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Weekly K-pop Faves: Jan. 16-22


A week of farewells had K-pop saying “Goodbye” to girl groups 2NE1 and I.O.I, while CLC revamped their image. This very estrogen-filled week’s playlist is rounded out by Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, who released her first solo album.

”Goodbye” by 2NE1 (Released January 21st)

And that’s all, folks. 2NE1’s “Goodbye” hit me hard — I still can’t stop listening to it and feeling the same emotions I felt on the first listen. This group’s untimely end is chock full of rumors, scandals, possible discord, and more. But this song, with its soulful vocals and acoustic instrumentation, gives us the ability to look back on what really matters — the revolutionary career of a legendary girl group. As one of YG’s only immediately English-subbed music videos, “Goodbye” communicates the members’ feelings about disbandment to both domestic and international fans through honest lyrics “Don’t trust the broken stories,” “Even if things get rough, it will be okay,” “Come find me when you need someone to lean on,” and the song’s main refrain, “Goodbye until the day we meet again” hit close to home for millions of Blackjacks around the globe. The song is my pick for this week simply because it is so simple yet so evocative, and it embodies the iconic 2NE1 sound so well. It’s sad to think that I’ll never have a chance to write a Weekly Playlist about them again, but as CL says in the first verse, “Not everything lasts forever.” So, to Blackjacks everywhere, I hope your grieving period isn’t too hard. We will miss having all four girls together forever, but at least we have this song as a final reminder of the beautiful songs — both pop and ballad — that they’ve released since their debut in 2009. Goodbye, 2NE1. You won’t be forgotten.

–Kushal

”Love & Affection” by Seohyun (Released Jan. 17)

Of all the songs on her sultry Don’t Say No album, the showstopper is Seohyun’s “Love & Affection.” It’s the shortest track, but also the one with the most distinct sound: building rock instrumentals mesh with playful synths and electronic beats collide to create a playful cacophony of sounds. The track is dominated by Seohyun’s strong vocals as she express “I hate your love, love & affection!” before adding in a few vocal trills and whistled “oooh ooohs.” Even though it hasn’t received as warm of a welcome as some other songs on the album (like the jazzy, but slightly boring, “Bad Love”), “Love & Affection” isn’t just by chance a great electropop song: along with lyrics written by Seohyun, it was co-written by Fredrik Häggstam, who co-wrote the Chainsmokers’ recent hit “Paris,” Red Velvet’s addicting “Ice Cream Cake,” and TVXQ’s “Blink.” While it may not be to everyone’s taste, there are few flaws in “Love & Affection,” other than the obvious matter that it is far too short.

— Tamar

Also on KultScene: A Teenage Fangirl’s Farewell to 2NE1

”Meow Meow” by CLC (Released Jan. 17)

“Close your eyes, So that I can breathe, And pretend we have something”

Much has been said about CLC’s recent transformation into the new 4minute and it is sad to see them completely copy their sister group but more 4minute is never a bad thing. Their album “Crystyle” is a strong tight mini and I’ve been really enjoying their live promotions for lead single “Hobgoblin.” “Meow Meow” is the best of the lot though, a trop house cut about the arrogant young girls’ frustration with hesitant boys. It’s not a frustrated song though: the synths replicate relaxed steel drums. They’re prominent but remain languid and laid back. Elkie’s shrill pronouncement of being Harley Quinn and Yeeun’s continued Hyuna impersonation (she even goes as far as making a “Roll Deep” reference) add some great dynamics to the vocals. Even when becoming another group, CLC are still great.

–Joe


Also on KultScene: From ‘Nation’s Producers’ to Actual Producers: The Many Futures of I.O.I’s 11 Members

”Downpour” by I.O.I (Released Jan. 18)

In this tragic week of final releases, popular girl group I.O.I released their last song together along with a heartbreaking music video showing the formation of the group and their various experiences over the past year. Written by Seventeen’s Woozi, this emotional ballad was a perfect sendoff for this temporary group since it gave them the chance to show off their vocals as well as express their earnest feelings for the unfortunate disbandment. With the use of the simple and effective metaphor of rain to represent both difficulties and tears, “Downpour” is a sad but an extremely encouraging song, with lyrics such as “It’s alright, this shower is going to pass quickly” and “We shall smile again and be together,” promising fans that this won’t be the last they would see of these girls. Indeed it wouldn’t, since many of the members are already in new girl groups or are debuting solo in the near future. All good things really do come to an end but fortunately for fans, I.O.I provided a wonderful platform for the members to start their individual careers and they have bright futures ahead of them.

–Anna

Which song was your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

From ‘Nation’s Producers’ to Actual Producers: The Many Futures of I.O.I’s 11 Members

From humble trainees on Produce 101 to chart-topping idols in their music video for “Very Very Very,” the eleven members of I.O.I saw their lives massively changed in the course of only one year. While the group has given strong performances, memorable variety appearances, and infectious songs, it is no secret that fans of the group are apprehensive about I.O.I’s scheduled January 31st disbandment. A few months ago, we analyzed I.O.I’s unique formation regarding how members are simultaneously part of two labels and, for some of them, two groups, something largely unheard of previously in the world of K-Pop.

