Scandal-Tinged Singer Hopes for Comeback

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Scandal-Tinged Singer Hopes for Comeback

Steven Soderbergh's 1989 movie "Sex, Lies and Videotape" exposed people's secret lives. The film could well have been a scenario for the sex-video scandal involving singer Baek Ji-young. There were sex, lies and videotape, and her two-year secret was revealed.

But unlike the film, the story is far from over.

Once described as a "sexy and ambitious beauty," Miss Baek is determined to use her Christmas concert to rise from the ashes, according to her manager, Kim Joon-ho.

"When her video created such a stir last month, she was at a total loss about what to do," he said. "But now she is ready to go on stage and let the public be the judge."

The video of Miss Baek having sex first appeared on the Web in mid-November. As word spread quickly among Internet users, Miss Baek denied the whole thing until a former manager, Kim Si-won, admitted on TV that he was the man on the video.

Miss Baek, 24, has had a rapid rise to stardom since she made her debut in 1998, under Mr. Kim's guidance. She climbed swiftly up the show business ladder, thanks to her sultry voice and sexy looks.

Last summer, she turned up the heat with three hit songs, "Choice," "A Burden" and "Small Wish" - all from her first album, "Sorrow."

Her success story continued with a second album, "Rouge," which contained two more hits, "Sad Salsa" and "Dash," both with a touch of Latin rhythm. The album sold 450,000 copies.

In 1999, Miss Baek won the Best New Female Singer Award from the Seoul Broadcasting System. Now the fallen star is trying to revive her career.

"She is leaving everything in the hands of the prosecution," says Kim Joon-ho. "She is focusing only on the concert. She believes it is her last chance to regain her popularity."

Seemingly, the whole case should have been over early this month, when a man who allegedly circulated the video was charged with defamation of character and violating telecommunications law.

But sex scandals do not go away so easily. The fallout looks likely to haunt Miss Baek for a long time and could lead to legal, personal and financial disaster. She may be unable to win back her fans, at least for the time being.

Despite the criticism and debate, Miss Baek's Dec. 25 concert at the Olympic Park Fencing Gymnasium, Seoul, will go ahead as planned.

by Kim Jae-seon

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