “Master’s Sun”

Park Ha-Sun “Two Weeks”

 

kang eui shikBest New Actor

It’s no surprise that Monstar garnered most of the new actor nominations as the drama sported a cast composed almost entirely of newcomers. The stand-out male was Kang Eui-shik who played “Radio”, an intriguing character. The performance was outstanding, especially the tear-filled solo sung in defiance of his bullies.

 

Nominees:

Kang Eui-shik “Monstar”

Park Kyu-sun “Monstar”

Yong Joon-hyun “Monstar”

Park Hyun-shik “Nine: Nine Time Travels”

 

Monstar-1

Best New Actress

There were fewer notables among the new actresses, but those on the list were stellar. Kim Min-young gave a stand-out performance in Monstar. With her incredible voice and acting talent, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this fine young woman.

 

Nominees:

Choi Soo-young “Dating Agency: Cyrano”

Ha Yun-soo “Monstar”

Kim Min-young “Monstar”

 

Monstar-Poster2Best Music

There were really nice OSTs this year and a few songs on my iPod that I admit to listening to repeatedly. While I had a difficult time not choosing I Hear Your Voice, in the end, Monstar had to win out with it’s outstanding mix of creative covers, fun mash-ups and and all-around great music.

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Good Doctor”

“Gu Family Book”

“I Hear Your Voice”

“Monstar”

 

 

gu moon

Best Cinematography

Creativity seemed to be the order of the day this year. With a plethora of fantasy-type dramas, special effects were necessary and were, in general, very well done. Gu Family Book stood out, however, for its sheer beauty.

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Flower Boy Next Door”

“Gu Family Book”

“I Hear Your Voice”

“Sword and Flower”

 

Cheongdamdong_Alice-p1Best Drama

Looking at the overall charisma of a drama, the acting, the script, the cinematography, the music and the ending (too many were really weak!), the list was slowly whittled down. The one drama that intrigued me from the start and held me to the end, keeping me entertained and captivated by brilliant performances and a great story was Cheongdam-dong Alice. I gave I Hear Your Voice a close second as it, too, was intriguing throughout and was a marvelous feel-good drama.

IHearYourVoice_Slider

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Dating Agency Cyrano”

Close Second: “I Hear Your Voice”

“Gu Family Book”

“Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire”

 

2013 has been a good year for Korean dramas, and it’s not over yet. At the time awards were selected, the much-anticipated Heirs, with its all-star cast was still in progress, and Marry Him, If You Dare was shaping up well. Still others have just begun and will bleed into 2014.

Congratulations to this year’s Soju DramaQueen winners. I’m looking forward to another great year with these amazing actors and actresses!

 Happy Drama Watching!

Millie’s Top Ten November K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten November K-pop Music Videos

Many of the releases this month had very sad and sorrowful themes. As winter comes, so does the heart-wrenching ballads in the K-pop World. Ballad Kings 2am make a reappearance, Miss A comes back after a long hiatus, and Hyorin finally makes her solo debut. To top it off, a surprising boy group makes their way up to first place.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. NC.A – Oh my God

N.CA - Oh my god

NC.A is the 17-year-old solo artist, but in this song she appeared as if she was 12. “Oh My God” is a cute song about winning back the boy who wants to leave her. With pigtails and a cute school background, the feel of the music video matches the song perfectly. However, my only issue is how young they make the girl look. In her last songs she appears much older than her age, but in this case they did the exact opposite. Also NC.A is singing so happily but when you notice the lyrics in the chorus you realize her tone no longer matches well – she is still singing happily even though her boyfriend has left her. Not the best NC.A song, but the none the less is still cute.

9. Mr.Mr – Do You Feel Me?

MrMr - Do You Feel Me

In “Do You Feel Me?” the boys are keeping it classy in suits with this very western sounding single. The lyrics talk about a girl who moves the guy’s heart and gives him life, displayed in the music video where a beautiful girl in white comes to the still boys and brings them to life so they began to dance and sing. It’s a very solid song for the underrated boy group.

8. Miss A – Hush

Miss A - Hush

Miss A has been gone from the K-pop scene for a while but made a surprising comeback with “Hush”. Sexy and sensual, “Hush” is a quick moving, fast-paced song, teasing the boys to “give it to me” in cropped dark turtlenecks, hair pinned up and red lipstick. Even though the song is quite repetitive, Miss A has brought along another new style of music, making sure each comeback really shows a diverse side to them. “Hush” might not be my favorite of their title tracks, but it’s still a great song.

7. Hyorin – Lonely

Hyorin - Lonely

Hyorin, the lead vocalist from Sistar, made her solo debut with “Lonely”. The song showcases her amazing vocals quite well but the music video seems to be the female version of G-Dragon’s “Crooked” with a more subtle attitude of angst. Hyorin is walking around, seeming to enjoy life and smile despite singing about being lonely and broken by love. It seems she is hopeful for the future, that she will be able to still love even though she has been thrown aside for now.

6. Tasty – Day N Night

Tasty - Day N' Night

Tasty’s music always stands out with their swing style hip hop, “Day N’ Night” came back with that theme adding some rock to the mix. Filmed in Hong Kong, the music video matches the lyrics telling the story of a guy (or in this case, a pair of twins) who keep letting the same girl come back to him even she has made it a habit of leaving at any whim. Actress and model, Esom played the female protagonist who toys with the boy’s hearts.

5. Davichi – The Letter

Davichi - The Letter

“The Letter” shows off the amazing vocals from this duo; however the music video lacks in comparison to the song. The song tells a story, taking the listener step by step of receiving this break-up letter. Yet the music video is quite boring in exchange with the drama version simply showing a lot of crying and that’s about it. Considering how active the song is, it’s quite a shame that Davichi’s music video was not as entertaining as their others which all contain story-lines that match perfectly to the lyrics.

4. 2am – Regret

2am - Regret

2am, the kings of ballads, came back with “Regret”, another sorrowful song for the end of the year. Cinematography pans between the members as they are all moving forward, intertwining with each other at the exact times they sing. To capture the feeling of regret, the boys are the only ones walking along an abandoned beach, and miles of sand surrounds them. Topped off with a grey tint and pitiful expressions of sadness, 2am clearly shows the feelings of remorse to an ended relationship.

3. FT Island – Madly

FT Island - Madly

FT Island made a quiet return with “Madly”; in fact I almost missed the release of this song as it was piled under all the new K-pop groups. But FT Island is keeping strong with another powerful single with the Music Video taking place in an abandoned field in the middle of nowhere. “Madly” is beautiful and powerful, telling the heartbreaking story of not being able to move because they are still in love with someone who has left them.

2. 2NE1 – Missing You

2NE1 - Missing You

2NE1 made their third and final comeback for 2013, and let me just say that I think it’s their best one. “Missing You” is a soft ballad that resonates with beauty and sorrow, quite different than their upbeat funky songs. All the girls look fashionable as usual in dark isolated places, and even tastefully displays a nude CL. The harmony in this song is wonderful, very pure and simple like the music video.

