7 Times K-Pop Stars Went Majorly Viral Beyond Their Fandoms
K-pop is bigger than ever, and a large part is thanks to formidable fandoms that have made their homes on social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr. Fandom tweets will reach thousands of retweets or reblogs by the minute, but sometimes the content is so engaging or hilarious that it’ll leave the comfortable confines of K-pop fandom and into the reach of “locals” or non-fandom spaces.
Here are seven instances of these moments, as well as the intriguing stories of how they happened!
1. K-pop Girl in the Rainbow Dress
In the fall of 2017, Red Velvet dropped their album “Perfect Velvet” as well as the music video for their title track “Peek-A-Boo.” While everyone loved how much of a bop the song was, they were also properly shaken by the girls’ glorious outfits, particularly Joy’s slinky rainbow dress. It was a glorious week indeed.
Fast forward to November when the group performed on “Inkigayo.” Fans on the internet once again lost their minds when high quality photos of Joy performing at the event in her iconic rainbow dress were released. This time, the photos made its way into the non-K-pop fandom part of Twitter, and Twitter user bellealtmark had to let the Internet know how much she appreciated Joy.
Kpop girl in the rainbow dress idk who you are but you’re all over the tl…. you’re gorgeous
— belle. (@bellealtmark) November 22, 2017
Their simple tweet ended up raking in 9,000 retweets and 18 thousand likes, and ReVeluvs and other Joy appreciators were all over their replies providing them with even more quality pictures.
2. Key the Clown
As seen above, Twitter is one of the hottest spots for its users to retweet and like tweets that, regardless of their interests, end up on their timelines. One tweet that majorly blew up on the website was one by Twitter user youronIyace.
In 2017, they tweeted, “when ur the funny friend so you gotta make jokes but then you get home and get to be sad again,” along with two photos of SHINEE’s Key in a clown costume.
when ur the funny friend so you gotta make jokes but then you get home and get to be sad again pic.twitter.com/1Z5rZ6yK2U
— aaliyah (@youronIyace) January 15, 2017
The photos actually came from 2015, when SM Entertainment held its annual SMTOWN Halloween party with almost all SM artists in attendance. SHINEE’s Key went as Ronald McDonald and went all out with his costume and makeup.
— SMTOWN (@SMTOWNGLOBAL) October 29, 2015
The hilarious photos of Key removing his wig and looking somewhat sad in his costume and makeup racked up a total of 85 thousand retweets and 144 thousand likes.
It was a relatable tweet with the perfect photos to capture that mood. An icon, truly.
3. Hyungwon: Meme King
Is there anyone who doesn’t know of MONSTA X’s Hyungwon? If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ve probably seen his face at least once.
Known for his iconic “Starbucks-sipping” reaction gif, Hyungwon was able to become one of few K-pop stars to be used as a reaction meme even amongst people who weren’t necessarily in MONSTA X’s fandom, let alone into K-pop as a whole.
After circulating the web for a while, director Matthew A. Cherry had to ask the golden question: What was the origin story behind the iconic meme?
I need to know the full backstory behind this gif ?pic.twitter.com/6xtvBNGScA
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) August 5, 2017
Monbebes were quick to inform him that A. This was Hyungwon, B. The gif came from a fantaken video from the group’s fansign event, and C. Yes, he and the group are incredible.
Hyungwon even managed to catch the attention of Starbucks’s official Twitter account when one Twitter user, who was evidently a fan of Hyungwon, tweeted, “wow starbucks REALLY coming after me with that fresh strawberry frap.” The franchise surprisingly tweeted back:
*sips Starbucks like Hyungwon*
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 5, 2018
The exchange didn’t stop there, as everything came full circle when Hyungwon replied to Starbucks’s tweet and seemed to acknowledge his part in being one of the internet’s most beloved reaction gifs:
— 몬스타엑스_MONSTA X (@OfficialMonstaX) June 6, 2018
Hyungwon, a fantastic entertainer, meme legend, and breaker of the fourth wall, everybody.
4. Stan LOONA
Before LOONA even made their official debut in August with their upbeat track “Hi High,” the group was remarkably popular. It’s not surprising since the group had an intensive two years of high quality predebut releases and an established lore, but what made the group particularly unique was its fandom’s dedication to promoting the group. In any popular post online, one could see the words, “Stan LOONA” dotting the replies below.
Perhaps one of the earliest uses of “Stan LOONA” came from Twitter user @noonatheworld in 2016.
— rwa ? [semi hiatus] (@noonatheworld) December 8, 2016
The phrase from their prophetic tweet caught on, and a year later, it became so popular that LOONA became a household name even amongst non-K-pop fans.
i went out with some coworkers the other day, this guy asked me what kinda fanart i drew, i said kpop and he said “oh stan loona” i just stared at him before he was like ‘“i dont know what that means but im gay so i see it all the time”
— alix ★彡 JOON DAY ?GA (@alixdraws) July 31, 2018
— LOOΠΔ PICS (@loonapics) June 15, 2018
Good afternoon stan Loona pic.twitter.com/xLI7ETnFJj
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) February 1, 2018
Who else could have Elon Musk casually tweeting, “Stan LOONA”?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 4, 2018
The simulation is breaking, indeed. Oh, and also, stan LOONA.
