Ji-yeon, the young singer of girl group T-ara and budding actress, has been confirmed for the cast of "Dream High 2", joining her groupmate Eun-jung (who starred in the first series) in the franchise.
This means we are about to be deluged with a number of casting announcements for the anticipated sequel to the youth drama all about singin, dancin, and bright young dreams crashing up against the harsh realities of what it takes to become an idol star. And who better to portray that than actual idol stars? A lot of times, idol presence in a drama amounts to little more than stunt casting and ratings grabs, but the original Dream High did a pretty solid job of mixing actors with idols and bringing out everyone's strengths, and sometimes even turning their weaknesses into hilarious plot points. (See: Robot Hye-mi.)
Other idols in contention for the sequel include 2AM's Jung Jin-woon and Sistar's Hyo-rin, though as of now they're just possibilities. Eighteen-year-old Ji-yeon said, "I wanted to take on this part of a student aspiring to perform on the stage while I could, as I think back to my own trainee days. I'll work really hard, so please look forward to it."
I'm satisfied with this casting, because although I don't know much about T-ara's k-pop activities. I have seen Ji-yeon acting a couple of times and found her warm and likable. She was sweet in last year's "God of Study" when her character could have gone way into annoying territory, and she did a pretty good job in her Miss Ripley cameo as the runaway teenaged lesbian daughter to the Japanese prime minister, which I swear was not nearly as crazy a plot point as it sounds on paper. Okay, it was a little dramatic, but worked for the story.
Plus, she's got a pretty singing voice, which will come in handy since she'll get chances to use it while playing an adolescent singer trainee.
Dream High is set to premiere on January 30 on KBS, just over one year since its predecessor made its premiere.