1. Vixx – VooDoo Doll

Vixx - VooDoo Doll

Creepy, dark and full of gore and blood is Vixx’s “VooDoo Doll”. Vixx has always been waiting on the sidelines, but I’ve finally noticed them, and wow – they came back with an awesome song! Not only that, but the dance matches the lyrics perfectly and brings forth new dance moves never done before in K-pop (Who stabs their other members with skull staffs?). The lyrics tell us about sacrificing their bodies and love for a girl just to make sure she stays happy, letting her treat him like a puppet pulling the strings. Defiantly need to check out this music video, but warning! Watch the clean version if you are as squeamish as I am.

[Sep/Oct] Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

[September/October]

Maknae Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

With the domination of certain K-pop solo artists (*cough g-dragon cough*), there were not that many music videos to review. Therefore I have combined my review for September and October. September brought out the girls and their powerful vocals while October brought a variety of different genres and styles.

10. Kim Ye Rim – Voice [September]

Kim Ye Rim - Voice

Kim Ye Rim has one of the most distinguishable voices in the Korean Music Industry, and once again brings it forth, ironically, with her single “Voice”. But this song has nothing to do with her unique, husky deep voice, but with the voice of her ex, a voice that she misses the most when she thinks of him. The music video is simple but gets the message across; Kim Ye Rim is alone, listening to music in her room when an Earthquake begins. The Earthquakes coincidentally occur every time the chorus comes up, but symbolizes her erupting feelings everything she “hears” her old boyfriend’s love. It shakes her up and reminds her of the past.

 

9. Kara-Damaged Lady [September]

Kara - Damaged Lady

Kara returns with “Damaged Lady” – and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a Kara fan. Most of their songs haven’t stuck with me. “Step it Up” wore me down, and as soon as I heard “Damaged Lady” I was instantly won over. It’s catchy, upbeat, and fast-moving, and has a song message that I’ve never seen in K-pop before. It’s about a girl whose boyfriend has just broken up with her. She sees all the couple in love around her on this bright, sunny day and feels bitter, angry and pathetic. She warns the others that she is not nice today, because she is a damaged lady. Mixing between masculine outfits and feminine ones, the music video is not as strong as the song, but still does alright.

 

8. G-dragon –Coup D’etat [September]

G-dragon - Coup d'etat

G-Dragon dominated the charts when his new mini album came out at the end of summer, “Coup D’etat”, and likewise his same named title track music video stood out among the rest. Each frame is packed full of symbolism that I can’t even begin to understand. The song and cinematography are both hauntingly beautiful, and seems to have a yin-yang scheme of black and white (likewise with the song, a switch back and forth in the tempo from fast rap parts to a slowed down chorus). This is actually one of my favorite G-dragon solo songs, and I’m always impressed with the concepts he comes up with.

 

7. Block B – Very Good [October]

Block B - Very Good

Block B makes a banging comeback with “Very Good”,  finally having settled in a new company after their lawsuit. Scoring their first win with “Very Good”, Block B has proven to fans that they are here to stay and continue to make awesome music. Their latest title track is as upbeat and crazy as their last songs. The music video features the boys being troublesome again; from pirates to now crazy bank robbers. Lyrics contain their subtly, and not so subtly remarks towards culture events, and fans can’t help but also notice Zico’s tribute to G-dragon by copying all of his iconic looks. I’m glad Block B is sticking to their true colors.

 

6. Troublemaker – Now [October]

Troublemaker -Now

Troublemaker finally makes their return after a 2 year hiatus, and they defiantly made a grand appearance with “Now”. With so many scene and outfit changes (not to mention the expensive race cars) it seems like Cube Entertainment really went all out for this music video. Despite its similarities to Rihanna’s music video, this grungy, sexy but not glamorous style was brand new for K-pop. The dance and song were not as catchy as “Troublemaker” but I still really enjoyed this comeback.

 

5. Zia – If you loved me [September]

Zia - If you loved me

Zia comes back with her sorrowful ballad “If you loved me” featuring the vocal accompaniment of Hae-ri from Davici. The song is calm but desperately calls out to her past lover, wanting him back. She tells him if he ever loved her, then he will think about their memories and consider coming back to her. The drama version of the song has an equally sad story-line about a young couple that breaks up when the boy starts to go blind, and instead of wanting his girlfriend to be with someone disabled, he breaks up with her against his heart’s wishes and hers.

 

4. K.Will – You Don’t Know Love [October]

K.Will-You Don't Know Love

K.Will did it again and came out with another wonderful easy-going track. “You Don’t Know Love” is not a romantic song at all (besides it sounding like one), but he expresses his frustration and irritation over the girl who doesn’t seem to understand his feelings at all – he is not falling out of love with her, but it’s just the ups and downs of a relationship, and she broke up with him too soon. The music video seems to express the hope of fixing the relationship as the boy and girl in the drama version are packing up the things the other gave them during their relationship, to give back now that it is over between them. But while looking at these items, they remember the memories and good times with them and are able to be together again.

 

3. Piggy Dolls – Butterflies [October]

Piggy Dolls - Butterflies

Piggy Dolls have made a cute comeback with “Butterflies” – a very relatable song for most girls. They talk about the clichés butterfly feelings a girl gets when she is in love. The song message is very cliché, talking about being in love – as well as the music video (all the girls are camping, having fun and singing while roasting marshmallows), but nonetheless the song is very addicting and just pure-hearted fun. A late summer song, but a cute single anyways.

 

2. Jung Joon Young – Spotless Mind [October]

Jung Joon young - Spotless Mind

“Spotless Mind” was the first time I ever heard Jung Joon-young’s voice, and wow, I was instantly taken back. First of all, it doesn’t even seem like such a powerful dark voice could come out of such a skinny guy. But his voice is captivating and the song seems to lull you in like a powerful melody. The lyrics also standout- he has created a spotless mind and erased the memories of his loved one. I’m glad this rocker is able to make such a strong stance among the idol singers.

 

1. Spica – Tonight [September]

Spica - Tonight

Spica returned with “Tonight”, another underrated single with their signature power vocals. Spica has always had uniquely beautiful music videos, skimming the fine line between artistic and visually appealing to make a fine mixture of both. “Tonight” has the girls in bohemian style, outside with nature as their background and only laughter as the girls are enjoying life together as their song suggests one to do. The added pastel filter, dust paint splashes and slow motion moments added to the sensual and fun theme. “Tonight” is not only one of my favorite songs of the summer this year, but also one of my favorite songs from a female K-pop group.

Friday Drama Review: “Jung-yi: Goddess of Fire”

jung yi 1

A beautiful historical drama filled with the majesty and drama we have come to expect from this genre, Jung-yi was an epic tale worth the re-telling.

 

Storyline/Synopsis: My Rating 8/10

Set in the Joseon Dynasty, Jung-yi is based on the story of a real historical figure: Baek Pah-sun, the first woman to become a potter by trade. Although she was kidnapped during the war and taken to Japan, the drama deals with events leading up to the kidnapping. The story begins before Jung-yi’s birth and chronicles her struggles through young adulthood. She was much loved by the prince, Gwanghae. Palace politics abound as three brothers vie for the position of crown prince.

