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Top 10 idol-actors in dramaland

javabeans: I’m a little scared to write this list.

girlfriday: Because this is the list that will have people crying, “BUT YOU FORGOT MY OPPA!”?

javabeans: Mostly because anything involving idol fandoms erupts into war, even when it’s a post about why they’re good. *braces for impact*

girlfriday: Yup, landmines all.

javabeans: But hey, like we’ve ever turned down a challenge! Let’s list some idols!

girlfriday: And make war! Really though, there shouldn’t be war, because we picked the good ones.

javabeans: I actually think the stigma against idol-actors is lessening these days—not gone, but there’s definitely less vitriol about idols in dramas than there used to be in ye olden days.

girlfriday: Part of that is because it’s so common now that you can’t avoid it in dramas anymore.

javabeans: The stigma was rightly earned back in the day, because I do recall a lot of truly awful acting performances in leading or prominent roles, and it seemed a lot more unfair then to waste roles on them. But it has to help that the idols are technically better actors now.

girlfriday: Yes, I think the biggest reason the stigma has lessened is because there have been enough successful cases of idols doing well and rising above expectation.

javabeans: When initially discussing candidates, we also had to figure out what “idol-turned-actor” even meant in terms of this list, because there were a lot of actors who started out in the music industry, but never got famous as singers and then found success as actors. We didn’t count those people, because we needed to draw lines somewhere. (Examples include Kim Kang-woo, Seo Hyun-jin, and Jo Hyun-jae.)

girlfriday: We also didn’t count solo singers like Seo In-gook and Lee Seung-gi, because they’re more like multi-entertainers, not idols in the traditional sense.

javabeans: Somehow I don’t count ballad singers as idols in my mind, either. The term “idols” has a certain manufactured/visual/style component to it (say, boy bands or girl groups with a carefully crafted image), and ballad singers are more about pure vocal talent. Oh, and we didn’t count super-old-school idols, I’m not sure why, maybe because we have nostalgia for them and our list would just be ‘90s singers like Eugene and Eric?

girlfriday: And then we would be the only people who even remembered them as idols, and felt old.

javabeans: Although really, I think the more accurate rationale was that “idol-actors” as a concept (and yes, sometimes with that faint pejorative tinge attached) seems to indicate something discrete and distinct in today’s industry, and being a young idol now is a different thing entirely from how old-school K-pop used to be. The internationalization of Hallyu in the early and mid-2000s definitely created a new beast.

girlfriday: And that beast is only growing, so we might as well embrace it.

javabeans: With that, here’s our list! *hides*

 

1. Im Shi-wan

javabeans: Im Shi-wan’s place on this list is mostly thanks to the massive success that was Misaeng, and his place as the heart of that show. He did put in decent showings in his previous roles (child parts in The Moon That Embraces the Sun and Equator Man, as well as supporting roles in Standby and Triangle), but those projects aren’t why he’s at the top of this list.

There were multiple factors that contributed to Misaeng’s overall excellence—directing, writing, casting—but as the central character, it fell to Im Shi-wan to become our entry point into the cutthroat corporate world that seemed like it would eat him alive. As an inexperienced, sensitive young rookie navigating that minefield for the first time, feeling constantly inadequate and bearing the brunt of everybody’s frustrations, his Jang Geu-rae pierced my heart on a daily basis and turned watching Misaeng into a harrowing experience for me; it was just so harsh and real. I could never parse Im Shi-wan’s performance into individual elements to praise or pick out, but perhaps that’s exactly why it worked: It didn’t feel like he was working to inhabit a role, or that he was figuring out a performance. He became Jang Geu-rae, and we all saw ourselves in him. Im Shi-wan’s portrayal was so pure and naive that Jang Geu-rae wasn’t just a character I cared about—he became Korea’s everyman and a perhaps-unexpected avatar of hope for every ordinary, beleaguered office drone who felt like the system had drowned out his voice. I am Jang Geu-rae, and Jang Geu-rae is me.

We recommend: Misaeng, Equator Man

 

2. Jung Eun-ji

girlfriday: You could probably argue that Jung Eun-ji just hit the jackpot in her debut role as the leading character of Answer Me 1997, the drama that spawned a whole syndrome and its own franchise of nostalgic youth dramas. Nobody expected anything of the show or its unproven actors, but Jung Eun-ji made that central character someone who wore her heart on her sleeve at all times, even when she wasn’t saying a word, making me feel so emotionally connected to that teenage girl. She embodied everything from the manic highs of an idol fangirl who would burst into tears at a concert, to the confusion of first love, to the raw emotion of familial angst, making me sit up and take notice from the very start. She followed up her debut project with less noteworthy dramas—That Winter, The Wind Blows and Trot Lovers (though I did really enjoy her musical performances in Trot Lovers)—but then she carried the upbeat youth drama Sassy Go Go and made me care about a group of underdog cheerleaders, and I was reminded of the reason I loved her so much to begin with. She’s just no frills, no affectation, but pure positive energy and earnestness, which is why her youthful characters hit me straight in the heart.

We recommend: Answer Me 1997, Sassy Go Go

 

3. Yoon Eun-hye

javabeans: Yoon Eun-hye is the quintessential example of an idol making the acting transition successfully despite early doubts: As a super-popular K-pop starlet before getting her big acting break in Goong (Princess Hours), she weathered her share of criticism for daring to make the crossover, but quieted critics with a solid performance in her debut and then drew widespread praise for her breakthrough performance in Coffee Prince.

One of Yoon Eun-hye’s greatest assets as an actor is her willingness to settle into a role and fully inhabit a character, and she did that so wholly with Coffee Prince that you can hardly distinguish where actor ends and character begins. She traded a sense of vanity for emotional vulnerability and sincerity, which drew us in and enabled us to feel what she felt. If she has a flaw, it’s not that she has lost that willingness to dive into a character but that she has followed up her early-career successes with questionable choices; all the commitment in the world can’t overcome subpar dramas (My Fair Lady, Lie to Me, I Miss You, Mi-rae’s Choice)—although to give her credit, she never gave up on any of those shows, even when they were tanking. I suppose there’s a silver lining in that, in that all it takes is one solid project to give her a chance to show her stuff and move our hearts again. You know, just that. Easy-peasy.