But with the new year ahead, infinite possibilities remain for the eleven members of I.O.I, all of whom now have public recognition and newfound popularity to take with them to future activities and musical ventures. And although we have an idea of where many of the members are going post-disbandment, it’s worth discussing how these paths may benefit or hurt them. Let’s look at each member or groups of members, and make some predictions about their largely divided futures.

So what’s next for I.O.I’s 11 members?

Im Nayoung & Zhou Jieqiong (Pinky)

As Pledis Entertainment artists, the futures of these these two I.O.I members are largely intertwined. Alongside I.O.I, Nayoung and Pinky were more quietly part of Pledis Girlz, a pre-debut group headed by their company, alongside eight other trainees, many of whom also competed in Produce 101 early last year. And while groups like Gugudan and DIA were shrouded in controversy for continuing with I.O.I members, Pledis Girlz has only recently become official under the name PRISTIN. The group is yet to debut, and yet to regularly promote on television. As a result, PRISTIN has maintained the respect of the public and I.O.I fans, especially when Nayoung and Pinky partook in I.O.I’s promotions for “Whatta Man (Good Man)” even as other members were pulled out for individual promotions.


The new group has found public exposure from Produce 101 and various pre-debut performances and promotions. As a result, PRISTIN’s growing fanbase both within Korea and around the world line them up to be one of 2017’s more successful girl group debuts, especially since Nayoung and Pinky are the leader of I.O.I and one of its notable visual/vocalists, respectively. Not to mention, some other popular competitors from Produce 101 , including Eunwoo, Yebin, and Siyeon, are in the group alongside them. With a debut slated for soon after I.O.I’s disbandment, Nayoung and Pinky have a collective future that is certain and in sight. Within this framework, it seems that, among I.O.I’s eleven members, Nayoung and Pinky are most likely to succeed within another group following the official split later this month.

Kang Mina & Kim Sejeong

Two of the most talked-about members of I.O.I, Sejeong and Mina have a clear path laid out for them after January 31st. Last summer, their company Jellyfish Entertainment had them debut in the nine-member Gugudan, which coincided with the release of I.O.I’s “Whatta Man.”. And while the group did receive attention due to the Mina and Sejeong, alongside another popular Produce 101 trainee Kim Nayoung, the group failed to captivate the public’s attention due to what was largely seen as an awkward concept backed by lackluster music. As a possible rising girl group in 2017, the group does have potential to succeed, but it is also possible that they fade into irrelevance if the next release isn’t more appealing, especially given that they are one of many new large girl groups with innocent, feminine concepts. Sejeong and Mina will have to work especially hard to bring Gugudan some credibility in the oversaturated girl group market if they want continued musical relevance in a group structure.


That being said, their options aren’t as limited as those of their group members. While she will become a full-time Gugudan member once February begins, Sejeong particularly maintains widespread popularity, as one of I.O.I’s main vocals, the runner-up on Produce 101, and a regular cast member on variety shows. Her debut solo single, “Flower Way,” was also a success, demonstrating that her individual popularity will not be quickly forgotten even if she is part of a girl group that isn’t as successful. Sejeong can and will be a strong force in 2017, but it remains to be seen how Mina or Gugudan as a whole will fare later on this year.

Jung Chaeyeon

Chaeyeon remains in a similar situation as that of Sejeong and Mina. Under MBK Entertainment, she is also part of a struggling girl group. While DIA has made some strides in finding public popularity this year with Chaeyeon and fellow member and Produce 101 competitor Huihyun (Cathy), the group’s current state is not very competitive in relation to the larger girl group market. Unless DIA can move their image away from their controversial CEO and agency, and bring out some title tracks with wide appeal, it’s likely that the group will have but another hard year in 2017.


But like Sejeong, Chaeyeon maintains considerable popularity. One of the most active I.O.I members, she maintained positions in both groups while also acting in a drama, making variety appearances, and doing pictorials throughout 2016. While she may not have an incredibly successful group to come back to, Chaeyeon will likely remain relevant in 2017 through her various activities as a singer and actress.

Yoo Yeonjung

While also already a member of another group, Yeonjung may possibly find herself in a slightly different situation than that of her groupmates Sejeong, Mina, and Chaeyeon. A Starship Entertainment artist, Yeonjung is the thirteenth member of Cosmic Girls (WJSN), which debuted early last year but added Yeonjung during I.O.I’s subunit promotion cycle. WJSN has definitely yet to strike it big, but they arguably show more rising potential than do DIA and Gugudan.


