“Centers” in K-pop usually refer to the group member who is a perfect representation of the band’s image due to their popularity and their looks. The title is reserved for the bandmate that, literally, appears in the middle of the group during performances, promotional activities and photo and video shoots. Keep reading to uncover some of K-pop’s male and female centers.

Sometimes known as the “face of the group,” the center position is oftentimes taken by a member who is an all-round entertainer. Centers are not to be mistaken with the “visual” of K-pop groups, which is the member that best represents South Korean beauty standards.

However, some K-pop bands have centers that are also considered “visuals,” one good example being aespa‘s KARINA. Not only is the K-pop idol the center of her group, she’s also the leader. A K-pop group’s “leader” is usually the person that helps control the band’s image, supports their bandmates and is pretty much the spokesperson for their group.

Before debuting with aespa, KARINA was an “ulzzang” (influencer), meaning she was famous on social media for her looks. Recruited by a casting manager, she became an SM trainee in 2016 and also appeared in multiple projects for the music company. She debuted with aespa in 2020 with their song “Black Mamba.”


Another popular “center” is, of course, BTS’ Jung Kook. The main vocalist of the K-pop supergroup is known for being the center in almost all of the group’s performances, and is often praised for his multiple talents, including dance. The Korean singer is also known as the “golden maknae” (‘maknae’ meaning youngest) of BTS, for his affinity to be good at, well, everything.

“People say that I excel, that I’m an all-rounder. Of course I excel in some areas, but I don’t think it necessarily helps to bask in those talents and gifts,” he told Rolling Stone in May 2021. “You can only improve in a certain area when you really practice, when you really try, when you deep-dive into it. So I really don’t want to think myself as an all-rounder. I just want to keep trying and working hard. And of course I do feel pressure, but those pressures can also drag me to work hard and do best at what I do.”

Click through our gallery to uncover our list of K-pop idols who are considered the “centers” of their group.

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