Being an idol is already a challenging career on its own, having to practice and spend time studying choreographies, having vocal training, writing rap verses, with even some spending time producing and composing tracks for their albums.
But aside from excelling in their main careers, there are several idols who shine not only on stages but also in variety shows, an amazing feat to gain the title of being an idol entertainer. Among many of them, here's a list (in no particular order) of the most outstanding award-winning idol entertainers!
1. Kim Jong Kook
Turbo member and first-generation idol, Kim Jong Kook, is one of the earliest idol entertainers that has dominated the Korean variety show industry. He starred in legendary shows such as X-Man where he gained more fans, Family Outing, and can be currently watched in Running Man, I Can See Your Voice, My Little Old Boy, and was added as a new cast member of Problem Child in the House.
He has won variety show recognition from the three major channels, SBS, KBS, and MBC, and recently won the Grand Award (Daesang) last 2020 SBS Entertainment Awards, and the Grand Award (Daesang) last 2021 SBS Entertainment Awards together with the My Little Old Boy cast.
2. Choi Ye Na
Choi Ye Na, also known as Yena, is a former member of the girl group IZ*ONE and is currently rising as a soloist and as an entertainer. Aside from shining as a singer, she also shines as an entertainer, a former cast member of Prison Life of Fools, the main host of Yena's Animal Detective, and a cast member of the two seasons of Idol Dictation Contest and Girls High School Mystery Class.
As a rising idol entertainer, she has been nominated as the Entertainer Idol of the Year (Female) for the 2021 Brand Customer Loyalty Award and won the Female Idol Entertainer Grand Award (Daesang) during the 2021 Brand of the Year Awards.
3. Kim Jong Min
One of the most popular entertainers, Kim Jong Min, is actually a member of the first-generation group, KOYOTE, his main job originally being a singer and dancer. He has been a cast member for more than thirty variety shows under his belt and has guested for several variety shows. He has been a fixed member for all the seasons of 2 Days, 1 Night, and can be watched in shows such as My Little Old Boy, Brain-fficial, Busted, The Great Escape, and Prison Life of Fools, to name a few.
He has been nominated during the prestigious 2017 Baeksang Arts Awards for the Best Variety Performer – Male Category, and won entertainment awards on all three major channels, SBS, KBS, and MBC. He has also finally won his solo Entertainment Grand Award (Daesang) last 2016 KBS Entertainment Awards.
4. Lee Mi Joo
An energetic and certified idol multi-entertainer, Lee Mi Joo, famously known by her stage name, Mijoo, is a former member of Lovelyz and is another rising idol in the variety show industry. She's a current cast member of the shows Sixth Sense, a new addition to Hangout With Yoo, and also a member of the two seasons of the Idol Dictation Contest.
She has won all of her nominations for entertainment to date, bagging the 2021 Entertainer Idol of the Year (Female) from Brand of the Year Awards, 2022 Best Entertainer Idol (Female) from Korea First Brand Awards, the Rookie Award during the 2021 MBC Entertainment Awards, and is currently nominated for the prestigious 2022 Baeksang Arts Awards for the Best Female Variety Performer category.
5. Eun Ji Won
The leader of the legendary first-generation K-Pop group, SECHSKIES, Eun Ji Won is no doubt one of the most outstanding idol entertainers ever since. Bearing various nicknames due to his variety show persona such as "The Crazy One", "Eungakha" (His Excellency, Eun), and "Eunchoding" (Kid Eun), he has multiple variety shows on his belt. He is one of the original members of the first season of 2 Days, 1 Night, The Genius 2, New Journey to the West, Kang's Kitchen, Unexpected Q, Naked World History, From the New World, and was recently added to the show Master in the House.
He has multiple awards for entertainment, winning Best Entertainer in the 2010 KBS Entertainment Awards, and the Grand Award (Daesang) in the 2011 KBS Entertainment Awards alongside other members of 2 Days, 1 Night.
