South Korea's greatest pop export is undoubtedly Wonder Girls. The five-member Girl Group have been championed by the likes of Perez Hilton and are poised to be Asia's greatest chance at invading the North American market - David Foster prodigy Charice aside of course - especially considering she is now American-based. Wonder Girls have already scored a minor hit with Nobody, despite it being number one on 2009's Year-End Hot Single Sales Chart, according to Billboard Magazine.
Their 2 Different Tears EP was their first-ever domestic release and surfaced digitally on iTunes in May. In their strategy to become a household name in these parts in the manner of Spice Girls, they are now embarking on a World Tour, stopping off at Mod Club Theatre in Toronto tonight. Playing to an estimated 500 fans, the response was overwhelmingly positive for the predominantly Korean, although still ethnically mixed audience, who relished a rare opportunity to see their Idols in an intimate setting. Surely fans back home would pay top dollar to see them in a stadium. Tickets for the part-Korean, part-English show ranged from $50 to $150, the latter allowing fans an opportunity to meet the girls prior to the show.
Before the show, I did get a chance to meet the girls in-person and requested they record a quick Birthday Greeting for my friend Christine, an aficionado of K-Pop (Korean Pop Music). Of course, they obliged in perfect English. They were very lovely despite their Manager being assertive and quick to usher everyone in and out. Before heading on my way, they thanked me for coming to their show.
To be honest, I am not familiar with Wonder Girls' material at all and my good friend DJ Sumation invited me out to partake in the festivities after his partner had last-minute travel plans. I do not regret coming out though as I had a wonderful time soaking in the positive energy the girls sent out to the adoring audience, which came prepared with their own set of chants and choreographed know-how.
Although I'm not certain that the girls are necessarily a perfect fit for the pop palettes of North Americans, even after they had a jump-start opening for Jonas Brothers on tour last year, it is heart-warming seeing them take so much pride in their work even if it is just delivering covers of Pussycat Dolls, Duffy, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Lil' Mama to Backing Tracks. Their energy is infectious and I loved their two deliveries of first American single Nobody, a slow arrangement of the track and later the original album edit. Current single 2 Different Tears is decent, but not as catchy as the prior selection. Tracks like So Hot were a hoot to see performed with their simplistic, yet stylized dances and who could forget their touching delivery of Korean ballad Saying 'I Love You' where band member YeEun (my favourite Wonder Girl) took to the keys?
Word is that bandleader SunYe's (my other favourite Wonder Girl) father had just passed away and in just two weeks' time braved it out for fans to continue with the group's World Tour. Extremely selfless and a commendable display of dedication.
Wonder Girls will be stopping off at Mississauga's Living Arts Centre this coming Monday for a second show and indicated to the audience that they will be out enjoying the city tomorrow on their day off. Being Lady Gaga fans, perhaps we might see them out tomorrow at her show?
Enjoy these photos I got of the girls from tonight's show:
Watch Wonder Girls perform Nobody live at The Mod Club (audio content owned by JYP Entertainment):
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)