|Memorise these tiny, adolescent faces.|
Because in a few years' time, if EXO are anything to go by, and the fact they already have a lot of hardcore fans before they've even debuted, they'll be all you hear about for a long time.
We went to the COEX mall again, because SM were holding a few concerts for their "Rookies". If you're not particularly down with your kpop info, most of the big record labels still live in the 90s golden era of manufactured pop stars. And, despite all the jokes we made (and still make) about it, I think in the case of a lot of these artists, they're a lot better off for it.
They hold auditions to pluck willing and highly-talented (and beautiful) tributes barely out of nappies (okay, slight exaggeration, but they're usually primary school age when they get taken in) from the public sphere and basically put them into Pop Music Hogwarts. Or maybe Fame Academy. Whatever. They live in dormitories, usually with their future group members-to-be, and get trained daily by the best vocal coaches, choreographers, public speakers, models, personal trainers, drama teachers, musicians, etc, to be the perfect pop star.
And to be honest, it pays off. I'll get more into that later, but basically they school these kids until they're "ready" and then pop out a group of ready-made celebrities every few years or so. One of the things that's impressive is how prepared they are for hoards of screaming fans. I suppose it's because they gradually expose them to this most terrifying part of fame throughout their training. We'd seen some of the older Rookies during the SM Town concert as backing dancers and occasionally given a brief set to sing or dance. Presumably, this series of shows was also to get them used to a concert environment as well as gauge popularity, what works, what doesn't, and to generate hype.
SO. Being rather into kpop (in case you couldn't tell), we fought our way to some tickets and headed over to the COEX. We popped into the merchandise shop just to see if there was anything interesting or new, but mostly I was amused by the fact they'll brand ANYTHING. Here's a multipack of snack nuts (called Super Nuts, presumably linked to Super Foods) and someone presumably went "omg, you know what else starts with Super? Super Junior. Slap some faces on it. Boom. Done."