6. Kim Se Jeong
Aside from being known as a former member of I.O.I. and Gugudan, and being an amazing actress who recently starred in the hit drama, Business Proposal, she is also a great entertainer. Kim Se Jeong, who finished second in Produce 101, has been seen in various shows such as Get It Beauty, Talents for Sale, an early co-host of Baek Jong-won's Alley Restaurant, and part of the show, Busted!
She has various nominations as a Rookie in Variety, nominated for the Best Female Idol Entertainer category, and won the Female Multi-tainer of the Year Award during the 2021 Brand of the Year Awards.
7. Kim Hee Chul
Kim Hee Chul, a gem in both the idol industry and variety show industry, is a member of the boy group Super Junior and an undeniable idol entertainer. Although we can definitely say that everyone in Super Junior has what it takes to be an entertainer, Heechul has surely made his mark during his solo activities too. He has been a cast member of the Second Season of Family Outing, took part in the show We Got Married Global Edition, cast member of shows Life Bar, Delicious Rendezvous, and can be currently watched in Knowing Brothers, My Little Old Boy, 20th Century Hit Song and Steel Troops.
He has been nominated for the award Best Variety Performer – Male during the 2020 Baeksang Arts Awards, won awards such as Most Influential Male Variety Idol, Best Entertainer of the 2016 JTBC Awards, and multiple awards from the SBS Entertainment Awards, such as the Top Excellence Award – Reality and Grand Prize (Daesang) alongside the members of My Little Old Boy.
8. Lee Hyo Ri
"Nation's Fairy", Lee Hyo Ri, is a role model to various idols, being a leader of the first generation idol group, Fin.K.L., until she became a solo artist, record producer, actress, and entertainer. She is one of the earliest female idol entertainers, taking part in variety shows such as Happy Together, Family Outing, Hyori's Homestay, Hangout with Yoo for SSAK3, and Refund Sisters, and is currently in the show Seoul Check-in.
She won Best Newcomer (Variety) as a Rookie entertainer during the 2002 KBS Entertainment Awards, receiving the 2009 SBS Entertainment Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) together with Yoo Jae Suk, 2020 MBC Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award in Music/Talk Category – Female, and has received recognition for entertainment in the three major channels, SBS, KBS, and MBC.
VIXX member, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and CEO of record label Groovl1n and The L1VE, RAVI, is not only prolific in his KOMCA credits but is an aspiring entertainer too. He has been part of the variety shows, Real Man 300, Don't Be Jealous, Idol Dictation Contest, and a member of the 2 Days, 1 Night Season 4.
He has started showcasing his talent in variety shows recently, but he has already won awards such as the 2020 Variety Star Idol of the Year from Brand of the Year Awards, and the Rookie Award in Show/Variety Category during the 2021 KBS Entertainment Awards.
Taeyeon, Girls' Generation leader and member of other subunits like Girls' Generation-TTS, SM the Ballad, Girls' Generation-Oh!GG, and Got the Beat is not only a renowned vocalist and soloist but also a great entertainer! She has been part of variety shows such as We Got Married Season 1, Daily Taengoo Cam, Begin Again Season 3, Petkage, Amazing Saturday, Taengkey Box, and Queendom 2.
Aside from her awards as a singer, she bagged nominations and awards for Popularity due to her constant participation in shows as an idol multi-entertainer. She also won the Female Radio MC Award during the 2010 Republic of Korea Entertainment Arts Awards.
Kim Ki Bum, popularly known as Key, is a member of the boy group Shinee, a rapper, singer, dancer, songwriter, actor, fashion designer, and television presenter. Aside from these many talents is his great skill in variety shows too, shining brightly with his gift of gab. Among his many shows are Raising Idol, We Got Married Global Edition, Master Key, Cheongdam Key-chin, TaengKey Box, Breakers, Amazing Saturday, and I Live Alone.
He won the Popularity Award in the 2021 MBC Entertainment Awards, Entertainer Idol of the Year in 2021 Brand of the Year Awards, Male Variety Idol during the 2021 Brand Consumer Loyalty Award, and is currently nominated for the 2022 Baeksang Arts Awards for the Best Male Variety Performer category.
