Thursday, February 23, 2017

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SEVENTEEN has Originality


Before SEVENTEEN made a debut in 2015, the group couldn’t receive much attention from people in the k-pop industry. As the team’s senior group NU’EST has experienced the repeated failure of its album since debuting in 2012, some said Pledis, home to NU’EST and SEVENTEEN does not have the capability to produce a popular boy group, while others said SEVENTEEN has too many members.

However, against all odds, SEVENTEEN made a successful debut and became one of the hottest k-pop boy groups right away. The group is now very popular not only among Korean teenage girls but also among foreign fans, while it is notable that the group had a successful concert tour in Japan in early 2017 even though it has been only 2 years since its debut.

Well, SEVENTEEN’s big success is mainly because of the members’ great creative power. There are many k-pop idols who take part in writing their own songs these days, but some of them just pretend to do it. I mean, they do little to make their own songs, while professional composers do all the works. However, the SEVENTEEN members play the leading role in producing their albums, and they design their choreography too. That’s why their music and performance are so fresh and energetic. I’m sure SEVENTEEN will be able to become a bigger star in the k-pop industry because the group has originality.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

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Jungkook says the BTS members are his colleagues and rivals at the same time


Q. You released your new album "Wings: A Supplementary Story." Tell me about the album.
Rap Monster: The album contains a total of 18 tracks, while it includes 4 new songs. The other 14 songs are from our previous album "Wings." The album is titled "You never walk alone," and as you can guess, we wanted to talk about hope and consolation. We wanted to talk about how young people overcome their despair.

Q. Is there any reason why you wanted to talk about hope and consolation?
Rap Monster: Because youths need hope and consolation. They have to make steps forward by themselves, but they can be consoled when they're with their friends. The title track "Spring Day" is a song for my friends.

Q. Your album was released on February 13, and it is gaining a huge popularity. How do you feel?
Jimin: Just before releasing the album, we had a talk with our fans and it's true we felt pressured to get a good result because "Wings" was loved by so many people. I was very moved when our new song was ranked no.1 on online music charts.
Jin: We had 500,000 copies of our album pre-ordered when we released "Wings," and the album sold over 770,000 copies till last month. By the way, we were very surprised when we heard that we have 700,000 copies of our album pre-ordered this time. We know album sales have decreased significantly with the rising number of free music download sites, and we thank our fans for their love. We will try harder to make better music.

Q. Tell me about the title track "Spring Day."
Suga: You may think the song is very different from our previous songs because it is not as powerful song as "Fire" and "Blood Sweat & Tears." However, it is also BTS' music and I think people will empathize with the lyrics of the song. The lyrics are based on my personal experience.
J-Hope: The choreography of the song is energetic but delicate. It is like a modern dance performance, and we wanted to express the song lyrically.


Q. Some people say the music video of "Spring Day" reminds them of the tragic sinking of ferry Sewol in 2014.
Rap Monster: Well, it isn't easy to say something about the tragedy. We feel responsible as we are loved by so many people, and that's why we donated to the families of the victims. But, about the song and music video, we just want to leave much room for interpretation.

Q. So, you are going to kick off your world tour by holding your exclusive concert at the Gocheok Sky Dome, the biggest indoor performance venue in Korea. Tell me about your concert.
Suga: We'll visit 11 cities of 9 different countries, and we prepared so much for the concert. It's got a gripping story, superb sets, and stunning effects. Please look forward to it.
J-Hope: You’ll just have to watch it yourself.

Q. What's your goal?
Jimin: I hope we will win the grand prize at the end-of-year music awards again.
Rap Monster: I know it's not an easy thing, but I'm dreaming of having our stadium tour all around the world.


Q. What do you think is the reason for your great popularity?
Jin: First, it's because of our continuous development. All the members have been continuously developing since our debut. You know, some of them have become handsome indeed. I was very handsome even when I was a rookie, by the way, haha. I think they're taking after me. And second, it's because of the great chemistry among the members.

