Anyone have a question?
The seven cuties from popular K-pop boy band Infinite looked stunned when they were greeted with it during their half-hour press conference for their One Great Step world tour here last Friday.
As bona fide idols used to thunderous screams and unabashed declarations of love from their fans, Sung Kyu, Dong Woo, Woo Hyun, Hoya, Sung Yeol, L and Sung Jong faced the local media, stumped at the apparent lack of interest.
Not a single reporter stood to ask them a question.
The seconds ticked by. The awkward silence continued.
"Does anyone have a question? Don't be shy?" the emcee, Korean-Australian host Yvette King, implored, sounding tentative.
By this time, the septet, with ages ranging from 19 to 24, had started fiddling uncomfortably with their hair, hands and mobile phones.
The truth is, it was no fault of theirs. The press conference, held at the Fairmont Singapore hotel, had been organised in a deliberate and limiting fashion by Infinite's team and this didn't go down well with the roomful of reporters.
We were allowed to ask only questions related to a topic after it was announced by the emcee.
For experienced K-pop reporters who were already used to sending in questions before such press conferences, this latest method reflected just how much control Korean artists' management likes to have.
One could almost hear the sound of notebooks closing as realisation hit that questions that had been painstakingly prepared beforehand would go unanswered. And the topics that had been offered for our consideration? Singapore; world tour concert/dance/new songs; hobbies; and teamwork between members.
One daring soul decided to ask L how he felt about being a spokesman for women's cosmetics.
Oh no! He had veered off-topic! The translator was stopped from reading him the question, so he replied with... you guessed it - more silence.