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Return of superstars, in different personas

Singers Rain, Lee Hyo-ri return in new trio

A photo of the Ssak 3 trio posted by Rain following Saturday’s episode of MBC’s “Hangout With Yoo.” (Instagram)
A photo of the Ssak 3 trio posted by Rain following Saturday’s episode of MBC’s “Hangout With Yoo.” (Instagram)

“Hi, we’re Ssak 3!” said Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Hyo-ri and Rain, as they introduced themselves in the way such groups commonly did in the ‘90s.

On the latest episode of MBC’s “Hangout With Yoo” on Saturday, the trio announced the name of the group as well as their individual characters, along with plans to release their song in July.

The appearance of the three celebrities saw the show hit the highest viewership rating out of all Saturday entertainment program at 9.6 percent, according to Nielsen Korea.

The popularity of the trio could be felt even before Saturday’s episode aired.

Despite the three having just announced the surprise live broadcast on YouTube on Friday afternoon, over 96,000 people joined them online to suggest names for the group and its members.

The group unanimously settled on “Ssak 3,” meaning “clean sweep” in Korean, as the group’s name, demonstrating its resolve to sweep through the music scene this summer.

Yoo took on Yooduragon while Rain took the name B-Dragon. Lee took on the name Linda G, derived from the Korean word “jirinda,” meaning “to wet one’s pants.”
Rain and Lee Hyo-ri prepare to dance together on “Hangout With Yoo.” (MBC)
Rain and Lee Hyo-ri prepare to dance together on “Hangout With Yoo.” (MBC)

On Saturday, Lee and Rain, two of Korea’s biggest celebrities all-time, demonstrated why they are unquestioned superstars.

Rain is enjoying renewed fame, originating from the belated success of his 2017 music video for “Gang.” “Gang” has gained renewed interest among young people, who first mocked the dance moves as old school but ended up enjoying the video for the witty comments posted about the video.

After appearing on “Hangout With Yoo,” Rain signed an advertisement deal for Nongshim’s shrimp crackers, the Korean snack classic whose name “Saeuggang” sounds like Rain’s song. Rain was also chosen as to represent Levi Strauss Korea following his renewed fame. In addition, the H1ghr Music label’s remix of Rain’s hit song, which features the singer as a dancer in the music video, has been topping music charts in Korea since its release. He also hinted at opening his own YouTube channel in July after appearing on popular YouTube channel “Workman.”

Lee has been a superstar since her 1998 debut as the leader of girl group Fin.K.L. When she set off on a solo career after 2003, Lee instantly became an icon and the products she advertised, including soju, cellphones and jeans, saw significant spikes in sales, giving rise to the expression of the “Hyo-ri effect.”

Since her marriage in 2013 to a singer, she has been living on Jeju Island, appearing on TV with a new image that is calm and nature-loving. However, the superstar says now she is back in “Hangout With Yoo” with her straightforward, no-holds-barred style and unfazed sense of humor.

Advertisers are already showing interest in Lee’s return. When she announced on the program that she wanted to model for sanitary pads, she quickly received products from companies courting her, she said.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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