The First Annual 2013 Soju DramaQueen Awards

sojuaward

The First Annual

2013 Soju DramaQueen Awards

 

I did not realize what a busy, amazing year 2013 has been until I consulted the all-knowing Excel Spreadsheet and compiled the Contender’s List. Of the 35 dramas that I viewed, am viewing, or in very few cases, abandoned mid-series, just this year, the list was finally narrowed down to the following Top Ten Must-See Dramas for 2013. (A difficult choice, but my editor insisted…)

 

 

Cheongdam-dong Alice

Dating Agency Cyrano

Good Doctor

Gu Family Book (Kang Chi: The Beginning)

I Hear Your Voice

Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love

Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire

Monstar

Sword and Flower

The Master’s Sun

 

The choices were difficult, but listed are the nominees in each category, with the winners highlighted:

 

park shi hooBest Actor (tie)

It was tough narrowing down this category to just 5 nominees, but the winners were pretty clear. Scandals aside, Park Shi-hoo was positively brilliant in Cheongdam-dong Alice. I sincerely hope he make a comeback soon! Park Shi-hoo화이팅!  Joo Won also put in an amazing performance as the autistic Doctor Park Shi-on (Good Doctor). It was a difficult role played with empathy and credibility.

 

 

Nominees:

good doc joo wonPark Shi-hoo “Cheongdam-dong Alice”

Joo Won “Good Doctor”

Lee Jong-Suk “I Hear Your Voice”

Park Yoochun “I Miss You”

Jo In-sung “That Winter, the Wind Blows”

 

 

jae hee

Best Supporting Actor

This is another category with more nominees in the original list than I could include. The choice was more difficult here, but I settled on Lee Jae-hee. His character in When a Man Loves was very well-developed and complex.

 

Nominees:

Choi Jin-hyuk “Gu Family Book”

Seo In-guk “Master’s Sun”

Jo Jae-Hyun “Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident”

Kim Bum “That Winter, the Wind Blows”

Lee Jae-hee “When A Man Loves”

 

Masters_Sun_taeBest Actress

There were many fine performances this year by Korea’s leading actresses, but Gong Hyo-jin stood out with her quirky performance in The Master’s Sun.

 

Nominees:

Lee Bo-young “I Hear Your Voice”

Kim Tae-Hee “Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love”

Moon Geun-young “Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire”

Gong Hyo-jin “Master’s Sun”

Jo Yoon-hee “Scandal: A Shocking and Wrongful Incident”

 

master funny face

Best Supporting Actress

Secondary actresses typically have pretty one-dimensional characters, but Kim Yu-ri was blessed with an extraordinary role that she made her own. The character was engaging in all it’s iterations and aspects. Bravo!

 

Nominees:

So Yi-hyun “Cheongdam-dong Alice”

Hong Soo-hyun “Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love”

Kim Yu-ri “Master’s Sun”

Park Ha-Sun “Two Weeks”

 

kang eui shikBest New Actor

It’s no surprise that Monstar garnered most of the new actor nominations as the drama sported a cast composed almost entirely of newcomers. The stand-out male was Kang Eui-shik who played “Radio”, an intriguing character. The performance was outstanding, especially the tear-filled solo sung in defiance of his bullies.

 

Nominees:

Kang Eui-shik “Monstar”

Park Kyu-sun “Monstar”

Yong Joon-hyun “Monstar”

Park Hyun-shik “Nine: Nine Time Travels”

 

Monstar-1

Best New Actress

There were fewer notables among the new actresses, but those on the list were stellar. Kim Min-young gave a stand-out performance in Monstar. With her incredible voice and acting talent, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this fine young woman.

 

Nominees:

Choi Soo-young “Dating Agency: Cyrano”

Ha Yun-soo “Monstar”

Kim Min-young “Monstar”

 

Monstar-Poster2Best Music

There were really nice OSTs this year and a few songs on my iPod that I admit to listening to repeatedly. While I had a difficult time not choosing I Hear Your Voice, in the end, Monstar had to win out with it’s outstanding mix of creative covers, fun mash-ups and and all-around great music.

