Presently in Hallyu, if one were to analyze the numbers in the K-pop industry, the most popular K-pop group at the moment is EXO. Currently consisting of 10 members — Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chenyeol, D.O., Tao, Kai, and Sehun — the K-pop boy group created under SM Entertainment has dominated the industry since their debut back in 2011. To truly understand just how big EXO is, they ranked fifth in worldwide album sales in 2015 for Exodus. They beat out other albums by prominent musical acts like Four by One Direction, and American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy.
Also in Hallyu, Yoo Jae Suk is said to be the most-recognizable figure when it comes to Korean variety and awards shows. He is best known for his role as host on the most popular Korean variety show in the world, Running Man, and the most popular Korean variety show in the country, Infinite Challenge.
At first glance, most Hallyu fans would see EXO and Yoo Jae Suk as representatives of different parts of Hallyu, one being K-pop and the other being variety and reality shows. At times, they do run into each other, especially when EXO are special guests on one of Jae Suk’s variety shows. However, the two are now coming together for a phenomenal collaboration as they team up for a special stage to take place on Infinite Challenge.
Before detailing EXO and Yoo Jae Suk’s collaboration for a special stage show on Infinite Challenge, it should be noted that it technically came into fruition during an episode on the popular variety show earlier this year. According to a report by Koreaboo, there was an episode on Infinite Challenge titled “Lucky Letter” in which each cast member wrote a letter to their fellow members with wishes they would want to see come true. Hwang Kwanghee, one of the cast members, wrote he wished to see Yoo Jae Suk collaborate with EXO because Jae Suk loves to sing and dance.
Eventually, Yoo Jae Suk was seen by Korean fans entering SM Entertainment earlier this month. This sparked a lot of chatter among Infinite Challenge fans and EXO-L (official fan club of EXO), who remembered Hwang Kwanghee’s wish for Jae Suk. Apparently, Jae Suk appearing at SM Entertainment is not the first time he met up with EXO. An insider provided a statement that Yoo Jae Suk and EXO met up earlier to practice their collaboration, as reported by Korean news outlet Nate through a translation by Soompi.
“Yoo Jae Suk and EXO met in Gangnam on August 10 to practice their performance together.”
Since the sightings of Yoo Jae Suk at SM Entertainment, very little information was leaked about their collaboration. Many fans were giddy with anticipation wanting to see what EXO and Jae Suk had in store for them. However, they also expect good things from the “Nation’s MC” and the popular K-pop group, given the amount of time they spent working together.
Fans will not have to wait long because recent articles report that Yoo Jae Suk and EXO have begun to film for their collaboration for Infinite Challenge, starting on Friday, August 26. According to AllKpop, FNC Entertainment provided a statement explaining why Jae Suk was absent from the Busan National Comedy Festival.
“Because of a sudden schedule for a show, it’ll be difficult for Yoo Jae Suk to participate in the 4th annual comedy festival.”
The sudden schedule for the show was the filming of Yoo Jae Suk’s collaboration with EXO. Right now, they are working on the actual special stage appearance for Infinite Challenge, but they did film their practice sessions too, which will eventually be aired in later episodes?
Infinite Challenge airs on Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. KST on the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). For those who do not have access to Korean free-to-air television channels, it is available to watch for free, with ads, on DramaFever, pending region.
[Image via Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)]