What is an ending fairy?
While the “ending” part of “Ending fairy” is easier to explain, the “Fairy” bit is a bit more convoluted. A “fairy” in Korean vernacular being a person who is eye-catching or stands out among a group of people. With the south Korean unambiguous and open obsession with good looks, this will often translate into someone standing out because of their striking beauty or charm. And in Kpop the “ending” in Ending Fairy refers to the end of a performance. So very simply the Ending Fairy is the most eye-catching idol being part of a group and being the focus of camerawork for the end of a recorded performance.
The fairy part is used in other contexts too and with the same meaning, an idol standing out in some context. So Una in Brave Girls or Heejin of Loona could, according to this meaning, correctly be referred to as “Skateboard Fairies” when being filmed skateboarding. Or someone doing an awesome dancing performance while looking particularly charming could be the “dancing fairy” etc.
The importance of the fairy and what the fairy does…
After a gruelling Kpop performance, complete with pyrotechnics, fan chants, light sticks and impossible choreographies, the performance invariably ends with the group in end dance formation and the camera focused on the Ending Fairy. The members chosen for this duty is supposed to give the fans a memorable ending representative for the performance, while at the same time advertising the charms of the group and the music promoted.
Irene of Red Velvet, a Classic Ending Fairy
All of this means that a groups “visual” or a particularly popular member is a common choice. Naturally the fairy has to tick off quite a few boxes. On top of the already mentioned some of the other requirements are to look attractive and charming despite executing a most likely taxing dance routine – there is no break between the choreography ending and that shot where the endings fairys’ VO2 max and prospensity for perspiration is displayed. A classic Ending Fairy just freezes the pose, smiles and most likely tries not to keel over from exhaustion.
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