Korean pop's "Super Junior" takes on the world

Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:37am EDT
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By Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - Choi Si-won recalls that even on a rainy day, the Paris venue was bedlam, with thousands of screaming fans packing the street outside a concert hall.

They were all hoping to catch a glimpse of Choi, one of the most popular members of Super Junior, currently South Korea's hottest boy-band, in the band's first concert venture in Europe.

While the "Korean Wave" has swamped Asia, winning fans from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur and beyond, it has had little impact in Europe so far -- but that is about to change, the 25-year-old Choi told Reuters in an interview.

"It wasn't just a concert in Europe. It was beyond the border, which gives me so much confidence and pride," Choi said after his return to Seoul.

He has a right to his feelings.

The band's June 10 and 11 Paris concerts attracted 14,000 fans each night in the first European event put on by SM Entertainment, South Korea's leading band production house. Tickets sold out within minutes.

Although that's still small change by the standards of divas such as Lady Gaga, Choi believes that Super Junior, whose 13 young male members perform highly choreographed songs and dances, can break onto the broader global stage.

"We do have lots of songs composed by Europeans. And our fashionable and powerful performances are appealing," Choi said.   Continued...

<p>Choi Si-won, a member of South Korean boy-band Super Junior, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Gwangju, about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Seoul, June 15, 2011. REUTERS/Truth Leem</p>