Big bienvenue for K-pop idols

Reply Thu 9 Jun, 2011 07:33 pm
The Korean Wave has stretched beyond Asia and reached the heart of Europe.

On Wednesday evening, members of three popular Korean pop groups landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for a concert and were met by over 1,500 teenage fans from France, England, Italy and Sweden. The teens surged to get a look at 10 singers as they came through customs, and French police had to escort the performers safely to a van outside.

The performers were from the groups TVXQ, SHINee and f(x), and many fans wept upon seeing them.

“I can’t believe I saw the faces of SHINee members with my own two eyes,” said a teenage girl wiping tears away.

To maintain order, over 50 local police officers were deployed. Fans started gathering at the airport at 2 p.m., hours ahead of the stars’ arrival at 7:30 p.m. “Hundreds of fans flocking to the airport is a common scene upon the arrival of a celebrity,” said an airport policeman. “But I’ve never seen such a large number of fans turning up at Charles de Gaulle.”

Most of the fans were female, and they arrived at the airport carrying posters of the performers with messages written in Hangul, and even Korean flags.

Some fans camped out in a corner of the airport arrival hall and sang favorite songs by the groups, such as SHINee’s “Ring Ding Dong” and Girls’ Generation’s “Gee,” and mimicked their dance moves. Most of the fans at the airport were reported to be members of Korean Connection, which is a club for K-pop aficionados.

A 14-year-old fan said, “The thought of meeting the singers kept me up all night.” A 65-year-old fan said proudly, “I only watch Korean dramas and listen to Korean music at home.”

The idols themselves were surprised at the reception, according to SM Entertainment, the agency that represents them.

“We didn’t expect such a crowd,” said Kim Eun-ah, a PR representative of SM Entertainment. “Our artists were surprised and said they’ll make every effort to prepare for the concerts in return for the support from the European fans.”

The three Korean groups will perform at “SM Town Live in Paris” today and tomorrow at Le Zenith de Paris concert hall, which has a seating capacity of 6,000.

Tickets were reported to have sold out in 15 minutes. Girls’ Generation and Super Junior, from the same agency, are also scheduled to perform at the concert. It’s the first European concert for SM’s talent.

Originally, only one concert was scheduled for Paris, but hundreds of French fans rallied in front of the Louvre last month demanding an extra show. SM Entertainment agreed to a second concert.

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