Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 21: How a 16 Y.O Kpop Star Changed the World

In 2015, rookie girl group, Twice, enjoyed a successful debut that garnered them millions of fans. Three weeks into 2016, however, it would be difficult to imagine even a casual fan of Kpop for whom Chou Tzuyu, sixteen-year-old member of Twice, was not a household name. Through a baffling series of events, Tzuyu would become a beacon of independence for millions, a symbol of hatred and betrayal for millions more, and a misunderstood focal point for much of the rest of the world. Without trying, this sixteen-year-old girl would affect the outcome of the Taiwanese presidential election, and in the process, change the business of Kpop forever. On today's episode, Tim and Zander tell the story of Chou Tzuyu in their most serious podcast yet.

You can subscribe to the Critical Kpop Podcast or check out this and future episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, or Mixcloud. You can expect a healthy serving of news, reviews, and critical analysis in every episode. The Critical Kpop Podcast is the only podcast that invites you to LISTEN HARDER.


  1. This was a really good episode. I both look forward and fear the next time you have something this meaty to talk about.

  2. I think there's one point on everyone's mind but hardly mentioned. That this 'scandal' got as big as it did, not just because of the Taiwanese election but equally, it involved Chou Tzuyu.

    For any incident to escalate, there need be two strong opposing sides. In this case, it was the ultra sensitive corporates against an admiring public and growing fanbase. Tzuyu was already a media sensation, even before her debut. But it was the calm and manner in which she held herself (especially) during this chaotic period that made her endearing. In truth, she must have been scared to death.

    This story has everything - politics, business, religion.

    Regarding politics, China's state media had kept silent over the flag waving incident and its the private companies that overreacted. This is actually a golden opportunity for both countries to improve relations. All China has to do is subtly tell the corporates "this isn't a big deal". This would show a more liberal and moderate side to the world (to forgive is divine!). For Taiwan, Tzuyu would be their best ambassador. Everyone has heard of "Ping-Pong Diplomacy"; this would be the "Tzuyu Olive Branch".

    So I am sure Tzuyu will soon be invited back into China.

    And business... know any other singer with the face of a supermodel, the poise of a crown princess, and yet the humility of a 16-yr old schoolgirl? Forget Helen of Troy, Tzuyu will be the face of a thousand commercials.

    So we are left with religion. If poor JYP had missed out on IU, CL, Hani, Hyorin, Hara.... he had been gifted Suzy and now, Tzuyu! I am sure JYP is appeased. God is fair!


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