By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
's reign as K-pop's hottest is being challenged by singers like Ivy, Chae Yeon, and Seo In-young.
Lee sent temperatures rising in 2003 when she made her debut as a sexy singer. Many female singers have since tried to follow in her footsteps, pushing the limits of sexiness with barely-there outfits and hot dance moves.
Lee is still a top fashion icon and sought-after product endorser, but she seems to be looking for a new direction for her career. She appears in several ads as well as sizzling spreads showing off her gleaming skin and curves in fashion magazines like W and Cosmopolitan.
Earlier this year, there was a backlash against her sexy image. Her recent mini-drama "If in Love... Like Them
" failed to draw in audiences. Lee has also not been paying much attention to her music career, only releasing a digital single album last March.
While Lee struggles, several female K-pop singers are making their move. Some are going for the hardcore sexy image, while others are keeping it sweet.
Leading the pack of sexy singers are Seo In-young and Chae Yeon. Seo, a former member of girl group Jewelry, who has generated controversy with her barely-there costumes and hot dance moves. At the Dream Concert last weekend, she even gave a pole-dancing performance.
Chae Yeon also doesn't balk at being branded as a "sexy singer". She has recently been performing her latest dance single "My Love", while wearing low-slung mini-skirts and cropped tops.
While these divas have been trying to outdo each other with sexiness, there is another group of singers who are downplaying their sex appeal. Ivy, Lexy, Hyun Young and Banana Girl are still making waves in the music scene with their unique personalities.
Ivy may have made her debut with a sexy image last year, and helped popularize hot pants that showed off her beautiful legs. This year, Ivy is focusing more on showing her strong voice and keeping her clothes on.
It may have helped her career more, since she was chosen as the opening act for international pop superstar Christina Aguilera's concert in Seoul this weekend. She is also preparing for her solo concert "Ivy & Present First Concert" on June 30 at Jamsil Indoor Stadium.
Lexy is going the opposite route of sexy with a tough tomboyish image. The hip-hop star released her third album "Rush" last April.
Hyun Young is making the transition from actress to perky pop star. She looked like a Barbie doll with blonde hair and pink clothes, for her almost-comical music video "Love Revolution". Her remake of Japanese group Morning Musume's song is climbing the charts.
Banana Girl's cute, fresh look and catchy song "Chocolate" is also making a splash in the music charts.