Jules Does

Jules Does K-Pop Academy: Week 10!

Posted on: November 24, 2014

Ahhh, only one more session to go before graduation! How has the time gone so quickly?

Team 4!

This week’s class was much more informal than the previous ones, in that we didn’t have a guest lecturer or go anywhere in particular or learn how to make anything. Instead we had an awesome time singing K-Pop songs like we were born to do.

The table of pain.

Of course there was a challenge element involved. We were divided into teams of 6 or 7 people to sing a song, Orange Caramel’s ‘Catallena’. Each of us would sing one section of the song in turn. In Korean. Without notes. If someone on the team made a mistake, we would be punished by the other teams, who had spray bottles full of water.  The team would then have to begin the song again from the beginning – you had three chances to get it right. If you wanted you could pick a Chance card, which would allow you to swap a member of your team for a member of staff or watch the video again. The winning team would receive signed copies of Super Junior’s latest album, so the stakes were HIGH.

As you can see, the song is *not* especially slow or easy. There’s very little English to cling to, meaning we were kind of adrift in a sea of Korean. I felt so sorry for the KCC staff – nearly thirty young people butchering their language!

What we were up against.

We all got to watch the music video with subtitles in Hangul, Romanized Korean and English to get a feel for the song (particularly for those who hadn’t heard it before), and then got 20 minutes to practice in our groups.

My team looking worried.

Memorising a song in any language can be challenging, but particularly when you don’t really know what you’re saying – it felt a little bit like trying to memorise gibberish (sidebar: I know Korean isn’t gibberish, but given that we had almost no time to learn a collection of specific sounds which were [to us] meaningless, I hope the comparison gives an impression of our state of mind). We listened to the song again and again and tried testing each other. There was, of course, lots of repetition, but that only made the non-repeated bits even more difficult to remember.

The leaders of each team played rock paper scissors to decide the order in which we would perform – I’m happy to say that I won, so we decided to go last. We certainly needed the time to prepare!


Each of the three teams before us tried valiantly to get to the end of the song, but to no avail. This is really a much more difficult game than it appears – try it at a party some time! It’s a popular feature on the Korean variety show Running Man (especially in the earlier episodes) and even they mess it up!

Our turn…

We fell at the first hurdle, but then we decided to take a chance card, which allowed us to swap one of our more uncertain members for Hye Rim, one of the organisers of the K-Pop Academy! We all felt empowered when she was sitting there with her lyric sheet, singing in perfect Korean. My turn was quite tricky – I know I panicked a little bit and flat-out made up some of the words, but at least no one noticed my flubbing.

Yaaaay, Hye Rim!

We messed up our second performance, but made it through the third to win the game! We were absolutely overjoyed (see below).


We had a choice between two albums: ‘Mamacita’ or ‘This is Love’ (a slightly expanded version of the ‘Mamacita’ – K-Pop groups do love to release a million copies of the same album for fans…), signed by either Donghae or Eunhyuk when they were here for the Korean Film Festival. I picked ‘This is Love’, though ‘Mamacita’ was the more popular choice.

We did it!

Then the sweetest thing happened. Daniel (on our team) gave the copy he had won to a girl who loved SuJu more than he did, and she was so happy she cried! It can be easy to forget in the heat of competition that we all love the same thing and are all here to help each other, so I thought this was especially sweet and selfless of him. Well done Daniel!

After the competition was over we had a wonderful time using the karaoke machine to have our own private noraebang (Korean for ‘karaoke room’ – it literally means ‘singing room’), although many of us found the Hangul difficult to read so quickly. There was certainly lots of flubbing! We were a little more at ease with old standards like ‘Fantastic Baby’ and ‘I am the Best’ and sang our little hearts out. It was a great deal of fun! Normally at parties I’m the only one yelling along to K-Pop songs (I don’t go to many parties), but in this community I wasn’t alone any more.


This week’s homework is all about K-Pop! Prepare yourselves – there may be fangirling. Who am I kidding – there *will* be fangirling.


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