Jo Kwon is most definitely not your average K-pop idol.
The leader of K-pop idol band 2 am is neither "the hunky one" nor "the cute one". He's not "the rapper" or "the one with the abs".
Instead, he has smashed every cookie cutter K-pop stereotype since his debut in 2008, shocking fans and K-pop enthusiasts with his androgynous look and dance performances.Jo Kwon's S & M inspired leather and feathers look for his new solo album (Photo courtesy of StarN)
On stage, he sizzles in fabulously flamboyant costumes, all studs and feathers and Adam Lambert-esque eyeliner. Jo Kwon also eschews traditional male pop dances, choosing instead to shake his hips and slinky dances that put most of his female counterparts to shame.
Off-screen, he is expressive and exuberant, brightening up what could have been yet another lost-in-translation video interview Yahoo! Singapore attended on Thursday, making funny faces and even gamely singing acapella for his fans (something most K-pop idols would do over their dead body without first warming up their voices).
Boyish in a red and white striped shirt, stripped of his usual eyeliner and gravity defying hair-styles, Jo Kwon gamely answered questions ranging from the creative direction of his new solo album, "I'm Da One", to those infamous 19.5 cm spiked heels he donned when he introduced his single, "Animal", in Seoul.Jo Kwon posing with his famous 19.5 cm spiked heels (Yahoo! Photos / Elizabeth Soh)
Jo Kwon, 22, clearly came prepared for heel-related questions, whipping out the notorious footwear when this reporter asked him about whether those skyscraper shoes hurt.
"Its not as bad as it looks," Jo says, modelling the vicious looking spiky heels and showing it to reporters. "Its called the 'Nightwalker' shoe - it actually has a platform of 19.5 cm in the front and has no heel."
When faced with disbelieving looks, he conceded that the shoes were "definitely not shoes you would want to sprain your ankles in", but assured fans that constant practice has made performing in the shoes second nature to him.
Jo's stylist had specially flown to New York to purchase the thousand-dollar Noritaka Tatehana geisha-inspired Night-walker shoes, which were propelled to instant fame when Lady Gaga decided they were her kicks of choice, appearing in different versions of them during her Born This Way tour.
Its no surprise then that Jo names Lady Gaga and Madonna as some of the artistes that he hopes to be able to work with, along with other Korean superstars like Lee Hyori and Uhm Jung Hwa, known for their voluptuous bodies and hot dance moves.
In fact, Jo has been approached by a choreographer who has worked with Beyonce and was impressed by his dancing.The many faces of Jo Kwon (Yahoo! Photos / Elizabeth Soh)
Despite all that attention, Jo came across as seemingly unspoilt by fame, and throughout the interview, re-arranged his hair, pouted, scrunched up his face, and preened for fans without an ounce of self-consciousness in stark contrast to the stiff, doughy expressions often adopted by K-pop idols when they first debut.
It could have something to do with the 8 grueling years of training he received under talent mogul JYP. Without those 8 years, Jo says, "I would not be as ready or comfortable as I am now".
And the golden question - what kind of Animal is Jo, exactly?
On a day to day basis? Probably be a chipmunk or squirrel because of his baby-fat cheeks, said Jo, who added that the animal he represented in his single of the same name was him at his "most wild".
See Jo Kwon at his "most wild" in his Animal video wearing those much talked about heel-less platforms
Unfortunately for fans here, Jo will not be stopping by to tour or make an appearance in the near future - news that was met with disappointment by the lucky contest winners present at the video interview, who said that they would still "always support him".Hui Fen, 21, Valerie, 22, and Liu Yi Ling, 20, who were thrilled to be able to Skype with Jo (Yahoo! Photos / Elizabeth …