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NU'EST Secures Their Spot as International Idols in the Hallyu Wave: 2013 Year in Review

By Niki | January 07, 2014 11:58 PM EST

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NU'EST started 2013 on a completely different foot than most other idols, going with showing their diversity instead of jumping on releasing an album right out of the gate. On January 16th, Baekho and Ren were cast as cameo roles on Jeon Woo-chi. While Baekho only appeared in episode 17, Ren was seen in the same episode as well as episodes 19 (January 23), 21 (January 30), and 22 (January 31).

 

But that's not to say that NU'EST and Pledis weren't ready to produce new music for their fans. The 5 boys of NU'EST proceeded to hold their first mini concert, Show Time NU'EST Time, on February 13, the same day they released their second EP Hello, which peaked at number 3 on Gaon. The MV for the title track "Hello" was released as well. Unlike NU'EST's previous tracks, "Hello" was a slower, more mellow but sweet song. This diversity helped boost NU'EST's popularity both in Korea and overseas. Which may explain why on March 15th, NU'EST held their first anniversary concert not in Korea, as many expected, but in Tokyo Japan, which around 4,000 fans attended.

 At the end of March and beginning of April, NU'EST continue to show how diverse their members were. Ren was chosen to grace the runway for Seoul Fashion week on March 27th while Aron was chosen as the new DJ for Music Access Arirang Radio, a DJ gig he is still continuing to this day, missing out on holiday trips home and moving around different events to ensure he can be there unless absolutely necessary. He was joined by Minhyun in November who, as of now, is still a regular guest on the show every Friday.

In April, NU'EST held an event in Thailand with their fans called 'NU'EST Camp of LOVE'. The event was a 2 day, 1 night camping event in Khaoyia. It was held on April 28th and 29th and video footage was recorded for use in one of their upcoming MVs.

While NU'EST did not gain much additional attention in Korea after showing off the more diverse sides of themselves, their international popularity continued to skyrocket. In fact, in June the boys started their "NU'EST L.O./\.E Tour" with stops in Tokyo, June 7th and Nagoya, June 9th. They followed that with their second concert in Singapore titled "NU'EST L.O./\.E Tour in Singapore" on June 22 before flying to Turkey in order to judge, and then perform, at the K-Pop World Festival held there on June 29. The finished the tour in Taipei, Taiwan on July 21st which, coincidentally, was member Baekho's 19th (18th international) birthday.

A month later, NU'EST released their third Extended Play, Sleep Talking, on August 22. The MV for "Sleep Talking" was released on the same day when they also held a showcase at the Lotte Card Art Center in Seoul. Unfortunately, the album did not do as well in Korea, peaking at 8 on the Gaon chart, but the album was the best selling NU'EST album to date in Japan, once again showing their gain in overseas popularity.

To round off their "Sleep Talking" promotions, NU'EST released the MV for "Fine Girl", one of the songs from the Sleep Talking EP. The "Fine Girl" MV is more of a documentary/ diary than an actual MV and was shot during their trip to Thailand in April. The behind the scene photoshoot scenes are from Krabi, Thailand when the group was shooting for an as of yet unreleased, but highly anticipated, photobook.

In October, NU'EST visited Singapore once again, this time with A Pink. The two groups were invited to perform and serve as ambassadors for the "Vizit Korea" Festival on October 26th to help promote Korean culture in Singapore.

November saw leader JR being featured in a two page spread in The Star Magazine. The pictures were part of a 4 page spread titled "Oh, Sweet guys" and helped show a new side of JR to fans and new fans alike.

On November 4th, the boys then traveled to Tokyo, Japan for their very first Japanese fan meeting in celebration of opening the official Japanese L.O./\.E. fanclub and website. The event was sold out and attended by 3,400 fans. After such a strong showing, it came as no surprise when Pledis then announced NU'EST would be preparing for a Chinese debut.

What did come as a surprise was that, instead of performing as the 5 member group NU'EST like they did in Japan, they would instead be debuting in the Chinese market as NU'EST-M, a 6 member group. The new member of the Chinese unit was announced to be Jason, former member of Chinese boy group/ duo 'JL'. NU'EST-M's official Chinese debut was November 11th with a showcase featuring the Chinese version of "Sleep Talking". They announced that the 6 member group will only promoted in China together and will continue to promote at home and overseas as only the original 5 members.

After finishing their Chinese promotions, NU'EST flew halfway around the world for a concert on December 15th. The 5 boys of NU'EST performed in Brazil to 2000 fans, the first Kpop concert ever in the country. Afterwards, Pledis announced the boys would be taking a break from music before continuing promotions in Korea and Japan sometime in 2014.

Right before Christmas, Minhyun was cast as a cameo role in 'Reckless Family Season 3'. His appearance was in episode 22, the Christmas Special on December 24th. However, on December 30th, Aron mentioned during his radio broadcast that Minhyun had filmed that day and was being made a 'regular' cast member, showing once again how diverse NU'EST is.

While 2014 didn't turn out to be the breakout year in Korea popularity for NU'EST, it wasn't a bad year at all. Their music was so popular internationally, they signed with a Taiwanese record label, Warner Music Taiwan, and had all of their albums repackaged and released, launched their Japanese Fanclub, opened their Korean Fanclub to international L.O./\.E.s, held a successful tour in southeast Asia, held the first KPop concert in Brazil, and debuted with a new member as a Chinese-Unit. With each promotion, concert, radio show, and event, NU'EST's international fandom continued to grow, thus showing that doing well internationally might be the new focus for the rest of the artists interested in contributing to the HallyU that NU'EST is continuing to help nurture.

Special thanks:  THENU'EST & NUEST SINGAPORE (For input and feedback to help make this article possible)

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