2011 could veritably be called the ‘year of the idol group debuts’. Over 30 idol groups launched their career this year, and that’s not including the numerous sub-units from already-established groups.
So, what does it take to rise above this swollen sea of talent? While a rookie group has to possess a distinctive image or ‘concept’, they must also have great musicality, consistency, and promising statistics. Boyfriend seems to possess all that in spades, which is why they’re quickly becoming one of the best male rookie groups of the year.
This six-member pop group debuted with “Boyfriend” back in May, and earned a wide fanbase from the get-go (especially with the ladies, whose ages ranged from young tweens to older nuna and even ahjumma fans).
But the definitive moment for Boyfriend came in October, when they returned with ‘Don’t Touch My Girl‘. This single gave the boys a skyrocketing level of popularity that resulted in louder fan chants during their lives and an immediate recognition of their name.
While the single itself is catchy, Boyfriend’s success is also credited to the consistency in their brand — “Don’t Touch My Girl” had a more aggressive sound, but its visuals stayed true to Boyfriend’s pure image. This pleasing contradiction is also found in the song’s lyrics, which deals with the subject of an abandoned love expressed in an assertive, if not slightly brash manner.
“There’s one thing I can’t stand — It’s you. You know it. Don’t touch my girl who is pure,” the boys shout to a faceless adversary. That bold attitude mixed with their prince-like looks offers a combination that’s particularly irresistible to female K-Pop fans.
Going back to Boyfriend’s first single, “Boyfriend“, their music video accumulated over 6 million viewcounts on YouTube. Admittedly, it’s been a few months since it was launched, but the fact remains that this video’s stats are among some of the highest for 2011′s rookie idol groups, whose videos usually hover in the several hundred thousand mark.
YouTube alone isn’t a sufficient barometer for Boyfriend’s success rate. A rivalry helps to gain perspective on the level of one’s popularity, and Boyfriend can find some serious competition in B1A4.
Recently, SBS MTV conducted online polls from November 28th to December 11th, asking K-Pop fans to vote on several awards ranging from ‘Best New Artist’ to ‘Artist of the Year’. One of the categories Boyfriend was nominated for was ‘Best New Star’, alongside other male groups like B1A4 and Block B.
Many expected B1A4 to dominate because of news regarding their draft by Japanese agency Pony Canyon, who will help them debut in Japan next year. But Boyfriend proved that they were no pushovers; they secured a stalemate with B1A4 for hours, striding neck-in-neck with them to move beyond the 35 percentile. When the polls closed on the 11th, Boyfriend emerged on top with 36.36% to B1A4′s 36.13%.
Boyfriend’s concept consistency, their strong talent, and promising figures all cement their status as one of this year’s most successful rookie groups. Though there’s no word yet on whether they’ll expand to Japan, the boys have been receiving large amounts of attention from the international community here on allkpop. With the way they’re running now, they’ve definitely become an idol group from whom we’re expecting great things in 2012.