The Korean invasion: New Yorkers are screaming for the wave of pop stars..
The symptoms are uncontrollable shrieks, intense heart palpitations, soaked palms, speaking — and squealing — in foreign tongues.
Now arriving in New York City: The South Korean phenomenon known as “hallyu,” or “Korean Wave.”
Already a craze in Asia, the wave has opened the floodgates of K-Pop in France, Brazil, Germany and Australia. Now it’s about to take over New York.
Fans will pack a sold-out Madison Square Garden Sunday night for a concert presented by SM, one of South Korea’s biggest record labels. The lineup: Girls’ Generation, f(x), BoA, Kangta, TVXQ, Super Junior and SHINee.
If you don’t know the names, don’t worry. Think of the show as a combination of the annual Jingle Ball extravaganza and a big helping of Seoul Train.
And if fans are pumped, so are the performers.
“It is absolutely a dream come true,” Tiffany Hwang, 22, one member of Girls’ Generation told the Daily News. “I’m so excited. All I’ve been looking forward to was this weekend for a pretty long time.”
A previous SM concert in Paris sold out in under 15 minutes. A second show was added and tickets went in less than 10 minutes.
Korean pop has been causing a frenzy in NYC, too.
On a recent Monday afternoon, hordes of fans outnumbered tourists in Times Square, holding colorful cardboard signs outside of MTV’s TRL studios. The cheers weren’t for Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, but for a group of South Korean acts including B2ST and 4 Minute. One fan issued a familiar cry.
“Oh my God, this is a dream come true!” exclaimed Nicole Asmat, 19, who was part of the lucky audience inside TRL studios. A flood of tears drenched her face after one of her favorite stars held her hand from the stage.
“I haven’t seen this in years,” Peter Griffin, executive vice president at MTV said while peering at the crowd outside. “It reminds me of when ‘N Sync was here and the fans lined up around the studio.”
Just one day earlier, 40,000 fans screamed as K-Pop heartthrobs 2PM and TVXQ, among others, performed at the New York Korean Festival in Overpeck County Park in Bergen County, N.J. The next morning residents complained to authorities about the crowd noise.
“They mean so much to me. I started dancing again because of them,” Ana Ciprian, 15, shrieked from her seat, wildly clapping her hands.
Others, like Katerin Morales, 21, traveled from Texas to get her up-close and personal dose of K-Pop. “I’m having a moment,” she said, her left hand covering her mouth. “They’re so far away that I never thought I’d see them.”
Ashley Diomedi, 20, drove eight hours from Virginia; Kharla Salazar, 22, took a red-eye flight from Miami; Virgine Cote and five of her friends traveled from Quebec.
“Korean pop stars are beautiful, and I love them because they care so much about their fans,” said Cote, sporting a bright shirt with the words SHINee — her favorite band — emblazoned in bold letters, while tugging on her art book, filled with sketches of Korean celebrities.
“We don’t have singers like them in Canada.”
The Backstreet Boys in their heyday have nothing on this band. After some member drama last year, where three performers decided to leave, the two survivors, Max Changmin and U-Know Yunho, carried on. With tight choreography and impressive pipes, this dynamic duo has become the epitome of K-Pop: slick dance moves, stellar musical productions and big voices to boot.
Download this: “Before You Go,” a soft ballad that showcases just how refined and beautiful voices in Korean pop music can be.