A few weeks ago, the Wonder Girls performed here in New York at the iHeartRadio Theater and I was one of the lucky people who were able to be a part of the audience. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to see my first K-Pop group live. It was a group, who I thought that I would only ever be able to see online. I was filled with an awesome feeling that every fan gets when they see a group or band that they love. But I think, for us international fans, that feeling is heightened. How we all practically spend a large amount of our time in front of our computer screens just to get a glimpse of these artists we admire and whom we think we'll never actually get to see in person, finally appears magically before your eyes.
The crowd was filled with Wonderfuls (name of Wonder Girls fans) and general K-Pop fans that were there to show their support and it was great. I had expected a lot from this showcase going in based on prior knowledge of how long these girls have trained and how hard they work. As soon as the girls took the stage and began with their first song, they took my expectations and surpassed them. I've always thought the Wonder Girls had amazing voices, excellent dancing skills, and rapping better than most. But seeing them live has brought a whole new appreciation for their talent and the hard work that brought them to where they are now. Seeing them live brought a new dimension to the Wonder Girls experience. They had the crowd singing along, dancing and jumping around despite the heat that was in the theater. We watched as these girls sweat their butts and make up off but never missed a beat and continued to put an amazing showcase. Watching them, it made me think about how much I wanted more people to listen and be able to see them live so they too can appreciate how good these girls are. Yes, I do know that the showcase was being streamed live, but let's face it. The majority of those viewers were other Wonderfuls and K-Pop fans. I myself think that this is great, but you would also think that with all the time and effort they have put into the US that they should have already been a well-established act here.
This leaves me with the question then. Why are they still trying to make a name for themselves in the States? After releasing the English version of their hit song "Nobody" in 2009, becoming the opening act for the Jonas Brothers the same year as well as embarking on an American tour of their own, the girls also popped up doing performances on TV shows So You Think You Can Dance and the Wendy Williams Show. Yet, that still wasn't enough. I personally feel that we can chalk it up to a few things, such as insufficient promotion, not being signed to a major record label and it not being the "right time." And maybe, even not the right material to catch a wider audience's attention.
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Promotion-wise, it was great to have them make history as the first K-Pop act to appear on a daytime TV show as well as appearing on one of the most highest rated TV shows, gaining them new attention and some new followers. But again, that wasn't enough. At that time, it seemed to me that these appearances were seemingly random, simply because they weren't followed up by anything else. After watching them perform on So You Think You Can Dance I was so excited to see what else they were going to pop up on, only to be disappointed that I saw nothing of them on anything else. Now, this could have had something to do with not being signed to a big name record label. With a big name label, you have someone's name backing you up hopefully allowing people to give you a chance to perform on their stage.
Now, I don't know what really happened while the Wonder Girls were here the first time around and I can only just offer my opinion as to what I see. I feel that the "right time" and the right material tend to go hand in hand most of the time. While "Nobody," their worldwide hit single, is an excellent song and happens to be the song that got me to become a fan of the Wonder Girls, the material itself didn't seem to fit what the US audience was buying into at the time. They had a very retro sound then and while that may attract some attention, it was too different or who knows maybe even not different enough to catch a wider audience.
As with what the US is buying into now, I feel that if the Wonder Girls do continue promotions here, they should definitely push their song "Like This." As I've said previously, this is a catchy song with a danceable beat and an already set choreography that is very easy to learn. The video and the feel of the song show that anyone can join in and do the "Like This" dance. The video has this flash mob setting to it, which everyone here is into at the moment. That itself makes it relatable and plants the idea in people's head that, wow if they can do it in the video and it looks like a lot of fun I can bring this to my place and get a lot of people involved. The song and beat are catchy and gets stuck in your head easily. If theypromote "Like This," and continue to push "Like Money" as well, which features a well-established US act Akon, they will no doubt have strong hit on their hands. Finally having all that time, hard work and effort they have put into the US pay off. Also, starting in their own TeenNick movie earlier this year, "The Wonder Girls," I feel that this has created a slight buzz in the girls that the songs can ride on.
Now since YG Entertainment artist Psy has also created an interest in K-Pop here in the US, hopefully, this will make companies and people look at them more closely. It also seems that with the recent showcase at the iHeartRadio Theater and the round of promotions they did the week they were here is already a huge step in the right direction. Let's just hope as fans that they will keep pushing forward and we will have one of our great K-Pop groups actually make it big here. I know I'm crossing my finger, that whatever they are doing this time around really does pay off.