Yesung, I think, is a kid. To quote the psychoanalysis thing they did on that show, but if you follow Yesung closely enough I think you will probably know this as well, he wants people to love him. This is not in the OMG LOOK AT ME kind of way either, just a subtle, burning desire for people to see him and scream his name the way they do for Eunhyuk or for Donghae or Leeteuk or whoever. This, I think, comes partly from the fact that he was shunted off to the side of the screen and the second row of Super Junior (which, with so many members, means you don’t get to see his face at all) when he debuted. He says this a lot: “my face wasn’t on television when I debuted! When, after three weeks, I finally got a close-up shot, my mom cried.” Because Leeteuk, Kangin and Heechul were the loud ones, the ones that could attract everyone’s attention just by breathing, Yesung (and a bunch of the others, but especially, I think, Yesung and Sungmin) sat at the side quietly and made up the numbers for Super Junior. This is why, I think, some people see him as a tryhard, or a failboat, on variety shows. I actually think he’s not. He does have questionable taste, a knack for creating awkward moments where people have no idea what to reply, or a tendency to be unsuccessful at things, but first and foremost I think he just wants to entertain, and that is his way of doing it. Some people may find it ridiculous, or annoying, or just laughable (personally I find it endearing), but I think he knows that he’s being ridiculous or awkward on variety shows, and he continues to be so on purpose, because he thinks this will get him more screentime. It’s okay if he’s laughed at when he gets it. There is a part in Super Junior’s Song Battle where he does a Street Fighter imitation, and you can see Kyuhyun in the back cringing in embarrassment for Yesung. Yesung, in contrast, proudly proclaims that he doesn’t feel embarrassed. At all. And I think that is why he isn’t afraid to try anything on variety shows, challenge shit first on Exploration of the Human Body, do ridiculous things. It’s okay, because then people see him, and that’s enough for him.
(Now, though, he is much more subdued, I personally think. If you watch him hosting on Sukira with Leeteuk, because Leeteuk has a mouth enough for three or four or thirteen people, he talks maybe about 30% of the time. He also understands better where to stop so things don’t turn awkward or into a “Yesung moment”, and I think this is much more like backstage, irl Yesung. Backstage Yesung in my mind doesn’t really need to talk much, but not because he’s awkward. It’s because he’s comfortable with the people he’s around so he doesn’t need words to fill those awkward gaps, and that’s just the way he is.)
This want for love is also, perhaps, why he’s always all over the members. Literally. He drapes himself all over the ones that let him glomp them and he touches their faces and laughs his deep, gurgly laugh. I think he’s just someone who has a very big heart and a lot of love to give. Eunhyuk once said that Yesung is someone that looks at you when you have a conversation, like you are the only person in the world, and Yesung replies that it is because all of his dongsaengs are really adorable (Eunhyuk is one of his favourites, but that’s just the Yehyuk stan in me speaking). This is, I think, why he touches his members on the face and hugs all of them and headlocks them and goes into their rooms to touch their philtrums. Yesung is a person that is very apparent with his affection, and I personally don’t think all this touching is because he is a skinship whore (like Siwon is), it’s just because he truly finds them adorable – even Kangin, but well, maybe he just knows no boundaries. This is also why he actually goes into their rooms (well, perhaps just Eunhyuk, but I’m guessing the others too) to ask the members how their day was. If they ate already. Things like that. He is adorable.
Yesung is also, I think, someone sets standards for himself, and for other people. He gets very hurt when the others don’t reciprocate his care – Eunhyuk never goes into Yesung’s room and he is hurt because of that, Kangin also brushes off all of Yesung’s touches and hugs with an “Aiiissshhhh”, and that makes Yesung sadface. If he buys Eunhyuk a birthday present, Eunhyuk should get him one, too. The left earphone should go into the left ear, and never the right ear. If a Suju member earned money because they were on variety shows alone, it wouldn’t be right if this money was shared among Suju. If he didn’t manage to stay up for Ryeowook last night to practice a song, he should buy him a meal today. Most importantly, a singer should sound good, and to sound good, you have to practice. This is, I think, why he got a little grumbly at Leeteuk when they all were singing Butterfly Graveyard on Sukira (with Eunhyuk and Sungmin) and Leeteuk messed up and Yesung was all, “see, I told you to practice! But you wanted to sleep.”
Yesung has one thing that he is proud of, and that is his voice. He knows what his voice can do, because he’s been told forever – by his mother, his vocal trainers, his members, professionals – that his voice is gold (and rightly so), and he knows that when he sings, he’ll be able to capture the audience. So he gets very serious when he’s singing. From numerous fanaccounts I’ve read, he places utmost important on his singing and his voice when he’s at a concert and hence, when it’s time for his solo, he is sometimes overwhelmed by how nerve-wrecking it is – the first few performances of Resignation, his solo in SS2, were… decidedly not good. You can tell how nervous he was; I could hear his voice tremble and lumps in his throat. He understands that it is one of the rare chances he’ll ever get to bowl over an audience, so he gives himself utmost pressure. But it has made me so happy to see him grow so much over these years and gain confidence, especially in his solo singing, and just watch any solo performance of Yesung now. He owns the stage.
Yesung is one of my favourite members of Super Junior also because he gives his all in his performances. Every single time. He does not half-ass anything, from the singing to the dancing (it’s not his fault he’s just not as adept at dancing okay) to the performing on stage as a star. He IS a star, and I think why I find his singing most emotive is because he actually feels the song. He’s said that he can’t sing looking at lyrics and he has to memorize lyrics instead because it’s hard for him to emote while looking at lyrics. Even on radio shows, or impromptu singing bits on, say, Sukira when he’s guesting, or any chance that he gets to sing. He puts in his all, he feels the song, he emotes, and he sings perfectly.
I know loads of people see Yesung as some kind of loner, a weirdo who could only ever love turtles, which makes me irrationally angry, sometimes. Because he isn't. Just watch any video of Yesung with the members and actually follow what he’s doing. The secret camera on Exploration of the Human Body? I know everyone was watching Eunhyuk and Ryeowook and Kyuhyun, but I found Yesung’s subtle supportive hyung role really endearing. There is this point where Heechul flings his chopsticks and Yesung jerks up to calm everyone down (this part is just out of the camera’s field, sadness). Yesung is, like Eunhyuk says in the Don’t Don relay talk, a hyung who takes care of his dongsaengs very well, and he is full of love to everyone, especially to his family. A big reason why he works so hard is, I think, he wants to make his parents proud, and also to earn enough money to allow his parents to not have to work so hard. His parents recently closed the restaurant he bought for them because they found the work too tiring, and he was all, “BUT I WORKED HARD FOR THAT MONEY,” and I don’t know, I just found it all so endearing. He also bought an apartment for his parents to live in Seoul so he can visit them more frequently, and while some would probably say that is actually required behaviour, but I like how he is never afraid to show just how much he loves his family. He has also loads of love for his pets. I actually secretly hate reptiles, but the way he is to Ddangkkoma, Ddangkoming, Ddangkomaeng and recently, Koming, is too endearing I cannot help but like his pets, too. He also tweeted a picture of his pets all lined up and oh, I don’t know, I just think that says a lot about what Yesung is like.
Lastly, I think Yesung is just a man who knows when to be serious and when to enjoy himself. I’m glad his mother signed him up for SM auditions, because sometimes when I see his smile when he’s on stage singing and feeling the music and looking at millions of ELFs yelling for him, it is so dazzling because it’s coming from the heart. I think Yesung really just enjoys being on stage so much, being a singer and showing everyone just what he can do, and that is way, way more than enough for me to love him.
yesung for your time: