HyunA's Big Risk

HyunA needs to take a risk.

Few Kpop stars are bigger than HyunA is right now. Her rise has been relentless. Unstoppable. She has been a part of so many hit songs that she seems to be on the verge of something that could go way beyond Korean or even American pop. HyunA could become a worldwide icon.

What’s Working for Her

If the old adage is true, and there’s no reason to think it’s not, sex sells. And say what you will of HyunA’s image being over the top, she uses her sexulaity, and uses it in a way that transcends borders, fitting right in with the Shakiras and Katy Perrys of the American pop scene.

That’s not to say that HyunA doesn’t have talent. Her dancing is impressive and energetic. And while her singing is just passable, so are most American idol’s vocals (Britney Spears is still working, isn’t she?). Even beyond that, it’s hard to dismiss HyunA’s infectious charisma. Some people just have that indefinable it. HyunA has that. She has reserves of it.

HyunA also has an impressive resume. Her solo pieces, “Bubble Pop” and “Ice Cream” were mega hits. She’s teamed up with JS to form the hugely popular Troublemaker duo, and with PSY and his “Gangnam Style” (she stars in her own version of the song where she chirps “Oppa Gangnam Style,” that has garnered over 450,000,000 views). And she has hits with 4Minute, where she is undoubtedly the most highlighted member. HyunA has the credibility to make waves on American shores.

What’s Working against Her

It’s a bit strange that HyunA hasn’t capitalized more on the attention she received after PSY became a worldwide sensation. There was talk, when the craze hit its zenith, of HyunA making plans for an American debut, but that news never went far beyond rumor. If American stardom was going to happen anytime, it surely would have happened then, wouldn’t it? Right now, HyunA’s American debut seems so carefully managed that an opportunity could have already been lost.

And why shouldn’t she be careful? Even though she has charisma, sex appeal, and talent, how many Asian stars, especially ones that have difficulty with English, have made it big in America?

While Girls' Generation may have problems becoming big in America for having too many members, it will be equally difficult for HyunA to break into American pop solo, even with the Kpop fanbase she has here. She could join forces with big name American idols, but there’s a risk of her being overshadowed, or becoming a guest instead of the star. If this move goes wrong, or becomes a dud, it could be humiliating. So, of course, everyone’s being careful here, with good reason. Maybe too much reason.

What Her Chances Are

HyunA was recently in a Funny or Die sketch with British pop star Rita Ora called, “Girl, You Better Walk.” And, you know what? It’s okay. Not terribly funny, but not embarrassing either. HyunA could have a chance here. But a slow build with an easily distracted American populace can backfire. Saving face could mean sacrificing success. It’s time for HyunA to take a risk.


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