 

Script/Acting: My Rating 7/10

The pace was a little slower than other dramas, but that is often the case with sageuk (historical) dramas. A multigenerational story was being told, and many intriguing characters came into play.

jung yiIn the title role (Yoo Jung-yi) was Moon Geun-young (Cheongdam-dong Alice, Cinderella’s Sister). Born of parents who were gifted in the art of pottery and raised by a man who was treasured by the realm for his artistic porcelain creations, she grew into a young woman with exemplary talent. She had a birth secret, though: her real father was none other than the man she despised most – the man who had the father who raised her killed and who despised her temerity for aspiring to be a potter in a man’s world. Requiring a multitude of emotional changes, the part was well represented by Moon Geun-young who gave a very credible performance.

jung yi gwangLee Sang-yoon (Life Is Beautiful; I Love You, Don’t Cry) was prince Gwanghae, a scholarly and upright young man, but second son to the king. His suitability for the throne made him a constant target of conspiracies by his brothers. He spent his life in service to the king, which seemed to include the constant covering for mistakes made by his power-crazed and irresponsible brother, Prince Imhae. He met Jung-yi as a youth and kept a torch burning for her throughout his life. Lee Sang-yoon displayed the noble bearing necessary for the role and convincingly played “fall-guy” for his brother.

jing yi kim bumKim Bum (Boys Over Flowers, That Winter the Wind Blows) finally scored a role in a sageuk drama, and long, flowing hair seemed to suit him well. His role was that of Tae-do, a young man who grew up alongside Jung-yi in a brotherly fashion but who harbored a deep love for her. His was the Ji-hoo* role of he drama, following, protecting and loving Jung-yi, who saw him only as a brother. With a talent for martial arts, Tae-do assisted and was trusted by two Princes, Gwanhae and the youngest prince, Shinsung.

jung yi hwa ryungSeo Hyun-jin (The Peach Tree, Magic) was cast as the evil villainess of the story, Shim Hwa-ryung. Growing up as a friend and classmate to Jung-yi, the friendship dissolved into jealousy as she failed to win Tae-do’s heart. Aspiring to become a powerful merchant, she went to great (and disturbing) lengths to secure her own wealth and influence at the expense of everyone around her. Ms. Shim was quite convincing as a covetous and resentful woman.

jung yi fathrHer business dealings brought her to the unscrupulous Lee Gang-chun, Jung-yi’s biological father and head of Bunwon, the home of the Royal ceramists. His rivalry with Yoo Eul-dam, Jung-yi’s adoptive father, set in motion a chain of events that gave meat to the drama in the story. He acquired great wealth by illegally selling off Bunwon pottery and in doing so secured the sponsorship of Lady Kim, In Bin consort and mother to Prince Shinsung. The role was portrayed by Jun Kwang-ryul (I Miss You, Warrior Baek Dong Soo), a man with a gift for looking innocent while delivering bald-faced lies.

jung yi yook doLee Gang-chul’s main motivation is the success of his son, Yook-do, portrayed by Park Gun-hyung (I Do, I Do; Syndrome). This poor, hapless young man was unfortunate to have a  father, whom he idolized, who was an unprincipled crook. He also fell for the wiles of Shim Hwa-rung, who seduced him in order to win favor with Bunwon. This character ended up being one of the more complex of the series: initially a talented and principled young man, he entrapped himself by falling into his father’s deceitful ways. Yet he was an innocent, and in many respects, a pawn used by many others for their own purposes.

jung yi kingThe king was another interesting character. King Seonjo, as played by Jeong Bo-seok (Arang and the Magistrate, Can You Hear My Heart), was a weak ruler whose sole interest appeared to be looking good to the populace – and he had little tolerance for the truth, a trait that often put Prince Gwanghae at odds with his father.

jung yi moon

 

The kindly grandfather of the series was Byun Hee-bong (Glory Jane, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho) as Moon Sa-seung. A gifted potter and former head of Bunwon, he protected Jung-yi for the talent he saw in her. As a former friend to Yoo Eul-dam, he took on the role of Jung-yi’s caretaker after her adoptive father was killed.

jung yi imhaeLee Kwang-soo (Dating Agency: Cyrano; Innocent Man) played a role far from his usual. The unprincipled Prince Imhae was the source of many conspiracies in the drama. Although it seemed a stretch for him, the role suited him as there was a comical component to Prince Imhae’s often inept maneuverings.

 

Cinematography: My Rating 7/10

Gorgeous scenery and costuming was evident throughout the series. It was obvious that the actors had spent some time learning the basics of spinning a pottery wheel and the scenes were credible.

 

Music: My Rating 7/10

“Tears Are Also Love” Baek Ah Yeon  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m44ysL6460c

Great ballad: “Tears Flow” Noel  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_mXuV45reo

“Forever You” Bobby Kim  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWzfVvCnRt4

“I Love You” Park Ji Min of 15&  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA9d5DoW5-c

“Though I Close My Eyes” Lush  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_nmIhM0S8k

“Monologue”  Kim Hyung Joong  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATuQCNBzAyY

Overall Charisma: My Rating 8/10

The slower pace of Jung-yi in no way detracted from the appeal of the drama. Character and story development progressed naturally, allowing viewers to follow the complex plots and sub-plots. If there were a criticism, it would be that, as in many dramas these days, the wind-down and conclusion appeared a bit rushed. It was, however, a beautiful story, a beautiful drama, and definitely worth the viewing time.

  

 Happy Drama Watching!

jung yi young couple

*Yoon Ji-hoo: A character from the drama series “Boys Before Flowers” that has come to represent a wonderfully sweet, attentive man who has an unrequited love for a girl and who becomes her friend and/or protector. He never gets the girl.  :-p

 

Friday Drama Review: “Good Doctor”

Good-Doctor-04“A long time ago, my brother said, ‘No matter how scared you are, you have to accomplish what you want to. That the one who endures and gets past everything is the coolest person in the world.’ To me, people and the world are scary. I remember my brother’s words and I gain strength.”
— Park Si On | Good Doctor

 

Storyline/Synopsis: My Rating 7/10

A brilliant, but socially awkward autistic man, Park Shi-on is allowed to be an intern at a university hospital with the help his lifelong friend and mentor, Doctor Choi Woo-suk. Despite Dr. Park Shi-on’s obviously superior medical skills, staff and patients alike have difficulty dealing with the social stigma attached to someone ‘different’.

 

Script/Acting: My Rating 7/10

Following the new paradigm in Korean drama formatting, early episodes had a stand-alone feel to them, with short stories told and guest actors inserted for an episode or two. The format evolved into a more standard drama style as the characters were developed and the main plot took over as the main component.

good doc joo wonFrom the very start the story seemed fresh and intriguing. Joo Won’s (Bridal Mask, 7th Grade Civil Servant) character, Dr. Park Shi-on, autistic savant, was compelling from episode one and his character became more appealing with each new installment.

The difficulty in playing an autistic person was accomplished with amazing perception and compassion. The character was quite convincing both in mannerisms and in the empathetic portrayal of the needs and dilemmas faced by people with handicaps of one sort or another. good doctor moonKudos to the scriptwriters for the educational and socially proactive components of this script!

