The Wonder Girls (Korean: 원더걸스) are a South Korean girl group. They are produced by singer-songwriter Park Jin-Young and are signed to his talent agency, JYP Entertainment. Each of the five original members were selected through auditions. Debuting in early 2007, they became popular in the fall of that year with the song “Tell Me.”
The Wonder Girls debuted on February 10, 2007 on Show! Music Core, singing “Irony”, the hip-hop single from their debut mini-album, The Wonder Begins. The mini-album went on to become a minor hit, selling 11,454 copies in 2007.
Throughout the rest of 2007, however, the Wonder Girls were beset by various injuries and health problems. On June 25, Sohee was sidelined for a month after tearing a knee ligament falling off a motorcycle during the filming of 뜨거운 것이 좋아 (I Like It Hot).The remaining four members continued performing until late July, when Hyuna was removed from the group due to their concern over her health—in particular, chronic gastroenteritis which had her hospitalized briefly in March and April.
RISE TO POPULARITY
On September 5, 2007, Good Entertainment, the talent agency for the popular boy band Shinhwa, sent their trainee Yubin to JYP Entertainment as a
replacement for Hyuna. She made her debut three days later in the group’s live performance of “Tell Me” on Music Bank .
Their first full-length album, The Wonder Years, was released the following week, on September 13, 2007, with “Tell Me.” Due to the last-minute addition of Yubin, the album version does not contain her part. However, the performance version of the song was reworked to include a bridge with Yubin’s rap. The single was a hit and reached number one on various Korean television and internet music charts, including KBS’s Music Bank.
The choreography for the song was simple and widely imitated: by October, many fan performances of the dance circulated on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Daum, including one by a group of policemen who were eventually profiled on SBS’s Star King. The dance became so popular it was known as the ‘Tell Me Virus’ and earned them the title of ‘Korea’s Little Sisters’.
Wonder Girls had an extensive promotional schedule for their album and in December 2007 they began performing the second single from the album, “이 바보” (”This Fool”). They made numerous appearances on variety and game shows, sang live on radio, at music festivals, on music shows, and in special joint performances with other groups such as Big Bang. MTV has also aired three seasons of The Wonder Life, a reality TV series starring the girls. In January 2008, however, they ceased promotion of their album to prepare for their concert in United States that was scheduled for March 2008.
The Wonder Girls have had several showcases in China shortly after their debut in 2007 and have been receiving Chinese language lessons.
In February 2008, the Wonder Girls joined their producer Park Jin-young for his month-long concert tour through Korea and the United States (including New York City and Los Angeles) as special guests, and took the opportunity to film the music video for “Wishing on a Star” while in New York City. Park had stated that the concerts were also meant to be a showcase for his other protégés, such as Min, G-Soul, and Lim Jeong Hee.
The Wonder Girls held a fan meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2008, attracting over 10,000 fans. Organizers stated that it was one of the most successful events for a Korean artist in Thailand. The group also performed at the 26th annual Chuseok festival in Flushing, Queens, New York on September 21, 2008, joining other artists in the JYP family.
Return to Korea
In May 2008, over the course of 5 days a picture of each member, sporting their new “sexy” image, was released starting with Ye-eun and ending with Sohee. Following this a preview track from the upcoming single was released. There were rumours that past member Hyuna would be returning to the group; JYP Entertainment confirmed that this was not the case.
Their new single, “So Hot”, was released on May 22, 2008; the song topped online charts in the next few days.They began their comeback performances on May 31, 2008 on MBC’s Music Core, performing “So Hot” and “This Time”. The full single was released on June 3, 2008, containing the title track, the rap version of “Tell Me”, “This Time”, and “You’re Out”. Due to vocal cord problems, Yubin lip-synched her parts under doctor’s orders until late July. She has since then made a full recovery and continues to perform live. ‘So Hot’ received #1 on the first comeback performance.
It was announced that promotional activities for “So Hot” would end at the end of July 2008, and that the group would instead prepare for their third mini-album, to be released the end of September. Recently, they were featured on Virgin Media’s website and one of the top 10 ‘Girl-bands to watch’ as well as having a stunt of publicity from Perez Hilton who blogged about ‘Nobody’ and ‘So Hot’ on his blog.
In September 2008, various hints and teasers were put up on their official website, including a teaser trailer that was also put up on JYP Entertainment’s official YouTube account. The full music video was then released on September 22, 2008, with the single, “Nobody”, being digitally released on the same day. They made their comeback the following weekend on Music Core, Music Bank, and Inkigayo.