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Good Doctor”

“Gu Family Book”

“I Hear Your Voice”

“Monstar”

 

 

gu moon

Best Cinematography

Creativity seemed to be the order of the day this year. With a plethora of fantasy-type dramas, special effects were necessary and were, in general, very well done. Gu Family Book stood out, however, for its sheer beauty.

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Flower Boy Next Door”

“Gu Family Book”

“I Hear Your Voice”

“Sword and Flower”

 

Cheongdamdong_Alice-p1Best Drama

Looking at the overall charisma of a drama, the acting, the script, the cinematography, the music and the ending (too many were really weak!), the list was slowly whittled down. The one drama that intrigued me from the start and held me to the end, keeping me entertained and captivated by brilliant performances and a great story was Cheongdam-dong Alice. I gave I Hear Your Voice a close second as it, too, was intriguing throughout and was a marvelous feel-good drama.

IHearYourVoice_Slider

 

Nominees:

“Cheongdam-dong Alice”

“Dating Agency Cyrano”

Close Second: “I Hear Your Voice”

“Gu Family Book”

“Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire”

 

2013 has been a good year for Korean dramas, and it’s not over yet. At the time awards were selected, the much-anticipated Heirs, with its all-star cast was still in progress, and Marry Him, If You Dare was shaping up well. Still others have just begun and will bleed into 2014.

Congratulations to this year’s Soju DramaQueen winners. I’m looking forward to another great year with these amazing actors and actresses!

 Happy Drama Watching!

Millie’s Top Ten November K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten November K-pop Music Videos

Many of the releases this month had very sad and sorrowful themes. As winter comes, so does the heart-wrenching ballads in the K-pop World. Ballad Kings 2am make a reappearance, Miss A comes back after a long hiatus, and Hyorin finally makes her solo debut. To top it off, a surprising boy group makes their way up to first place.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. NC.A – Oh my God

N.CA - Oh my god

NC.A is the 17-year-old solo artist, but in this song she appeared as if she was 12. “Oh My God” is a cute song about winning back the boy who wants to leave her. With pigtails and a cute school background, the feel of the music video matches the song perfectly. However, my only issue is how young they make the girl look. In her last songs she appears much older than her age, but in this case they did the exact opposite. Also NC.A is singing so happily but when you notice the lyrics in the chorus you realize her tone no longer matches well – she is still singing happily even though her boyfriend has left her. Not the best NC.A song, but the none the less is still cute.

9. Mr.Mr – Do You Feel Me?

MrMr - Do You Feel Me

In “Do You Feel Me?” the boys are keeping it classy in suits with this very western sounding single. The lyrics talk about a girl who moves the guy’s heart and gives him life, displayed in the music video where a beautiful girl in white comes to the still boys and brings them to life so they began to dance and sing. It’s a very solid song for the underrated boy group.

8. Miss A – Hush

Miss A - Hush

Miss A has been gone from the K-pop scene for a while but made a surprising comeback with “Hush”. Sexy and sensual, “Hush” is a quick moving, fast-paced song, teasing the boys to “give it to me” in cropped dark turtlenecks, hair pinned up and red lipstick. Even though the song is quite repetitive, Miss A has brought along another new style of music, making sure each comeback really shows a diverse side to them. “Hush” might not be my favorite of their title tracks, but it’s still a great song.

7. Hyorin – Lonely

Hyorin - Lonely

Hyorin, the lead vocalist from Sistar, made her solo debut with “Lonely”. The song showcases her amazing vocals quite well but the music video seems to be the female version of G-Dragon’s “Crooked” with a more subtle attitude of angst. Hyorin is walking around, seeming to enjoy life and smile despite singing about being lonely and broken by love. It seems she is hopeful for the future, that she will be able to still love even though she has been thrown aside for now.

6. Tasty – Day N Night

Tasty - Day N' Night

Tasty’s music always stands out with their swing style hip hop, “Day N’ Night” came back with that theme adding some rock to the mix. Filmed in Hong Kong, the music video matches the lyrics telling the story of a guy (or in this case, a pair of twins) who keep letting the same girl come back to him even she has made it a habit of leaving at any whim. Actress and model, Esom played the female protagonist who toys with the boy’s hearts.