Moon Chae-won (The Innocent Man, The Princess’ Man) also played an intriguing role. As one of the few empathetic doctors at the hospital, her character, Cha Yoon-seo, initially takes on the role of caretaker, or ‘big sister’ to Park Shi-on. The turbulent transition she makes as she begins to see Shi-on as a functioning adult (who is in love with her) is convincible and sweet.

good doc do hanThe head pediatric surgeon, Kim do-han, played by Joo Sang-wook (Feast of the Gods, Giant), was a much harder sell. Playing a hard-nosed surgeon with little patience for problems within his department, he initially insists that the Shi-on can never be a “good doctor”. A difficult love life, his passion for his job and his respect for Director Choi did much to soften the edges on what could have been a lifeless, plutocratic character.

good doctor kimKim Min-seo (7th Grade Civil Servant, Moon Embracing the Sun) as Yoo Chae-kyung was one of the weaker characters in the drama. Her conniving, backhanded manner of undermining those around her (even those she loved?) made her the ‘bad guy’, and the poor excuses offered for her behavior only made her appear petty and childish. The chemistry between her and Joo Sang-wook was unpersuasive. One saving grace for her character was the respectful way in which she interacted with Dr. Park.

good doctor banner1The university hospital officials sported a team of K-drama favorites: Chun Ho-jin as Director Choi Woo-suk, the man who rescued Park Shi-on as a boy and raised him to be a doctor in his own footsteps; Jo Hee-bong as Go Choong-Man, hapless manager of the pediatrics department, blown by the winds of politics, and who, with a great sense of comic timing, eventually falls under the spell of honest friendship offered by Dr. Park; Na Young-hee as Chief Director Lee Yeo-won; Jung Man-shik as Kim Jae-joon, control-hungry Chief of another department in the hospital.

 

Music: My Rating 8/10

A nice collection of ballads, including two sung by Joo Won:

“Miracle” Lee Young-hyun  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BTavs7ufK4

“I Am in Love” 2BiC  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unftZ0HhG6Q

“I’m Crying” Baek Ji-young  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj6OzNpr9I8

“Looks Good” Ha Dong-kyun  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Ox4LWLjxo

“How Come You Don’t Know?” Kim Jong-kook  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_8wiMEJZqs

“Love Medicine” Joo Won  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdbo0__GGBU

“If I Were” Joo Won  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBDdVkrwig0

“Can You See?” Eye to Eye  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPcXTZr6Zpc

Overall Charisma: My Rating 7/10

The recent spate of exemplary dramas that have weak endings is becoming a serious issue. For many of the recent dramas, Good Doctor included, the general feel is that the story progresses smoothly and then, suddenly, a wrap-up episode concludes everything. The natural story-telling progression is disrupted and fails with a poorly thought out climax and resolution.

The frustration for me, as a drama aficionado, is that while the bulk of the drama was immensely engaging and enjoyable, the lack of a suitable conclusion was a huge letdown. The ending was not wrong, or bad, but abrupt and weak.

Overall, the drama is a worthwhile watch. The characters are compelling and the stories intriguing. Wonderful child actors fill the screen with aegyo and appeal. Episode after episode held my attention and left me anxiously awaiting the next installment.

   

 Happy Drama Watching!

 good couple

 

Director: Ki Min-soo, Kim Jin-woo
Screenwriter: Park Jae-bum

 

 

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos 

More fun summer tracks, with the return of the solo artists! SME, JYP and YG have recently focused on the debut of the solo artists, and I can’t decide which is my favorite, they are all good. Henry came with his follow-up track “143”, Kang Seung Yoon made a 180 degree change from his rocker image with “Stealer” and Sun-mi made her return to the K-pop scene as a solo artist with the captivating “24 Hours”.

10. Ladies’ Code – Hate You

Ladies Code - Hate You

Ladies’ Code debuted earlier this year, but this girl group caught my attention with their second single “Hate You”. As titled, this song is about hating the one who broke your heart, but at the same time, hating yourself for still being in love with them. This theme is clearly represented with the creepily artistic music video. Ladies’ Code is dressed up as dolls, and they are surrounded by dolls that inspired their “looks” for the music video. In the dark and gloomy background settings, the girls are destroying the dolls (in a similar fashion as how little boys destroy their sister’s dolls, by burning them or pulling them apart); but everything that they do to their dolls happen to them.

9. M.Pire – Can’t Be Friends with You

M.Pire - Can't Be Friends With You

Six-member, rookie boy group M.Pire (pronounced “Empire”) debuted with “Can’t Be Friends with You” on August 1, a debut song that is worth a listen to. The music video has a vampire theme – with props and costumes inspired by the gothic elements of the undead; a dark setting to match the angry message of the song. Finding out that the girl they are dating has been using them as a “safe” option while they flirt and date other guys. They scoff at the girl’s request to stay friends because they know it’s just another web of lies.

8. Kim Hyung Joon and Kota [Sunny Hill] – Always Love You

Always Love you

This collaboration was done well; nothing necessarily original with the whole “summer love” theme of cute and cheesy dating scenes (ie. Sharing ice cream, camping with friends, water fights). But still, the voices are beautiful, the lyrics are pure and whole-hearted, and this song is just a simple (but great) addition to any K-pop summer mix.

7. Nu’est – Sleep Talking

Nu'est-Sleep Talking

Nu’est came back with “Sleep Talking” – a colorful new look from their more mature songs and videos. In the video all the boys are sleep in what seems to be some type of experiment and are all experiencing similar dreams – chasing this beautiful girl that always seems to be getting away and disappearing. She is the optimal dream girl that vanishes when they wake up. The choreography for this video is fun and matches the sleep theme perfectly – from the back-up dancers forming a make-shift bed, to the alarm, nodding off and yawning dance moves, this dance becomes a literal translation to the phrase “sleep walking”.

6. Lunafly – Hey Fox

Lunafly

K-pop artists often go on location to shoot their music videos. Lunafly was not so different, except they went to a unique vacation spot; Tunisia, Africa. And to add to the unusualness, they talk about a different kind of love. They are in love with a bad girl, a girl with a prickly attitude. He knows he shouldn’t love her, but he can’t help but be attracted. As beautiful as the music video was filmed, it matched the feel of the song but not the meaning behind it.

 5. Seungri – Gotta Talk To You

Seungri - Gotta Talk To You

Making his long awaited comeback, Seungri returned with his album “Let’s Talk about Love” that already received a lot of love from his dedicated fans. His title track, “Gotta Talk to You”, fits with his past songs and style of music, which was a pleasant surprise for me because I rather like his style. Darkly lit, with blurred scenes and blinding lights, Seungri gives the opposite of summer with this sexual (creeper?) song (he IS watching a girl though a glass box insisting on talking to her).

4. Sunmi – 24 hours

Sunmi-24 hours

Former member of Wonder Girls, Sunmi made her debut as a solo artist this month with her single “24 Hours”. Sunmi has made a strong first impression; not only is “24 hours” a great song but it has a wonderful music video, with a sexy provocative feel I’ve only seen present in BEG’s music videos. The song expresses the frustration of their only being 24 hours a day she can spend with the man she loves. The symbol of time is shown with the cinematography of the video, as some moments speed up while others slow down, all of sensual and romantic scenes of Sunmi and the lead male actor. Another aspect that makes this debut unique is that the performance is done barefoot.