Q. Who do you think is your rival?
Jungkook: I think the members are my biggest rivals. They're my colleagues and rivals at the same time. I can not help but learn and develop because they practice hard and always do their best.

Q. It seems like not a few young boy groups these days think of you as their role model. What do you think of it?
Suga: Well, it is surprising because I was a rookie just a few years ago. When I was a rookie, I was seized with anxiety and unable to sleep. I want to tell them that their day will come in the near future.
Jin: I think the important thing is to maintain a good teamwork. We sometimes argue with each other, but we get rid of possible misunderstandings through dialogues.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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Sohye says I.O.I will get back together again 5 years later


Q. You've finished all the activities as a member of I.O.I. How do you feel?
Sohye: It's not an easy question to answer. Somehow it just doesn't feel real even though I've finished the last concert. I'm still keeping touch with the members, and we have our chat room too. I think I will not be able to realize I'm alone until all the members' official debut.

Q. How do you feel about being alone?
Sohye: I feel depressed. When I was with the members, they always took care of me and I could be encouraged by them. I talk with the members on a video call when I miss them. And I'm trying to find a hobby these days.

Q. You promised you will get back together again 5 years later. Do you think you can keep the promise?
Sohye: All the members believe we will get back together again, of course. And I think our fans probably wish it too. I'm sure all the members will become popular stars 5 years later because they're good-natured and have the will to succeed.


Q. What does I.O.I mean to you?
Sohye: It means pride. I think all the members will agree with me. Even though we belong to different agencies, it doesn't alter the fact that we are I.O.I. I want to be remembered as I.O.I's Sohye, not just as Sohye.

Q. What's your goal as a singer?
Sohye: Frankly speaking, I'm still not confident in singing, and that's why I will keep practicing. It's a little embarrassing to say, but I recently wrote the lyrics for my own song too. I will release my album after becoming confident in singing.

Q. Then tell me about your future plan as an actress. You were recently cast as the main character in the drama "First Love."
Sohye: Even though I am still lacking in many things, I want to keep acting. Actually, there are many things I want to achieve as an actress, but first of all, I want to become an actress who can act very naturally.

Q. Who is your role model?
Sohye: Actress Chun Woohee is my role model. I lost my heart to her after watching her movie "Sunny." She showed such a great acting performance, and I will practice hard to become as competent actress as her.


Q. After the broadcast of "Produce 101," many k-pop agencies wanted to make a contract with you but you turned down all the proposals. And you're working with your family now. Are you content with your present state?
Sohye: There are pros and cons. I'm happy that I'm with the people I love. However, I sometimes become too sensitive because I feel so comfortable with them.

Q. Tell me about your ideal type.
Sohye: I like the one who has a nice smile. And I like the one who smells of a laundry detergent because I don't like perfume. Among celebrities, my ideal man is Benedict Cumberbatch, the hero of "Sherlock" series. I'm studying English these days and I think his English accent is very sexy, haha.

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Yoo Ah In becomes free from a rumor that he is a gay


In Korea, all able-bodied men over 19 are required to serve in the military. And yeah, famous male stars are no exceptions.

So, Yoo Ah In, who is one of the most popular young actors applied for the police's special promotions unit in 2014 to do his mandatory military service.

Years ago, most of famous male stars preferred to complete their military service as entertainment soldiers, while many stars including Rain, Seven and Lee Joon Gi were entertainment soldiers. However, some of them have received heavy punishment for violating several policies, and many people insisted that entertainment soldiers destroy instead of boost the morale of other soldiers on active duty. So, in 2013, the Ministry of National Defense decided to discontinue the entertainment soldier system. And after the abolition of the system, there was a sudden increase in the number of applicants for the police's special promotions unit because the unit is considered as a comfortable unit among male celebrities. What they basically do in the unit is promote the police, while they can live relatively freer than ordinary soldiers and conscripted policemen.