We recommend: Goong, Coffee Prince

 

4. Yoon Doo-joon

girlfriday: Yoon Doo-joon started out in sitcoms, but I didn’t see him acting until spy drama IRIS 2, where I didn’t think twice about him—he was fine in the role, but not at all memorable. But then he took on the quirky foodie character of the Let’s Eat franchise and my opinion of him changed drastically, because it turned out that his strength wasn’t in cool action thrillers—it was in comedy. He’s naturally gifted as a comic actor, with spot-on timing and funny expressive faces, and I found him hysterical as the smooth-talking cheesy insurance salesman who’s obsessed with food and always falling in love with his next-door neighbor. And then 2-episode drama short Splish Splash Love came along and added swoony romance and fusion sageuk to the list of things Yoon Doo-joon could do. He shined in the role because the drama suited his comedic acting perfectly, but I was just as surprised to see that he could play a Joseon king (albeit a cheeky one) so well and carry the thoughtful, romantic sides of the character too. He really made me believe that he’d fallen in love with Kim Seul-gi’s crossdressing eunuch, fantastical circumstances and all; it was the best I’ve ever seen him be, and it made me anxious to see his next project. If he knows what’s good for him, it’ll be a romantic comedy with an emphasis on the comedy.

We recommend: Let’s Eat, Let’s Eat 2, Splish Splash Love

 

5. Lee Joon

javabeans: There’s a small class of idols who I think are even better as actors than they were in their original careers—maybe they weren’t all that memorable in their idol guise, or maybe it’s that acting brought out a heretofore hidden appeal. Lee Joon falls into that category for me, which is why it seemed completely fitting when he officially retired from MBLAQ to pursue his acting career.

Lee Joon’s turning point came in the 2013 film Rough Cut, a dark and gritty piece that netted him praise for his charged performance, and he upped the ante the next year by going sociopathic and murderous in crime drama Gap-dong. I was impressed with that performance not because he was wild and crazy, but because he showed a certain restraint playing a cold, frequently dead-eyed character who occasionally showed flashes of frightening violence. Heard It Through the Grapevine further solidified his status as a rising dramatic actor, although yes, he has also taken on lighter, more approachable characters in dramas like Woman With a Suitcase. He’s more memorable going dark than going cute, but considering that a lot of his colleagues aren’t able to cover both extremes, I’d say he’s well-poised to spread his wings and continue widening his range.

We recommend: Gap-dong, Heard It Through the Grapevine

 

6. UEE

girlfriday: UEE is a case where you could follow her career trajectory and see right before your eyes how she steadily honed her acting skills one small step at a time, until she shed the idol label and became a dependable leading actress. She started out as young Mishil in Queen Seon-deok and the bratty second lead in You’re Beautiful, and then headlined Birdie Buddy (aka the drama that no one saw), but it wasn’t until hit weekend drama Ojakkyo Brothers that I connected with her on an emotional level. She was still green in that role, but she showed a natural warmth that I wasn’t expecting, and her chemistry with co-star Joo-won made me really invested in their emotional romance. By the time she got to Ho-gu’s Love and High Society, she began to show more depth and emotional range, and then in Marriage Contract she surprised everyone with the performance of her career. I never would’ve expected a young idol actress to make a single mother dying of cancer believable, but she tore my heart out in this role, seeming suddenly so mature and vulnerable in all the right ways. It was a breakthrough that she earned with every tear; considering how many tears she had to shed, it’s not a surprise how much well-deserved praise she got in return.

We recommend: Ojakkyo Brothers, High Society, Marriage Contract

 

7. Sooyoung

HeadsNo2: SNSD’s Sooyoung has proven herself to be a versatile actress capable of taking a multitude of different roles, whether as the object of a complicated love square in the little-watched Third Ward (and even as the second lead, her performance was surprisingly more grounded than most of her costars), a romanticist working as a professional cupid in Dating Agency Cyrano, a recipient of a heart transplant with a second chance at life in My Spring Days (arguably her best role to date), or a determined tax collector in Police Unit 38.

The improvement she showed between each project was what really put her on my radar, and it was commendable that she was never just “the pretty girl” in her later dramas—you can see where her projects have been strategically picked to add variety to her repertoire. There’s a kind of warmth and approachability she brings to her characters, which was never more on display than in My Spring Days, where she stole the show when her feelings began to inexplicably change due to the new heart she’d been given. While her character may have had no idea why she felt the need to cry when she saw the children of the mother’s heart beating inside her, that moment of raw emotion instantly sold the melodramatic premise and made it feel genuine. Not only could she sell the youthful vibe of her character, she was also able to display the emotional maturity of someone who knew that time was precious—though it doesn’t hurt that she can be spot-on in her comedic timing as well. If that’s not well-rounded, I’m not sure what is.

We recommend: My Spring Days, Dating Agency Cyrano, Police Unit 38

 

8. Choi Siwon

javabeans: He’s probably got the longest credits list of the idols named here, and I’ve followed Siwon through quite a number of dramas (even the bad ones—man, were there some bad ones) and found him likable and charming enough to consider him a decent example of our idol-to-actor transitions. But while I saw a knack for comic timing in Story of Hyang Dan (a cheeky fusion sageuk romp), Oh My Lady (where he played a foot-actor trying to learn to act), and the satirical King of Dramas (where he essentially played a spoof of himself), I had always considered him a serviceable actor who was strongly buoyed by his personal charisma… Until, that is, ten years into his acting career, when She Was Pretty rolled around and he took things to a whole new plane. The drama was light and fluffy and he was playing “only” a second lead, but Siwon tapped into an emotional groundedness that I thought surpassed the leads, and proceeded to steal every scene with his energy and commitment. The character’s sense of humor was broad and wacky, but because he played him with such a constant undercurrent of real feeling, it never felt forced or awkward, and I found that mix to be electric. He didn’t play a prank just to play a prank; there was always a deeper reason behind his character’s seemingly random behaviors, many times motivated by caring and concern. I still get teary-eyed thinking of all the times he acted so breezy and yet felt so intense, and how every time his cheerful facade slipped, my heart pinched. I don’t know what changed for him with this drama, but seeing how far he can go with that kind of heartfelt commitment makes me excited for what comes next.