3. N.CA – My Student Teacher

N.CA- My Student Teacher

The drama version of “My Student Teacher” stars Girl’s Day Hyeri as the love-struck high school girl who is in infatuated with her English student teacher. She sits back quietly with her puppy-dog love, taking pictures of him during their lectures secretly and trying to do anything to get this attention, from changing her appearance to studying harder to ace her tests. Nothing works until another student comes across her cell phone and shows everyone, including the student teacher, all the pictures she had taken of him. Mortified, she runs off crying and the music video ends with a surprising futuristic plot twist.

2. Kang Seung Yoon – Stealer

Kang Seung Yoon - Stealer

YG Solo artist Kang Seung Yoon debuted this summer with “Wild & Young”, but the soft and mellow “Stealer” is what won my heart over. A Romantic fantasy video with the giddy sensations of a love returned. Fields of flowers and computer added effects of love make this video an artistic pleasure to watch, and a cute creative take on a popular theme. Kang Seung Yoon calls his girl a “heart stealer” – because she has won him over completely.

1. Henry – 143

Henry-143

A cute follow up song by SME’s new solo artist –Henry’s “143” is a song that manages to capture the feel of summer by being light-hearted and danceable. “143” expresses the modern day way of communication: texting. And as accommodating as this method is for the dating world, it also causes a lot of confusion and miscommunication with the vague interpretation that come from the simple worded messages. Confused as to what the girl is trying to tell him (via text messaging), he reverts back to the “old school” method of pagers and their teenage terminology, finally sending the message “143” meaning “I love you”.

Maknae Millie’s Interview with Dance Winners of “K-Con Got Talent”

K-Con 2013 hosted their very own dance competition, “K-Con Got Talent” where fans could sing or dance as a solo, pair or group to their favorite K-pop songs and show off their idol moves. This year’s competition was heated – not just because of the suffocating weather- but with amazing talent and unique performances. San Diego represented with two groups placing in the Top 3 of the dance section. SDKFM (San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob) sent out a representative group of seven dancers who performed a dance cover to rookie boy group BTS. The “Bangtan Boys”, 21-year-old Karl Baclea-an [Ji Min], 17-year-old Maisia Fang [Jung Kook], 20-year-old Natalie Cisneros [Rap Monster], 18-year-old Jenna Bloomquist [Suga] and 21-year-old Sam Vongsay [J-Hope] were excited to share their experience.

what winners look like

Millie: Why did you (the group) decide to pick “We Are Bulletproof” by BTS as your dance cover?

 Sam: Personally, I chose to participate in the cover of “We Are Bulletproof pt. 2” because their choreography is very powerful. I think we all had a desire to participate in a cover of the dance the first time we saw it.

Maisia: We decided to pick “W.A.B” because it was a powerful song with choreography of the same intensity. We also saw it as a challenge that we wanted to overcome. We thought “if we could learn this, we could learn anything!”

Karl: We chose “We are Bulletproof” as our cover because it’s a powerful dance with super-fast and visually appealing dance moves. We figured that we would be the only group who would perform it at K-Con because of its level of difficulty.

Jenna: We all really enjoyed the song and were entranced by the complex choreography. We all really wanted a challenge, and that’s what this song was.

Natalie: Their style of choreography is the kind I’ve always enjoyed learning in hip hop classes so I was very attracted to this new group. I’m always up for doing dance covers, so when I saw all my friends crowding around watching the dance practice video and choosing a member to learn from, I immediately went over to be included in the cover. It kind of just happened spontaneously one day after a rehearsal with SDKFM.

SDKFM (1)

Millie: How long did you practice for this competition? And did you guys do anything else that was special to prepare?

Sam: We decided to do this a month before K-Con 2013, but got to physically practicing about 3 weeks prior. Since we didn’t plan this cover to take place in the K-Con 2013 competition, we had to match the dance to the time limit between 2 to 3 minutes long. Sadly, we could not incorporate the whole dance, but I hope everyone enjoyed it regardless.

Maisia: We practiced really hard for about a month and a half. We held several rehearsals every week. Something special we did was practicing our facials! Our teacher/instructor/manager (as we call him) made us go through the song over and over again until we were able to correctly display the right facials that were needed to complete the choreography.

Karl: It took us a good month before K-Con for us to practice. We would learn the dance on our own at first then we had one of our friends, who knew the dance, teach us the moves and at the same time show us formations. Something special we did to perform was mostly performing it in front of our friends to help us perform in front of an audience and the occasional trip to Tapioca Express for a “good job” boba. When the workers asked for our names, we would use our BTS names and wait for them to call them out loud.

Jenna: We practiced for about 3 weeks to a month, usually two days a week for 4-5 hours each. (But it varied!) We spent a long time trying to get expressions down, since they’re vital to the performance. But that comes with every dance! Faces are part of the performance.

Natalie: For about 3 weeks we had multiple practices whenever all seven of us were available. We not only concentrated on getting the choreography down, but with the help our friend who is an experienced dancer, he taught us the importance of having good facials while performing. Especially in this powerful dance I think it’s essential to have a lot of energy. After each practice I felt like we were becoming more and more like the BTS members!

 

Millie: How was the dynamic of the group?

Sam: We are all weird, borderline crazy. I’m surprised we actually got things done.

Maisia: Our group worked well together. We helped each other whenever there was a problem with learning a specific part of the choreography. Everyone was always very enthusiastic!

Karl: We had really good group dynamics with each other since we have performed with each other before. We all performed as the San Diego K-Pop Flash Mob but this was the first time that certain people had to perform together as a group that we were not as familiar with.

Jenna: All of us get along really well. For the most part, we were having so much fun during practice that it almost didn’t seem like a practice.

Natalie: Since we’re all a part of SDKFM, we’re used to the process of learning and practicing dances in a group so we had that advantage. Although this dance is literally the hardest I have ever learned with its precise and quick movements, we all enjoyed practices and had a lot of fun together.

SONY DSC

Millie: What were the advantages and disadvantages of entering in as a group instead of a solo act?

Sam: Advantages is that we have our moral support right there on stage. Disadvantage was that fitting seven people on a stage felt somewhat cramped.

Maisia: One advantage of entering as a group was that we filled up the stage, making it look fuller and better. However, more people means less room on the stage to dance, and that stage was pretty small!

Karl: I feel that some advantages performing as a group would be the visual aspect of an entire group performing in unity would just wow the crowd. Another advantage would be feeling the good vibes from your dance members and having that nervousness disappear because you know they are up on that stage with you. At the same time, that could be a disadvantage if you prefer to dance solo. You can practice by yourself so hard until you reach perfection, but when you have to perform with others who are not as par with knowing the moves or having the conviction in the moves, it could be frustrating.

Jenna: Entering as a 7 member group act meant that we had to work 7 times as hard as the next solo act. Messing up on your own can be played off easily but when synchronization is a key to the performance, there is no room for error. But entering as a group made it seem even more impressive! Our amount of effort clearly shows when we’re on stage performing for the judges. They really take into consideration that we had to practice together.

Natalie: All our members have completely different levels of dance experience so making sure we are all in sync is a challenge. There is always room for improvement, but I think despite that we had a lot of energy and stage presence going up as a group. People really enjoy seeing group covers with all the members so because of that we stood out.