Anyway, in this situation, Yoo Ah In applied for the police's special promotions unit but he suddenly gave up the chance to enter the unit for no reason. Yoo Ah In and his agency didn't say a word about the matter, and the rumor began to spread that he couldn't enter the police's special promotions unit because he is a gay.

And after then, Yoo Ah In had had 3 times of physical examination to join the army, but the Ministry of National Defense decided to fail him. About this, the public blamed him that he's trying to dodge his duty, while many people in the Korean entertainment industry said he will not be able to join the army because he is a gay.

Well, by the way, it was recently revealed that Yoo Ah In is suffering from a bone tumor. When he was filming his movie "Tough as iron" in 2013, he injured his shoulder and he was diagnosed as having a bone tumor. He didn't want to let people know that he is sick, but it became known to the public by news medias. I'm sure someone who stands by his side tipped off a media outlet with the information because the handsome actor has gone through some trouble because of vicious rumors.

So, all the misunderstanding regarding him has been cleared up. He couldn't enter the police's special promotions unit and pass the army's physical examinations because he is suffering from a bone tumor not because he is a gay. After all the facts were known, people in the entertainment industry don't say he is a gay any more.

Monday, February 13, 2017

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Lee Seung Hwan criticizes the reality of k-pop chart shows


On February 13, veteran k-pop singer Lee Seung Hwan posted a long piece of writing on Facebook. What he wanted to say was MBC's "Show! Music Core" is unfair and there is injustice regarding k-pop singers' appearance on the show.

Even though MBC disregarded us, I wonder what they'll say. Do you know why these guys couldn't appear on "Show! Music Core"? What? Only 40 managers who are managed by MBC can make their singers appear on the show? LOL These guys have been produced through your TV show "Great Birth." Yeah, you must hate me because I said such and such about their welfare. You, dickhead.

I've invested 50M KRW to help them make contracts with good agencies, and you knew that. Did you think I was foolish when I earnestly requested for just one chance? I even participated in your union rally for you, bastards. What is important for you? A promise with big k-pop agencies? Or you just hate me?

Now that I think about it, it makes me mad. I'm not your cannon fodder. I fight just for justice. Fuck it!

I expect MBC's producers will say "An old singer who has been totally immersed in a TV show is over-reacting. It didn't happen and we don't remember."

You should be surprised because there's no other singer who posts this kind of writing. That's the way I am. This is the chaos of a transition into a normality.


In 2011, Lee Seung Hwan appeared on MBC's "Great Birth" as a mentor of 3 guys in the picture above. And he gave full support to them because he really hoped they'll become popular singers. However, MBC didn't even give them a chance to appear on "Show! Music Core," and that's why Lee Seung Hwan is so mad.

Well, as I've posted before, broadcasting companies need to maintain good relations with big k-pop agencies because they need the agencies’ popular idols. So, before determining their No.1 of the week, broadcasting companies have to do a lot of thinking about it because their choice could have a strong influence on their relationship with k-pop agencies. Yeah, everything about the ranking of k-pop chart shows is closely related with the interests of broadcasting companies. All the broadcasting companies say their chart shows are so fair and unbiased, but it’s not true.

In this situation, singers of small agencies usually can't even get a chance to appear on k-pop chart shows. As there are so many singers who want to appear on the shows, broadcasting companies give preference to singers of big agencies and singers of agencies which have a close relationship with themselves. So, Lee Seung Hwan wanted to disclose this kind of injustice regarding k-pop chart shows.

Do you know what funny thing is? After Lee Seung Hwan posted the writing, very few Korean media outlets reported it because they want to maintain a good relationship with MBC, not Lee Seung Hwan.

Friday, February 10, 2017

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The reform of BEAST and Cube Entertainment's huge mistake


On February 10, Cube Entertainment announced that BEAST will make a comeback as a 3-member group. According to the agency, Jang Hyun Seung, who's left the team last year will join the team again, while two fresh members will be active as his team mates.

