Tan Kee Yun
Thursday, Jun 2, 2016
Showdowns in K-pop don't get more intense than Tiffany Hwang versus Jessica Jung.
Hwang's a vocalist in Girls' Generation (GG), while Jung is a former member who was booted out of the mega-popular K-pop girl group in 2014 for prioritising her fashion endeavours over music.
Nearly two years on, the 27-year-old singers, each armed with her solo debut, are facing off in a battle for chart positions, album sales and YouTube views.
Their EPs were released within a week of each other - Hwang's Ariana Grande-esque sensual electropop-ish I Just Wanna Dance on May 11 and Jung's cheery, bubblegum pop offering, With Love, J, on May 17.
This month, Hwang will hold her first solo concerts in Seoul, while Jung will stage her first solo live showcase in Bangkok.
Korean media outlets have been playing up their rivalry, based on the fact that Jung's acrimonious exit from GG two years ago had somewhat split the octet's fan base.
Another main reason all eyes are on their rivalry boils down to their similarities.
When Jung was still a part of GG, she and Hwang were the group's only Korean-Americans. Both have pretty Barbie doll looks, are fluent in English and were even born in the same hospital in San Francisco.
Jung, who is signed to Coridel Entertainment, a Korean record label owned by her Korean-American businessman boyfriend Tyler Kwon, had nothing but praise for Hwang.
"I think my face-off with Tiffany must be entertaining for onlookers," she told news portal Naver.com.
"Rather than view her as a rival, since (Tiffany) came out with a different style of music, I would like it if people had fun listening to and watching (both of us)."
Likewise, Hwang had words of encouragement for Jung, albeit conveyed in a more subtle manner.
"Being onstage requires so much effort and hard work. As a fellow singer, I hope all singers will do well," Hwang told Star Daily News. "I want to tell everyone that they've worked hard."
Get MyPaper for more stories.