GFriend Aegyo Princesses
The Aegyo Innocents

Hard to believe these sextet has only been around since 2015. They've become one of East Asia's biggest attractions, despite coming from such a small company, Source Music.

GFriend is a good example of what we here call an Aegyo group, often called "innocent groups." Aegyo (애교) is a Korean term meaning an affected infantilization as a way of extracting attention, pathos, or just laughter. In Korea there are an entire class of groups in which the members are young, dress the same, in some cases even look the same, and try as hard as they can to come off as cute and innocent through their music, choreography and facial expressions, most notably the "eye smile." There are quite a few examples of them, Lovelyz, Oh My Girl, CLC, and others. It was a style practically perfected by Girl's Generation when they were rookies, though they've mostly strayed from overrelying on cute, coy innocence as their appeal.

GFriend is certainly charming and their songs are pleasant enough, usually light pop mixed with teen crush angst. But it is their choreography that really sets them apart and (in our opinion) has made them one of the most adored groups of their kind in a very short time, riding a hot streak that includes a string of top hits all employing the same predictable formula, "Me Gustas Tu," "Glass Bead" and "Rough." While we can't really recommend much of their songs to a Western audience, we can't deny their talent for dance moves and syncopation that encorporates elements of jazz, ballet and even a little ballroom. They are fun to watch.

UPDATE: Defcon and Yeechul challenged GFriend to perform their wonderfully precise dance routines at twice the speed on their program "Weekly Idol." The results showed just how talented these kids are:

Girl Group