Friday, January 20, 2017

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Reasons why k-pop agencies are reluctant to make their trainees appear in "Produce 101" season 2

Mnet is currently preparing for the broadcast of the second season of its popular audition program "Produce 101." You know, "Produce 101" was one of the most popular Korean TV show in 2016, while I.O.I, k-pop girl group consists of 11 trainees who took part in the audition program has gained great popularity too. The second season will feature the story of 101 male trainees who dream of becoming k-pop stars, unlike the first one in which 101 female trainees appeared.

By the way, many k-pop agencies are now reluctant to make their trainees appear in the second season of "Produce 101." Do you know why?

First, big k-pop agencies such as SM and YG don't need to take part in the program because they have their own systematic training system and effective tools to promote their trainees. And they don't like to open their trainees before their official debut because they think it could lower the value of the future stars. You know, JYP made its trainee Somi appear in the first season of "Produce 101" and it had some positive effects on the agency, but it seems like JYP will not take part in the second season of the program because it thinks it doesn't need to any more.

Second, it's true that I.O.I has gained great popularity, but there have been a lot of problems regarding the girl group's activities. As the girl group is comprised of 11 members from 8 different k-pop agencies, there have frequently been conflicts of opinions among the agencies. So, the agencies don't want to do it again.

Third, in 2016, Mnet's another audition program "Boys 24," which was called the male trainee version of "Produce 101" has suffered from low ratings. The program was not the issue at all. That's why people in the k-pop world are not sure that the second season of "Produce 101," which features the story of 101 male trainees will be a success and they are reluctant to decide to participate in the program.

Fourth, Mnet wants to sign a two-year contract with a boy group which will be formed through the second season of "Produce 101." I.O.I has made a one-year contract with Mnet but the broadcasting company wants to extend the contract period this time because it could be more profitable to the broadcasting company. Well, however, k-pop agencies don't agree with it because the agencies want to bring their trainees back to them as soon as possible.

Fifth, Han Dong Chul, a famous TV producer who's directed many popular TV shows including "Show Me The Money," "Unpretty Rap Star," and "Produce 101" decided to leave Mnet, and the second season of "Produce 101" will be directed by a new producer of Mnet. People in the k-pop world give credit to Hang Dong Chul because he has achieved success with many popular TV shows, and the fact that he is not in charge of "Produce 101" is making them hesitate in joining the second season of the program.

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How things are going on about Kim Hyunjoong’s ex-girlfriend scandal

In 2015, Kim Hyunjoong had a paternity test and it was revealed that his ex-girlfriend gave birth to his real son. At that time, the big star’s parents held a press conference and said “We’re very sorry for the baby because we couldn’t’ take care of him. We’re just thankful that he is healthy. And as we said before, we’ll try to fulfill all the responsibilities we are given.” Even though Kim Hyunjoong was so damaged by his ex-girlfriend scandal as an entertainer, it seemed all the things will settle down. However, a fight between Kim Hyunjoong and his ex-girlfriend hasn’t ended yet. They’re still fighting in court. Well, let’s see how things are going on about the star’s ex-girlfriend scandal.

In 2012, Kim Hyunjoong met her ex-girlfriend for the first time and they became lovers. But their happiness didn’t last long. She accused the singer and actor of assault in August 2014 but charges against him was soon dropped because Kim Hyunjoong apologized her. However, in February 2015, she started her fight against Kim Hyunjoong again by insisting that she’s pregnant with his baby. And in April 2015, the woman lodged a compensation claim against him, insisting that Kim Hyunjoong forced an abortion and she’s suffered psychological damages. And Kim Hyunjoong filed a countercharge against her in July 2015.

Well, let’s see what Kim Hyunjoong’s ex-girlfriend insisted. She insisted that she got pregnant a total of 5 times.

1st pregnancy: “Kim Hyunjoong forced an abortion.”
2nd pregnancy: “I had a miscarriage due to his assault.”
3rd pregnancy: “Kim Hyunjoong forced an abortion.”
4th pregnancy: “Kim Hyunjoong forced an abortion.”
5th pregnancy: “I gave birth to his son.”

