The 10 Sexiest Men in K-Pop
Most of the men of K-pop share similar traits: perfect complexions (almost always with the aid of makeup), chiseled faces (often with the aid of plastic surgery), and an image that is steamy-yet-conservative. Still, the genre's heartthrobs run the gamut from impossibly ripped to androgynous. In any case, here are our choices for the 10 sexiest men in K-pop: These guys have got game.
Se7en is a veteran of one of the early "Korean waves" that took East Asia by storm. Speculating that he could cross over, his management sent him to the U.S. to record a single with Lil Kim, but it flopped. He later reclaimed his place as a heartthrob in Korea and Japan and is one of the more well-known K-pop acts today. His career is currently on hold again, due to military conscription. On his first day of active duty, his record label YG released his single "Thank U." Come home safe, Private Se7en.
9. Choi Minho (SHINhee)
Unlike most K-pop idols, Choi never had to bother with the system's notorious trainee system. Armed with what South Koreans call the "perfect face," Choi had an early and successful career as a model and was later picked up by music scouts. Despite no prior music training, Choi has become a successful rapper and adept lyricist. It helps that fans can't get enough of his puppy dog eyes and disarming smile.
8. Taeyang (Big Bang)
Taeyang isn't allowed to keep his shirt on longer than 30 minutes at a time, apparently. Perhaps that's part of the reason his solo music has been popular in the U.S. and Canada as well. Owing in part to the soulful single "Wedding Dress," Taeyang instantly solidified himself as the sensitive bad boy crooning his way out of heartbreak. You can think of him as the Justin Timberlake of the group Big Bang.
7. Hero Jaejoong (DBSK, JYJ)
While K-pop is home to plenty of "flower boys" (effeminate guys who make girls swoon), Hero is one of the first pop stars to own it. His claim to fame is DBSK, one of K-pop's most successful boy bands. After the group dissolved, he went on to form JYJ with remaining members, then forayed into acting and directing. He's massively popular in Japan, where his solo debut topped the iTunes charts. Hero probably could've milked the rest of his youth as a model, but he's proven to be more than a pretty face.
6. Tablo (Epik High)
When rumors stirred that Tablo faked his Stanford degrees (he hadn't), his career tanked, and he and his then-pregnant wife received death threats. It was all a real shame because he's a cute, whip-smart talent that helped pave the way for hip-hop in South Korea. Fortunately, after years in hiatus, Tablo recently made a comeback.
Rain is arguably the best known K-pop star and can still out-dance, out-sing and out-woo all the young bucks. As the original mack daddy, he enjoyed a lot of American exposure -- including an appearance on The Colbert Report -- but crossing over didn't work out. Rain recently wrapped up his term in military service and is currently building his own media empire.
4. Jay Park
Born and raised in the Seattle area, Park rose to local fame as a rapper and dancer in the influential Art of Movement bboy crew. He reached South Korean prominence as part of the boy band 2PM, but was eventually kicked out when it was discovered that he made disparaging remarks about the K-pop industry on MySpace. During his exile, Park returned to the U.S., where he opened for Ne-yo and penned a track for Will Smith. South Korea has forgiven him, he has forged a solo career, and through it all Park has made it clear he kowtows to no one. As we all know -- that's hot.
3. Choi Siwon (Super Junior, Super Junior-M)
Alongside a successful domestic career, Choi has appeared in a high-profile Hong Kong film and in a Taiwanese serial drama, and he's one of few South Korean pop stars to be immortalized on Mainland Chinese stamps. Choi is also a member of his group's Mandopop spinoff Super Junior-M. If the Chinese diaspora and Koreans can agree on anything, it's this classically handsome 26-year-old.
2. T.O.P. (Big Bang)
Ladies love this dashing and understatedly cool rapper. As a kid, T.O.P. found refuge in the underground rap scene and was later deemed too chubby for K-pop. But he made it, and nowadays it often looks like he's trying not to crack up during his group's cheesier dance numbers. Nonetheless, he has a commanding stage presence (you can't miss his baritone voice) and has already launched a successful acting career. K-pop, he's too cool for you.
No, seriously! Within the image-obsessed K-pop landscape, there doesn't seem to be much room for anyone who doesn't embody the physical ideal. Armed with an acerbic wit and a knack for infectious anthems, the veteran hip-hopper proves you don't need to be a hottie with a body to have real swagger. He's a talented underdog who's down to have fun, and you can't beat that. Oppa Gangam style!
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.