A new K-pop phenomenon?
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A new K-pop phenomenon?

Multinational girl group Babymonster thrilled fans at a BKK show

"Babymonster Presents See You There in Bangkok"
"Babymonster Presents See You There in Bangkok"

Due to cut-throat competition in the K-pop industry, becoming a top group is not easy. As a result, aspiring singers aim to be trained at one of the "Big 4" music labels -- Hybe Corporation, JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment -- because trainees at these labels are noticed by K-pop fans.

The brainchild of YG Entertainment, Babymonster, a seven-member girl group, became popular after appearing in the 2023 reality show Last Evaluation, which showed that trainees must have exceptional singing and dancing talent as well as determination. Moreover, each member of Babymonster also has their own charm to attract fans.

Unlike other K-pop groups, Babymonster consists of three nationalities -- Korean (Ahyeon, Rami and Rora), Japanese (Ruka and Asa) and Thai (Pharita and Chiquita). It's possible that YG Entertainment used international members to appeal to a more global fan base.

After releasing the seven-track debut album BabyMons7er in April, the girls announced a fan meet tour titled "Babymonster Presents: See You There" in May. It started off in Tokyo and was followed by stops in Jakarta, Singapore, Taipei and Bangkok. Since Tokyo and Bangkok are the hometowns of some members, tickets in these two cities sold out quickly. Thus, Babymonster decided to hold two days of fan meetings in both cities.

Organised by Live Nation Tero, "Babymonster Presents: See You There In Bangkok" took place at Paragon Hall, Siam Paragon. A Life reporter attended the event on June 29 and the show opened with messages appearing on a screen that read "Have you heard the news?" "What news?" "Babymonster is coming". Then, the seven members appeared in a combination of black and silver outfits. Five of the members wore short skirts with long boots while two wore long pants.

The girls kicked off the show with the dance song Sheesh, which is an expression of amazement. This powerful pop and hip-hop song is about the confidence of the group to blow everyone's minds, so members performed energetically with confidence, especially the Japanese rappers Ruka and Asa, who were outstanding with their fierce, rapid and powerful delivery.

After Sheesh, members greeted fans and introduced themselves individually. Pharita, one of the Thai members, said she was glad to perform in her motherland. Every member tried to speak Thai. Rami was excellent at speaking phrases with clear pronunciation. She said in Thai: "Hello, I am Rami. I'm glad to meet everyone today. Let me hear you make some noise."

Then, the girls sang Like That, produced by Charlie Puth. Like That is a pop song with elements of hip-hop. Due to its catchy melody, memorable hooks and beat, the song energised the crowd. The final part of the number showcased a great blend of Rami's powerful vocals and Ahyeon's impressive ad-libbing.

Babymonster. facebook.com/BABYMONSTER.ygofficia

Additionally, Babymonster performed the dance 2NE1 Mash Up which featured in Last Evaluation. It demonstrated the group's exhilarating moves, but it could have been more interesting if they had added singing into the performance.

Because it was a fan meet, in addition to the music Babymonster engaged with fans as well. One of the activities allowed fans to write questions or messages which were put on a whiteboard. Chiquita chose a request to speak Isan and she asked Ahyeon to repeat the phrase sap ee lee der (spicy and delicious). Ahyeon took a bit of time to get the right intonation and pronunciation, but the interaction created a sense of connection that satisfied fans.

The second session featured three ballads -- Dream, Stuck In The Middle and Scars To Your Beautiful -- which is usually the best part of the show in other countries. It showcased their wide vocal range, precision in hitting notes and emotional delivery.

Dream is a beautiful ballad that Babymonster sang before their debut. This English language tune is about self-doubt and self-discovery which reflects the life of trainee singers. While standing in front of her family and Thai fans, 15-year-old member Chiquita, who left Bangkok to train in Seoul in 2021, became overwhelmed and teared up. She was emotional and could not sing Dream at all. The vocalists, Rami, Ahyeon and Rora, coped with the situation well. While members took turns consoling Chiquita, who is the youngest member, Rami, Ahyeon and Rora stepped up and carried the performance nicely.

After the performance, members expressed their feelings about the event and fans. Many said that they were glad to visit the home of their Thai members.

During the encore, Babymonster wore casual clothes to perform three dance songs -- Stuck In The Middle, Batter Up and Sheesh. Instead of focusing on choreography, they kept interacting with fans before saying goodbye.

Their latest song and video, Forever, was released on July 1. It was unfortunate that fans did not have a chance to see their performance of Forever in person.

This pop song has hip-hop elements like the others, but includes retro sounds that make it more interesting. It seems as if they are experimenting to see which genres suit them the most and gain popularity. We will have to wait and see if they become a top group like their senior music mates.

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