Hyeri, the youngest member of the girl group Girl's Day, named the "Nation's Little Sister", is an actress, singer, and television personality. Although she is much known for being a great actress and singer who collected accolades for her main career, she is undeniably great in variety shows. She has multiple guest appearances on famous variety shows such as Running Man, Knowing Brothers, and 2 Days 1 Night, and also took part as a member in shows such as Real Men: Women's Army Special, and Amazing Saturday.
She has won awards such as the Best Female Newcomer in the 2014 MBC Entertainment Awards, Female Idol Variety Star in the 2018 Korea First Brand Awards, and Female Variety Idol in the 2019 Brand of the Year Awards.
13. Boo Seung Kwan
SEVENTEEN is undeniably filled with all-rounder and entertaining members, but one of their gems, Boo Seungkwan surely stands out with his variety show talents too! He is not only a golden vocalist and a songwriter, but also a successful idol entertainer. Aside from seeing his variety show skills on their own show, Going Seventeen, and other remarkable guesting in shows such as Knowing Brothers and Amazing Saturday, he has also been a cast member of shows such as Unexpected Q, Prison Life of Fools, Five Cranky Brothers, Job Dongsan, Idol Dictation Contest Season 1, and Racket Boys.
Aside from being dubbed in Racket Boys as one of the show's aces in badminton recognized by mentors and cast members, he was also awarded the Rookie Award for Music and Talk during the 2018 MBC Entertainment Awards and his own Grand Award, Male Idol Entertainer (Daesang) on the 2022 Korea First Brand Awards.
14. Son Dam Bi
The lovely and talented soloist, Son Dam Bi, is not only thriving in her main career such as being a singer and an actress, but also as an entertainer! Aside from her dramas, you can watch her in variety shows such as We Got Married, Village Survival, the Eight, Try It, I Live Alone, and Sister Shoots.
She has been recognized for her hit songs, and some for her acting roles, but she has also taken the limelight with her accolades for entertainment. She won Multi Entertainer Female of the Year during the 2020 Brand of the Year Awards, and the Excellence Award in Variety Category – Female during the 2020 MBC Entertainment Awards
15. Yook Sung Jae
Yook Sung Jae, popularly known as a member of the boy group BTOB, an actor who took everyone by storm during his stint in Goblin is not only a singer, songwriter, actor, and host but is also an outstanding entertainer. Alongside his discography and filmography, you can see him shine in variety shows such as Hitmaker Season 1&2, Invisible Man, We Got Married, Idol Chef King, Clenched Fist-Boat Horn, Celebrity Bromance, and Master in the House.
He won the Best Male Newcomer Award (Variety) during the 2015 MBC Entertainment Awards, Excellence Award in Variety during the 2018 SBS Entertainment Awards, and the Best Teamwork award alongside the Master in the House members during the 2019 SBS Entertainment Awards.
Hwasa, one of the fiercest and most genuine entertainers, is a member of MAMAMOO and is also a soloist, singer, rapper, songwriter, model, and television personality. Aside from her great hit songs like Twit and Maria, she has been known for her participation in shows such as King of Mask Singer, I Live Alone, Hyena on the Keyboard, Hangout With Yoo, Hidden Singer, and Saturday Night Live Korea.
She won awards such as the Hot Issue Entertainer Award during the 2018 KBS Entertainment Awards, Best Female Reality Star in the 2021 Korea Broadcasting Awards, Female Idol Variety Star of the 2020 and 2021 Korea First Brand Awards, Rookie Female of the Year – Variety in the 2018 MBC Entertainment Awards, and Female Top Excellence Award – Variety in the 2019 and 2020 MBC Entertainment Awards.
Here are some of the most outstanding idol entertainers who gained recognition and won awards due to their variety and entertainment skills! We await for more idols who have skills in entertainment to be able to participate in variety shows they like. Among the listed who is your favorite idol entertainer and who would you add to the list?