We recommend: She Was Pretty, King of Dramas, Story of Hyang Dan

 

9. Park Hyung-shik

HeadsNo2: Maybe it says something that I didn’t know Park Hyung-shik was an idol until he showed up on this list—I’d pegged him for another rising young actor, working his way up from child (Nine), supporting (What’s With This Family), and now adult roles (High Society, Hwarang). High Society was where I took note of him, as he took to his privileged yet oh-so-tortured chaebol character like a duck to water. He took what could have been a cookie-cutter rich boy and turned him into someone constantly struggling with his inferiority complex, his chaebol family’s expectations, and his conflicted feelings toward his best friend and the girl he loved. He was able to portray both the warm and sweet side of the character, as well as the cold and calculating monster he could be, which isn’t too different from the conflicted character he’s portraying in the currently airing Hwarang. Perhaps it’s because he can play that fine line between two extremes so well that he’s in another role that requires him to hide his true nature, though when it shows, it shows. Watching him switch from looking pitifully in love to commanding the room with his presence certainly had me sitting up to listen, and wanting to see him in more sageuk—though maybe as the leading man next time.

We recommend: Nine, What’s With This Family, High Society, Hwarang

 

10. Yook Sung-jae

girlfriday: Yook Sung-jae is one of the greenest actors on this list, but for such a short and recent filmography, he’s managed to make an impression as an idol actor with a lot of potential. His characters are colorful and bounding with energy, and he seems to have a knack for comedy, as well as an earnest emotional delivery that comes through. He didn’t have much to do in his tiny role in Answer Me 1994, but in Plus Nine Boys, he carried a really cute secondary romance that was the perfect amount of naive and sweet. His breakout came in Who Are You—School 2015, and for good reason—he got to play the brooding high school rebel from a broken home, who masked his vulnerability and pain by lashing out at others. But he also brought a sunny puppy-dog quality to the character that only came out when he was around the heroine, turning him into a really compelling second lead. He takes supporting roles and does a lot with them—in The Lonely Shining Goblin he made an immature chaebol heir seem like a lovable scamp, and for such a minor character, I was pretty invested in his loveline with his credit card and his (baby) steps toward maturity.

We recommend: Who Are You—School 2015, The Lonely Shining Goblin

 
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OMG! for some reason I thought there would only be one "top ten" a week. So excited for this! *scrolls back up to read*

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Ok, so after reading this "top ten":

It was a lovely list, but I'm slightly confused. I have never paid much attention to what a kdrama actor was prior to being a kdrama actor. Like if they were an idol, or singer, or model or if acting is the only thing they have ever done. What actually makes them an idol? Is that the same thing as singer / model? I have no idea. Usually I just pay attention to whatever that person is doing acting-wise (aka what dramas they are in). I think the only time I have looked beyond dramas was for Lee Seung-gi (because I fell in love with his music), and Jung Yong-hwa (because CNBlue). I have no idea if they started with acting or singing first though.

Regardless, I'm glad Yook Sung-jae is on the list. I'm looking forward to more from him!

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I'm the same here. Cos I'm not really paying attention to Kpop but only Kdrama so I normally pay much more attention to their acting n so forth. But I do know several others in this list that they are idols way before. Nowdays it is better that celebrities are multi talented as in they can sing n act well etc etc. Also modelling, there are a number of model-turned-actor in Korea too. I do know e.g. LSG and SIG are great singers besides acting and Joo Won initially started out from musicals.

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I didn't know Joo Won started from musicals!

Now I want to read all of my favorite actors' "origin story"... how they got into acting.

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you can add Jo Jung Seok and Kang Ha Neul to actors who also started their career in musicals. :)

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I was just going 2 mention IMHO, I find Joo Won and Oh Yeon Seo far superior Actors then this list. They've been awarded and slaying starring roles for 4 or 5 yrs.

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Those are great actors, but the point of this list to list people who specifically got their start as idols, so Joo Won and Oh Yeon Seo don't really fit the theme

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Lee Seung-gi debuted as singer first, then transitioned to varieties and dramas. Meanwhile Yong-hwa debuted as singer with CNBlue in
Japan in 2009, then he debuted as an actor with the drama You're Beautiful, then debuted with CNBlue in Korea in early 2010.

Idols are usually singers who were trained by an entertainment company for some years prior to debut, and were taught various skills: dance (if they were to debut in a dancing group), sing, rap (because apparently a k-pop group does not complete without a rapper), acting (if they have an interest in it) and even self-management (as in, how to present an appropriate image the company made for them in front of the public, like mannerisms). In another words, idols are "fabricated" performers. Idols are usually debuted in groups. For example, those in this top 10 list: Im Shi-wan and Park Hyung-shik are from idol group ZE:A, Jung Eun-ji from Apink, Yoon Eun-hye from Baby V.O.X, Yoon Doo-joon from BEAST, Lee Joon from MBLAQ, UEE from After School, Choi Soo-young from Girls' Generation, Choi Shi-won from Super Junior, Yook Sung-jae from BtoB.

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It's funny, two of these guys are from the same group and another three people were part of the same agency (Cube)

I wonder if Doojoon can do activities now, or is it not possible for him to work because of the dispute with Cube over Beast's name?

