K-pop all-stars SuperM hit ‘Ellen’ in U.S. debut
The band’s seven members — Taemin from SHINee, Baekhyun and Kai from EXO, Taeyong and Mark from NCT, and Ten and Lucas from WayV — delivered a tight, powerful performance (“Jopping” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain”) and gave a playful interview.
Mark, who is from Canada and at age 20 the youngest in the group, teased DeGeneres about why the media always asks about their dating life.
Emily Haydel, a 22-year-old fan from Los Angeles who attended the Ellen taping, praised their powerful performance.
“They were going hard. You could hear them stomping on the ground,” she said.
Wednesday’s TV appearance followed the band’s debut performance for 5,000 fans Saturday at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, where they also launched the music video for “Jopping.”
The K-pop all-star ensemble seemed relaxed and comfortable with each other during multiple promotion events, including a showcase and press conference, where they spoke to reporters about performing with others they had idolized.
“When I was younger, I’d watch these older members perform, and I grew up watching them. So what a great honor for me to be a part of them,” Taeyong said via a translator.
Mark shared an anecdote about talking to Kai earlier in the day about how awkward it was for him to even touch the EXO member during the album jacket shoot. Now they are much closer.
Ten called it a “dream come true” to work with Taemin.
SuperM was created by the same company that produced K-pop’s first idol group, H.O.T., in the mid ’90s, SM Entertainment’s SMP. The company is focusing on projects that emphasize dance.
Now the senior members themselves, SuperM set out to become the top K-pop figure on the international stage by focusing on high-impact performances and featuring a lineup of ace members from each group.
“We wish to be pioneers of K-pop,” Baekhyun said during the press conference in English, with fans cheering his use of the language. “We will bring K-pop to the next level.”
The collaboration with Capitol Music Group is one of the biggest K-pop projects between South Korean and American music labels.
The group’s formation was controversial among fans of the groups starting a trending hashtag, #SuperGroupDisbandParty, on Twitter, expressing concerns about the performers’ hectic schedules. Fans said they’d rather see solo work than a new supergroup.
SuperM members reassured fans they wouldn’t be leaving their original groups.
Fans in L.A. didn’t seem fazed, wearing the official SuperM AR T-shirts that came alive with the help of an app or homemade gear like headbands with the members’ names.
One of the loudest fans in the front row was Lee Soo Man, founder of SM Entertainment and the mastermind behind SuperM.
Janae Lowary, 21, an NCT fan, drove from San Diego for the performance. Wearing a headband that said Kai in Korean — her favorite EXO member — she dismissed the initial criticism of the group.
“It’s a genius idea to put all these aces [together]. They’re aces in their respective groups and you put them all together and it’s like — you saw the turnout! The turnout is insane,” she said. “I’m really optimistic for what they’re gonna do in the future. Because this is their first time performing as a whole, and if it’s this good now, imagine how good it’s gonna be in six months when they have another comeback. I feel like it’s something that’s gonna be really big. Not only just for K-pop, but music as a whole.”
Wearing a superhero-like red cape with the SuperM logo and the members’ names painted on, 17-year-old Jae Shapia flew in from Las Vegas only to learn the ticket she bought was a fake. Someone on Twitter gifted her a real one and she was able to see her favorite member, Taeyong. Though a fan of NCT 127, Taeyong and Mark’s resident group, Shapia acknowledges some apprehension for the new group.
“At first I was like, ‘This is going to be awful for their stamina and their self-esteem and they’re just gonna be tired all the time,'” she said, explaining that SuperM’s upcoming North America tour will collide with NCT 127’s tour in Japan. “But seeing them out there and seeing how happy they were, they looked pretty proud about it, so I feel a bit better that they look ok and that they’re happy and enjoying the group.”
SuperM’s North American arena tour runs November through February. Though only 10 dates have been announced, the tour poster suggests more will be added.