Super Junior (Korean: 슈퍼주니어), often referred to as SJ or SuJu, is a boy band from Seoul, South Korea. They are currently the world's largest boy band, and are produced and managed by Lee Soo Man, the founder of SM Entertainment. The group initially debuted with twelve members in November 2005, but since the addition of Kyuhyun in May 2006, they have become a super group of thirteen members. The members are Leeteuk (the leader), Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum, and Kyuhyun. The Chinese member, Han Geng, was chosen among three thousand applicants through auditions held in China by SM Entertainment in 2001.
Although Super Junior has only recorded two studio albums as a group, they have released and contributed in over 15 different kinds of records since 2005. Their most successful album, Don't Don, was the second best-selling album of 2007 according to the Music Industry Association of Korea. In addition, the group has earned four music awards from the M.NET/KM Music Festival, another four from the Golden Disk Awards, and is the second group to win Favorite Artist Korea at the MTV Asia Awards after jtL in 2003.
Since the late 1990s, Korean talent agency and record label SM Entertainment has been holding annual auditions to scout new talents that complemented the success of pop groups H.O.T, Shinhwa, and S.E.S, all of which were created by SM founder and producer Lee Soo Man in the mid 1990s. In 2001, the company held their first oversea casting auditions in Beijing, where they discovered Han Geng, who was chosen among three thousand applicants.Kibum was recruited in Los Angelos under the same casting system a year later. Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Eunhyuk, and Siwon were discovered under the company's annual auditions that were held in Seoul while Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Donghae, and Ryeowook were discovered through SM-sponsored contests and singing competitions.
Not long after boy band TVXQ's debut in 2003, news about Lee's unprecedented plans of forming another boy band quickly spread on the Internet. In early 2005, SM Entertainment confirmed the news and announced that a all-boy project group of twelve members would debut near the end of the year, promoting this singing group to be "The Gateway to Stardom of Asia." For a while the group was known to be called O.V.E.R, the acronym for "Obey the Voice for Each Rhythm."Most members of the group had performing experiences as actors, MCs, models, or DJs prior debut. Heechul and Kibum made their first appearances in dramas and films; Leeteuk, Yesung, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, and Siwon made cameo television appearances; Han Geng made his first media appearance as a model, and Heechul was also already an established DJ before debut.
Before the group settled with their current name, SM Entertainment labeled them as simply Junior, a representation of the members' young ages when they first became SM trainees.However, after the members' showcased their different talents to the company during an SM-sponsored picnic, the company finalized their name to Super Junior. Soon the group became officially Super Junior 05, the first generation of Super Junior. Super Junior was therefore known as the infamous line-up group, a concept being very similar to Japan's girl group, Morning Musume. Intended to be a rotational group, there was to be new members replacing some of the old members each year, forming a new Super Junior generation every time. However, this concept was abandoned when a new member was added in May 2006.
Super Junior 05 made their pre-debut appearance on the Korean channel, M.NET on September 11, 2005. At the showcase, they performed various styles of hip hop dancing. The group danced to B2K's "Take It To The Floor." Han Geng, Eunhyuk, and Donghae also performed a separate dance away from the group, dancing to Usher's "Caught Up." However, the performance did not air on television until May 16, 2006 as a segment in the Super Junior Show, the group's first television documentary.
2005–2006: The Super Junior project
Super Junior 05 made their debut television appearance on SBS's Popular Songs on November 6, 2005, performing their first single, "TWINS (Knock Out)." A digital single with "TWINS (Knock Out)", "You are the one", and three additional tracks were released online on November 8, 2005. A CD single was scheduled to be released in November but a more complete album, SuperJunior05 (TWINS), was released on December 5, 2005 instead. Their debut album sold 28,536 copies in the first month of release and debuted at #3 in the monthly chart of December 2005. In that same month, they released "Show Me Your Love," their collaboration single with TVXQ. "Show Me Your Love" became the best-selling record of December 2005, selling almost 50,000 copies in less than thirty days.
After "TWINS (Knock Out)" and "Show Me Your Love" promotions were finished, Super Junior 05 promoted their second single from their debut album "Miracle," in February 2006. "Miracle" was the group's first single to peak #1 in different music charts of South Korea as well as international charts from overseas countries, such as Thailand.It was their last single to be promoted from SuperJunior05 (TWINS).
As promotions for "Miracle" came to an end, SM Entertainment began preparations for Super Junior's second line-up project Super Junior 06, the next Super Junior generation. The company even had a list of chosen members that were to graduate from the group, leaving space for new members to join. However, after the mysterious addition of a thirteenth member in May 2006, the company abandoned the line-up project and the group became known as just Super Junior, without the suffix "05".
2006–2007: "U" and breakthrough success
On May 23, 2006, SM Entertainment revealed the thirteenth member Kyuhyun, who was discovered through a singing competition in 2005. The newly polished Super Junior released their single "U" online for free download on May 25, 2006 in their official website. "U" had over 400 thousand downloads within five hours of release and it ultimately exceeded 1.7 million downloads, crashing the server. The CD single "U" with a total of three tracks was officially released on June 6, 2006, eventually selling over 81,000 units by 2007, selling more than their first album.During this time, an official fanclub was created for the group, E.L.F., an alphabetism derived from the phrase "Ever-lasting Friends." Super Junior's official color became pearl sapphire blue.
The title song "U" yielded number-one spots for five consecutive weeks on two of Korea's top music programs for the first time in the group's career. The song was crowned as SBS Popular Songs Mutizen Song on the second week of release, being the first award for the group since debut. The song then stayed as Mutizen Song for three consecutive weeks on the same program, also simultaneously grabbing two top awards from M.NET's M!Countdown for two weeks. Before promotions for "U" ended, "Dancing Out" was released on July 20, 2006, the group's first single for SMTown's annual summer album. The single grabbed two awards as soon as it was released. "U" gained critical success, and Super Junior collected over seven awards in five of South Korea's top music award ceremonies as 2006 came to a close, winning Best New Group and popularity awards.
As 2007 approached, the group began to branch out to different splinter groups. Super Junior-K.R.Y, the first subgroup of Super Junior that debuted on November 5, 2006, began to give separate performances away from the group to promote their new songs in the latter months of 2006. In February arrived a second subgroup, Super Junior-T. In March, several members of Super Junior participated in an original soundtrack for the first time, singing the opening and ending themes "Success" and "H.I.T" for the Korean miniseries, H.I.T. On April 19, 2007, four members of Super Junior, Leeteuk, Shindong, Eunhyuk, and Kyuhyun, were injured in a car accident that deeply affected the group's schedules and progress throughout the year. Being the most injured, Kyuhyun was not discharged from the hospital until four months later, therefore unable to participate in the group's second single for SMTown, "Full of Happiness" (행복) that was released in July. Nonetheless, the cover from former boy band H.O.T accelerated quickly in singles charts in both South Korea and Thailand and soon became a number-one hit in Thailand's international charts a month later.
Heechul's fracture of the femur from a car accident on August 10, 2006 and the April 19 car accident prevented the group's second official album, Don't Don from being released until September 20, 2007. The delayed progress of their second album created more promotion, and within the first three days of release, offline album sales for Don't Don passed the 11,000 unit mark, debuting as #1 in all available offline charts, and was in close competition with Lee Soo Young's Set It Down and Wheesung's eternal essence of music that were released earlier in September. It finished the September monthly album sales as number one, surpassing both Lee and Wheesung. 60,000 units were shipped by the first week of release and additional copies were printed. After three months of release, Don't Don sold 164,058 copies, making it Super Junior's best-selling album. It was also the second best-selling album of 2007, falling 26,940 copies short of SG Wannabe's The Sentimental Chord.
Super Junior performed their first performance for the album on September 21, 2007, promoting the first single "Don't Don" at KBS's Music Bank. It was their first performance in which the group performed together as thirteen after a whole year. The single rose quickly in music charts a week after release, winning its first recognition, the SBS Popular Songs Mutizen Song, on October 21, 2007 and later on M.NET's M!Countdown, sharing the #1 song of the week along with "Everyday" by V.O.S in November. Super Junior quickly moved to their second single, "Marry U", in November. However, that single did not meet the achievements that "Don't Don" had set.
Supported by the release of Don't Don, Super Junior was nominated in seven separate categories at the 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival that was held on November 17, 2007. Super Junior won three of those categories including Netizen Choice Award and Mobile Popularity, being the biggest winner of the night. The group also won Best Artist of the Year (Daesang), termed by many as the highest recognition of the ceremony. Super Junior collected two more awards on December 14, 2007 at the 2007 Golden Disk Awards, an awards ceremony based on record sales success. Although defeated by SG Wannabe in winning the Daesang, Super Junior won a Bonsang and the TPL Anycall Popularity Award, which were reported as expected wins for the group by the media after the success of Don't Don.