After a long trial, the court reached its final decision in August 2016. To say the conclusion first, the court agreed with Kim Hyunjoong. The judge said “It’s true she was assaulted by him, but she went see an ob-gyn 13 days later and didn’t comment about a miscarriage at that time. And she didn’t get treatment for a miscarriage either, which means it’s hard to say the miscarriage is because of his assault. And about the 4th pregnancy, she insists she became pregnant in October 2014 and got an abortion in December 2014, but there’s no record of her pregnancy. According to a medical record, she began menstruation on November 12, 2014, and there’s no admissible evidence for her pregnancy. And it’s also hard to say he forced her to get abortions because she told her friend that she never wants to give birth to her baby and she booked an abortion in person. So, it’s hard to sustain her in her claim, and she should pay 100 million won (about 85,000 USD) to him because he has been libeled and got a serious metal damage.”

By the way, she lodged an appeal against the decision of the court, and the trial is predicted to last for a long time. Actually, the situations are not favorable to her because she was prosecuted for fraud and libel in January 18, 2017, while prosecutors claimed that she manipulated her text messages to threaten Kim Hyunjoong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Why people in the Korean entertainment world willingly congratulate BoA and Joo Won on becoming lovers

On January 18, k-pop queen BoA and famous actor Joo Won admitted to being in a romantic relationship with each other. Well, most of you might be surprised at the news. They met for the first time at a gathering of friends in 2015. And they had good feelings toward each other on their first meeting because they had some mutual interests.

You know, BoA began her acting career in 2014 and she is still a rookie actress who has many questions about acting, while Joo Won, who debuted as an actor in 2006 and has shown his great acting ability through various dramas is the one who can give answers to her questions. And as Joo Won was originally a musical actor, he has a lot of interest in singing, while BoA is No.1 female singer in Korea. In addition, both stars like to play golf, and that's why they could become intimate with each other in a short time.

By the way, after their romantic relationship was known to everybody, all the people in the Korean entertainment world willingly congratulated them on becoming lovers. You may think it's a matter of course, but it's not. People in the entertainment industry usually don't even care about entertainers' romance because there are many entertainers who are involved with too many men or women and they usually break up with their lovers so soon. In addition, as there are some entertainers who are arrogant and overbearing, people in the entertainment industry don't like to congratulate them.

So, reason why people in the Korean entertainment world willingly congratulated BoA and Joo Won on becoming lovers is that they are two of Korean entertainers who are keeping a very straight and narrow life and kind to everyone around them. Actually, both of them are well known for their great personality among people in the Korean entertainment world, while they are much alike in character because both of them are good-hearted.

BoA is always modest even though she has achieved so many things as a global star, and Joo Won hasn't changed a bit since his debut although he became a top star now. Last year, a person who works for a cinema PR company told me that she wishes all actors were like Joo Won. Movie actors usually have to take part in a variety of promotional events for their movies. However, some arrogant actors refuse to do it, saying "I'm an actor, not a publicist for the movie." But Joo Won does his best in everything and always tries to care for people around him even though he should be so tired due to his tight schedules.

Well, I wish the great couple every happiness.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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The summary of how things are going on regarding Park Yoochun's sex scandal

In 2016, JYJ's Park Yoochun has been accused of sexually assaulting a total of 4 women when he was working as a public service worker. The sex scandal drove the idol star to the wall, while it seems like it will be never easy for him to make a comeback in the Korean entertainment world.

So, let’s summarize all the stories regarding Park Yoochun’s sex scandal because so many things happened and many of k-pop fans might not know exactly how things are going.

As I mentioned above, Park Yoochun has been accused of sexually assaulting 4 women, but as a result of the police investigation, he was cleared of the charges for lack of evidence, while two of the women were sued on charges of making a false accusation.

Especially, the first woman who accused Park Yoochun of rape in June 2016 was sued on a charges of blackmailing because she demanded Park Yoochun about 450,000 USD with threats together with her boyfriend and cousin. All the three suspects were convicted, while the woman was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and her boyfriend was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. Her cousin, who is a gang member was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The judge said “The suspects made threats against Park Yoochun and his agency, saying they’re going to accuse the entertainer and tip him off the press unless they receive a cash settlement. And after negotiations between the two sides have broken down, they made a false accusation. By all appearances, their crime is very serious.”

However, it doesn’t mean Park Yoochun cleared off all suspicion of him and became a man with a clean record because he also has been accused of buying a sexual service and committing a fraud on one of the women who have accused him of rape. According to police, Park Yoochun bought a sexual service from the woman but he didn’t pay for it. The police is still investigating the case.

The biggest problem for Park Yoochun is that he has been facing fierce public criticism. Regardless of whether he is guilty or not, it's true that he had sexual relations with various women and led a disorderly life. In addition, during the police investigation, it was revealed that Baek Chang Joo, the CEO of Park Yoochun’s agency asked his father, who is an influential gangster in Korea for help to cover up the scandal. As the public has considered him as a pleasant young man and a man of sound mind since his debut in 2004, people are expressing strong disappointment toward him. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

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Girls' Generation Seohyun says Suzy could be a stimulus to her

On January 16, Girls' Generation's Seohyun held a showcase event for her first ever solo album "Don't say no" to be released next day. At the event, she looked very excited about her solo debut, while Yoona and Sooyoung sent messages of support to the youngest Girls' Generation member through a video clip. Let's see what Seohyun talked about her first solo album.

Q. It has been 10 years since you debuted as a member of Girls' Generation, and you finally got a chance to release your solo album. How do you feel?
Seohyun: I can't still believe it has been 10 years since debut. That's a long time, and lot of things happened. Actually, being active as a member of Girls' Generation left something to be desired because we have many members and we have to fit ourselves round the conception of the team. So, I felt really great about taking much part in producing my solo album, and through the album, I want to show myself as a solo singer.

Q. It's notable that you wrote the lyrics for 6 out of 7 songs of your album.
Seohyun: The main theme of the album is love, and I wanted to express my own feelings by writing the lyrics. Actually, SM has a very strict standard, and that's why I've wrote the lyrics for so many Girls' Generation-TTS' songs but those were not adopted by the company. While preparing for my solo debut, I put every effort into writing the lyrics, and I'm so happy that I could write the lyrics for a total of 6 songs of my first ever solo album.

Q. So you wrote the lyrics for various love songs. Are they based on a personal experience?
Seohyun: Well, they're based on my experience but I used my imagination too. When I write lyrics to a song, I listen to the song many times and try to give full scope to my imagination.

Q. Tell us about the title track "Don't say no."
Seohyun: As soon as I listened to the intro of the song, I told my company that I have to sing the song. I felt a strong conviction that the song should be the title track. Actually, it was not the title track at first, but I persuaded Lee Soo Man because I really wanted to choose the song as the title track of my first solo album.

Q. What did you pay attention to most when you were preparing for your solo debut?
Seohyun: About Girls' Generations' album, we usually leave all the things to experts. However, about my solo album, I wanted to do what I want to do, whatever the outcome. At first, my company said I'm girlish and it would be good for me to play the guitar and sing at the same time. However, I've already done such a thing, and I wanted to show something new. You know, I'm in my mid-20s, and what I wanted to do was to show more mature charm.

Q. What did the Girls' Generation members say about your solo debut?
Seohyun: When I'm alone in the waiting room, I really miss them. They always support me in our chat room, and their words really encourage me. Of course, as a solo singer, I feel great responsibility because I have to do it alone on the stage. However, I think I will be able to do a good job thanks to the members' great support.

Q. Miss A's Suzy will release a warm-up single for her first ever solo album on January 17 too. 
Seohyun: Even before deciding to debut as a solo singer, there were many people who thought we are rivals. Whenever people talked about the rivalry, we were just thankful for it. It is a coincidence that we released our solo albums around the same time, but I think we could be a stimulus to each other.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Do k-pop idol group reputation rankings mean their actual rankings?

On January 14, 2017, the Korean Business Research Institute announced the brand reputation rankings for k-pop boy groups and girl groups. Analyzing data that was taken from December 12, 2016 to January 13, 2017, the research institute found that BTS and TWICE ranked first on the rankings based on factors such as a social participation index, a social communication index, a media index and an online community index.

Ok, let's see the result of the analytical research first.

The rankings of k-pop idol groups are always a hot issue among k-pop fans all over world, while some of Korean media outlets have announced their own rankings of boy groups and girl groups. Well, by the way, the problem is that it's really hard to establish a criteria to decided the rankings because, you know, the rankings of k-pop idol groups are the answer to the question "Who is the most popular k-pop idol group?" but popularity of the idol groups can not be measured numerically.

So, the brand reputation rankings announced by the Korean Business Research Institute could be quite meaningful because the research institute measured k-pop idol groups' popularity numerically. In addition, unlike ordinary Korean media outlets which have special connections with k-pop agencies and are likely to give high marks to idol groups they are close to, the research institute has no acquaintance with k-pop agencies, which means there is a good chance that the research institute can be very objective.

However, there is a hole in the result of the Korean Business Research Institute's research, and that's why I can't say the reputation rankings mean k-pop idol groups' actual rankings.

The Korean Business Research Institute announces the brand reputation rankings for k-pop boy groups and girl groups every month, and the institute decided the rankings based on factors such as a social participation index, a social communication index, a media index and an online community index, while the indexes basically show how many netizens are talking about a certain idol group over a specified period of time. But the problem is that the indexes do not reflect idol groups' actual positions in the k-pop industry. For example, as shown in the table above, WJSN and April are ranked higher than GFriend. Do you think the two girl groups are even more popular than GFriend, who has created a sensation in the k-pop world in 2016? No one in the k-pop industry might disagree with the result.

Idol groups who recently made a comeback usually rank high on the k-pop idol group reputation rankings announced by the Korean Business Research Institute, and that's why the rankings change drastically every month, as you can see below.

Friday, January 13, 2017

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Can EXO's Chanyeol become a successful TV actor?

EXO's Chanyeol is going to make a debut as a TV actor by appearing in "Missing Nine" to begin to air on January 18, while the press conference for the drama was held on January 12. You know, he's appeared in his movie "Salut d'Amour" in 2014, but it's the first time for him to make an appearance in a TV drama.

Actually, Chanyeol did well in his first ever movie "Salut d'Amour," and that's why people are expecting that he's going to show good performance in "Missing Nine" too. In addition, the famous idol star is tall and handsome enough to be loved by many viewers as a TV actor.

But the problem is that acting in a movie is different from acting in a TV drama. The production environments of the two genres are totally different. Movie actors usually can have enough time to film their scenes. They analyze their characters and discuss the scenes with their peers again and again, while they can have multiple chances to get a satisfactory outcome. However, one of the most important requirements for being good TV actors is the agility. They usually can't have enough time to film their scenes, and they can't have multiple chances to get a satisfactory outcome. Due to many factors including the production cost, TV actors should finish filming their dramas as soon as possible.

So, acting in a TV drama is more difficult than acting in a movie, in some ways, and the key is whether Chanyeol can adapt himself to new circumstances.

Here's what he talked about his first drama appearance.

My character in the drama is a person with a lot of optimism just like me in real life. It's an honor to be able to appear in such a good drama, and I'm trying to just enjoy filming the drama now. I know some people think of idols' drama appearance very negatively. But that's why I tried to analyze my character very hard and asked many people around me for advice. At first, I was really nervous when I filmed the drama, but I feel more comfortable now because I became intimate with my fellow actors.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

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B1A4 Baro's sister receives attention as the next BoA

B1A4 Baro's sister, "I" released her debut album on January 12. Well, the result is not bad. Her debut song "I wish" ranked quite high on various online music charts. By the way, it's notable that the young female singer is receiving attention from people in the k-pop world as the next BoA.

As you may know, there has been no successful female solo singer in the k-pop world for the past few years. There are a few reasons for it. First, k-pop agencies didn't want to produce female solo singer's album because they thought it's not profitable. As I mentioned, there has been no successful k-pop female solo singer for the past few years. Second, there are more requirements to become a solo singer than to become a member of a girl group because a solo singer has to do it all by herself on the stage. She should sing well, dance well, and be very attractive and pretty too, which means it's hard for k-pop agencies to find someone who is qualified to become a competitive solo singer.

Then, what about "I"? Will she be able to achieve a commercial success? And is she fully qualified to become a very competitive solo singer? I can't say yes to the questions, but I can't say no either.

She has an attractive voice, while her dance performance is quite impressive too. As she is a young solo singer and she is good at both singing and dancing, people in the k-pop world are saying she reminds them of BoA. Of course, it doesn't mean they think she's as good a singer as BoA. They're expecting that she's going to become a very successful solo singer like BoA because it can boost the k-pop industry. "I" went through 6-year training period, and as a younger sister of a member of a popular boy group B1A4, she's received great attention from people in the k-pop industry even before her debut.

Actually, as you might have noticed, the young female singer's agency set BoA as a reference model when it was working on her debut project. Some of you may say "Then, did she imitate BoA?" but a reference is different from imitation, while many of k-pop idol groups have their reference models. In the old days, k-pop idol groups tried to imitate or refer to foreign groups. However, these days, as the k-pop industry has super stars too, young idol groups set their senior k-pop groups as reference models. The most preferred reference models by young idol groups are BIGBANG and Girls' Generation. There are so many idol groups who set the two top k-pop idol groups as their reference models because the two are considered as the most successful boy group and girl group in k-pop history.