This month, media entertainment company SOON ENT polled 50 famous South Korean influencers with a combined worldwide follower count of 160 million to vote for the top idol acts of 2021 so far. Now, the results are finally in—here are their top 5 picks for female K-Pop acts.
5. Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon is the only soloist to make the top five female acts ranking with three votes from influencers overall. Just before the year started, Taeyeon returned to variety show hosting after 10 years when she joined the cast of tvN‘s Amazing Saturday. Then, in May, she featured on SHINee Taemin‘s Advice album as part of the song “If I Could Tell You.”
Taeyeon’s first comeback of the year then finally came this month when she released digital single “Weekend,” which peaked at no.10 on Gaon and made it to the Billboard US World Digital Songs chart top 10.
MAMAMOO ranked fourth after receiving five influencer votes. MAMAMOO’s year started with contract renewal discussions. Solar and Moonbyul were the first to renew with Hwasa joining in March. However, in June, it was announced that Wheein would be departing the company. Thankfully, this isn’t the end for MAMAMOO, and all four members will continue to promote together until December 2023 at the earliest.
In May, MAMAMOO became the first K-Pop group to host a concern on LiveNOW, shortly before teasing their latest comeback. Then, they revealed the 2021 WAW (Where Are We) project to commemorate their seventh anniversary: an album, a summer concert, and a documentary. The mini-album, WAW, topped iTunes charts in over 20 countries last month and sold over 40,000 copies on its first day.
TWICE received nine votes in total, making them joint for second place. One of TWICE’s first notable events of the year was Twice in Wonderland, their second online concert. It was there that the group announced “Kura Kura,” their latest Japanese single from their upcoming album Perfect World.
The group also released a highly successful Korean mini-album this year: Taste of Love, along with the title track “Alcohol-Free.” Taste of Love became TWICE’s first top 10 album on the Billboard 200 chart when it debuted at no.6. Last month, the group also revealed they’ll be releasing an English digital single later this year.
2. Brave Girls
After their surprising revival, Brave Girls also scored joint-second place with nine votes from Korean influencers. After a YouTube compilation went viral, Brave Girls’ 2017 song “Rollin'” smashed the Korean charts, earning them the highest number of Perfect All-Kills for a girl group in history. With their first win on SBS‘s Inkigayo 1,584 days after their debut, they broke the record for the longest time period between a debut and a first win.
After booking numerous solo and group endorsement deals this year, Brave Girls continued their success this summer with Summer Queen and its title track “Chi Mat Ba Ram,” both of which peaked at no.3 on the Gaon charts.
Last but not least, the number-one spot goes to aespa, chosen by 24 of the 50 influencers polled. Aespa only debuted in late 2020, but they’re fast becoming one of the most popular girl groups in the country.
They started their year off with remake single Forever, later going on to drop the first episode of their SM Culture Universe YouTube series. Then, in May, the group released a new single: “Next Level.” In an unprecedented level of success for a fourth-generation rookie girl group, “Next Level” peaked at no.1 on multiple South Korean charts.
See the top five male acts here: