You would think all the members of a group are vocalists, because they do record actual songs and perform them, but that's not the entire truth. Well, everyone has a line at some part, but there are a few selected people that do the majority of the singing. Kpop is such a performance based industry anyway, so the dancing and visuals are just as, if not sometimes more important as the vocal abilities of a group.
However, there typically two positions that tend to uphold the singing stability- the Main Vocalist and the Lead Vocalist.
The actual definition of these positions is usually that the main vocalist is the main one, and the lead follows afterwards. Sometimes these roles can overlap or be a bit vague within the group, because there are sometimes two vocalists that are very equal in terms of skill, but there can also be huge gap between the two positions. What I've also noticed is that with some groups, members that are lead vocalists are so good that if they were in any other group they would have been main vocalists, so it also depends on who your members are as well on what your position is.
I will now talk about some of my favorite vocalists, both main and lead ones, in no particular order.
A Pink's Eunji
This girl can sing, like for real. If she wasn't in A Pink she could have easily had a career as a solo singer or musical artist (her acting is great too). She just doesn't sing well for being an idol, she has a genuinely good voice and great technique. Are her talents wasted in her group? Yes, I would say so. Therefore I'm happy she gets to do solo projects as well, because that vocal power should not be kept under restriction.
JYJ's Jaejoong and Junsu
SM sure lost something when these two abandoned the ship, because both of them are fantastically talented and still to this day, even with the rookie invasion, are two of the strongest vocalists that Kpop has ever produced. I know some people like Junsu more and some like Jaejoong better, but it's all up to personal preference because in terms of skill they are pretty much at the same level. Junsu's voice is very emotional and theatrical, whereas Jaejoong's is rockier and rawer. Just take your pick!
Big Bang's Daesung
Some people like to cite Taeyang as the main vocalist of the group, which is a bit absurd to be honest. I mean, sure the guy can sing and he has a great voice suited for R&B, but Daesung's range and technique is phenomenal. I remember my first encounter with this group and instantly fell for his voice, and I have never looked back. Someone tell my why he still hasn't had a Korean solo album?
Spica's Bohyung (and the rest of the members too)
Her and Boa are credited as the main vocalists of overall vocally talented, but I prefer Bohyung for several reasons. I think her voice has such a nice, warm and somewhat darker tone than a lot of other female singers, and on top of that she is great technically and has a stunning range. Give this wonderful woman more solo projects for heaven's sake! Singles, OST's or stints on music program, anything would make me happy.
SHINee's Onew and Jonghyun
Jonghyun is one of my ultimate biases, and Onew is not far behind either, but my reason for putting them on this list is because they both are splendid singers. Their voices are very different, but I wish they would sing duets more often because they don't sound bad at all together. Onew has this rich, smooth, pure honey-like voice while Jonghyun sings in a higher, more tense pitch. I know a lot of people find the latter not too pleasant to listen to at times, which I can agree to, but when he sings songs that don't exhaust his vocal chords he too, has a very nice timbre.
Sistar's Hyorin and Ailee
These two are the most commonly named "Beyonces" of Korea, and while it might be a bit of a stretch to call anyone that, I can see why. They both have amazing voices, wide ranges and a hell lot of confidence and attitude. I think that Ailee is a bit better technically and is a bit more stable in her higher register, but there's just something about Hyorin's husky tone that is unique and original too.
I'm finishing of with one of the most unexpected vocalists of the bunch, but this young man has just continued to grow and grow and prove himself to be one of the best singers of the newer Kpop groups. I always enjoy seeing him perform, especially on Immortal Song 2, where he has managed to turn a lot of critics around by his mature, developed voice and ability to portray emotion in an honest and believable way. He is by far the most stable in his group too, and always delivers on live shows.
Honorable mentions are:
f(x)' Luna, EXID's Solji, Super Junior's Kyuhyun & Yesung, EXO's Chen, SNSD's Taeyeon, 2ne1's Minzy, Mblaq's G.O, F.T Island's Hongki and AOA's Choa.
Who is your favorite vocalist?