The 10 Top K-Pop Idol Actors Of 2016

Don’t you just love it when your K-pop bias decides to try his or her hand at acting? It’s even more satisfying and exciting when they are actually really talented. This past year has proven to have its fair share of very talented idol actors who received a lot of well-deserved attention.

Let’s have a look at some of our favorite idols who killed it on the small-screen in 2016 (in no particular order)!

Also test your knowledge of these acting idols: QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Your Idol Actors?

1. Minah (Girl’s Day)

This was Minah’s first time starring in a drama, which was impressive considering how well she was able to take on the role. Although it wasn’t a drama that was in the spotlight, it proved to be well-received from K-drama lovers. Her quirky, but very much relatable character as Kong Shim in “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim” was pretty irresistible. I still can’t get over her adorable haircut and scene in the drama where she was hiding in garbage.

Watch “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim”:

Link to video:

2. Baekhyun (EXO)

This idol actor made his breakthrough performance in the SBS drama “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo.” It being his first big role, there was obviously room for improvement, but Baekhyun was able to capture the fun-loving and innocent persona of Wang Eun well. His chemistry with his on-screen wife Park Soon Duk (Z. Hera) was also entertaining to watch. How many of you shed a tear or two during the scenes where Baekhyun was crying? Let’s hope he’s in some more dramas or movies in upcoming years!

3. Jinyoung (B1A4)

jinyoung moonlight drawn by clouds

Having just won the Newcomer Award at the KBS Drama Awards, Jinyoung proved that he’s a man of many talents. He received a lot of praise for his portrayal of Ji Ha in the movie “Miss Granny” and his acting ability was further affirmed through his character Kim Yoon Sung in “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds.” As the love-stricken playboy, Jinyoung was able to draw us into his character effortlessly. He was even praised by fellow co-star Kim Yoo Jung; she mentioned in an interview that she really ended up crying in a scene with him because of the sincere emotions she felt from him.

Watch “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”:

4. Choi Sooyoung (Girls’ Generation)

Choi Sooyoung’s repertoire of dramas continues to grow as well as her reputation as a serious actress. She’s got the natural talent and ability to play versatile characters. Her amazing award-winning performance in “The Spring Day of My Life” showed that she could be taken seriously as an actress. Then with her performance this past year in “Squad 38” as the strong and stubborn civil servant, Chun Sung Hee, our beautiful idol proved that she wasn’t a one-hit wonder. I predict her having a strong and steady career as an actress.

Watch “Squad 38”:

5. Onew (SHINee)

Onew’s performance in the hit KBS drama “Descendants of the Sun” caught viewers off guard. He really did knock it out of the park and put any doubts of his acting ability to rest. There were several scenes where he was able to showcase the depth and heart-broken emotions of his character, Lee Chi Hoon. Congrats to our SHINee leader for being so talented!

Watch “Descendants of the Sun”:

6. Yuri (Girls’ Generation)

2016 was a big year for Girls’ Generation member Yuri as she was able to star in two dramas. She played a writer and love interest of Lee Soo Hyuk in the crime/mystery drama “Neighborhood Hero,” and starred in the web drama titled “Gogh, The Starry Night” alongside Kim Young Kwang, where she played the snarky, but endearing advertisement company employee Go Ho. It was a sweet classic love story where she was caught in the middle of a love triangle. Yuri was adorable in it, showing her ability to act in a romantic comedy role. Although it was a web-drama of just four episodes, her performance was charming and I was a bit disappointed that it was so short. What a busy year for this idol actress!

Watch “Gogh, The Starry Night”:

Link to video:

7. Hyeri (Girl’s Day)

This was a big year for Girl’s Day member Hyeri. This girl group idol was able to show her impressive acting abilities in “Reply 1988.” There were many scenes throughout the drama where she showed such sadness and passion through her character that we were moved to tears. This is an impressive feat for a rookie actress and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will become one of the best idol actresses in the industry. The success she gained from “Reply 1988” even led to another starring role in the drama “Entertainer” alongside Ji Sung.

Watch “Reply 1988”:

Link to video:

8. Taecyeon (2PM)

Taecyeon has been busy this past year, starring in the drama “Let’s Fight Ghost” alongside Kim So Hyun as well as the highly publicized web drama “7 First Kisses.” In “Let’s Fight Ghost,” Taecyeon plays Park Bong Pal, an exorcist. His character in the drama is innocent and romantic and it was fun to see his on-screen chemistry with the Kim So Hyun (the two of them really did make a cute couple). Being one of the more experienced idol actors, Taecyeon is proving to be one of the most successful idol-turned-actors in the industry.

9. Nana (After School)

Probably the most pleasantly surprising performance out of all these K-pop idols came through Nana’s first role on the small-screen as Kim Dan in “The Good Wife.” Because this drama was a re-make of the hit American show, there was a lot of pressure on this cast and crew to deliver a solid production. The public found it difficult to accept Nana in such a star-studded cast. However, after the drama’s premiere, she received a lot of positive feedback from critics and viewers. People were thoroughly impressed with her ability to act as the bisexual law firm researcher. The fact that she had to act alongside veteran actress Jeon Do Yeon must have been difficult enough, but she was able to overcome it and deliver a solid performance.

10. Kang Min Hyuk (CNBLUE)

Kang Min Hyuk has really come a long way from minor roles in several dramas. I still remember him from the 2011 drama “Heartstrings,” where he played that adorable and innocent drummer, Yeo Joon Hee. Kang Min Hyuk had expressed a strong passion for acting early on in his K-pop career, but did not really get a big break until his role this past year the singer Cho Ha Neul in “Entertainer.” Although he did not have a lot of experience playing complex characters, Kang Min Hyuk was able to take on this challenge and was even given the Excellence Award (for romantic comedy) at the SBS Drama Awards. Congrats!

Watch “Entertainer”:

Link to video:

Review the nominees for Best Idol Actor again here:


The 12th Annual Soompi Awards is sponsored by Spottoon, a premium comics library, and held in partnership with American network Fuse and Korea’s top production house ZANYBROS.

binahearts is a Soompi writer who can be most often seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in dessert. Her current obsessions include Song Joong Ki, Big Bang, “Goblin,” and “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

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