Well, it was a surprising news, wasn't it? You know, as Yoon dujun, Yong Junhyung, Yang Yoseob, Lee Gikwang and Son Dongwoon, who have left Cube and established their own agency are preparing for their comeback and fans of BEAST still regard them as BEAST, so many fans are blaming Cube after the agency announced BEAST will be reborn as a 3-member group.

Actually, the only reason Cube made the decision is because the agency didn't want to lose its trademark right to BEAST. Cube has the trademark right to BEAST, and it is valid till 2026. That's why the 4 BEAST members couldn't use the name "BEAST" after leaving Cube. And as the members want to reclaim their name, they have been negotiating with the agency.


In this situation, Cube didn't want to lose its trademark right to BEAST because BEAST is one of the most popular k-pop idol groups and it has excellent brand power. Yeah, what Cube wants is to earn a lot of money by using BEAST's name.

Well, I can understand Cube in some ways, but I'm sure it was the agency's huge mistake. As I mentioned, fans of  BEAST still regard the 5 BEAST members as BEAST. Do you think the new BEAST will be able to become as popular as the original BEAST? No, never. In addition, if the 3-member group releases its album, the group and Cube will draw fierce criticism from k-pop fans. It will be never easy for them to handle it.

And it's not good for Jang Hyun Seung either. He's already left BEAST and it could be an act of betrayal to make a comeback as a member of new BEAST. And in a way, he could hurt his pride because he wanted to show people that he can be successful as a solo artist. Cube also knew that he would disagree with its plan, and that's why the agency didn't tell him about the plan in advance. You know, after Cube made an official announcement about the reform of BEAST, Jang Hyun Seung expressed dissatisfaction about it through his SNS, stating, "I've never heard anything about it, and I even don't want to do it."

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Red Velvet is gaining huge popularity among Korean female fans


Red Velvet released its new song "Rookie" on February 1, 2017, while the girl group's comeback was quite successful because the song ranked high on various music charts.

By the way, before Red Velvet made a comeback, the interest of people in the k-pop industry was whether the girl group can surpass TWICE because the two young girl groups are considered as rivals and TWICE has achieved a huge success in 2016. If you ask me whether Red Velvet succeeded in surpassing TWICE, I would say no because Red Velvet couldn't create a sensation with its new song. You know, TWICE's "Cheer Up" and "TT" were such a sensation.

However, there is a noteworthy thing about Red Velvet. Unlike TWICE, who is very popular among Korean males, the 5-member girl group is now gaining huge popularity among Korean female fans. Before seeing why Red Velvet is so popular among females, let's see the result of a popularity vote of Korean community site first. It is a site for females only, and it has a large membership. The question for the vote was "Who is your favorite female star?"

1. Irene of Red Velvet
2. Kim Taeri (actress)
3. Krystal of f(x)
4. Jun Jihyun (actress)
5. Joy of Red Velvet
6. Kim Hyesoo (actress)
7. Rose of BLACKPINK
8. Seolhyun of AOA
9. Taeyeon of Girls' Generation
10. Seulgi of Red Velvet
11. Sohee (actress)
12. Wendy of Red Velvet
13. Somi of I.O.I & Seo Hyunjin (actress)
15. Park Boyoung (actress)
16. Jisoo of BLACKPINK
17. Yoojung of I.O.I
18. Kyungri of 9Muses
19. Nayeon of TWICE
20. Jung Yoomi (actress)
21. Yoona of Girls' Generation & Jennie of BLACKPINK

So, what do you think about the result of the vote? Yeah, the Red Velvet members ranked very high among the famous Korean stars.

Well, many people think girl groups should gain popularity among male fans. It's true, but it just applies to girl groups of small and medium agencies.