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He can't promote under the name Beast but I think acting is a different issue. I remember when JYJ went out of DBSK, yoo chun and JaeJoong were able to act. I'm not sure now but JYJ was banned from going on music shows but they did release few music..

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If anything, i think all five of them now are busy setting the new company. You know, even if they made a new name right away, they couldn't work anyway if they had no management. Maybe we'll hear casting news again for Doo-joon after the new company is established.

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Hmm I'm not sure about dramas, but he's been in a number of variety shows since late last year (even when Beast hadn't announce their official departure from Cube). Come February, he'll be part of a new lineup for Mr Baek's cooking show on TVN. It seems like TVN loves him and food - in addition to the aforementioned show, he's a host for a three-episode (I'm unsure if the show will be green-lit for a full season) food show featuring convenience store food.

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Ohh thanks!! I feel like I should have known more - I've probably watched dramas that had idols in them as plot points - ie the character was an idol or somehow in training.

It's interesting that they go through so much training - and I imagine a good thing to help them get their name out there.

Anyway, thanks for the info!

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You're welcome! I think it's okay for you not to know, it's not a must thing to do. I just happen to know all these things since I'm a K-pop fan for a fairly long time now (since i was in highschool) and also an avid K-drama watcher.

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Hi!
If you want to watch a drama with "idols" or making up an idol to start your journey, I would suggest you watch Dream High 1 and 2 (though I never pursued the sequel) as well as Shut Up! Flower Boy Band. The second drama actually gives you a glimpses of how they build idols in this entertainment industry. Have fun watching!

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@vkook, nice explanation there..im was thankful enough that DB draw a line on what makes to be called as an idol from not.. and im prettily satisfied that Seunggi should'nt be categorized as an idol because they can offer more than that.. and people like him deserved to called as multi-entertainer..

I am pretty happy and strongly agree for the Top ten list.. though im not familiar with no.4 Yoon Doo-joon.. the rest of the 9 list i was able to follow and watch their work closely.. For Imshi Wan i was really invested in hi character in Misaeng, as the story progress.. The story was realistic and Im Shi Wan deliver it successfully. Jung Eun-ji, Yoon Eun-hye, Lee Joon, UEE made me fully invested in her character in Marriage Contact, Sooyoung- in Cyrano Agency, Choi Siwon-She was Pretty & Park Hyung-shik - in Nine as young Lee Jin Wook.. They were all did a remarkable delivering the goods in each of their character so i cannot agree less to this TOP Ten List..

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forgot to add Yook Sung-jae-- watch him in Goblin..he has great potential and i enjoyed watching his work on this drama..

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I think the other replies answered your questions already so i'm just here to share a similar experience. I am a big kdrama fan and was never really into kpop until i listened to the music of BTOB (The group Yook Sungjae is in). You won't believe how amazingly talented sungjae is! Plus he is also really funny and weird. Watch behind the scene videos of BTOB to get what i mean lol. Until now, BTOB is the only idol group i actually like. A lot of their songs are fit for OSTs, too. I think kdrama fans will like them.

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Technically Hwang Jung Em, Oh Yeon Seo were idols too.

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do not forget Jang Nara when she made the huge rating hit Successful Story of a Bright Girl she was one of the top Idol around at that era, though the list here seems to be every much current time rather than of all time.

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Indeed YOU FORGOT MY OPPA!

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Heehee

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What's funny?

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You forgot about D.O-oppa!

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Yes, definitely deserves a spot beside Hyung Shik.

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I was looking for the extra spots after the top ten were listed, but no extra on this list. Rats! Do Kyungsoo is excellent. He's on my own list? ?

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Yes to this! He was great in 'It’s Okay, It’s Love’, but he hasn’t headlined a drama yet (as a lead actor) whereas all of the above mentioned have?

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He only has two dramas (It's okay it's love, cameo in I remember you), but he did several movies already (Cart, Unforgettable, Hyung).

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D.O shows an intense and excellent performance in acting, that's for sure. But it makes sense that he's not on this list because of his lesser performance on drama compared to the ten above.
Isn't that what Dramabeans mostly talked about? Drama...

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Not a fan of him as EXO member but he always amaze me with his acting.

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D.O. In I Remember You is memorable. O.O

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I thought he was in the first place.

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I actually predicted him not to be in this list because he is more active in movie and hasn't headlined any drama yet. It'd be pretty hard for him to film one considering EXO's busy schedule, but I really want to see him in a 16 eps drama ㅠㅠ, maybe it's possible if it's pre-produced?

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Similar to Yoon Dujun and Im Si Wan, I didn't know he is an idol. His performance in I remember you blew me away, and I was sold. That's the only work I've seen him in, though - which reminds me that I've to check out his latest movie with Jo Jung Suk.

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I notice they picked idol-actors who have been in several drama to showcase their talent. Forgive me if I'm wrong exo-Ls, but was Kyungsoo only ever been in 1 drama? I know he has acted in quite a few movies since then and has solidified his title a an actor.

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2 dramas - It's Okay It's Love; Remember You, 3 if you count To The Beautiful You hahaha

2 webdramas - EXO Next Door; Be Postitive

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-to showcase their talent-

keyword: talent
not only drama then, acting talent isn't just about drama but movie-musicals-and so on. He has so many in his hand to showcasing his acting talent. Should list it in the previous reply but no edit button hahaha Room 7, With God, My Annoying Brother, Unforgettable, Cart

I mean let's say Ha Jung Woo or Chun Woo Hee who aren't into drama, they're still actors with greater talent >,>

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oh no i was hoping to see do on this list, just watched him in hyung and thought he did a fantastic job! he's acted well in everything he's been in so far but alright i do agree with the rest of this list as well

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Yesssss, i think so too

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Adding Kim Min Jae to the upcoming list,the boy is upgreading his acting with each role...The list is quite spot on...As a special mention,Hyung Shik was very good in the Special drama Sirius...And D.O. is also very good,never disappointed till now in all his projects

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Kim Min Jae is not an idol actor

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I was just about to say that when I read your response. Lol

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Kim Min-jae was trained as an idol, but switched to acting just when he was about to debut.