5. Davichi – The Letter

Davichi - The Letter

“The Letter” shows off the amazing vocals from this duo; however the music video lacks in comparison to the song. The song tells a story, taking the listener step by step of receiving this break-up letter. Yet the music video is quite boring in exchange with the drama version simply showing a lot of crying and that’s about it. Considering how active the song is, it’s quite a shame that Davichi’s music video was not as entertaining as their others which all contain story-lines that match perfectly to the lyrics.

4. 2am – Regret

2am - Regret

2am, the kings of ballads, came back with “Regret”, another sorrowful song for the end of the year. Cinematography pans between the members as they are all moving forward, intertwining with each other at the exact times they sing. To capture the feeling of regret, the boys are the only ones walking along an abandoned beach, and miles of sand surrounds them. Topped off with a grey tint and pitiful expressions of sadness, 2am clearly shows the feelings of remorse to an ended relationship.

3. FT Island – Madly

FT Island - Madly

FT Island made a quiet return with “Madly”; in fact I almost missed the release of this song as it was piled under all the new K-pop groups. But FT Island is keeping strong with another powerful single with the Music Video taking place in an abandoned field in the middle of nowhere. “Madly” is beautiful and powerful, telling the heartbreaking story of not being able to move because they are still in love with someone who has left them.

2. 2NE1 – Missing You

2NE1 - Missing You

2NE1 made their third and final comeback for 2013, and let me just say that I think it’s their best one. “Missing You” is a soft ballad that resonates with beauty and sorrow, quite different than their upbeat funky songs. All the girls look fashionable as usual in dark isolated places, and even tastefully displays a nude CL. The harmony in this song is wonderful, very pure and simple like the music video.

1. Vixx – VooDoo Doll

Vixx - VooDoo Doll

Creepy, dark and full of gore and blood is Vixx’s “VooDoo Doll”. Vixx has always been waiting on the sidelines, but I’ve finally noticed them, and wow – they came back with an awesome song! Not only that, but the dance matches the lyrics perfectly and brings forth new dance moves never done before in K-pop (Who stabs their other members with skull staffs?). The lyrics tell us about sacrificing their bodies and love for a girl just to make sure she stays happy, letting her treat him like a puppet pulling the strings. Defiantly need to check out this music video, but warning! Watch the clean version if you are as squeamish as I am.

U-Kiss embarks on their first U.S Tour

U-Kiss to make their last stop on their U.S Tour in L.A! 

U-Kiss will be staring off the New Year on their first ever U.S Tour and will finally get to see their American fans up close and personal. The boys will be hitting New York at the Best Buy Theater (January 9/Thursday), San Francisco at the Warfield Theater (January 11/Saturday) and Los Angeles at Club Nokia L.A Live (January 14/Tuesday). Ticket prices to range from $50-$180.

U-kiss Tour (1)

Tickets for the L.A concert go on sale this Friday! December 6th 4:00 p.m ET/PT

U-Kiss will become the special episode for the Mnet America’s music-themed T.V series Headliners, incorporating special concert footage, candid moments and live events for the international fans. Artists like Psy, Big Bang and Aziatix have already starred in the first three episodes respectively with their own interviews and performance shows.

U-Kiss is an international Korean Boy Band consisting of multi-lingual members, Kevin, Eli, Hoon, Soo-hyun, Ki-seop and AJ. U-Kiss debuted back in 2008 with NH Media and has since brought out memorable tracks like “0330”, “Neverland”, “Standing Still”, “Stop Girl”, and most recently “She’s Mine” which came out October 31, 2013.

Follow Mnet America on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mnetusa), Tumblr (mnetamerica.tumblr.com), Twitter and Instagram (@mnetamerica), for all the latest news on the tour.  Tickets will be available through www.powerhouselive.net,www.AXS.com and www.ticketmaster.com as well as at each tour venue’s box office.