The Straits Times
Published on Sep 09, 2012

Wonder Girls show why they are still on top of the game


After the chorus of their 2008 hit Nobody became a global catchphrase, K-pop band Wonder Girls kept such a low profile in Asia that they practically disappeared. Yet they remain one of the most popular K-pop groups in Singapore, judging by the fans who showed up on Saturday for their Wonder World Tour In Singapore 2012 concert.

Devoted fans such as students Josephine Chung and Felicia Tok, both 18, started queuing up for the best possible view of the leggy pop stars way before the concert was scheduled to begin at 7pm.

They had bought tickets for the mosh pit and came at 9am to wait outside the Compass Ballroom at the Resorts World Convention Centre, where the concert was to be held.

First in line for the mosh pit queue was Ms Chung, who said: “Felicia and I live in Woodlands, and decided we had to come here early for a good view. I didn’t bring any banners because it’d be inconvenient and would block the views of the others behind. I did wear my wedges for extra height, though.”

The Wonder Girls comprise Min Sun Ye (Sun), Kim Yu Bin (also known as Yubin), Park Ye Eun (Yenny), all aged 23; Ahn So Hee (Sohee), 20; and Woo Hye Lim (Lim), 19.

Since Nobody entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 76 in 2009 and gave them a foot in the door of the United States (US) market, they have been trying to make their impact there.

They continue to stay hungry for their next Billboard hit, a wish that they mention a few times during the press conference on Saturday afternoon before the concert.

Although their dreams of making it Justin Bieber-big have yet to come true, at least touring the US has made them one of the few K-pop bands whose members can all interact in English.

Lim is the most fluent, having picked up the English language while studying at an international school in Hong Kong.

They spoke about the American press asking them perform the moves to this year’s global K-pop hit, Gangnam Style – “So many viewers wanted to see us dance so we did,” says Lim with a laugh.

Subsequently, Yubin disclosed a secret they had prepared for concertgoers, which appeared to catch her bandmates off-guard.

She said: “because this is our Wonder Party, we’re going to wear traditional Singapore costumes”, to which leader Sun quipped: “I thought that was a secret?”

The “traditional” costumes turned out to be sarong kebayas and they became singing-dancing Singapore Airlines stewardesses in front of a 4,000-strong crowd.

Together with a backing band, the Wonder Girls blazed through more than 23 songs which included hits such as Tell Me (2007), their latest English single Like Money (2012), and saved Nobody (2008), still their biggest hit to date, for their encore performance.

They were also smart enough to provide solo performances.

Lim performed with labelmates and guest group JJ Project, the latest K-pop duo sensation under JYP Entertainment.

Sun’s solo was particularly impressive as she showed off her keyboard skills, and a sensuous performance of Touch (2012) by labelmates miss A.

Towards the end of the two-hour concert, the Wonder Girls came across as seasoned live performers on tour, who were simply having a blast onstage. Must be all that touring practice in the US.