Let's see. K-pop idol groups have 3 main sources of income. First, concert tour & goods. Second, appearance on drama, movie, and CF. And third, performing at various events. Among these, concert tour & goods is the biggest source of income for k-pop agencies and singers, but there are few agencies and singers who can hold exclusive concerts or sell their goods. Only big agencies and very popular idol stars can do it. The same applies to the second one because only popular idols can have a chance to appear on drama, movie, and CF.

Then, what's left? Yeah, a majority of k-pop idols should make money by performing at various events such as college festival, music festival, corporate events, etc. By the way, most of the hosts of the events prefer girl groups who are popular among males because such girl groups receive lots of cheers at the events. That's why most of k-pop agencies try to produce a girl group who can fascinate male fans.

However, girl groups of big agencies like Red Velvet aim higher. They aim to become a girl group who earn lots of money by holding exclusive concerts and appearing on dramas and commercial films. Then, to become such a girl group, what do they have to do? They have to make a lot of loyal fans. By the way, female fans are usually more loyal to their idol stars than male fans, and that's why big k-pop agencies such as SM and YG aim to produce a girl group who can capture female fans' hearts. Yeah, just like Red Velvet and its senior girl groups Girls' Generation and f(x). When producing its girl groups, what SM cares about most is the girl groups' conception and attraction, while SM always targets female fans, not male fans.

So, I can say SM's strategy is quite successful so far because Red Velvet is gaining huge popularity among female fans as planned.


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The truth about T-ara's bullying incident (their real personality)


On February 9, 2017, a controversy over T-ara's bullying problem has been re-ignited due to ex-staff member's disclosure. The staff member posted a long piece of writing on the Internet, stating, "I watched Hwayoung and Hyoyoung crying on tvN's Taxi. Hwayoung said she didn't know about social life and the bullying incident was no big deal. Well, I can understand she acts like a victim. However, I can't stand her pretending to be so generous."

Well, the posting is very long, so let's summarize it.

1. In 2012, Hwayoung didn't come on the stage of T-ara's concert held in Tokyo due to her wounded leg. However, the doctor said she's fine and she pretended to be sick. That's why the other members got angry at her.

2. After the T-ara members blamed Hwayoung on their SNS, Hyoyoung, sister of Hwayoung, threatened former T-ara member Areum, saying "You need to get hit. See you at Music Bank. I'll scratch your face so that you can't be active as a singer any more. And the other members should get hit too."


So, what do you think is the truth about T-ara's bullying incident? You know, T-ara's bullying problem has surfaced in 2012, and people have been thinking of Hwayoung as a victim of the incident. But it seems like the situation has changed somewhat.

Well, let's see.

All the ex-staff member said is true. Yeah, Hwayoung's injury was not very serious, and it's also true that Hyoyoung threatened Areum using coarse words. Then, Hwayoung and Hyoyoung are offenders and the T-ara members are victims? I don't think so because it's true that the T-ara members blamed Hwayoung and she was treated as an outcast after their Tokyo concert.

Frankly speaking, T-ara was not a likeable girl group among people in the k-pop industry. After they made a success with their hit "Bo Peep Bo Peep," people said they are too cocky. And they even fought in front of industry workers, while there were many rumors about their internal conflicts. When I met the girl group, my impression was they had self-esteem at best and were arrogant at worst. They're very pretty, though. (They've experienced hardships over recent years, and people in the k-pop industry these days say they became mature) And when I had an interview with Hwayoung after she left the team, what I felt about her was she acted like a top star. Well, she acted as if she was Jun Jihyun.

Oh, I'm not trying to speak ill of them. What I want to say is they were not idols who have angelic personality. And even though their bullying problem has surfaced in 2012, there have been continuous internal conflicts since their debut. T-ara and Hwayoung were not happy about each other for a long time, and the Tokyo concert was the trigger for their fight. And during their fight, they did ill to each other. Hwayoung didn't do her best and caused harm to the team, while the other members ostracized her because they didn't like her.

Well, in conclusion, both sides are offenders, and at the same time, they're victims. They've been fighting a war of attrition without any winners.