Could there be another rookie group that has received the amount of attention EXO has prior to their debut?
From the moment SM Entertainment announced that they would be debuting a new male group in 2012, the Korean music industry heated up with anticipation. Various internet community boards began speculating the possible SM trainees that could be debuting, and fans did not hide their glee over the debut of what was touted as an upcoming ‘best male group’.
Finally, EXO was revealed. With ‘EXOPLANET’ as their motif, the group differentiated themselves from the rest by splitting their promotions into EXO-K and EXO-M in China. They received immediate attention for their simultaneous debut in both Korea and China.
We were able to meet with EXO-K, the group that is promoting in Korea. Comprised of Suho, Kai, Chanyeol, Sehyun, Baekhyun, and D.O., the six members were at a glance ‘flower boys’. We couldn’t help but nod our heads in agreement over the fans that had said “there was nothing lacking in their visuals.”
The boys, however, actually felt pressured by the excessive interest put on their physical appearances. “Since they don’t know who we are yet, it’s definite that they’d focus on our visuals first. Although we’re grateful, we hope that they’ll listen to our music in the future as well.”
Kai, who’s been at the center of attention for his looks, commented, “I think people recognize me the most because I’ve had a lot of teasers in the beginning. Once people begin to take a closer look at EXO, they’ll see that there are other handsome members besides me. Over time, I’m sure that the other members will shine more.”
The difficult process of debuting under SM Entertainment can be compared to the difficulty of being chosen as your country’s representative in the Olympic games as opposed to actually winning a gold medal. Out of the hundreds of talented trainees that SM Entertainment houses, these members were chosen and debuted, so it’s easy to say that they have the talent worthy enough to represent the Korean music industry.
Still, that means that they’ll have that much more pressure. They’ll have to make sure to continue the line of first places that their seniors like TVXQ, Super Junior, and SHINee have set forth. EXO-K stated, “Our seniors have done so well already, but we’re going to use the pressure of living up to expectations to work that much harder. We prepared for our debut as if nothing could stand in the way of it.”
Their Yoo Young Jin-produced debut track “MAMA” is of the SMP genre with a powerful message about the modern man being trapped in a digital world without the ability to communicate with society. The performance and lyrics can be considered rather difficult for a rookie to pull off on stage.
The members were confident, though. “SMP can be considered fresh material to young fans. It’s characterized by powerful songs and live performances, and it’s impossible to pull off without talent. The fact that we were even honored this opportunity to sing an SMP song makes us proud.”
EXO-K has now become a proud member of the SM family, and they’ll be joining BoA, TVXQ, SNSD, Super Junior, and others for the SM Town concert in Los Angeles this month. The members said, “In the past, we watched over our seniors’ stage as an audience member and dreamt of performing on the same stage. Now, it’s an honor to be able to perform right alongside seniors we deeply respect.”
As for their goal? A rookie award. “We genuinely wish to earn it. We’ll probably cry tears of joy if we do receive it, and we can already feel goose bumps just imagining the moment.”