I am sure, in fact I am positive, that my nomination this year will be met with accusations of bias and favouritism, but I am willing to weather that because I stand by my convictions. It also helps that KBS has also stated he has had a ‘personal renaissance’. My nomination this year is for JunJin who, like last year’s nominee from me is one of the R&B group Shinhwa.
Concerts, photoshoots and the all important 10th Anniversary of Shinhwa’s debut kept the first half of his year busy with group activities, but it wasn’t until the launch of his solo album in May that his profile and popularity as a solo artist soared. Continued exposure on variety shows as participant and presenter along with promoting the song ‘Wa’ from his album allowed the viewing public to get to know him better and for him to demonstrate his humour, wit and character.
He began appearing at the top of polls and surveys but the key turning point was Infinity Challenge who, after one member (MC HaHa) departed for National Service, had a weekly guest spot for a seventh member open up. Initially it was undecided if it would be just a guest slot or as an audition for the seventh permanent member, but the overwhelmingly positive response to JunJin after the first slot and then repeated appearances earned him the role. His appearance on Family Outing and Golden Fishery caused ratings to increase for those shows on that particular airing to the highest ratings so far. Other guests due to appear on various shows would ask if he was going to be there too and by the start of September the rule had become that you can have who you want on your show if you invite JunJin too.
His year was not without some controversy of course. Mnet’s High school Girls 4 – a show specifically created for him – follows his guidance for four tearaway high school girls. The frank talks about subjects such as sex and drugs and the girl’s behaviour unsettled audiences and they called for the show to be terminated but, by mid September, they were demanding extended broadcast time as they felt the half-hour slot didn’t do the show justice.
Their wish was granted, though not so lucky were the viewers of Family Outing who requested JunJin be a permanent member there too. The MV for the song ‘Wa’ was banned on some channels for being too suggestive, and then his second MV for the song from the repack was also unable to be broadcast because of the word ‘bullshit’ that appears in the rap section.
It takes a lot in Korean Media and entertainment to change opinions and rise to this kind of popularity. In the past he has courted anger from netizens, misunderstandings and ignored for being ‘stupid’ or perceived to be a playboy. He is, in fact, a sincere and hardworking man who always wants to learn to do better and exhausts himself to please fans and fulfil obligations. Its something his fans have known all along and can finally feel vindicated that everyone else now thinks it too.