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But he never debuted as one....in a group. If you're talking about idol trainees who became geat actors then Park bo gum deserves to be on the list more than KMJ....who I think still needs a lot of work

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I was about to freak out why I didn't know that he was an idol until I saw your comment. Haha.

I am actually not a fan of Kpop but since a lot of them have now crossed over to being actors, I came to know a number of them. I must confess that I now enjoy performances by EXO and SHINEE because I know a few (in EXO's case) of them and I am a fan now. Though not as die hard.

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I'm surprised Yoochun didn't make the list, but I agree with all that are in here. Great list, ladies!

Waiting for the wars to start... *grabs popcorn*

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Yoochun has no more future in K-ent. He is done after that nasty nasty scandal. I am not judging but acting or singing, its over for him.

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Idk about that. He’s still got a lot of delusional fangirls left that shield him, same with Kim Hyun Joong (pls don’t attack me fans).

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But is it fair at your end to pronounce them to be culprits and call others fangirls?

You are no good than the supporters.. just as supporters don't have enough information on what really happened and choose to believe in sanctity of judicial system for giving respective celebs a clean chit... you don't have any information to pronounce and pass judgements on what really happened..

Stop using derogatory words as delusional.. if others are delusional than so are you...

You should just leave such topic and not try to bring it up on forums without a concrete proof.. helps no one

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I’m sorry if I’ve personally offended you. What I mean with delusional fan is that they’ll always believe that their biases are innocent and all the things they perceive as malicious is fabricated or instigated by haters. I never said that Yoochun or Hyun Joong are criminals; the former was acquitted of charges and the latter’s ex-girlfriend has been found to have partially fabricated some of the evidence. Aside from legal matters, image for celebrities is important especially in Asia. If a romantic male lead in real life has a history of abusing or other shady things, people are not obligated to take them seriously as their characters. A realistic fan on the other hand acknowledges that their bias is or might be problematic without going on and shield that kind of behavior. I never even brought up those topics in my comment in the first place, I was only answering to another comment, giving my Opinion, so your comment doesn’t make any sense to me...

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@megan,

appreciate the calrification

And I do agree if that is what you meant of fans waging war against others and blindly believing ( without any basic facts e.g. as simple as court judgement) in their celebs and calling others haters.. then yes.. that is one scary attitude

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I think it's safe to say that both are controversial figures right now, regardless of personal feelings about them. Omitting Yoochun probably seemed like the safest bet to not have things blow up.

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He was charged with solicitation(on top of that he ran away without paying to be exact which started the blackmailing fiasco) and as far as I know its not accepted like Charlee Sheen's misdeed in Hollywood, its K-ent so his prospects look bleak for now. Not just him, his brothers prospect looks bleak just by association when the boy did nothing wrong here. Can he make a comeback, way way down the line maybe but I don't see the point in placing him on the list. Its back to the beginning for him with a ruined public image.

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Funny how people only cared about the scandalous media slaughter and not facts that have so far been (under )reported :

Yoochun has been cleared of all charges and his false accusers have even been sentenced by court to JAIL .

But who cares right

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@len
He was acquitted of assault charges true but definitely charged with solicitation, I am stating facts so relax. I read the official report a while back and later didn't follow. I don't know if later was cleared off that too.

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I'm not up to date with Yoo chun's case so I can't elaborate on that but it is a fallacy to claim that the entire case is a lie.

To make it clear, the current situation is that the ex is to face charges over alleged fabrication of a pregnancy/miscarriage BUT those charges do not clear KHJ from his admitted earlier domestic abuse and assault.

http://www.asianjunkie.com/2017/01/18/kim-hyun-joongs-ex-to-face-defamation-fraud-charges-over-previous-miscarriage-claims/

Certain kpop sites have made a hash job of translating articles from korean news outlets which further muddle the case but it is important to have clear distinctions on what the charges are and what legal rulings have been made (which in the case of the fraud charges against the ex, have yet to be determined) especially on serious issues like domestic violence.

TLDR; the veracity of one of the ex's pregnancy is in question but it still does not clear KHJ of his other incidents of admitted violence and abuse and it definitely does not mean he should be welcomed back to the industry.

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Sorry I forgot one more link to my comment below:

http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/koreaboo-kim-hyun-joongs-ex-and-how-bad-translation-seriously-misleads-k-pop-fans/

^ in regards to misleading translations

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Please don't use articles from Koreaboo and Allkpop as your primary source of Korean entertainment news. As the person below mentioned, there's a lot of crappy translating (as well as favoritism towards certain entertainment companies) going on at those sites.

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He can still have a career in singing/composing. as long as his dedicated fans persist to be dedicated, his singles will sell. either way, JYJ is *not allowed* to go on broadcast TV, so nothing about that changed. prior to his enlistment, and subsequently sexual assault case, his single sold really well. he still has a flicker of hope in the music industry.

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I agree about his future being in the music industry at least for a chunk of time. No PD is gonna put him in a role like, say, Sensory Couple, after this mess. Heck, isn't Lee Min Ki (The guy from Dalja's Spring. Not sure if I got his name right), who got cleared of assault charges but confirmed he'd had a hook up in a bar while doing his service, still sitting on the side lines since getting out of the military.. He has had to pull out of a drama and who knows when he'll be able to work again.

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I second that!! Yoochun should have been here!! I mean. Not because I am a tv5xq fan. Not nominating changmin or yunho. Jaejoong also did well in triangle but not worthy top 10.... I notice mostly newer boys are mentioned

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Too bad his career was ruined by that scandal. News say he was acquitted, but it did irreparable damage to his image.

