[ENTERTAINMENT]Singer Tries to Unwind the Sex Videotape

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Singer Tries to Unwind the Sex Videotape

"I consider myself so lucky, I never thought I could make my dream come true so easily," remarked Baek Ji-young, 23, one of the most popular singers in Korea, in a TV interview eight months ago. Indeed, this dance music singer had quickly scaled the ladder to fame in Korea. At that time, she could not have imagined that just a month later, she would be shedding tears at a "good-bye" concert. All this because a money-hungry ex-boyfriend had released a video of the two allegedly engaging in sex, filmed before her pop debut.

The evil boyfriend in question is unlikely to have turned much profit from sales of the video, as pirate copies spread quickly via the Internet, but he did succeed in smearing Ms. Baek across headlines. Controversy raged over whether she should try to continue her career as a singer, despite the "unchaste" behavior all too much in evidence in the video. Public opinion was inclined to deny Ms. Baek further singing success, suggesting that even those at the cutting-edge of technology are still vanguards of conservatism. It did not take long before Ms. Baek, once a sexy queen of Latin-style music, had to renounce her fame.

Thus, Ms. Baek was forced to leave the Korean music scene, crying tears of regret but leaving behind the words, "If there is just a single fan who still wants to listen to me singing, I wish I could sing for them." The concert, held on last day of 2000, was appropriately titled "Good-bye Concert."

On Thursday, however, Ms. Baek took a daring step back onto the Korean music scene with her 3d album, titled "Tres" ("three" in Spanish). Shamefaced over the video scandal, Ms. Baek originally planned to confine her musical endeavors to nations outside Korea, such as Taiwan. But according to the record distributors Palette Music Entertainment, however, Ms. Baek's comeback is being received with open arms in Korea, with 300,000 copies ordered even before the release. And the Korean media, unforgiving in their estimation of Ms. Baek last year, are now running stories in her defense, capped by headlines such as "Ms. Baek Back on Her Feet, Overcoming the Hard Times."

But though Ms. Baek is mostly shunning media appearances, according to her schedule manager Jeong Woo-seok it is inevitable that her return will relight the controversy.

Ms. Baek's new record features 15 tracks, the main track meaningfully titled "Churak" ("Falling Down"). She sticks to her successful formula of Latin-style music with flashy dance moves and an exciting upbeat rhythm.

Recently, a former Miss Korea and popular actress named Oh Hyun-kyeong, who became similarly embroiled in scandal thanks to a sex video, has also begun regaining popularity. She appeared on the cover of a movie magazine and wrote lyrics for the pop singer Kim Gun-mo.

Perhaps Ms. Baek may also succeed in winning back the hearts of Koreans that evidence of her sexual appetite so appalled.

by Chun Su-jin

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