This week’s SBS “Strong Heart” was the 2nd part of last week’s episode, “Golden Vocals.” The show brought in special guests all known for their unique voices, as the list included: Wang Young Eun (MC), Hyun Young (MC/entertainer), Joo Young Hoon (singer/music producer), Lee Byung Joon (voice artist/actor), Lee Jenny (actress/model), Jung Yong Hwa (CN Blue), Lee Jung Shin (CN Blue), Hwang Gwang Hee (ZE:A), and Son Eun Seo (actress). The grand winner of this week’s show was surprisingly Son Eun Seo, the up and coming actress with a beautiful smile, who despite her shy and timid-looking demeanor, shared an emotional moment to steal the prize away from Wang Young Eun, who was enjoying a seven “talk” winning streak with her story of a broadcasting accident that’s never really been publicized in the past.
“Strong Heart” never fails to bring laughs to its viewers and this week too was just another episode filled with funny, real life anecdotes recited by star celebrities. I personally really enjoyed the “talk” (“Strong Heart” refers each speaker’s story as “talk”) by Lee Jung Shin, the bassist of CN Blue, for his sincerity and innocence in carrying home what he thought to be a giant piece of diamond. Jung Yong Hwa was pretty good with his contact lens-losing incident during a live performance, and Joo Young Hoon’s “talk” about his feelings and trends in today’s K-Pop industry was quite interesting too. But Son Eun Suh (the next Seohyun?) was no doubt the most impressive as she broke down in tears when a special guest (?) surprised everyone by showing up on stage and giving her a hug—thus becoming the 41st “Talk Champion” of Strong Heart.
Best Talk of the Day: Son Eun Suh’s topic was “What’s common between Lee Seung Ki and Son Eun Suh?” It turns out both were class presidents in middle school, although Lee Seung Ki added he was class president in high school too (not that surprising for his “smart image”). She said the main reason for running for class president was because she wanted to impress her father. Her father is a veteran marine and comes from the Kyung Sang Province (the southern part of Korea where in general it is known to have guys that could come off as being quiet and indifferent but deep inside cares a lot about others). So growing up, she always had this image of her father as a strict dad who seldom talks, and when she told him she wanted to become a celebrity in high school, he got really mad. Her father wanted Son Eun Suh to just focus on her studies and live a regular life, but she wanted to chase her dream as an actress so she told her dad, “I don’t need any support from you. Just let me go to Seoul and learn acting.” Later on she got into a school in Seoul and continued her path as an actress, but her dad was still upset with her decision (In Korea, some of the conservative parents despise seeing their children become celebrities).
Kang Ho Dong asked her what the most disappointing experience as an actress was, and she said, “If you search my name online, the top result is ‘Son Eun Suh bikini.’” She once wore a bikini in one of her TV dramas and it became a big issue when it first aired. Shortly after her bikini photos got publicized, her dad called and said he saw the article—but didn’t say anything else. Not hearing anything from him made her feel really ashamed of herself as she felt like she did something really bad. Another thing that really upset her was “Son Eun Suh Anti fans” search results (the term “anti” is used for “haters” or people who leave negative comments about certain celebrities). When she sees those comments, she said she doesn’t feel as bad, but thinks of how bad her parents would feel. So Kang Ho Dong asked her to leave a video message for her dad where she basically said, “I’m really shy to say this on TV and I don’t know what to say, but wherever I am and whatever I do, I’ll try to be the best daughter to you. I love you.” As everyone started to get emotional and Son Eun Suh started to shed tears, Kang Ho Dong said he’s got a very special guest for her. It turns out they invited her dad to the TV set without telling her, and much to the surprise, he just showed up from the crowd. He said he was really touched by her video message as she started to cry. Later he came on stage and gave Son Eun Suh a hug, telling her, “I don’t usually say things much and don’t express my feelings a lot, but I wanted to tell you how much I love you and how proud of you I am.” This stuff never grows old—MCs asking for a video message and then bringing in a surprise guest to make the speaker break down in tears. Kang Ho Dong is probably the master at doing this and he’s done it countless times on TV, but to be honest with you, I think I’m going to enjoy it every time I see it.
