Meet the Next Generation of Pop Stars: Virtual Idols!
The entertainment industry is always full of surprises. In some cases, they even go beyond our expectations. New artists, new styles, new faces are born every day. And now they take the experience to the next level with virtual idols!
The concept of merging the real world with the virtual one has been around for quite a while, but it’s now becoming more immersive and possible than ever. With major developments in augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence, the future of the entertainment industry is integrating advanced technology and innovation even more.
Without further ado, meet some of the virtual idols we expect to go big in 2022!
This up-and-coming girl group is rooted in the concept that they exist both in real and virtual worlds. Aespa consists of four human members: Karina, Winter, Giselle, and NingNing, alongside their virtual, more refined counterparts: æ-Karina, æ-Winter, æ-Giselle, and æ-NingNing. Basically, Aespa’s narrative revolves around their offline and online personas in our physical world and their world KWANGYA, where the ‘æ’ – Aespa’s avatars live.
Aespa is one of the most notable of the 4th generation K-pop idols. This is the first K-pop group to debut with such a futuristic concept. It was hard to grasp at first, but has now proven to be a success with their remarkable Next Level and Savage releases topping many charts in 2021. On top of that, Aespa’s agency, SM Entertainment, has partnered with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology for more advanced research on metaverse and K-pop. Now you can expect the next big thing to come into the K-pop industry soon!
Deepfake technology is even used in creating idols now, and you can hardly spot a single glitch. Meet ETERN!TY, a project group of AI members. Yes, all of them! Unlike any other group, Pulse9, the company that released ETERN!TY is also an artificial intelligent brand company. This virtual idol group comprises 11 members: Jaein, Yejin, Minji, Sujin, Seoa, Yeoreum, Jiwoo, Chorong, Sarang, Dain, and Hyejin; all of them are created with Deep Real AI, a deepfake-based virtual imaging technology. You might think these lovely faces look familiar, but none of them are based on real people’s identities.
ETERN!TY launched their debut track I’m Real in March 2021 and has gained over 1 million views, with mixed feedback from K-pop enthusiasts. In August 2021, Pulse9 released No Filter as a solo for their member, Dain. The recent MV seems to be a leap of improvement as it received more positive feedback. Plus, Pulse9 plans to form sub-units, release solos, and use ETERN!TY for modeling and advertising in the future.
SUPERKIND – SAEJIN
He looks familiar. But he’s not a human. SUPERKIND – SAEJIN gained huge attention online, with social media users pointing out that his look somehow resembled some of the k-idol faces. Created by Deep Studio, Jung Sae Jin is a virtual model who aims to surpass human limitations and becomes a perfect talent for the K-pop market.
SUPERKIND – SAEJIN is the first member of the SUPERKIND Project, yet we only know that he was born in 2002 and came from Busan, a large port city in South Korea. The rest of the project background remains mysterious. However, the “1st Decentralized KPOP Entertainment concept” as stated in SUPERKIND’s official channels sounds like it might be another breakthrough in the entertainment industry in the near future!
The entertainment world is expanding even beyond dimensions. Virtual idols are growing in population, as more companies are experimenting with diverse concepts of virtual idols coexisting in our real world. The dedication to innovation paves the way for the next generation of virtual idols.
This is not just a trend, but the next step in the entertainment industry. The artists don’t have to be only human for fans to love them. Just like fictional characters, you know they are imaginary, but you cannot resist falling in love with them anyway!