(Last updated May 2020)
I feel like I’m constantly saying that I’ll always have a soft spot for [insert group name here], but this is especially true for NU’EST. I’d heard of them before Produce 101, but I hadn’t listened to their music because I was a relatively new K-pop fan at the time. In an effort to stay neutral while watching the show, I made a conscious decision to not learn anything about them until it ended. So, my initial impressions of them were entirely based on how they behaved and performed on Produce 101. And as we all know, they really opened up and were honest about their struggles. Because of that, I feel like I know them more intimately than I do other groups. The connection is obviously still one-sided, but it feels much more personal.
Have I seen NU’EST live? Yes! Unfortunately, I did not get to go to their concert in Seoul last year – it was the same weekend as Super Junior D&E – but I have seen them twice. The first time was in 2018 when NU’EST W came to KCON LA. I saw them at the concert, and I also got to attend their fan meeting. I waited like three hours so I could stand right at the front of my section behind the people who had Hi-Touch, and I was FULLY decked out in their merchandise. Like, I had their KCON jersey and their light stick and everything.
I also saw them as a full group when they came to Busan for the 2019 One Asia Festival. I was in the special standing section for international fans – which was built into the stage – so I saw them SUPER up close. Aron waved at me when they were walking to other stage. Good times.
First member I recognized: Baekho. I just remember that intense look on his face when he entered the room in the first episode of Produce 101, and how everyone was instantly intimidated.
First bias: JR.
Current bias and why: Still JR. You can read why I like him so much in any of my Produce 101 recaps, but the biggest reason why is that he seems genuinely kind. Plenty of people in the entertainment industry are nice, but it’s rare to see the kind of sincerity he showed on Produce 101 – especially since he went through so much and had been put through the wringer. All that disappointment and anger could crush a person or make them incredibly bitter going forward, but JR was always earnest and optimistic. I find that very admirable. And he’s really come into his own over the past few years!
Favorite song: “Bet Bet.” I love this song so, so, much. I still listen to it regularly a full year later. It’s so catchy. Definitely one of their best.
Favorite MV: “I’m in Trouble.” All of NU’EST’s music videos are gorgeous – especially the recent ones – but their latest one is just so stunning. I rarely rewatch music videos these days, and I watched this one 5 or 6 times in a row after the premier.
Favorite era: “Where You At.” This era was such a triumph for them. This comeback brought them a lot of attention and their first music show win, which is amazing considering they were practically headed for disbandment earlier that year. I had been so concerned about what would happen to them after Produce 101, and this set all of my fears at ease.
Favorite choreography: “Love Paint.” I like all of the little touches in the choreography.
(I know I didn’t pick any of their earlier songs – I swear I like all of NU’EST’s discography, but I just like their latest tracks more!)
Who I think is the best looking: Minhyun. Every time I look at a picture of him, a voice in the back of my head always points out how handsome he is.
Who I think is the cutest: JR. He’s so precious, and that smile is literally like sunshine. It’s no wonder that he gets compared to cartoon characters like Agumon and Wartortle.
Favorite singer: Baekho. He has a very different vocal tone from the other members because his voice is deeper and more powerful, and it stands out nicely – especially in “Where You At.”
Favorite dancer: Ren. He always surprises me with his dancing – not in terms of technique, but in stage presence. It’s like he transforms on stage, and his charisma is off the charts.
NOTE: Cover Image by Naver X Dispatch.