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Yoochun, was pretty bland in Sungkyunkwan Scandal

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He's one of the greatest and I'm sure he should top #1 (refer to the awards n recognition yuchun got). But I see many people are even avoiding to say (or list) his name in any list or poll rn. (sob....hiks hiks).

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Excuse you this list is not complete without Jinyoung B1A4. I thought he really did an amazing job in Love in the Moonlight. He's definitely ready for lead material.

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There's my oppa! XD

In all seriousness, Jinyoung's acting was pretty green in all his other works, it surprised me how good he was in Moonlight. I don't think he's as good as the others on this list, but I hope he steadily rises.

My other love, Baro, deserves an honorable mention for taking on so many different and challenging roles.

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I think he's good enough to be in the list with the others. I was never really a fan of him, but I did watch his acting in movie Miss Granny and Warm and Cozy before and thought he's quite good. But his acting in Love in the Moonlight really impressed me a lot and turn me into a fan! If I don't know the fact that he's an idol, I might think he's a real actor. He is that good. I hope he will get lead role after this, he's handsome and can act, he really deserved to be offered lead roles after starting from many of small roles. :)

Anyway I really adore idol actors that are not greedy and take step by step by taking a lot of small roles to learn and improve their acting before transitioning to bigger role.

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I think Jinyoung is pretty lucky that the role is very suitable for him. I dont know if he will lead drama anytime soon.

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Why not? If Suzy and even model-actor Nam Joohyuk can lead drama with their arguable acting skills, I don't see why he cannot lead a drama. If he is not busy with group promotion and is offered lead role which I'm pretty sure he is, then he definitely can be a drama lead. He's secondary lead in Love in the Moonlight, he's literally lead the drama too.

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Suzy has the face, Nam Joo Hyuk has the height. Jinyoung has nice face but his body is quite thin in modern clothes. I think he's more into composing, trying everything than focus on acting.

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Jinyoung was really good in MDBC

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Jinyoung was good in Love in the Moonlight, but he's only been so-so in all of his other works. I wouldn't have included in as a part of the list either although if this list was done a couple years later, I might feel differently.

I think he's promising, but it's way too soon to tell whether or not he can consistently act well and grow as an actor.

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I loove the list.Glad to see park hyung shik and yook sung jae in it. Now going back to read again.

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Well I don't see my oppa so...*readies pitchfork

But I totally agree with most everybody on the list. I don't remember Eunji's projects much, but I remember her characters having a lot of similarities. I'd love to see her branch out more.

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I saw someone on kkuljaem mentioning that Jung Eunji's characters in Reply and Sassy sound like they probably similar on paper (loud characters), but that person watched Reply after Sassy and said the feel of the two characters is totally different.

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It's the other way around for me. On the paper, the characters were quite different, but when I was watching these two characters, Sung Shi-won and Kang Young-do, I got the similar vibes.

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I find Sung Shiwon and Kang Young Do different. I'm telling you if Kwon Soo Ah pushed Shiwon down the stairs like she did to Young Do, Shiwon wouldn't just let that go. She'd beat her ass for doing that. She's not gonna let Soo Ah walk all over her and listen to her countless lies. Shiwon would have confronted her and have a freakin fight showdown with hair pulling and all the works.

Shiwon will always be my favourite character LOL.

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I agree, the two characters are not at all similar to me. I liked young do a lot (possibly because she was played by eunji) but she didn't have anywhere near the level of sass shiwon did.

Shiwon is my favorite too, I absolutely adored that character.
and now that you mention it I just wish I could see shiwon face off against soo ah, that would be so so great.

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I was holding my breath all the way down the list, hoping to see Uee. Thank goodness. She was so amazing in Marriage Contract that just the memory of her emotional scenes can make me teary-eyed months later. This is a great list. I do feel sorry that it's limited to only ten because there are some great ones (named above) who are definitely climbing into the acting stratosphere. I will be forever grateful for the villain in IRIS to grab my attention so fast that I had to look him him. What is this "BigBang" group? Holy hell, what is this weird "Fantastic Baby" video (my FIRST k-pop) video? Down the rabbit hole I fell into K-pop! Thanks for this fun list JB and GF!

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D.O?

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Maybe D.O doesnt active in drama yet - lead roles but his projects so far are damn impressive.

His role in I Remember You was even better than Park Bo Gum. I had to google to know who he was, he was so freaking scary. Then It's Ok, That Love. Then My Annoying Brother.

He is so cute in real life. But maybe because of his look he might be active more in movies than dramas.

And Yoo Chun? He must be one of the most successful, critical claim idol turn actor.

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I wouldn't go as far as to say DO is better than PBG but yep both are really good young actors. In fact, everyone in IRY gave solid performance other than the actor who plays DO's adult counterpart. Some people will not agree with me but I felt like he lacks this mean, chilly, empty eyes that the other serial killers have.

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yeah D.O way much better than lee joon btw.
also yoochun!
and how about KIM KIBUM aka KEY in drinking solo???
and I agree voting for yoon doojoon. he's better than actors around his age

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Key needs to be in more dramas this year. He's a natural.

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100% agree. And did you know that he rewrote his parts of script in Satoori and the script writer accepted his suggestions all the while promoting and preparing for his group's comeback? He certainly is hardworking!

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He did all that + he's in charge as SHINee's visual director for their concert at the same time too!

Okay my bias is showing:p

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Yep, saw Key's Story. That was an inspiring watch.

Also, high-five to the Lockets. Truth be told, I became a newly minted Shawol all because of Kim Kibum in Drinking Solo. Never been into K-pop before. :D

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~dirori~diroriro..ri..ro~
:-D

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Second to that! More of KEY in dramas this year please. Hopefully in next "School 2017"

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I was gonna say he's too old for School 2017, but then I remember Episode 5 with him and Minho and become convinced that he might just pull it off. XD

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As i fast-scrolled down i accidentally read your comment as "Key needs to be more erratic in dramas this year." LOL

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And i read your comment as "Key needs more Erratic in dramas."

