K-Pop Star Lee Chanhyuk Gets Head Buzzed While Singing New Single ‘Panorama’: Watch the Performance-Art Production

While K-pop performances are synonymous with coordinated choreography and flashy stage setups, singer-producer Lee Chanhyuk brought something entirely new — and shocking — to the live stage.

In support of his newly released album Error on Oct. 17, Chanhyuk took to the South Korean music television program Inkigayo to deliver one of the first performances of the LP’s lead single “Panorama.” But instead of bringing the synth-pop cut to life with a dramatic spotlight and onstage mirror like he did previously, the singer opened his performance sitting completely still in a chair and wouldn’t move until the cameras cut. With just the stand holding a microphone near his mouth, a barber wrapped a sedated Chanhyuk in a white sheet boasting the Error album title and began to buzz off his freshly bleached blonde hair as the star gave a pitch-perfect rendition of his new single.

Chanhyuk is one half of the beloved K-pop/folk duo AKMU with his younger sister Suhyun. The pair got their start on the Korean singing competition K-pop Star 2, before signing with YG Entertainment (the same label home as BLACKPINK and BIGBANG) in 2013 and becoming one of Korea’s most beloved and reliable chart-toppers. The primary producer and writer behind the team, Chanhyuk not only handles a majority of AKMU’s work but has lent his talents to write for K-pop legends like Lee Seungchul, Lee Hyori and IU.

Error marks the 26-year-old’s opportunity to share his unique musical style via listening and visual experiences.

The 11 tracks of Error are said to tell a story detailing someone’s reaction after being involved in an accident in the opening track “Eyewitness Account.” The story continues through song titles like “Siren,” “If I Can’t Go See You Right Now,” “Goodbye, Stay Well” (the album’s sole feature from K-pop soloist Chung Ha) and, ultimately, with “Funeral Hope.”

The accompanying music video for “Panorama” encapsulates the album’s story as Chanhyuk is seen on the brink of death after an accident and recalling his memories.

A theme throughout the album, and first shared on the “Eyewitness Account” track, is about a protagonist that’s fallen into a coma from an accident and can’t move. The record’s storyline likely plays into Chanhyuk’s head-shaving performance and why he chose not to speak during on-camera interviews for other shows like M Countdown.

Similar to how The Weeknd has embraced various characters, both physically and personality-wise, in his eras, Chanhyuk is taking his album persona seriously and creating all the more intrigue around his album. Written entirely by Chanhyuk, the throwback ’80s sounds throughout Error were already refreshing to the K-pop scene this year. Even as fans are holding debates around the promotional tactics, these slightly bizarre, excitingly artistic performances make the impressive LP all the more compelling.

Jeff Benjamin