Social media just might be one of the best ways to gauge a star’s popularity. After all, when celebrities aren’t appearing on the stage, the silver or small screen, or the fashion runway, they’re often offering glimpses into their lives and wardrobes on Instagram.
So – music charts and TV shows aside – who are the K-pop idols getting the most attention from fans on social media?
It’s not surprising that all four Blackpink members are the most-followed Instagram idols, according to K-pop Database’s list, which is sorted according to follower count. Lisa tops the list with 46.1 million followers. Jennie comes in second place with 39.2 million, and Rosé and Jisoo aren’t far behind, tied with 35.5 million at the time of writing.
Their social media star power hasn’t gone unnoticed by the luxury fashion world, either. All four members have been tapped as muses for different brands: Jennie for Chanel, Rose for Saint Laurent, Lisa for Celine and Jisoo for Dior.
2. Chanyeol, Sehun and Baekhyun from Exo
Blackpink might be the hottest K-pop girl group of the moment, but Exo is an icon in its own right. It’s no wonder then that three Exo members – Chanyeol, Sehun and Baekhyun – are within the top 10 of most-followed K-pop idols on Instagram. Chanyeol ranks No 5 with 22.7 million followers, with Sehun hot on his trail at No 7 with 21.2 million and Baekhyun at No 8 with 20 million.
Aside from “Exo Planet #5 – Exploration” in early 2020, the live album of the group’s concert tour in July and August 2019, Exo hasn’t released new music since the Korea-exclusive album “Obsession” at the end of 2019. This is partly because some of its members have been serving their military duty. Chanyeol, Baekhyun and Sehun still haven’t started theirs, although Chanyeol and Baekhyun, both born in 1992, are nearing the age limit of enlisting.
3. Jackson Wang from Got7
Following Blackpink and Exo, Jackson Wang from Got7 is the sixth most-followed K-pop star on Instagram with 21.7 million followers. Hong Kong rapper Jackson has many talents: not only is he a rapper, but a singer and a dancer, too. Besides his career in South Korea, he is also active in China as a solo artist and television host.
And his skills aren’t limited to the entertainment world, either. He is the founder of record label Team Wang and the creative director and lead designer for fashion brand Team Wang Design.
Since his contract with JYP Entertainment ended recently and he decided not to renew it, fans are looking forward to seeing what he delivers next now that his Got7 era has come to a close.
Despite spending a year and a half on military service from 2018 to 2019, and not having released a new single in four years – his last one was Untitled, 2014 in 2017 – G-Dragon is still the ninth most-followed K-pop star on Instagram with 19.1 million followers.
And those who have been waiting for the King of K-pop’s triumphant return will be happy to learn that he will (hopefully) make his comeback this year with a new solo album.
In November 2020, G-Dragon’s agency, YG Entertainment, officially announced that he is currently working on a new album that will be released soon. It will be his first project after his solo EP “Kwon Ji Yong” in 2017 and the single Flower Road in 2018, which was Big Bang’s very last activity as a group.
Last but not least, IU comes in at No 10 on the list with 18.4 followers. Ever since her debut in 2008, IU has continuously shown her talents as a singer, songwriter and actress. She has released numerous hit songs including Blueming, which recently won the grand prize at the Golden Disc Awards, Love Poem and Twenty-three, and has also starred in top K-dramas like Dream High, The Producers and Hotel Del Luna. Her cute charm has also earned her the nickname of “nation’s little sister”.
On January 27, she released her latest single Celebrity, and its music video received 11.6 million worldwide views on YouTube the week of its release, ranking No 28 on the Global YouTube Music Videos Chart.