SDKFM (5)

Millie: How did you feel right before it was your turn to go up on stage? And how did you feel after when SDKFM placed in the Top 3?

Sam: Tired. I had to drive all the way from San Diego to L.A when I had little sleep from all the excitement that was going to happen the next day was mentally and physically draining. When we were chosen as the top three, I was in a shock of disbelief. It took me awhile to realize, but snapped out of it as soon as I saw members of the SDKFM walk up to the stage again.

Maisia: Right before it was our turn to go up on stage, my heart was racing. I felt like my life flashed to the future and I saw myself dancing up on stage. I ran through all of the moves in my head and took a deep breath. I told myself that we would do great, and we did~

Karl: Right before we went on stage, I was very nervous. I’ve performed on stage before in front of numerous people, but regardless of how many times I’ve done that, I still get very nervous and jittery. Although once I went up on stage with my friends, I calmed down and was ready to perform my all. When they were announcing the winners, I got nervous because of the way they announced them. When the first name was called I was thinking “Don’t worry, we still have a chance”. Then when Ryan Hsu was called I jokingly said “AH Ryan!” Of course, we can’t beat him.” Finally when SDKFM was called, I was completely ecstatic. I felt so proud that my friends and I had our hard pay off in the end. What I thought in the end was “Is the shirt the only thing we get?”

Jenna: I thought I was calm and collected, but when I stood on that stage, I could feel my heart racing and my thoughts leaving my mind. I felt as if I was going to forget the entire dance…haha. But being called back up there for top 3 blew my mind. There were so many amazing performers that day that anyone could have been in those top 3.

Natalie: No matter how many times in my life I have performed, I will never get over that indescribable feeling when you’re about to go up on stage. My body turned to jello, but when I got up there and felt the crowd’s enthusiasm I felt motivated to do my best! Since many people weren’t able to enter this contest, I felt appreciative to just perform in front of everyone and was especially grateful to make the Top 3.

SDKFM (4)

Millie: Were you surprised by the crowd’s reaction? Did you gain any fans?

Sam: I was completely caught off guard by the cheering from the crowd. I want to express my gratitude to the crowd and all of those who supported us. I think there might be some fans, but we aren’t as good as the original BTS.

Maisia: I actually was surprised! It was surprising to know that crowd knew about BTS. I really didn’t expect it since BTS is a new group. But it was nice hearing the crowd screaming and singing along to “We Are Bulletproof”. We did gain fans as well. After we got off stage, many fans came up to us and asked for pictures. To be honest, I was actually quite overwhelmed! I didn’t expect anyone to come up to us to ask for pictures~ I really felt like a K-pop idol! It was a great experience!

Karl: I was very surprised with the crowd’s reaction. When the very beginning of the song started to play, the crowd was already cheering, which pumped me up the most. At the same time I half expected the crowd to have a positive reaction since we all put so much time and effort to make the dance look amazing. I was thinking “They better cheer!” We did gain some fans right after we performed. We took so many pictures and had an interview with MNet America’s “Danny from LA” . I think the person who had the most fans would have to be J-Hope (Sam) since he was the most recognizable. We made jokes saying it was only because of the bandana. If he hadn’t been wearing that bandana, he would be just like us.

Jenna: The cheers were super loud! So many people in the crowd were singing along. It was really invigorating. We also gained a bunch of fans. I don’t think any of us expected to be asked for pictures throughout the day! After all, we were just normal people who did a dance.

Natalie: We practiced for only a couple weeks before KCON and easily put together BTS style outfits so I was really surprised at the amount of fans we gained. They were all really supportive and asked for many pictures with us. My favorite moment was when the whole crowd yelled Rap Monster’s “RAH!” and sang along during our performance. I was just glad to see so many fellow fans, but it was also nice to get SDKFM’s name out!

SDKFM (3)

Millie: Are the seven of you planning on making more dance covers in the future? If so, which song(s) would you personally pick?

Sam: We are for sure, planning on doing more dance covers. Whether they are individually or as a group, we will continue to do so since we are a part of the San Diego Korean Flash Mob and dancing to K-pop is our passion. Personally, I plan to do Teen Top’s “(Rocking) 장난아냐” and BTS’ intro song Big Hit Entertainment released in concept trailer for their comeback.

Maisia: If the seven of us were to make more dance covers in the future, we would definitely choose to do BTS’s new song “N.O”. The choreography is amazing! Even though it looks a lot harder than “We Are Bulletproof” I believe that we can pull through. We’re bulletproof, right?!

Karl: We’re not too sure if we were to do more covers together in the future but that doesn’t mean we’re not. Going with the BTS theme going, I would want to perform they’re new song “N.O”

Jenna: Of course! We haven’t discussed much, but BTS just released a new song called “N.O” with some really nice choreography. Personally, I’d like to do it! Haha…

Natalie: As of right now we still have to film an official cover of “Bulletproof”, but I’d love to do another cover because they’re always a lot of fun, although time consuming. BTS just released another song so I’ll definitely be learning that. I’ve never done a girl group cover though so I would be interested in doing a popular song like Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar”. Look forward to our future covers!

SDKFM (6)

Our other San Diego winner was 18-year-old Ryan Hsu who had a solo performance of Exo’s “Mama” and “History”

Millie: Which dance covers did you perform at KCON13 and at the KCON Got Talent competition? And why did you choose those songs/groups to perform too?

Ryan: At KCON 2013 I performed several dance covers including, One Shot (B.A.P), Warrior (B.A.P.), MAMA (EXO), History (EXO), Wolf (EXO), Growl (EXO), Bulletproof pt. 2 (BTS), No More Dream (BTS), Lucifer (SHINee), Before the Dawn (Infinite), and many more. I chose to perform on the KCON’s Got Talent stage with MAMA and History by EXO because I love the emotions that those songs bring forth while I dance. EXO is one of my favorite groups of all time and it is an honor to be able to perform their dances on stage.

Millie: How long did you practice for this event?

Ryan: I have been practicing for my dance performance at KCON since the moment that KCON 2012 was over. I wish that I could have participated in a group, but many of my friends were busy working on other covers at the time. I tried my best and my efforts pulled through in the end. I worked tirelessly; day and night.

Millie: Why did you choose to perform as a solo act for this competition? What are the advantages and disadvantages of performing as a solo act vs. being in a group?

Ryan: I felt like there was a lot more pressure on me since I didn’t have other members to draw attention away from me. The only advantage is that I didn’t have to worry about being in sync with anyone or cleaning up choreography.

Millie: How did it feel like performing for the second time at K-Con? Was there more pressure or did you feel more comfortable?

Ryan: My first dance experience at KCON was an amazing experience for me. After seeing my performance, I made a promised myself that I would become a better dancer/performer. By the time that I had performed on stage at KCON 2013, I had become more comfortable with dancing in for larger crowds. Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous.

Millie: How did you feel right before you went up on stage? And how did you feel after you found out you placed in the Top 3?

Ryan: Despite my experience, I was still extremely nervous. I felt very discouraged after seeing how talented the competition was. I was surprised at myself when I made it into the top 3. I was definitely not expecting it. I was also very surprised at the amount of support that I had from the exotics at KCON.