-he... needs me? Aw. XD

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@Erratic

Oh, your misreading is very convenient. ?

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I agree. Hahahaha!

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As much as I would love to see him in a new drama, he's already so busy with his normal idol schedules. He's pretty booked for the first half year with concert tours and album releases. And I believe he's also working on a Masters degree.

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Torn between wanting to see more of Key and wishing he would rest more. Their schedule is crazy, and he's still studying? Color me impressed even more.

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Key was amazing in Drinking Solo! He needs to do more dramas.

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Yes, D.O ehmm oppa should be in the eleventh!

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Yeah, special mention on D.O, Jinyoung, Baro and probably Boa (is she singer or idol?)

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I think Boa is in the same group with Seo In-geuk, Lee Seung-gi and probably Rain Oppa ??

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I was expecting DO of EXO in this list. Oh I forgot, this is top 10! *reads the title again*

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Yook Sung Jae was in Answer me 1994? Where...?

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Go Ara younger brother in present time

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He played the role of Go Ara's grown up brother if im not wrong...

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hahah right? i legit did a double take when i read that and had to reeeeally search my memory before remembering him lol

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I excepted to see D.O, his performance in the 2 first episodes of Hello Monster was, at first, the reason I kept watching the show.

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I thought I was the only who remembered him. guess I'm not lol

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That's just his normal look in EXO when Chanbaek keep trolling... XD

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Spot an EXO-L here hahaha
That's his trademark as Satansoo

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I'm not :D but my friends are, so I'm bombarded with all sorts of EXO memes on twitter. Satansoo is the most hilarious! I have all this random EXO trivia floating around my brain now, not to mention the numerous fanart/ships @[email protected]

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For that alone, I love you! lol

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For some reason I thought misaeng' ang Geu-rae was reply's writer's inspiration behind writing Taek. The baduk factor and the way im shiwan played the role was beyond classic. He made me see a drama and go through some boring, mundane day to day office drama and politics which I would never be so much invested in the first place, if not for him. That's one hell of a performance.
And goes without saying, Sung Jae was beyond adorable on school 2015. It's upsetting that his agency is not giving him much roles to act in, or show people his talents, while fellow actor NJH has been getting big breaks. YSJ is one of the under rated actors from his generation and he has a long way to go for sure. And as an idol, whereas some of them are criticized for not being able to 'act', nevertheless how pretty they are, like [kai or suzy], it's amazing how much range in terms of expressions or micro expressions he can give.

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*Jang Geu-rae

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Maybe they can cast YSJ as a lead in the next 'Reply'...

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Well to be fair NJH is only busy with acting while YSJ is still very much active in his idol career (which I dont have any complains because BTOB is an amazing group), but I hope he'll finally land a main role in his next project.

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Siwon is wonderful with these tangy comic roles. I was seriously impressed by his roles in both King of Dramas and She Was Pretty. he doesnt care about treading carefully and looking perfect, he goes all out, throws away all pride and that´s what works.

but where is IU? and where is D.O.? or is D.O. considered an actor-actor now and not an idol? for such a young guy, who has barely had seconds on screen in some dramas, he manages to leave a lasting impression in those few moments.

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IU and Suzy and Yoona belong to different group.

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Among the three, I think Yoona has the edge, but even her facial expression still looked kind of stiff sometimes, she always seems to have a problem on emoting her expression.

I thought IU was good in Producers, but then Moon Lovers happened.

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Yoona always looks like she's posing for a photograph, she's ok sometimes but never seems that natural onscreen like Eunji or Sooyoung.

IU.. I really liked her in Producers and Lee Soon Shin but Moon Lovers even managed to make me dislike Ji Soo so I blame the directing and mostly not her.

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I've always thought Yoona would've done a better job if she was put in a secondary roles instead. She has this likeable aura, but lacks charisma to be carrying a whole drama on her shoulder. Maybe she would've fare better as a female lead's sidekick, or a clingy ex-girlfriend.

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I like the idea of that clingy ex-girlfriend for Yoona. Hahaha. I only liked her in Prime Minister and I though I think it's because the character is not that complicated. I dropped K2 despite of Ji Chang-wook.

Out of the three, I really, really like IU in all her roles. Though there really is something wrong with Moon Lovers that showcased her worst performance yet.

I also liked Suzy in Dream High but won't follow her in all of her shows. I have this illogical dislike for her these days because of Lee Min-ho. (It's just me being possessive.)

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LOL... your comment made me laugh so hard

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well IU might have one bad impression. but is almost all of that actor mentioned.

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maybe they put IU in the solo category including seo in gook & lee seung gi. she is honestly a bit more confusing to label. she started out all singer-songwriter taylor swift style, then kinda went into the idol category as a solo artist & then transitioned into acting.

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Kim hyun joong is one of the notables...

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You mean the guy from Boys Before Flowers?

Yah, I agree.

He's notably bad. So damn bad...

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So so bad.

(And no, not bashing because of his scandal)

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But because of his acting, right?

To think I watched Playful Kiss for that pretty face that made me so sad at times in BoF. And no, I didn't have SLS. Quite the opposite actually.

Oh well, InK is my favorite storyline now.

Hyun Joong soooo bad at acting. But sooooo pretty.

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He's like the male equivalent of Suzy when acting.

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Kudos to @javabeans and @girlfriday for this post! I think you mentioned all the people who deserved it the most! Im Shi Wan and Jung Eun Ji in their breakout roles, and yes, there's Choi Siwon in She Was Pretty, and yes yes, there's Yook Sung Jae in Goblin! Couldn't put together a better list that what you got already!

Anyway I want to say, please never let (idol) fandoms stop you from what you wanna do! Honestly I just want to roll my eyes whenever I saw those "You forgot my XXXXX!" comments. They have to understand NO list is exhaustive. If you were to list every single oppas, then there will be no Top 10's posts!

