That magic hour before sunset was showtime for NU'EST in Singapore on Friday, October 26, a public holiday. Starting a few minutes before 5 pm, NU'EST filled the St. James Powerhouse with excitement. The showcase was organized by Singapore-based site, KPOPGAGA and NU'EST as they were able to interact with their L.O.Λ.E fans more closely.
The showcase opened with a performance of "Face." After, they did their routine intros, but personalized this by showing their genuine happiness upon seeing everyone in attendance. Then they performed, "I'm Sorry" which expressed that they would always perform with a world-class standard regardless of the view people have of rookies. Nonetheless, the NU'EST boys remained down-to-earth making sure to narrow the distance between fans and the stage by reaching out each time there was an opportunity.
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After their second song, it was indeed NU'EST time as they proceeded to interact with fans as the host asked them to say 'Saranghaeyo' (I love you), and do their 'aegyos'. These adorable gestures made the fans thrilled, and the excitement reached its height when the host taught the boys to say the precious words also in Chinese and Malay, Singapore's leading languages.
Then, fans got to know more about NU'EST by doing a Q&A session quickly preceding their third song. In the Q&A, NU'EST reveals some of their true selves as they were asked about hidden talents (Minhyun can do a mean Optimus Prime personification), food preferences (Ren likes to eat chips, while Baek Ho has the biggest appetite and eats the most on the team), and exercise habits (to justify his big appetite, Baek Ho also exercises most). They then also let the fans ask the questions themselves. A fan asked NU'EST for advice for someone who wants to audition, to which Aron replied, "Stay focused on your goal, don't let other things get in your way. Stay focused on the dreams and keep pursuing them." The fans also got JR to say 'Saranghamnida' and Ren to admit that Singaporeans resembled beautiful flowers.
After their Q&A session, NU'EST performed "Not Over You," obviously having broken the ice with the audience as they looked more comfortable in this performance. Succeeding their third performance, fans were treated to some more interactions by way of games with NU'EST. Some lucky fans were picked from the audience and were asked to perform "Face" with NU'EST. They were given dance lessons by the boys themselves and the winner also got to walk away with Ren's shirt. However, no one went home a loser as the other participants still walked away with autographed posters and a hug from the boys, much to the envy of the other fans watching close by.
And of course, NU'EST showed that they celebrated the latest trend in Hallyu as they performed "Gangnam Style" with a local dance group. As the showcase drew to a close, more lucky draws were conducted - giving away autographed albums, Minhyun's tee (which was also Minhyun's first birthday gift) and a VIP pass to KPOPGAGA's next showcase.
But the showcase was made full as fans also treated NU'EST by celebrating their love for the members. It was Ren's birthday soon, so the fans greeted the maknae with a cake and sang a song to him in Korean. Being touched, when the host asked Ren what his birthday wish was, he sincerely said that he wished "all fans who attended the showcase will stay forever with NU'EST," obviously aware of the fickle nature of the industry. They then made a pinky promise with the fans after hearing this wish. At that, NU'EST left the stage, but of course the fans were asking for an encore. NU'EST did indulge the fans with an encore by coming back to perform "Action," and leaving their fans with heartfelt messages and a big 'Saranghaeyo'.
For the first time in Singapore, and for such an intimate setting after debut, the atmosphere was full of energy and happiness. This only comes from a genuine sense of belonging - by fans to NU'EST and vice versa. The boys show that while they are enjoying a rapid ascend to fame, they maintain their perspective, being aware of the challenges, and fickleness of the fame. Instead they go for connection and belonging, as they showed their thoughtfulness and sincere appreciation for the love they were being given by their fans and the media.
NU'EST time in Singapore will be one of those events that the fans and members will look back to, when the band is finally a full Hallyu-wave band with legions of followers. It is where loving memories were made, the kind that they can cherish in order to keep going. The peculiar scene at the airport ensuing after all the festivities in Singapore is testament of the road ahead - NU'EST is fast becoming Hallyu-level group, with strong and passionate fans watching and following their every move. While the events at St. James Powerhouse were designed to be intimate and interactive, those moments are quickly becoming part of the past, but a pleasant kind of past which NU'EST can certainly look back to with fondness -- that at one point they started small, loved genuinely and belonged. The boys' positive personas will make sure that this kind of connection lasts, that it will always be NU'EST time.