The Return of the Wonder Girls to the American Music Scene


On the last night of their recent visit to the United States, The Wonder Girls stunned about two hundred fans with an intimate and inspirational concert at the iHeartRadio Theatre in the Tribeca area of Manhattan, on 09-05-12. Wearing black beautiful outfits customized to their individual personalities Sun, Yubin, Yenny, Sohee and Lim put on an energetic and heartfelt performance that every single fan at the theater would probably cherish for a long time.


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The iHeartRadio concert was the swan song of a successful visit to the United States in support of their new English single with Akon “Like Money”, and in promotion of their highly anticipated English album. It was their first major live concert in the United States since 2010. What further added to the significance of the concert was that iHeartRadio streamed the entire performance live to more than 70 of their network radio stations across the country. The Wonder Girls were on a national stage tonight.


The host of the concert was the popular Z100 NY radio host Trey Morgan. The concert began on schedule at 6 PM and lasted for a little over an hour. The Wonder Girls performed 13 songs in total, 8 of which were in English. The first two songs of the night were “The DJ is Mine” and “Nu Shoes” in English. Both are quintessential pop songs with K-pop appeal, because they are catchy, fun, with memorable choreography, and are upbeat with great beats.


Immediately afterwards, the girls introduced themselves, and as Lim was talking some of her beloved fans quickly cut her off shouting “Happy Birthday”. Lim turned 20 on September the 1st, 2012. Sun, whom the girls admit is like a mother to them all, interjected and says “why don’t we all sing happy birthday to her”. As the crowd serenaded Lim, who always seems to have a twinkle in her eyes, with “Happy Birthday” her cheeks began to turn red. Clearly, she was pleased.


As reported by KpopStarz a day before the concert, The Wonder Girls performed for the very first time three new English songs. “Ouch”, “Stay Together”, and “Wake Up”. For “Ouch” and “Stay Together” the girls mellowed down the very festive atmosphere created by their performance thus far, and sat on stools. “Ouch” is a melodious song about heartbreak and heartache, in which Sun sang so passionately. “Stay together” is a song that Yenny twitted the night before is very special to her. And, we found out why tonight. It’s a song she wrote for her co-members with very inspirational lyrics. Ultimately, the message is that through thick and thin they should always stay together. It’s a song that memorializes the challenges they’ve already faced, but also with a look ahead as they once again chart a course to break through to the American music scene.


In making inroads into the American music market, the song “Like Money” seems to have provided The Wonder Girls with a beachhead or a foot in the door, once again. This time JYP Entertainment is doing things a little differently. This time around the owner of JYP Entertainment and main producer for The Wonder Girls, Park Jin-young has giving the legendary Johnny Wright the duties of manager for The Wonder Girls. Johnny Wright is a prolific manager of musical talent. He was the manager for *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, as well as The Jonas Brothers. With such a high level portfolio of success that Johnny Wright brings to the table, he understands the target market and musical genre of The Wonder Girls.


The very concept of the showcase concert at iHeartRadio is the centerpiece of the media strategy for the girls. The Wonder Girls are making a concerted effort to promote their single with Akon “Like Money” on the radio. Radio stations like Z100 New York, which is an iHeartRadio network station, as explained by the marketing director at JYP Entertainment is one of the ideal stations for the music of The Wonder Girls. The desire of The Wonder Girls is to see their fans frequently calling radio stations like Z100 and requesting “Like Money”. With this new strategy, which also includes the fact that their English has improved so much, The Wonder Girls are showing their fans they also have that exceptional quality in the American spirit of never giving up.


This same inspirational message of never giving up, as well as aspiring and working towards your goal and dreams was the centerpiece of the concert. The girls paused the concert to individually ask the fans in attendance, about their hopes and dreams. They received a variety of answers from therapist to lawyer. In following up, The Wonder Girls stressed the importance in life of chasing ones dreams or passions, and not giving up. The Wonder Girls clearly practice what they preach. To cap of this message the girls then performed “Girls Girls”.


In dedicating the song “Girl Girls”, Yubin added that the song was meant for boys too, to not give up and also follow their dreams. As The Wonder Girls sung “Girls Girls”, Yubin changed the words at the end of the song several times to boys-boys. On the perspective of Yubin caring for the boys so much, I can say the feeling is mutual. Each of the girls have their distinct qualities that makes them exceptional and appealing to watch, however it’s interesting that most of the fans at the concert that were asked, consider Yubin their favorite.


Everyone, adores Sohee and considers her the cutest, loves Yenny’s voice and thinks she has the prettiest looks, has the highest respect for Sun as a leader and for who she is as a person, delights in Lim’s ebullient character and the sparkle in her eyes, however it’s Yubin most of the fans relate to the most. This initially came as a surprise, but on further inquiry it became clear. Most fans consider her the coolest, and in American youth culture cool is the currency of achievement. One fan interviewed, ascribed this to the fact she’s the main rapper in the group. Yubin has the deepest voice and also at times comes off as a tomboy. At an interview the girls did a few hours before the concert, when Yenny wanted to clarify the name of the sport they played with The Jonas Brothers she turned to Yubin, “yeah softball”. Like the rest of The Wonder Girls, Yubin is an exceptional and energetic dancer, however it appears her boyish qualities adds a delightful flavor.


The Wonder Girls, through their iHeartRadio performance has given us a reason to “heart” radio once again. As they continue on their quest into the American music market, stay tuned to to bring you constant updates and highlights, especially as they climb the ladder of success and achievement in America and globally.