South Korean mega pop group Super Junior are known for their slick, perfectly choreographed dance moves.
It turns out that an interview with them is just as well-rehearsed, as they fielded media queries at a group interview here with one vague, diplomatic answer after another.
Held in a room at the Singapore Indoor Stadium right before their concert SuperShow 5 last Saturday evening, the interview had eight of the group’s members seated in two rows, all looking rather glum and serious, reports The Straits Times.
Present were members Siwon, Donghae, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Sungmin, Kangin, Shindong and Eunhyuk, all aged between 25 and 28.
Missing were members Heechul, Leeteuk and Yesung, who are away serving their mandatory military service.
Ask them how they think their group have evolved since debuting in 2005 and Eunhyuk says simply: “We always try to maximise the qualities of each member and try new things so that we can put on brand new performances for our fans.
‘ The others only nod sullenly in agreement.
When someone asks how the band have managed to stay together so strongly as one entity over the years, Eunhyuk says: “For us to come this far is because of our great teamwork.
The good relationship among the members is the reason we lasted this long.
‘ Again, the others simply sit, and nod.
Some of the members, such as Ryeowook, Sungmin and Kangin barely utter two lines throughout the 25-minute session.
Donghae looks the most solemn of all, and says a few brief words ‘“ only because another member thrusts the microphone in his hand at one point and says, “Donghae should answer this.
‘The question is about which show stood out for the group from their SuperShow 5 world tour so far, which also took them to South America for the first time.
They performed for more than 40,000 fans in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina in April.
As expected, Donghae replies diplomatically: “It is hard to name a particular place that gave us the best memories, because all are special to us.
‘But it was probably not entirely the fault of the group that the interview ended up this way.
The whole event was so tightly controlled by their management that it is likely the group had been told to reply only with such generic answers.
And having sat through numerous interviews around the world in conjunction with their concert tour in the past few years, it is also likely that they have been answering the exact same questions over and over again.
Before this interview, all reporters were required to send in a list of questions for approval.
Out of the nine questions that Life! sent over, only, three were given the green light to be asked during the session.
The other questions, probably considered to be potentially “sensitive‘ ‘“ such as who the group think is their biggest competition ‘“ were all struck out with bold red lines.
Then, there was the incessant string of rules that the media had to take note of.
Reporters had to take their places in designated seats, questions had to be asked in a particular order and no follow-up questions of any sort were allowed.
Still, there were a few brief moments of genuine laughter and easy banter between the members towards the end of the session, leaving the media present wishing for more.
When a rare fun question was approved for asking, the mood lightens up.
In April, the group landed at Seoul’s Incheon Airport dressed in the superhero costumes that they appear in in one segment of SuperShow 5.
When asked how the members decided who should dress up as which character, the group become visibly excited.
Shindong jokes: “Eunhyuk was Wolverine because he’s quite hairy ‘“ at least compared to the rest of us.
‘Eunhyuk then laughs and quips: “I get cold easily.
‘Shindong adds that Siwon was a “natural choice‘ to dress up as Captain America as he “has a great body‘.
Siwon chuckles, before Shindong says quickly: “But as you all know, the story, about Captain America is that he was very weak growing up.
Which means Siwon was not that fit growing up either.
‘When this reporter asks the group about any rituals they have before their famously energetic performances, Shindong reveals a particular quirk about Donghae.
He says: “Donghae always has to brush his teeth before the show, and it’s always with a brand new toothbrush.
It has to be brand new.
‘ Everyone laughs heartily in agreement.
But then it is immediately back to business again as someone from their management tells them that it is time to stand up and pose for the cameras.