For extremely anxious Korean pop (K-pop) fans, coming face-to-face with their biases is a total meltdown opportunity.
The word “bias” in the world of K-pop is slang for one’s favorite member of a group. The reasons may range from attractiveness to overall talent (or both).
During the recent ‘Be You 2’ concert on Dec. 8 at Mactan Newtown, Cebuano concert-goers were treated to a show like no other—as K-pop’s pioneers and biggest names took centerstage: BoA, EXO’s Chen and Xiumin, and TVXQ.
Before the show, a press conference was held at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark Mactan, Cebu—a hotel well-known for housing Korean guests on business or leisure trips. During the conference, the calmness plastered on my face was a miserable attempt at self-control—I didn’t want to appear like a crazy fan who couldn’t get a hold of herself (although, there’s some truth to this).
With the venue exuding that sense of warmth and familiarity, EXO’s Xiumin and Chen appeared to be all smiles; at ease as the first ones tot be interviewed.
Their fans, also known as EXO-Ls, have dubbed the pair as “XiuChen.” Both are members of EXO’s vocal line, particularly Chen, who belts out the group’s high notes. Xiumin, the group’s “hyung” (eldest member), is regarded as EXO’s ace, representing the perfect balance of vocals, visuals and dance.
When asked what they planned to do in Cebu, Xiumin and Chen admitted that they always looked forward to visiting Cebu for leisure.
“Chen wants to experience scuba diving,” their translator said. While Xiumin thinks it would be memorable for him if he’d be able to perform in front of the sea.
What Xiumin wants, Xiumin gets—say, a beach music festival in Cebu? Done.
Aside from that, they were asked what they wanted to dedicate to their Cebuano fans.
Xiumin playfully recommended Chen’s recent solo release titled, “Last Scene” which got Chen smiling from ear-to-ear.
“For Chen, it would be the first single album of Xiumin titled ‘Brand New,’” the translator said. What followed was five minutes of XiuChen being chaotic and cute towards each other, recommending each other’s new releases.
“The year 2022 is ending soon, and Xiumin and I, we wish to end this year warmly, and for 2023, if we come to Cebu again next time, I think you can look forward to us coming with the members,” Chen said.
That’s an optimistic promise that Cebuano EXO-Ls will take Chen’s words to heart.
TVXQ’s pop duo Max Changmin and U-Know Yunho came into the room next for the interview.
The duo walked with confidence—experts at charming the crowd. Reigning in the industry for 19 years already, it’s easy to tell how well they carry themselves.
Despite being respected seniors in the K-pop industry, the duo still remained humble, stating that they were overwhelmed by Cebuanos’ love, particularly during their arrival, when they were greeted with folk dances at the airport.
When asked about what they want to do in Cebu, the duo answered: “Yunho wants to visit Cebu Ocean Park.”
“When he (Changmin) posted an Instagram story, many of his friends asked him if he went to Cebu for scuba diving, at first he was not too interested but since many were asking, he wants to try it next time,” the translator said.
The pair even apologized for only being able to perform in the country this year and that they wish to have more appearances in the country soon.
Changmin said that they will celebrate their 20th anniversary next year so they asked their fans to stay with them as they hit another milestone. And for Yunho, he promised to give memorable performances for all their stans who waited years for them to perform in the country. The concert was a dream come true for all the Filo Cassiopeias who waited 19 years for TVXQ! to step foot in the Philippines.
Finally, BoA then entered the room with an elegant entrance. All eyes were on her as the “Queen of K-pop” finally arrived in the Queen City of the Philippines! The K-pop star revealed that despite working as a musician for almost 20 years, she had never performed in the country before.
As a gift to her fans, she said that her performance for that evening will feature a song she did not perform yet in Korea. “I performed (this song) less than five times,” she said. She recently released her new album titled, “Forgive Me,” which K-pop fans consider as a powerful comeback.
The top place she wanted to visit in Cebu? A lechon place!
When the interviews were done, all artists were prepped up to their finest attires for the Cebuanos who waited in the venue at the Mactan Newtown Open Grounds.
The concert was a historic evening for Cebu’s entertainment industry, proving that the metropolis can host pivotal events like K-pop concerts. Seeing the lightsticks of the fans, their jubilant screams, and the warmth of their love amid a chilly night, made up an experience of a lifetime.