ENTERTAINMENT

JYJ keeping their heads held high?

By Jean Oh
  • Published : Jan 14, 2011 - 10:17
  • Updated : Jan 14, 2011 - 10:17

Trio that struck out independently from idol group seems unfazed by recent controversies

Mired in a never-ending string of scandal-driven buzz, JYJ ― the boy band formed by three TVXQ idols-gone-independent ― put in a brief press appearance for their appointment ceremony as goodwill ambassadors for the robot competition, FLL KOREA.

A mere eight days had passed since S.M. Entertainment’s three-less TVXQ ― currently helmed by U-Know and Max ― dropped their controversially-titled album, “Keep Your Head Down,” on the masses.

The album jumped to the top of the charts, with the album’s title fueling a scandal-heavy fire about a potential battle of the bands between JYJ and TVXQ.

What started off as a lawsuit filed against S.M. Entertainment by Park Yoo-chun, Kim Jae-joong and Kim Jun-su over their 13-year contract in July 2009, led to rumors about the possible disbandment of the popular five-member boy band. 
JYJ members Kim Jun-su (left), Kim Jae-joong (center) and Park Yoo-chun hold commemorative plaques at the appointment ceremony as goodwill ambassadors for the robot competition FLL KOREA in Seoul on Thursday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)


When Park, Kim Jae-joong and Kim Jun-su kicked off their debut as a three-member group called JYJ late last year, it looked like those rumors could become a reality.

Releasing an album, aptly titled “The Beginning” ― which included a much-hyped collaboration with famed rapper-and-record producer Kanye West ― that was aimed at a global audience, the trio then followed it up with a music essay featuring their own compositions and unreleased tracks.

Little did they know that a song from the essay would spark speculative buzz about whether or not some of the lyrics were aimed at S.M. or U-Know and Max.

Then, when TVXQ released their album on Jan. 5, rumors spread that the title of the S.M. duo’s new release was an indirect and aggressive warning to JYJ, telling the trio to keep their heads down.

When Park Yoo-chun, Kim Jae-joong and Kim Jun-su made their public appearance Thursday, they gave no indication that such rumors had affected them.

Decked out in matching black suits, Park and the two Kims gave off an air of unified solidarity as they posed for pictures at the Grand Hilton Seoul in Hongeun-dong on Thursday.

Looking unintimidated by all the media attention that has been trailing them into the new year, they focused on their roles as goodwill ambassadors for the competition, which is slated to be held at Ilsan’s KINTEX on Jan. 29.

Reporters were restricted from asking questions during the event, but that did not remove the massive elephant in the room, a silent presence amplified by FLL KOREA project manager Nam Lee-joon’s innocent question, “Do you all do Twitter?”

To which the trio responded, “Yes.”

Nam then suggested that JYJ express their interest in FLL KOREA via their Twitter accounts.

The brief exchange recalled the controversy fueled by a recent tweet posted by Kim Jun-su and what the press interpreted as a potential ensuing response by S.M. members that gave rise to speculation about heightening tension between the entertainment company’s brethren and the trio.

In the midst of all the brouhaha, all five idols have been forging ahead: Park Yoo-chun showed off his acting chops in KBS’ “Seonggyungwan Scandal” last year; Kim Jae-joong put in an award-winning performance in a Japanese drama; Kim Jun-su will be in a musical starting February; Max is starring in SBS’ “Paradise Ranch” and U-Know will be starring in the upcoming television drama, “Poseidon.”

FLL KOREA is organized by the FEST Creative Engineering Education Association, part of the global competition called the FIRST LEGO League. This year’s challenge, called “Body Forward,” asks participants to delve into Biomedical Engineering to look into improving one’s physical health.

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)

<관련 한글 기사> 

동방신기 “JYJ 소속사와 문제 해결된다면…”

재결합 가능성 여운남겨

2004년 5인조로 데뷔한 동방신기가 결국 유노윤호와 최강창민 듀오가 돼 돌아왔다.

재중, 유천, 준수 세 사람이 2007년 소속사 SM엔터테인먼트(이하 SM)와 전속계약 분쟁을 벌인 지 2년 3개월 만이다. 법원이 SM 측에 재중, 유천, 준수의 독자적인 연예활동을 보장하라는 결정을 내리면서 세 사람이 JYJ란 그룹명으로 연예활동을 시작하자 유노윤호와 최강창민도 동방신기의 이름을 걸고 활동을 재개한 것이다.

팀의 리더 유노윤호는 “그들(JYJ)을 계속 기다렸지만 5년이고 10년이고 마냥 기다릴 수는 없었다. 팬들에게 잊혀져가기 전에 동방신기의 정통성을 지키기 위해 무대로 돌아왔다”고 말했다.

JYJ가 먼저 독자적인 음반활동을 시작하면서 2인조 동방신기가 활동을 재개한 형국이 됐지만, 결국 비슷한 시기에 두 팀으로 나뉘어 음반이 발매되자 이들 사이의 갈등은 더욱 부각되고 있다. 공교롭게도 노래 가사가 서로를 공격하는 ‘디스(Diss) 논란’이 일고 있는 분위기다.

두 사람은 동방신기의 컴백을 알리면서 처음으로 JYJ에 대해 심경을 털어놨다.

유노윤호는 “자꾸 이 문제를 언급할수록 자기 얼굴에 침뱉기”라면서 “그 친구들이 ‘맞다, 나쁘다’를 떠나 회사와의 갈등의 골이 갈수록 깊어져 너무 멀리 갔다. 우리와도 연락을 안하고 있다”며 아쉬운 마음을 전했다.

최강창민은 JYJ가 최근 인터뷰에서 아직 동방신기 멤버임을 강조한 것에 대해 “무리를 벗어난 새들이 아직 그 무리에 있다고 얘기하는 것은 모순인 것 같다”며 선을 그었다.

그러나 동방신기는 여전히 재결합의 가능성을 열어두는 분위기다. 유노윤호는 “소속사와 먼저 풀어야 할 일이다. 그들이 문제를 해결하고 돌아온다면 둘이 시작하는 지금의 2막에 이어 동방신기의 3막을 시작할 수 있을 것”이라고 여운을 남겼다.

새 앨범 ‘킵유어헤드다운(Keep Your Head Down)’으로 활동을 시작한 동방신기는 당분간 가수와 연기를 병행하면서 팬들과 자주 만날 예정.

최강창민은 SBS ‘파라다이스목장’에서, 유노윤호도 SBS ‘포세이돈’으로 안방극장에서 팬들과 만난다. 또 오는 24일 일본에서 싱글 발매를 시작으로 해외 활동에도 박차를 가한다. 

(헤럴드 경제)