This isn’t the first time that it’s being said, but 2014 was not the best year for SM Entertainment. Kris leaving EXO, Sulli going on hiatus from f(x), and Jessica’s removal from Girls’ Generation are not exactly signs of a stellar company. And now there are rumors, mostly among international fans, that EXO’s Luhan will be leaving the group due to poor health, which isn’t good. Not that Luhan shouldn’t take care of his health, but the rumors themselves, and if they were to come true, are not good.
Why Are The Rumors Bad?
It shows panic among SM Entertainment’s audience. Other SM Entertainment idols have been sick in the past and have taken extended leave. SHINee’s Onew only recently rejoined activities after surgery, but there weren’t wide-spread rumors about him leaving the group. However, following the news that Girls’ Generation, one of the most seemingly-stable groups in K-Pop, is removing a member, SM Entertainment fans show that they no longer know what is what at the company.If fans cannot show full support for SM Entertainment, it is likely that SM will act even more recklessly than it has recently.
Following a downward spiral of f(x)’s Red Light promotions being overshadowed by Sulli’s dating and hiatus scandal, SM announced a new girl group, Red Velvet. Unlike the highly hyped debut of EXO, Red Velvet released its first song with little prior-fanfare, and a relatively sloppy, problem-plagued debut.
In regards to Girls’ Generation’s disaster, SM is continuing as usual with TaeTiSeo and individual promotions. But everything that the Girls’ do and every word they say is under strict scrutiny, and the company is likely to announce a comeback of one of its other groups to try and get attention off of the remaining eight Girls’ Generation members.
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SM Entertainment is often perceived to be the “worst” company of “the Big 3” Korean entertainment companies (SM, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment), due to its history with contract scandals and idols leaving the company. The company needs intense PR, but sudden member losses has become almost expected; EXO fans are practically counting down the days until another member announces that he is leaving, and Luhan appears the likely choice, due to his health issues.
The rumors are bad because it shows a complete lack of faith by fans in SM to manage its artists. SM fans need to support not only their favorite artists but the company, because the Korean entertainment industry is currently a company-dominated one. But right now, SM is in crisis mode and lack of support is making the company struggle anymore.
What If Luhan Actually Leaves?
If Luhan leaving EXO becomes reality, not just a rumor, SM Entertainment will find itself in serious trouble. Luhan is one of EXO’s three remaining Chinese members, and by far the most popular one. Luhan is so popular that he earned a Guinness Award for on Weibo- over 13 million comments on his account, double the amount of the next runner up. If Luhan’s health issues require that he, unfortunately, leaves the group, it would mean that SM’s EXO experiment has failed.
EXO has already failed in some ways, when the group became EXO rather than EXO-K and EXO-M. Fans wanted all twelve members together, but it meant that the split marketing campaigns were a failure, and fans wanted one, traditional K-Pop act.
Luhan’s absence would mean that only two Chinese members of EXO remain, Lay and Tao. Both, as all members of EXO, are immensely popular, but former member Kris and Luhan have definitely been the two most popular members of the EXO-M contingency. If Luhan leaves, EXO’s Chinese fanbase will reel and accusations of unfairness towards Chinese members will fly.
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Remember, initial reports of Kris’ withdrawal blamed his health. Luhan’s poor health condition has already been acknowledged by SM Entertainment, so the rumors are understandable. Hopefully, they will just be rumors and Luhan will get the rest that he needs.
EXO needs no more problems, and SM Entertainment needs no more headaches. Hopefully these rumors will be pointless, but if Luhan, or any Chinese member leaves, EXO is in trouble.
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[Picture credit to SMTOWN]