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T-ladies take on K-pop

Despite showing off their slender figures their album cover the members of Popu Lady are not just aiming at the male crowd. -TNP
Mervin Tay

Thu, Dec 20, 2012
The New Paper

They are young, attractive and not entirely new to showbiz. Sounds like a typical Korean girl group.

But no, Popu Lady is not from the land of kimchi.

Instead, the band may be Taiwan's bid to rival the Korean stars who have dominated much of the Asian pop scene this year.

Made up of Hong Shi, 24, Da Yuan, 23, Bao Er, 22, Ting Xuan, 21, and Yu Shan, who has not revealed her age, Popu Lady recently launched Keep On Loving, its debut EP with six tracks and a 68-page pictorial book.

Despite showing off their slender figures and flowing tresses on their album cover, in the pictorial book and in their music video, the members of Popu Lady are not just aiming at the male crowd.

Their record label, HIM International, hopes they will become "girlfriends of guys and good friends of girls".

They also have high expectations to meet.

After all, the last girl group their label launched was S.H.E, which went on to become one of Mandopop's most successful groups.

It seems they have also been put on a similar launch formula as S.H.E. S.H.E's first single back in 2001, Not Yet Lovers, was a cover of Destiny's Child's Brown Eyes, and it shot the Taiwanese trio to fame.

For Popu Lady, the title track, Keep On Loving, may ring a bell with some - it is a cover of Norweigan pop duo M2M's 2000 hit, Pretty Boy.

Although the five are mostly in their early 20s, they are no showbiz newbies.

They seem to think a short and catchy name will make it easier for people to remember them.

Two of them took stage names, Da Yuan (real name Lin Ying-zhen) and Bao Er (Wu Jun-ting).

Hong Shi is short for Hong Shi-han. Yu Shan's full name is Liu Yu-shan.

Wu's previous stage name was Ben Bao, which literally means "stupid treasure", but she changed it to Bao Er after joining Popu Lady.

Wise move, we say. Avid viewers of Taiwanese variety shows might also find some of the girls familiar.

Group leader Da Yuan made her debut in 2010 as a regular on talkshow University.

She also had roles in Taiwanese movies like this year's Bad Girls and The Fierce Wife Final Episode.

And she is now filming a drama, tentatively titled Beauty Hot Spring, alongside Taiwanese actor Mike He.

Her size 32D chest has been the subject of much discussion, making her one of several performers commonly mentioned as a goddess for otakus (Japanese for geeks), with the others being singers Yao Yao and Amber An.

At a Taiwanese campus concert in October, Da Yuan joked that her star was "on the rise" after becoming part of Popu Lady.

 "After becoming a singer, I got many acting offers. But it is also stressful, because I have to juggle my singing and acting work," she said.

Hong Shi may not have assets as ample as Da Yuan's, but she has been in showbiz even longer.

She was part of Blackie's Teenage club, an all-girl talkshow which aired from 2005 to 2009.

She later hosted music programmes and made regular appearances on the variety show circuit.

Yu Shan also debuted with University, while Bao Er was talent-spotted from a 2008 television programme Unbeatable Youth, in which hosts searched for swimsuit babes.

The only new entrant to showbiz is Ting Xuan, who had only appeared in two advertisements with label mate Aaron Yan.

But now her star is also on the rise.

She has a movie titled Machi Action out in Taiwan next month.

It is written by Giddens Ko, director of last year's smash hit You Are the Apple Of My Eye, and starring Taiwanese actor Chen Bo-lin. 

Singing together and acting individually, Popu Lady seems to be following in the footsteps of S.H.E and any number of Korean girl groups.

Can the group be as successful as these?

Their test began last week, as they started promoting Keep On Loving in Taiwan.

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