What Propelled These 5 Male Idols into Stardom?

Katherine Chu, Oct. 7, 2015, 3:13 p.m.

So, we've already gone over 5 female idols who have become overnight sensations, but what about the males? Although male idols tend to be the most popular amongst Kpop fandoms, there are some artists that didn't really catch the public's eye until one project or production really launched them into stardom!

Being a solo artist is one thing, but being in an idol boy group can make it really difficult for an individual to stand out against the rest of their members! With that being said, many of these individuals take on separate projects or works, hoping that it'll help them blow up. Sometimes the whole group becomes even more well known after one of their members participate in a successful project!

Here are 5 male idols who took a chance to stand out, and in turn, became outstanding overnight sensations!

1. CNBLUE - Jung Yonghwa

Jung Yonghwa initially debuted as an actor in the hit drama 'You're Beautiful' starring alongside popular actor Jang Geun Suk, actress Park Shin Hye, and even fellow labelmate FTISLAND's Lee Hong Ki. In addition to testing his acting chops, Yonghwa hoped that the production would help garner attention to his upcoming band CNBLUE - and he was right! The artist captured the hearts of fangirls everywhere with his sweet and caring character Kang Shin Woo (Shin Woo hyung!), which definitely helped propel CNBLUE into stardom, along with their explosive debut hit 'Loner'.

2. EXO - D.O.

Although EXO was already widely popular all across the globe by the time D.O. started acting, the EXO member himself didn't truly make a name for himself outside of EXO until he participated in the popular drama 'It's Okay That's Love' starring veteran actor Jo In Sung and charismatic actress Gong Hyo Jin (his second production following his debut film 'Cart')! With this break-out role, the EXO member proved that he wasn't just a soulful voice, but also an extremely talented, budding actor as well! D.O. recently wrapped up his recurring role on 'I Remember You', and finished filming for his upcoming romance movie 'Pure Love' alongside actress Kim So Hyun.

3. BTOB - Sungjae

BTOB member Yook Sungjae actually acted in JTBC's 'Living in Chungdamdong' prior to debuting in the boy group. BTOB has always had a consistent following, but it wasnt until Sungjae participated in the 2015 drama 'Who Are You: School 2015' as Gong Tae Kwang that he truly shined, simultaneously bringing more attention to the band of boys. Perhaps Sungjae's appearance in the drama allowed more people to open their ears to BTOB's music, as they were able to take home first place for the first time on a music show with their song 'It's Okay'! Sungjae's successful stint on the popular drama earned him a spot on the 4th season of 'We Got Married', being paired up with Red Velvet's Joy. Sungjae is also set to star alongside Moon Geun Young in the upcoming thriller drama 'The Village: Achiara's Secret'.

4. M.I.B. - Kangnam

Making his Korean debut with Jungle Entertainment's boy group M.I.B, Kangnam didn't see much success or recognition until his appearance on an episode of the popular reality show 'I Live Alone'. Despite coming from a wealthy family, Kangnam shared that he didn't receive any financial support from them, revealing only 3 dollars in his bank account at the time. His short stint on the show earned him CFs, variety shows, and even a permanent cast member position on the MBC show 'I Live Alone'. Following his success, Kangnam finally saw the fruits of his 4-year-long labor, snagging an MC spot at the 2014 SBS Gayo Daejun, a much sought-after position during the end-of-the-year awards shows!

5. ZE:A - Hwang Kwanghee

Even though ZE:A as a group hasn't really hit the jackpot yet, some of its individual members have definitely made names for themselves. Amongst Im Siwan and Hyungsik is Hwang Kwanghee, ZE:A's resident variety star and funny-man. Kwanghee has had his fair share of supporting roles in dramas, but it was his appearance and persona on variety shows that made audiences fall in love (or hate) his loud and sometimes obnoxious character! Kwanghee's honesty about his infamous plastic surgery, and pretty much everything else in his life, won fans over and earned him a spot on 'We Got Married' with then-onscreen wife Secret's Han Sunhwa. He continued to slay by snagging several variety show spots as well. Currently, he is serving as a fixed cast member on one of Korea's most popular programs 'Infinite Challenge', one of the most coveted positions in reality TV, starring alongside veteran MCs and comedians Yoo Jae Suk, Jung Hyung Don, Park Myung Soo, Jung Jun Ha, Ha Ha, and Noh Hong Chul, who is no longer apart of the show.

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