5. Jin Woo the K-pop man
Another K-pop star who went viral for his hilarious facial expression, WINNER’s Kim Jin Woo became a meme after Dingo posted a video of the group singing their hit track “Really Really.” Around the 1 minute and 50 seconds mark, Lee Seung Hoon takes a bottle of juice as he recites his lines, “I’ll fill up your empty glass.” He pours the drink into a cup that Jin Woo holds, but misses the mark and ends up spilling the drink halfway through.
Fans found Jin Woo’s expression at that very moment hysterical, and the reaction picture circulated around the internet for a good while.
Eventually, Tumblr user curseworm posted on their blog asking for the picture for an unknown reason. First, they asked where they could find the picture with a simple drawing, but eventually had to upgrade their description to: “There are 8000 of you and none of you have the picture of the kpop man gazing ruefully at his would-be drink cascading to the floor. tumblr is useless im deleting.”
Their description of Jin Woo as “the kpop man gazing ruefully at his would-be drink cascading to the floor” had fandom in stitches, and the post quickly gathered around 45 thousand notes.
Later, Twitter user planetincle took screenshots of the original Tumblr post on Twitter, along with the original Jin Woo reaction picture, and racked up around 16 thousand retweets themselves.
— Vacation T (@planetincle) June 2, 2018
As the posts spread even more and non-K-pop fandoms began to find the entire situation amusing, as with any meme, variations began to pop up and users even created anime versions, such as this:
— Justine @ ? (@j00312_) June 3, 2018
The chaotic energy of the meme was clearly relatable for tons of people, regardless of if they were K-pop fans or not.
6. Billionaire Chinese Couple
Is there any other viral K-pop tweet that’s misled more people than the following?
[BREAKING] Lesbian Chinese Billionaires, Meng Mei Qi and Wu Xuan Yi, marry. Making them the richest couple alive. pic.twitter.com/IEoMunC6s4
— abby (@Iuvizone) April 26, 2017
Last year on April 27, Twitter user Iuvizone had the internet believing that 1. WJSN’s Xuan Yi and Mei Qi were lesbian billionaires, 2. That they had tied the knot, and 3. That they were now the richest couple alive.
To K-pop fans, Iuvizone’s tweet was just another amusing shipping/promotional tweet, but to non-K-pop side of Twitter, this was an amazing mark of progress.
This is awesome. Really hope it's true.
— Jess Green (@JessGreen10) April 27, 2017
The future is female, queer, and Chinese. https://t.co/13apyxTgC7
— Richard Yeh (@ryeh) April 28, 2017
— Eric. (@ericthulhu) April 27, 2017
The tweet quickly gained tens and thousands of retweets (with currently 26 thousand retweets and 44 thousand likes). Fans of WJSN took the opportunity to promote WJSN’s single “I Wish.”
— emptiness (@floweryflesh) April 27, 2017
Billionaires Meng Mei Qi and Wu Xuan Yi would want you to BUY Cosmic Girls album. Do so if you support their marriage.
— manhwa unnie (@rootsmihyun) April 28, 2017
BuzzFeed later interviewed the original poster of the tweet, where she stated that she had made the tweet to amuse the group’s fans, and hadn’t expected it to go so viral. She stated, “I thought they looked like they were at a wedding with the dresses they were wearing, and the dresses sure looked expensive.” She also added that she assumed people would fact-check first, but the incident just “[showed] the power of what we want to happen.”
After looking further into the tweet, many discovered that the photo used in the tweet was actually from the 2017 Beijing International Film Festival, and was uploaded by Xuan Yi on to her Weibo page.
7. BTS’s Jin, the “Third from the Left”
2017 marked an amazing year for BTS, with three Daesangs for their work at the Melon Music Awards and Mnet Asian Music Awards, to their American activities which included a performance at the AMAs and appearances on shows such as “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden.”
The 2017 Billboard Music Awards helped skyrocket the group’s popularity in the States, and they were able to make K-pop history with their win as Top Social Artist. However, one member in particular gained attention for his handsome looks during the red carpet event: Jin.
— ㅂㅌㅅ (@bwijin) May 22, 2017
Those who stumbled across the group’s photos from the event were enamored by Jin, the “third guy from the left.” ARMY wasn’t surprised though, since Jin had previously been known as the “car door guy” for the same reason.
fun fact: google “car door guy”
it trended on twitter after jin stepped out of a car & got everyone shook bc he was so handsome
— ♡ (@parkjiminslips) April 2, 2017
Jin acknowledged the moment a few days later during an interview with Billboard, where he stated, “I’m worldwide handsome,” and proceeded to blow a hand kiss at the camera.
You sure are, Jin, you sure are.
Did we miss any viral K-pop moments? Which did you find the funniest, or the most random? Let us know in the comments below!