To be very clear, I’m dong Kim JaeHwan as our Throwback largely because I woke up at 6:45am on a Saturday morning to watch KCon on YouTube…much like everyone else. I gotta say, the first time I went to a real live KCon I was in hog heaven. It was my first time seeing any Kpop groups live and it was my first time being with any big fans besides Alix. Also, I was with Alix. It was my first time meeting Stephanie and my first missing a meeting with KpopontheDL, my future bride, by like 30 minutes. These are all very landmark things for which I am extremely thankful.
In the years since, and after a few expensive trips, my desire to go to KCon has waned. We get real, full-length concerts in the US now. Or we did until COVID F’d it up. And after a few cons, it turns out that I’d much rather see a full show of someone I love than three songs each of a mix of groups I love, like, and understand why other people like them. It’s insanely expensive and even more so if you want to have some sort of audience engagement or high touch. I’m old and privileged and I don’t want to spend my time in the fray trying to barter with some high school kid to get a high touch with my next husband. I’m certainly not saying that the high school kid is in any way in the wrong. On the contrary, I wish I was that high school kid…they handle the heat of the summer so much better than I do. I don’t want to barter because I’m intimidating and I’ll take them to town and I don’t want to be disliked as the scary-mom type that I know I am.
This all being said, I think I like this way of consuming KCon way better than the usual route. I would very much like to be able to pay my $20 every year, kick the kids out of the TV room, pour a glass of wine, and hop on YouTube. I can save my money for plane tickets and VVIP to full length shows for the groups I know that I love very much. This format is almost like sampling the wedding cake at the bakery before deciding who is worth my money.
Day one included Loona (worth the $$ I one day intend on spending), Monsta X (I’ve seen them, so great), The Boyz (I want to throw my entire savings account at them), and Kim JaeHwan (huh, someone I’ve listened to but man, super adorable live). I decided to talk about the last on this list because he was the performer I’d paid the least amount of attention on the lineup for day one. I mean, I always check out his songs when they come out, I add some to playlists, and I know his face and edited personality from Produce, but I don’t KNOW him in the same way that I do so many others. I would NEVER have considered spending money to see him on a US tour unless he came to Denver, and even then, I wouldn’t have gone for some sort of VIP high touch situation. Now though, after seeing his KCon YouTube stage…I’d spend a little more. I’d slap some palm and take a pic with him.
For those that are unfamiliar, Kim JaeHwan, he was a semifinalist on Korea’s Got Talent 2 and won episode 1 of Vocal War: God’s Choice. He is an insanely talented singer and participated in Produce 101 Season 2 as an unsigned artist. He wasn’t on any of those big labels and getting any of that sweet, sweet training. And yet, without the extra payments and financial support we all know happens, he finished fourth and landed the spot of main vocal for Wanna One. After the special group’s time was up, he signed with Swing Entertainment and debuted as a solo artist in 2019.
I’m popping Nuna, a b-side from the EP Moment, in this post because it is both the singer’s self-proclaimed favorite song and because it’s a gem. It featured prominently in his KCon 2020 state and is pretty much responsible for my now sudden need to give him a high five.
Nuna, Kim JaeHwan