Over 200 smitten teenage girls and young women congregated at EBS headquarters in Dogok-dong in southern Seoul on Monday to see JYJ’s Kim Jun-su on stage.
He was performing on EBS’ music show. It was a rare exception to the usual indie lineup, made possible by the persistence of JYJ fans. Since Kim released a solo album in March, fans kept writing requests on the EBS’ website to have him on the show.
In the background is a bitter feud between JYJ and SM Entertainment. Three members of SM’s top manufactured combo TVXQ split and formed JYJ in 2009. SM Entertainment since then used its clout to block JYJ from TV appearances.
In 2013, the Fair Trade Commission found SM Entertainment guilty of interfering with JYJ’s showbiz activities and ordered them to stop, but nothing changed. For the last six years, no JYJ members have been seen on terrestrial or cable TV music shows.
But when 700 posts from JYJ fans came up on EBS’ website, the producers of the show decided to invite Kim on.
A staggering 55,055 people applied for the 75 available tickets. JYJ fans prepared food for production staff, and Chinese teenagers begged for a chance to watch standing if they had to.
Kim sang seven songs over 90 minutes. “In the past, it was hard because we had too many shows to perform, but now we have nothing,” he said. “Without any TV it’s difficult financially to keep releasing albums, but I’m working hard anyway.”
It may sound a surreal remark from one of the biggest K-pop stars, a man capable of selling out 50,000 tickets.
“They won’t try to cancel the TV show, will they?” asked one fan who was close to tears. The show is scheduled to be aired at midnight on April 30.