K-Pop Positions Explained
In most K-Pop groups there’s an appointed leader, who’s usually (but not always) the eldest member or at least one of the eldest members. (Ex: SHINee’s Onew, APink’s Chorong, etc.) Sometimes the leader can be the member who was a trainee for the longest period of time out of all the members of the band. (Ex: Twice’s Jihyo)
Some groups don’t have any leader. (Ex: Blackpink)
The leader’s role is to motivate and take care of the other members, and to represent them in various ways – like talking on the stage/ awards festivities, etc. Also, he/she’s supposed to be mature and charismatic and be able to gain the respect of the other members in the band.
The Main Vocalist
The Main Vocalist is usually the member with the best singing technique, who gets the most difficult vocal parts. (EX: 2PM’s Jun-K, Girls’s Generations’ Taeyeon, etc.)
The Main vocalist usually gets lots of singing lines and usually sings the chorus. Sometimes the Lead Vocalist sings the chorus, while the Main Vocalist does the ad-libs.
The Lead Vocalist
The Lead Vocalist is usually the member with the 2nd best singing technique. He/she usually sings before the Main Vocalist. Sometimes the Lead Vocalist sings the chorus, while the Main Vocalist does the ad-libs.
The Sub Vocalist
The Sub Vocalist (Sometimes also simply the Vocalist) supports the Main and Lead Vocalists and can get fewer singing lines.
A group can have more Main, Lead and Sub Vocalists.
The Main Rapper
The Main Rapper gets most of the rapping parts and it’s supposed to be the one with the best rapping skills. Many times, the main rappers write their own lyrics. (EX: B.A.P’s Yongguk, EXID’s LE, etc.)
The Lead Rapper
The Lead Rapper is supposed to be the 2nd best to the Main Rapper. He/she usually begins the rapping parts.
The Sub Rapper
The Sub Rapper (sometimes also simply the Rapper) is supposed to be better than non rapping members but not as good as the Lead or Main rappers.
The Main Dancer
The Main Dancer is usually the member with the greatest dancing skills. The Main Dancer usually gets solo dancing parts. (EX: Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon, Blackpink’s Lisa, etc.)
The Lead Dancer
The Lead Dancer is usually the 2nd best dancer in the group. When the group dances together, he/she will often dance in the front.
The visual is usually the member considered the most physically attractive in the group (according to the Korean beauty standards). (EX: Girl’s Generations’ Yoona, GOT7’s Mark, etc.)
The Face of The Group
The Face of The Group is many times mistaken with the visual, because their main role is to bring public attention to the group. While the Visual is usually the most good looking member, the Face Of The Group is the band’s representative who usually gets invited in variety shows or who represents the band in different public events, so many times is the most popular member. Sometimes the visual and the Face of the group overlap, the same member holding both positions. Other times the leader can also hold the Face of the Group position. Since it’s basically a popularity related position, the Face of The Group can change constantly.
The Face of The Group is not a mandatory position, some bands promote equally all their members and don’t have a distinct Face Of the Group.
There are bands where 1 particular member publicly represents the band to variety shows in 90% of cases, thus that member becomes the band’s representative, the “face of the group”. (EX: EXID’s Hani, AOA’s Seolhyun, etc.)
Usually a certain member is placed in the middle of the group during promotions, photoshoots, video shoots, etc. Be it because of their good-looks, or because of their dancing talent or because of their popularity, a particular member is always placed in the center, getting the most attention.
The Center can be changing from a promotion to another. (EX: Red Velvet – during ‘Ice Cream Cake’ promotion Irene was the Center → during ‘Dumb Dumb’ promotions Seulgi was the Center)
The Maknae is the youngest member of the band. The maknae is usually associated with being cute and shy, but not always. Some maknaes became popular for being the complete opposite, “the evil maknae”. (EX: Super Junior’s Kyuhyun)
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If you’d be a Kpop singer, what position would it be better suited for you?