October has been all about the rise of NU’EST W, from topping charts to getting their first ever music show win after five long years. They even got nominated for Best Male Group at the MAMAs this year! (I don’t think they’ll win, but wouldn’t that be nice?) If 2017 in K-Pop has proven anything, it’s that NU’EST are reversal icons and dreams can come true. So of course this month’s choice is the man who brought me and so many others to this wonderful group: Kim Jonghyun, also known as JR.
(“That’s Right My Type” is a column I made to not-so-low-key fangirl over my favorite idols. About once a month, I choose one of my biases and make a special appreciation post about him or her, illustrated with a bunch of videos and Tumblr GIFs.
This was supposed to be for October…but there’s still a week left in this month, right?)
Many fans go above and beyond to help their bias succeed. Streaming songs and buying albums are often just the tip of the iceberg. The closest I’ve ever come to understanding that kind of intense devotion was when JR got eliminated from Produce 101. I was drawn in by his kind and pleasant character, and I really empathized with his story and his desperation to survive. I was so distressed over his future that I actually had to take a step back when the show ended. Luckily, NU’EST is more popular than ever before – but JR remains my one bias who I’d buy a bunch of albums for. Here’s why!
*WARNING! THIS POST IS EXTREMELY MEDIA/LINK HEAVY!*
1) His professionalism basically made him famous.
In the Produce 101 segment that started it all, JR was chosen to lead his team. He was apprehensive because he felt partially responsible for NU’EST’s failure, but he accepted. Though there were bumps along the way, his experience and maturity definitely showed. When group member Hyunbin couldn’t remember the choreography, the dance teacher scolded JR for failing to ensure everyone was prepared. This could be seen as unfair – especially since JR spent a lot of time practicing with Hyunbin – yet he humbly accepted the criticism.
JR’s defining moment came when he addressed Hyunbin’s continued laziness. He spoke calmly and clearly, getting his point across without hurting the other boy’s feelings too much. This might not seem like a big deal, but JR’s actions are rare in an industry that favors the tough love approach. Harsh comments are usually a survival show’s key source of drama. That moment solidified his friendship with Hyunbin, won him a lot of fans, and earned him the nickname “the nation’s leader.”
2) He’s beyond humble.
Big egos in entertainment are par for the course. There’s less overt evidence of it in K-pop, because there’s such an emphasis on politeness and respect. Survival shows like Produce 101 are often the closest glimpses of attitude we get, because trainees are greedy to nab center or desperate for benefit votes. Whether he phrased it politely or not, nearly single trainee admitted he wanted to rank #1 after a performance. Everyone, that is, except JR.
During an evaluation, JR made a couple of small mistakes. He was so distressed about it that he apparently wasn’t even paying attention to the results, but he still came in first place. He immediately felt bad for his hardworking team members, and he cried because he didn’t think he deserved it. That selflessness resonated with voters, shooting him to first place during the second round of eliminations. He was much more composed then, but he still downplayed his accomplishment. He quietly remarked to himself that #1 was too high, and he told frontrunner Jihoon that he should take his seat back.
All of the NU’EST members seem very modest in general, most likely because of the humbling experiences they’ve been through up until now. But that lack of vanity seems to be built into JR’s very nature. Whenever something good happens, the surprise on his face is obvious. He genuinely never expects anything, and that makes him so endearing.
3) He’s incredibly kind.
This video is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. We’ll never know what idols are really like, but I’m almost certain JR truly is a good person off-camera – like I’d bet money on it. You can tell that he’s very well-mannered and considerate. It’s hard to explain because there are plenty of nice people in the world, but I think it’s rare for someone to be so gentle and selflessly kind. In my entire life, I’ve met maybe two or three people so wholesome like that. You just can’t fake that kind of sincerity.
I feel like I’ve just been giving variations of the same point up until now, because all these things are hallmarks of good character. But that’s exactly why I like JR so much. I don’t look for role models in celebrities, but he really inspires me. Being an entertainer seems awesome, but it’s really tough on your mental well-being. You’re always under scrutiny from someone, and your entire livelihood depends on peoples’ opinions. Constant rejection and failure is soul-crushing, and I can say from experience that sadness can easily turn to bitterness and anger. But for everything JR went through, he still remained hopeful and positive – and most importantly, kind to others. I never expected it, but his behavior on Produce 101 made me want to change mine.
Okay, I’m done writing mushy-gushy essays. Now for some fun stuff!
4) He’s so freaking adorable.
Seriously, he’s so cute I can’t stand it. That smile could melt the iciest of hearts. I feel like a giant dopey idiot whenever I watch his aegyo because I start giggling like a schoolgirl.
As if that isn’t already precious enough, he’s famously nicknamed after the Pokemon Wartotle (Onibugi in Korean)…a resemblance that he’s wholeheartedly welcomed. Before that, he was compared to the Digimon Agumon.
5) He’s funny in that endearingly awkward kind of way.
JR’s not naturally good at gags like some idols, but he definitely has variety sense. I usually laugh when he’s not trying to be funny, but that happens to me a lot too. I don’t watch Night Goblin frequently, but I’ve heard fans get a kick out of watching NU’EST’s leader play the cute maknae.
6) But he also knows how to poke fun at his members.
The measure of a good leader is being extremely observant.
7) He’s charismatic (read: hot) when he needs to be.
(Okay that last one’s definitely a joke, but you get the picture) JR may have gotten popular for being sweet and likable, but he definitely knows how to turn up onstage. It’s like he’s a different person!
Bonus: JR dancing to “Gashina” (aka my weakness)
8) He’s a solid rapper and dancer.
(Rap translation here) JR mostly became known for his winning personality, so it’s easy to forget that he is in fact a talented idol. He’s both the main rapper and main dancer of NU’EST iSure, he was rising in popularity when he did his Produce 101 rap challenge. But I also think he got a lot of audience votes because they were touched by his honesty.
I can’t really find many videos of him dancing, so I’m just going to use this Night Goblin breakdancing clip.
9) He writes really beautiful song lyrics.
He’s also helped write lyrics for all of NU’EST’s recent title tracks, plus most of the songs off of Q Is and Love Paint.
10) He has some random but interesting hobbies and skills.
I’m also an avid gamer, so everything about this is 100% relatable. JR is definitely an introvert, and I love when it shows.
He can also cook ramen really well, because he was the only male Pledis trainee for a while and that’s all he would eat. He recently demonstrated this on Weekly Idol. The best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach!
In conclusion, JR is a super precious cutie who should be protected at all costs.
SOURCES: Youtube, Tumblr, Reddit, 1theK, Dingo, JTBC, MBC Every1, MNET/M2
No videos or subs belong to me. The subs were either done by the network or a fan.