Kim Jong Kook may be the only male South Korean star with an almost equal number of male and female fans in Singapore.
At his 2-hour fan meet at Kallang Theatre on Feb 22, the ladies came hand-in-hand with their boyfriends, husbands, and even sons.
Well-known for his ripped physique, the 36-year-old entertainer is 1 of 7 hosts in popular Korean race-style variety show Running Man.
Demonstrating his sheer strength and lightning reflexes in Running Man’s strategic missions, the star has earned the nicknames ‘Sparta’, ‘commander’ and ‘tiger’, among other Running Man hosts. It’s precisely this physical finesse and wit that have won him the respect of the male audience, while the ladies swoon over his gentlemanly charm.
With 7 solo albums and more than 20 Korean music awards under his belt, this “Sparta” is no K-pop newbie. He was also previously a regular on prominent variety shows X-Manand Family Outing.
Kim performed to a sell-out crowd of 1,500 at the fan meeting – no mean feat for the entertainer, considering the fact that he hasn’t had any prior promotional activities in Singapore.
Despite his many accolades, Kim had no airs about him. The former boy band member humbly expressed his genuine surprise at the turnout after he kicked off the evening with his 2008 single “Today More Than Yesterday”.
“I’m not sure if you guys know this, but I’m actually a singer, (I’m) not just on Running Man,” Kim added for good measure, in proficient English.
Looking dapper in a fitted pale blue shirt and jeans, Kim sang his way into the hearts of his fans with his signature high vocal register.
Throughout the rest of his fan meet, the variety show veteran showed his sincerity in the way he mingled with his fans during the games segment. Fans were picked at random to participate in physical games like Tug-O-War on stage, and the affable star was ever so willing to offer hugs to female fans who burst into tears at the prospect of being so physically close to their idol.
Fans who wanted to see Kim’s athletic prowess during the games would have been disappointed as the gentleman lost, on purpose, every time he faced off a female fan. He has mentioned in more than 1 media interview that women are his weakness.
“Why am I even doing this?” the exhausted singer asked halfway through the games, evoking the laughter and sympathy of his fans.
At the fan meet, Kim was also asked about his ideal partner, a question he said he has received many times. Besides the usual “not too tall” height requirement, the bachelor hopes that his wife will have big eyes because his own eyes are “too small”.
Before the last segment of the fan meet, Kim told his fans, “I feel so happy that I’ve received big love, and I’ll keep on doing my best.”
Like the rest of his fans, UrbanWire couldn’t help but go ‘awww’.
As the lights dimmed in the theatre for the last time that evening, fans whipped out their green glow sticks and waved them from side to side. The singer rounded off the fan meet with a handful of his most well loved tunes, such as “One Man”, “Lovely” and his latest single “Men Are All Like That”, which he penned.
Fans cried out for more after his last song, and could only be appeased when Kim promised he’d talk to Running Man producers about the possibility of filming an episode in Singapore.
With such an endearing presence, it is easy to understand why Kim has such a diverse fan base in Singapore. Let’s just hope he makes good on his promise.
All photos courtesy of Mode Entertainment.