K-pop boy band B.A.P back in Singapore after two years
A thousand S'pore supporters of K-pop's B.A.P give idols a screaming reception
Five days ago, fans of Korean band Got7 flooded the floors of City Square Mall as they tried to catch a glimpse of their "oppas" (an affectionate Korean term by women for older men).
Last night, it was fellow K-pop boy band B.A.P's turn to draw the screaming crowd at the same Serangoon mall.
The sextet, made up of Yongguk, 26, Himchan, 26, Daehyun, 22, Youngjae, 22, Jongup, 21, and Zelo, 19, are in Singapore as part of their B.A.P Live on Earth 2016 Awake!! world tour and will be performing tonightat The Star Performing Arts Centre.
Despite the hysterical welcome given by nearly 1,000-strong "Babyz", the official name given to their fans, Yongguk and Himchan appeared far from excited and looked as if they would rather not be there.
But that may have been because the boys had landed in Singapore just hours earlier, from Bangkok, where they had held a concert the night before.
Known for their adrenaline-pumping, dark and edgy concept, B.A.P debuted in January 2012 with their single Warrior and went on to release chart-topping hits such as One Shot, No Mercy and Badman.
At the height of their success, the group won Best Korean Act and Best Japan and Korea Act during the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.
However, the boy band made headlines in November 2014 when the members collectively filed a lawsuit against their agency TS Entertainment to terminate their contracts, citing unfair treatment and profit distribution, and went on a hiatus for nearly a year.
Last August, the group reached a settlement with their agency and were back in November with the title track Young, Wild & Free.
Their ninth EP, Carnival, released in February this year, showed a bright, playful, upbeat concept, very different from the group's previous masculine and heavy-rock sound.
Polytechnic student Shea Mariff, 22, who had won free tickets and an autograph session with the band through Singtel, said she loves the fact that her favourite boy band is back, but she does not understand the group's decision to get back with their management company.
"I don't understand why they would want to go back to the company which treated them like that. But it's up to them. If it makes them happy, we (the fans) can only be happy for them."
During the press conference, Daehyun and Youngjae, who were the cheeriest members, sent fans into a frenzy as they did "aegyo" (a Korean term for cute displays of affection) and showed their love for chilli crab with their hands in the air.
The group was also taught how to speak Singlish and showered their adoring fans with endless streams of "I love you lah" and "I miss you lah".
For loyal fans like polytechnic student Koh Jing Tong, 18, who had been waiting for the boys to arrive since 6am, B.A.P is not just another boy band.
"I have no regrets waiting here since 6am. I've been listening to their old songs and watched their videos during their hiatus," she said. "They are my strength and my motivation."
WHAT: B.A.P Live on Earth 2016 Awake!! world tour in Singapore
WHERE: The Star Performing Arts Theatre, The Star Theatre
WHEN: Today, 7.30pm
TICKETS: $89 to $259 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg)