Friday, September 04, 2009

f(x) - new girl band debuts in Korea

Sexy and hot, the latest girl group from entertainment and media goliath S.M. Entertainment turned up the heat at their showcase on Wednesday at the Fashion Center's Event Hall in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul.

Unlike their predecessors - the near-iconic Girls' Generation - the new girls-in-town do not boast a powder-puff pink sound. For an idea of the kind of vibe this five-girl band packs, think the Pussycat Dolls or Danity Kane.

With the dance moves to match their amped-up and hard-hitting sound, Krystal, Sulli, Luna, Amber and Victoria hit the stage, writhing and wriggling in slinky black outfits. When they donned black chapeaus and did a number to Sam Sparro's sensual "Black and Gold" the whole performance took on a slightly burlesque tilt.

Tall, willowy and doll-faced, the latest addition to S.M.'s burgeoning group of talent shows promise. Two members, in particular, stood out from the group during Wednesday's showcase.

Amber - picked up by S.M. in Orange County - drew cheers with her fly dance moves and smooth rap skills. Displaying rhythm, flow and speed, the Chinese-American tomboy performed a bit of Fort Minor's "Believe Me" and then showcased her ability to deftly splice her rap into the chorus to the group's debut single, "LA chA TA."

Her low and brandied vocals, slick razor-edged bob and hip wardrobe are sure to attract boys who want to dress like her and girls who are going to crush on her.

When asked how she first started rapping, the 16-year-old girl group member, an admirer of rap artist Nas, answered: "Rap was originally a hobby of mine."

Fellow member Victoria also stood out during the showcase. Hailing from one of Beijing's leading dance academies, the lithe Chinese native graced the stage with her acrobatic skills and stellar moves.

The eldest of the group, the 22-year-old performer assumed responsibility as the head of f(x), declaring: "I want to be a hard-working leader."

A member of the press asked her if the new Asian pop dance group had plans to go abroad, to which Victoria answered that the group is slated to perform throughout Asia.

Korean members Krystal, Sulli and Luna - aged 14, 15 and 16, respectively - also showcased their talents on Wednesday. Luna wowed with her powerful vocals, while Krystal and Sulli moved to a mix of Joe, Marques Houston and T-Pain.

The audience was treated to the first performance of the group's never-before-released single "Mr. Boogie" followed by a performance of their newly-minted "LA chA TA."

Fast-paced, backed by an electronic backbeat and sensual, both singles seemed highly club-appropriate, taking away any notions that S.M.'s latest addition would inherit its girl group predecessor's sugary sound.

It is hard to tell, at this point, as to who f(x)'s target audience is. Yet it seems to be picking up on a trend towards a slightly sexier, edgier and more electronic sound, as evidenced by hit girl group songs like Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" and 2NE1's "Fire."

The name of the group, in particular, seems to bear some scientific futuristic significance. A play on the mathematical notation for function, "f" signifies "flower" and "x" represents the female's double X chromosome.

While the band is brand new, several of its members have appeared on both the small and the big screen. Krystal - younger sister to Girls' Generation member Jessica - starred in boy band SHINee's music video "Juliette" prior to her debut. Sulli racked up acting experience in two SBS dramas and several films, while leader Victoria starred opposite Korean pop star Rain in a Samsung Anycall commercial that aired in China.

Their new single "LA chA TA" was released online on Tuesday. The band is slated to make their television debut on MBC on Saturday.

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