Runner up: Wang Young Eun is a veteran MC who was prominent in the 80s as one of the best TV moderators in the country. She told a story that happened in 1981 when she MC’d a radio audition program for college students (that was all the wave in the 80s). The show was held at a beach in front of a huge crowd, and the show was supposed to air sometime in the following week. The show finished its recording successfully and the whole recording crew went out for a party to celebrate the ending. But after the party, the tape that’s supposed to have the show recorded for some reason disappeared as the whole crew just got drunk at the beach. Since it’s an audition program with no script, it was impossible to record the show again, but the show had to air within a few days. The producer of the show then told the whole crew, and audition participants, that they were going to have to record the whole thing again—as if nothing had happened and no one knew about the outcome (but the winner was going to be the same nonetheless). So the eliminated contestants basically had to perform again as if they had no idea of their disqualifications and the winner had to pretend like he really had no clue of his award (LOL). The bigger problem was they couldn’t stay at the beach anymore so the recording crew created fake sounds of the wave and seagulls crying at their studio in Seoul! The funniest thing was the grand prize winner actually reenacted the whole winning scene, screaming as if he was really surprised by the announcement. After the show finally got aired, no one complained or suspected of the show’s recordings, and they even received praise for “putting on a perfect show” by upper management. Wang Young Eun said this story was never revealed for 30 years and it was the first time to tell in public. Honestly, the “talk” wasn’t all that funny per se, but it was an interesting story and she gets extra points for unveiling something that’s never been told before. But it is a shocker how the radio production crew was able to pull off such a thing; you probably won’t see this in today’s entertainment business anymore with the advent of the Internet and YouTube and stuff.
Personal Favorite: Lee Jung Shin of CN Blue told a story about finding a rough diamond on the streets. He said he has a thing with accidentally finding valuable items on the streets, be it a necklace or cash. One time in high school, he came across a giant rough diamond sitting on the bus station. He immediately picked it up and ran away, thinking it’s something that would cost millions of dollars. He ran into a public bathroom and hid the supposed diamond under his tongue, just so it wouldn’t get damaged, and took a deluxe taxi (which normally costs twice the regular cabs) back home. His mom later took the diamond to a jewelry store and found out that the diamond was in fact something called “cubic zircon.” A cubic zircon is a synthesized material that looks very much like a raw diamond valued at the same price as pretty much a fake diamond. So his dream of hitting the jackpot with this supposedly fake diamond was broken—but he still wonders if his mom told him the truth because right after the incident happened, his mom got a new hairdo, new bed, and clothes. I don’t know how to take this story. It sounds so scripted but Lee Jung Shin’s facial expression and voice sounds make it look so true. If it were indeed true, I think Lee Jung Shin was one naïve, young little boy. His hopes, desperation, and disappointment of shattered dreams were just too funny to be true.
Other notables: Jung Yong Hwa gave his story of losing his contact lens during a concert in Japan. He said shortly after the concert began his vision got blurry and he found out his contacts had fallen out. He couldn’t focus and had to motion towards his manager to bring a new set of contacts and eventually he was able to pull through and have a great performance. But what really caught the eyes of the viewers were Jung Yong Hwa’s pictures during his high school days. It turns out he was one of those “Internet Ulzzangs” (Ulzzang in Korean means best-looking) and photos of him skiing somehow became really popular after it got posted on his friend’s personal blog. I always thought the guy had the looks to be a star celebrity but had no idea he was already quite famous in high school. He makes such a good couple with Seohyun it would have been nice to see the two still together on MBC “We Got Married”; although from what I heard he was the one who liked her more.
Funny moment: When Son Eun Suh talked about her “anti fans,” Kang Ho Dong said “We have two of the most legendary ‘anti-fan’ generators in history here,” referring to Joo Young Hoon and Moon Hee Jun. The latter is probably better known to you as he’s the former H.O.T. leader. Moon Hee Jun gave his two cents regarding ‘anti fans,’ saying, “I used to think, ‘Did I make a big mistake?’ so I asked my manger to print out all the negative comments, and it came out to be as thick as two copies of a ‘Britannica.’” He said it’s important to be yourself and don’t monitor the negative comments to learn about your mistakes. You should just ignore those comments and rather seek advice from close friends or colleagues—hinting at Moon Hee Jun himself could be that close advisor for her, as he offered to buy a drink and give advice on how to deal with negative comments (that’s a pretty neat pick up line). “Anti fans” have become a serious issue in Korea lately and a few celebrities have even committed suicide following massive attacks of negative comments by these fans. Moon Hee Jun almost ended his career as a celebrity in the mid 2000s when “anti fans” just jumped all over him and filled online comment boards with harsh, disturbing comments. However, he’s been able to make a comeback with the help of some of his colleagues (most notably Kim Goo Ra) and it’s good to see him make a joke out of himself and his own experience with “antis” since that means he’s overcome all the hurt feelings he probably got from those comments. He really didn’t do anything that bad to warrant such negative comments from the fans.