But to put myself in their shoes, I guess they wrote those comments because they fear that people may forget about their idol oppas' endeavours into acting. What I want to say is: Your Oppas need to work harder to earn their spot - be it in this list or in dramaland.

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I agree with this, even some of my oppas and unnies got left out (Jaejoong, Nana, D.O.) but I don't complain or tell jb and gf they chose wrong. The top 10 here earned their place, the people I like just have to do better or show more good performances.

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(Quite possibly stupid) question: Is this list in order from best to worst?

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I thought it was more like from 'really great' to 'good', no one here is worst.

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Haha sorry yes that is what I meant. Ranked rather than in no particular order.

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Still broken over the fact Yook Sung-Jae's character in School 2015 didn't get the girl. *sigh*

Loving these lists by the way - I learn something new every week! Had no idea Lee Joon or Im Shi-wan were "idol actors". Well whad'ya know.

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Whenever I am reminded of School 2015, I can't help but be disappointed that he didn't get the girl. :( Gong Tae-kwang is ❤

I hope that there will be a School 2017 soon. And please give Bo-gum oppa the lead role before he outgrows high school drama! ❤❤❤

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I still wonder if my failed ship in WAY:2015 was due to live-shooting or his idol status.

Hero/heroine rule no. 1
Don't have the heroine spend more time with the 2nd lead and reveal herself to the realest level. It confuses the audience.

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The drama PDs probably didnt want to have a bad blood with YG (NJH's agency), when they accepted the role it was pretty sure that he's the main lead. It's clearly shown in the drama posters as well. I think what they did not expect is how well YSJ will be received by the viewers so for rating's sake they give him more scenes. But they had to stick to the original storyline.

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Truth. It's reallly obvious with the promotions that NJH was to be leading man. There were unaired scenes in YouTube that should have supported the fact that he was the really the one. I guess they were deleted out to focus on Sung-jae because his character was really well-loved. It was really misleading though.

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Did not think of this category, but yes, it does make sense. How actors got their entry into the business. I agree with the names on the list. I wonder if it would help identifying if these idols turned actors are from the top stables of entertainment management companies? They seem to be outside of these big companies and therefore their roles have been hard-won. And for those idols who are not consistent, eg YEH, i wonder if those roles were their choices, or if they auditioned for them? It could be that they really did not have much more opportunities, esp for non-open auditioned roles, or their small management companies may not know 'pricing'. Just a few thoughts on why the transition is more bumpy than others.

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I think Goong PD coincidentally met yeh at a funeral and was intrigued when yeh wasn't following a certain korean norm. Despite the many protest to replace yeh, the PD insisted that the role should be given to YEH as he feels YEH have a lot of similarities with the character.

YEH is now running her own agency starting from Lie To Me.

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They're all good actors, wish the list were a little longer tho, there are other idol actors worth mentioning too

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I agree with this list. Especially enjoy Shiwan's acting. Sungjae surprised me (in a good way) in Goblin. For the girls, UEE is good but I can't help noticing her slight lisp he he.

Though I kinda disagree with categorizing Eric in 90s singers.. He might have debuted in that era, but he and Shinhwa transcends all eras of idols and still pretty much active..

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I would have added "The Great Queen" to Uee's recommended list. Yeah, it's long. But it is one of the first K-dramas I ever watched. I've watched it multiple times. And it's still a favorite.

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On the other side of the spectrum, I thought YEH should be in the "older" idols list too

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I was looking for this comment. S.E.S. and Baby V.O.X were in the same generation. Why does Yoon Eun Hye count if Eugene is disqualified?

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I was about to write a comment on that, and then found ur comment. Yea, super confused about YEH here in this list. :D

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'we didn’t count super-old-school idols, I’m not sure why, maybe because we have nostalgia for them and our list would just be ‘90s singers like Eugene and Eric?'

Ahhh i wished you would create another list just for the old school idols haha. I totally agree with the ones you mentioned in the list though.

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Or we can just list those by ourselves here. Hmm... Let's see. Javabeans mentioned Seo Hyun-jin, Kim Kang-woo, Jo Hyun-jae, Eric, Eugene, and Yoon Eun-hye. So the rest are:
-Yoon Kye-sang
-Jung Ryeo-won
-Hwang Jung-eum
-Sung Yu-ri
-Park Hee-bon
-Oh Yeon-seo
-Ji Hyun-woo
-Park Soo-jin
-No Min-woo
-not exactly an idol, but Jang Na-ra was also popular as a singer back then.

These are the only ones i know. Anyone else can add more to the list?

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This list goes to show that I lack knowledge behind those actors I adore. My reaction goes like this: Whoa. Yoon Kye-sang is an idol? Wait, wait. Jung Ryeo-won, too? Hwang Jung-eum? Ehhh? Park Hee-bon wasn't a comedian but an idol? Lol, and the list goes on. Thank you for the info though!

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You're welcome! To add to the list: Park Hee-bon and Seo Hyun-jin were bandmates from girlgroup M.I.L.K. Hwang Jung-eum and Park Soo-jin were from Sugar. And Oh Yeon-seo were bandmates with Jeon Hye-bin (I missed her on the list).

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Yoon Kye Sang was in G.O.D. He left for his acting tho. But then when they reunited about 1 year ago, he re-joined.

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Kim Dongwan! Also of Shinhwa like Eric.

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Anyone who questions Rain's ability to act should watch A Love to Kill. Seriously amazing.

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i actually have never been able to finish that drama despite my Rain bias. ?

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culd you do Top 10 Right Hand Men (secretaries, managers etc)?

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I second this!! And I already have a few in my mind. They should totally make a drama focusing on secretaries because I'm curious to know when or whether they actually eat or sleep!

P.s. if not for this list I wouldn't have known that YEH was actually an idol

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now I am trying to remember if I ever saw Cyborg Kim in SKL eat anything... I can´t seem to recall that he ever did.

Secret Garden Secretary Kim did eat, I think, didn´t he and Y