Millie: How were the fans this year?

Ryan: I love meeting fans and talking to them. K-Pop fans are always such amazing people and I wish I could be best friends with every single one of them. Personally, I don’t see them as fans. I see them as more than the average fan or admirer.

Millie: What dance covers do you plan on doing in the future?

Ryan: I have been working as hard as I can on dance so that I won’t disappoint my viewers. I love all of EXO’s choreography. I am going to try and learn all of their dances. I am also working on dance covers for BTS, B.A.P., SHINee, and Teen Top.

 ***Picture Credit goes to SDKFM member Catherine Joyce Spence***

Friday Drama Review: “The Master’s Sun”

master's sun2

The Hong Sisters strike again with a quirky fantasy-style romantic comedy.

 

 

 

 

Storyline/Synopsis: My Rating 7/10

master's touchThe Master’s Sun was one of the new ‘Ghost Dramas’ of the season. Tae Gong-sil suffers an accident and is left with the unwanted ability to see ghosts. Alone, and suffering from insomnia (those pesky specters just won’t leave her be!), she finds solace in an unlikely source: the loveless, money-grubbing Joo Joong-won, CEO of  a large company. For reasons unknown, his touch can dispel the ghosts that frighten the timid Tae Gong-sil. Once she discovers his unique gift, she doesn’t want to let him go. Joong-won, however, is not so happy about the company of a crazy-looking young woman, until he comes to believe in her gift, and finds that she might be useful.   Script/Acting: My Rating 8/10 Definitely less serious than Who Are You, the other ghost drama, The Master’s Sun was quirky and fun. Following the ‘new style’, early episodes stood out as mini stories, based on the problems caused by the ghosts following Tae Gong-sil around like stray cats. She reluctantly, but patiently solves the problems, and in doing so, helps develop the characters around her as well as the main plot line.  CEO Joo Joong-won has ghosts of his own: a heinous kidnapping incident when he was younger left his girlfriend dead, right before his eyes. Because of the torture he endured during the experience, he was left unable to read. But things were not all they seem… Masters_Sun_taeGong Hyo-jin (Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Pasta) was Tae Gong-shil. She was amusingly convincing as a sleep-deprived, gloomy young woman who was once considered to be someone with a bright future. In fact, her nickname “Big Sun”, came not only from her name, (태양 = sun in Korean), but her sunny personality. Her comical fixation and lack of modesty when it came to interactions with Joong-won was deliciously refreshing. masterSo_Ji_Sub_1Joo Joong-won was portrayed as an emotionally stunted, no-nonsense businessman by So Ji-sub (What Happened in Bali; I’m Sorry, I Love You). His fascinatingly deadpan presentation style was effective. His offhand “Get lost” (thematic throughout the series) combined with an arrogant hand-flip became iconic. The chemistry between the two was interesting, but not ideal. While the two actors played off each other well, romantically, they seemed mismatched.   master kang wooSeo In-guk (Love Rain, Reply 1997) returned to the screen as Kang Woo, security guard chief with a mysterious agenda. Easily one of the best characters of the drama, Kang Woo was complex character whose agenda kept the viewers guessing. His one-sided love for Tae Gong-sil was more credible than Joong-won – Tae Gong-sil pairing. His interactions with Kim Yoo-ri (Cheongdam-dong Alice, Coffee House) were one of the highlights of the drama. master funny faceKim Yoo-ri played “Little Sun” to Tae Gong-sil’s “Big Sun”. Portraying ‘top star’ Tae Yi-ryung, her character was comically jealous of the earlier version of Tae Gong-sil and reveled in Tae Gong-sil’s decline from glory. Her mission is life was to make Tae Gong-sil miserable for past percieved injustices, but she ended up falling in love with Kang Woo, instead. MAsters_Sun_Secretary_KimChoi Jung-woo put in an exemplary performance as Joong-won’s secretary Kim Gui-do. As an avid supporter of the relationship between Tae Gong-sil and Joong-won, he fills in as a father-figure to the cold man for whom he works.     master ghostCinematography: My Rating 7/10 Fun and interesting special effects were visually stimulating. The ghosts ‘morphed’ from frightening, evil characters to somewhat-less-frightening and sometimes pathetic ghouls, looking for assistance. Great use of lighting throughout added to the drama without being overwhelming.   Music: My Rating 8/10 A far more ambitious and extensive track list is available for “The Master’s Sun” than for most dramas (including instrumentals). A wonderful ballad: “Day and Night” Gummy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqnGBWAW7wQ master touchingTied for best song of the drama?: “You and I” Hong Dae-Kwang http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djTs2oIssUg “Driving Me Crazy” Hyo Rin (Sistar)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-WlBVRrkJU Best song of the drama?: “TouchLove” T Yoon Mi-rae http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5DiFqiOGJg The rock song of the drama: “Mystery” Jung Dong-Ha (Boohwal) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYLY7sgSXIQ Love this, too: “All About” Melody Day  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOwXuU949_8 “No Matter What” Seo In-guk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tDKyIn8LhA “Last One” Yoo Mi feat. Joo Suk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgvn9fW-kFM Masters_Sun_get lost(Instrumental) “Joogoon’s Song” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP2yg-fQ_iQ (Instrumental) “Good Morning, Mrs. Sun” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc38PCOEUkw (Instrumental) –excellent guitar riffs – “Who Are You?” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeG1ZPFJi3I (Instrumental) “Out of the Ghost” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FydUukYp2uA (Instrumental) “Ghost Eyes” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz0Xm8K1TCw master4-00169(Instrumental) “This Is Me” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-5nMCVZ2As

Fun, fun fun!!!: (Instrumental) “Enjoy the Party” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5rasv5yz8g

Pretty piano piece: (Instrumental) “In Memories” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B9JXYg20ck (Instrumental) “Tears in Rain” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPgMF2eJwEQ Instrumental version of “Touch Love”: (Instrumental) “Candy Love” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCzMcMJY25c (Instrumental) “Love Connection” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFu96TL6nYA master hand(Instrumental) “Ghost Tango” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YT1mXLV7iM (Instrumental) “Empty Garden” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9EjO6-GaVI (Instrumental) “Keep Out” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIKsgkhtT0k Halloween music??? (Instrumental) “Dangerous Zone” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjNF2gum1zI (Instrumental) “Painful Memory” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B9JXYg20ck master grab(Instrumental) “Ghost Presents” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8PZGf39to (Instrumental) “Love is like a picture” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HODM9TvCbsA (Instrumental) “Feather Kiss” Oh Joon-sung Sweetest of sweet melodies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ_pCoW3f74&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU (Instrumental) “White Flower” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWA_QAKDvck&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU (Instrumental) “Ghost World” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEEsKQrdags (Instrumental) “Foolish Spy” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFtN9W1xv7c&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU master kang woo(Instrumental) “Sad Wave” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1noGDmwDiQ (Instrumental) “Water in the Sky” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_73uPq8iBQ&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU Silliness at it’s best: (Instrumental) “Like a Mosquito” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRR0ZbyYlwQ&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU (Instrumental) “Making Shadow” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0pE_Rg8Flk&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU (Instrumental) “High Jump” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RGcFsPk-Aw&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU “Lake Wave” Oh Joon-sung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J147aeXPqeg&list=PLWtMrZbBUq2o8jKOhs_4AiOq4XJVwtyZU   Overall Charisma: My Rating 7/10 The Master’s Sun was yet another drama that ended leaving me wondering ‘what the heck happened?’ The drama was progressing nicely and then, like a crash-landing, everything was rolled up, the lights were turned off, and everyone went home. Perhaps it was meant to be an enigmatic ending, but several loose ends were dropped leaving the viewer with a less than satisfactory conclusion to the series. Aside from the weak ending, The Master’s Sun was one of the dramas that held my interest throughout. I eagerly awaited new episodes and ran to my computer as soon as they became available. So Ji-sub and Seo In-guk? How could it not be pleasant viewing? 😉

