Tan Kee Yun
The New Paper
Feb 19, 2016
Call me pantang (superstitious in Malay), but when I first heard of a K-pop hologram concert theatre opening in Singapore next week, I found the concept to be really... creepy.
K-live Sentosa is to be a permanent fixture that will open its doors on Feb 23 at Resorts World Sentosa.
I mean, why in the world would I pay to watch holographic projections of my favourite South Korean stars when I know they are in Seoul?
To my knowledge, this CGI technological feat has been mainly used to resurrect dead musicians, so they can perform for us once more on stage.
And critics have not been bowled over by this.
The Toronto Star referred to Celine Dion's 2007 duet with the legendary Elvis Presley on American Idol as a "bizarre pairing" and reported that many viewers at home were "freaked out" by the sight of a holographic Presley.
After a virtual Tupac Shakur rapped at 2012's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, The San Francisco Chronicle did not mince words, calling it a "ghostly apparition".
Even the King of Pop wasn't spared. Michael Jackson's "return" in the form of a hologram at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards was panned by Vulture magazine's assistant editor Lindsey Weber, who tweeted that the performance was "as confusing and uncomfortable as we imagined".
That said, the more I read about K-live Sentosa, the more I reckon it'll be a huge hit with local young K-pop lovers.
K-pop fans are a different breed altogether.
They worship their idols like gods. They don't stop at buying albums. They purchase merchandise - photo books, mugs, cards or towels with their idols' faces on them.
In K-pop fandom, there is no room to be pantang.
Fans will grab any opportunity to see the boy bands and girl groups up close, even if it's a mere virtual semblance of the real thing.
For many local fans who are students with zero income, South Korean live concerts, at an average of $100 to $200 per ticket, are not always within their reach.
K-live Sentosa, kicking off with incredible lifelike projections of superstars such as Wonder Girls, Got7 and 2PM performing catchy numbers complete with special effects and strobe lights, looks to be the more economical alternative.
(A 40-minute hologram show costs less than $40, plus students enjoy further concessions.)
And as concert content is refreshed every six months, be prepared for snaking queues when the Big Bang and EXO holograms arrive.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
This article was first published on February 19, 2016.
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