Happy Drama Watching!

 master bed

Friday Drama Review: “Two Weeks”

 

Two-Weeks-Poster4Hold onto your hankies! Two Weeks is an action packed melodrama that tugs on all the major heartstrings: a (cute-as-a-button) dying child with just two weeks left to live unless a donor comes forward to save her; a father, who didn’t know he had a daughter, who has lived the wasted gangster life of an orphan with no family; a cop with a heart, who wants to marry the beautiful young mother and be a father to the (cute-as-a-button) child; a prosecutor willing to throw her life away to catch the villain who really killed her father.

Now take said villain, have him murder the friend of the prosecutor, frame the dad who’s willing and wanting to donate his bone marrow to save his newly found (cute-as-a-button) daughter, and for fun, let’s have the cop who wants to save the child chase after the framed man, not knowing he is the innocent savior of his daughter-to-be.

2_Weeks-0017

 

Two weeks.

 

 

 

Storyline/Synopsis: My Rating 7/10

Jang Tae-san has lived his life as an orphan thug. Forced by a gangster boss (Moon Il-suk) to do jail time in his place, Tae-san spends time in prison, rather than endangering the woman he loves. Years later he finds he has a daughter who is dying and needs his bone marrow. He two weeks daddydesperately wants to donate, but the mob boss has just framed him once again, never imagining that Tae-san might fight back this time.

The most adorable small child on planet earth (Lee Chae-mi) plays the eminently endearing Seo Soo-jin, Tae-san’s brave little daughter, fighting cancer, cheering her father on. Twisted turns of events keep Tae-san running from the law in hopes of preserving his precious body long enough to save his precious daughter.

 

Script/Acting: My Rating 7/10

A well constructed, albeit twisted and complex plot, kept viewers guessing throughout the series. Plot-twists, revelations, melodramatic moments – all the classic devices were used to great effect to create a memorable drama.

The middle episodes of the drama, however, amount to a long drawn-out chase scene, with Tae-san narrowly escaping capture, over and over again. While the episodes were somewhat exciting, they were also a bit tiring, to some extent. High hopes for a dramatic ending in standard ‘melo’ fashion fizzled into a relatively satisfying, if soft, ending that tied up all loose ends without any of the angst expected from a drama that showed all the signs of being a major tearjerker.

Two-Weeks4Lee Joon-ki (Arang and the Magistrate, Iljimae) was a wonderfully complex in his portrayal of Jang Tae-san. Thug-with-a-conscience, unwilling participant in his own life, he fell into a way of life that he felt helpless to escape. The motivation of a dying daughter provided him with the bravado needed to confront the man controlling his life. The role of Jang Tae-san was an interesting one: humble, yet fierce in his loyalty; unwilling to believe he could be loved, yet loving unconditionally; unable to kill, but with a fierce desire to exact justice. His character was completely appealing and believable.

Two-Weeks13Kim So-yun (IRIS, Prosecutor Princess) was Park Jae-kyung, the prosecutor whose father was killed by Moon Il-suk, the mobster, and who vowed vengeance against him and his co-conspirator, the politically connected and seemingly upstanding Jo Seo-hee. Holding them accountable for their misdeeds became something of a life work for Prosecutor Park, and many personal sacrifices were made to capture them. She was one of the few who knew from the start than Jang Tae-san was jailed in place of Moon Il-suk for her father’s murder. Her character was required to walk a delicate line between upholding justice, assisting an innocent man on the run, and figuring who to trust in a corrupt world.

Two-Weeks10Jang Tae-san’s ex-girlfriend, mother of his daughter, was Seo In-hye, played by Park Ha-sun (Time Slip Dr. Jin, Dong Yi). Another interesting role, In-hye was atypical in her ability to see past Tae-san’s outer appearance and into his soul. She sacrificed her family to be with Tae-san and had his child despite his apparent abandonment. Raising her daughter alone, she showed strength, and eventually came to rely on Detective Im Seung-woo, a man who was drawn to her fortitude.

Two-Weeks9Ryu Soo-young (Rascal Sons, My Princess) was Im Seung-woo, fiancé to In-hye, the detective with a soft spot a mile wide for Soo-jin, In-hye’s daughter. Yet another complex character, Seung-woo was a man with integrity, determined to catch the criminal Jang Tae-sang by any means, and agonized when he comes to realize the truth of the convoluted circumstances. His integrity was stretched thin by the difficult events, and his faith in the people he loves severely tested by long-held secrets. The character was depicted with insight and a true feeling for the dramatic emotional nature of the situations.

Two-Weeks11

 

Kim Hye-ok (Time Slip Dr. Jin, Scent of a Woman), who played Jo Seo-hee, was the political powerhouse who, to all outward appearances was a humble and good woman. She often plays women with integrity, and sometimes women with difficult personalities. This, however, one of the first dramas where she is seen as a truly malevolent character and the portrayal was unsettlingly convincing.

Two-Weeks12

 

Her partner in crime, Moon Il-suk, was played by Jo Min-ki (Five Fingers, The Great Seer). Although the character was rather one-dimensional, he was quite convincing in his evil intentions.

 

two weeks kid

The adorable Lee Chae-mi (Cruel Palace, Still You) was Seo Soo-jin, daughter to Seo In-hye and Jang Tae-san. With refined acting skills that belie her young (7) years, she successfully won hearts from the first time she appeared on screen.

 

Music: My Rating 7/10

“Run” Nell  hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeLxgn_Nhbw

“Love Leaves” Ahn Ye-seul  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3L_7hUd37s

“The Day You Come” Yoo Seung-woo  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi88F-y2agg

“Hitting My Heart” Kim Bo-kyung  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V83YbuX_WWg

“This Is the Person” Dick Punks  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9toD0cjVPvA

“Turning” Toxic  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LN3ZVZzDgA

“Don’t Cry My Love” The One  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWyoeWDwak0

 

Overall Charisma: My Rating 7/10

A heartwarming, yet gripping drama, Two Weeks is worth watching. While the eternal chase was somewhat tiresome at times, it was, in fact, the point of the drama, and episodes did not fail to  capture attention. Most characters were engaging and well developed. The weak, predictable ending was disappointing, but sensible in that the story progressed to logical conclusions. And Miss Cute-as-a-Button is worth every moment of viewing time!

 

 Happy Drama Watching!

two weeks ting ting

 

 

Director: Son Hyung-suk, Choi Jung-kyu

Writer: So Hyun-kyung