As the group’s main vocal, Yeonjung has brought them forward considerably, but unlike her I.O.I groupmates, she is not the most popular member of WJSN. After seeing a huge surge in popularity last year, member Cheng Xiao currently carries the group in popularity. WJSN will likely move further and further into the public eye as time goes on. While their current track “I Wish” isn’t faring incredibly well on the charts, it’s doing much better than past tracks “Mo Mo Mo” and equally as well as “Secret,” demonstrating that this promotion cycle may be the precursor to a much more successful one in the coming months. For both Yeonjung and her group, there is definitely hope, and with her shining vocals, the chance for solo promotions definitely exist in the near or distant future.

Kim Chungha

Considering that Chungha is under no-name label M&H Entertainment, fans have worried about her future after I.O.I’s disbandment. But as I wrote in KultScene’s Artists to Watch 2017 list published earlier this month, Chungha shows a lot of potential for success. One of the higher ranking trainees on Produce 101, Chungha’s variety of talents made her an instant stand-out both before and during I.O.I’s promotions. And given that her company has announced that she will debut solo in 2017, what’s to say that she can’t continue to stand out in the future? With a good song and concept, Chungha will have no trouble utilizing her incredibly strong dance, remarkably stable vocals, charismatic image, and English-speaking skills in future performances. Chungha is undoubtedly one of the most versatile members to come out of I.O.I, and her trendy and international appeal makes incredibly hopeful about her future. All it will take is a company that really works for her, and I’m praying that M&H is exactly that this year.

Kim Sohye

Sohye’s future is largely undetermined, except for the vague answer of “acting.” Currently under her own management, she plans to spend her time training and debuting as an actress this year post-I.O.I. It is still not clear, however, whether she will remain under her one-woman S&P Entertainment or if she is still related in anyway to her previous agency, Redline Entertainment. And while she constantly receives hate for her untrained musical abilities, Sohye has found herself a cult following during her time under Produce 101 and as a member of I.O.I. Although she isn’t the strongest singer or dancer, it is possible that she is an incredibly talented actress, and while netizens and international viewers were quick to call her useless or untalented, her real charms may have yet to be seen. As a result, I hold out hope for Sohye as well — after all, she may not hit it big on music shows, but she may be instead destined for drama primetime slots sometime soon.

Jeon Somi

Somi’s situation is very curious. Unlike that of her groupmates, we know very little about her future, except that she has now been bumped up from trainee to artist under JYP Entertainment. Currently a huge trend in Korea and closely associated with labelmates TWICE, many predict that JYP will add Somi to TWICE as its 10th member, giving the already explosively successful group another huge asset. And while there is a chance that this happens, I think (and hope) that JYP is smart enough to go in a different direction with Somi.

At only fifteen years old, the I.O.I center doesn’t need to debut in a girl group immediately. She can continue with variety appearances, pictorials, and possibly solo music releases or acting stints before she debuts in JYP’s next girl group, which will probably debut in at least a year or two from now. As one of I.O.I’s most popular members and one of the bigger trends of girl group K-Pop in 2016, Somi holds the power to bring any future JYP girl group to immediate public spotlight. So while I don’t think Jeon Somi will disappear this year, I don’t think we’ll be seeing her “Like OOH AHH” anytime soon.

Kim Doyeon & Choi Yoojung

While there are few details, Doyeon and Yoojung are clearly destined to be members of Fantagio’s next girl group. The girls’ agency, however, has yet to make any major announcements about this girl group — we do not know the group’s name, how many members it will have, when it will debut, etc. But we do know that Doyeon and Yoojung have also been promoted to artists under the label, and their young age (both are only 17 years old) gives them some time before having to debut. It is likely that the group will debut probably earlier than later in 2017, and it’s even more likely that these two will bring a lot of attention to their debut.

Yoojung specifically has found immense popularity as a strong stage and variety personality, while Doyeon is also a trend for her visuals and versatile talents. As a result, there is nothing stopping these girls from being incredibly successful, making their future group’s success a strong possibility as well. Not to mention, the group may possibly have sisters Lee Chaeyeon and Chaeryoung of JYP Entertainment’s survival show SIXTEEN, as the rumor mill says that they have transferred to Fantagio to debut alongside Yoojung and Doyeon. Having four members with previous public exposure, the members of this group have little to worry about right now. We will likely see lots of Doyeon and Yoojung in 2017, working hard to ensure their new group’s success.

While the “Cherry Blossoms” will eventually “Fade” at the end of this month, it’s clear that the members have a lot going for them. Dividing now into what may possibly be six different girl groups (counting already debuted groups along with Pledis Girlz, Fantagio’s upcoming girl group, and JYP’s next girl group a couple years away) and an actress, the eleven members are truly embodying the group’s name “Ideal of Idol.” While the futures of each group vary in likelihood of sustained relevance, it is clear that each individual member of I.O.I doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. As fans, we are definitely downcast about the disbandment of such an amazing girl group, but we can find solace in the fact that our “Dream Girls” will remain active in the industry in coming years. And whether apart or together, I.O.I’s legacy will live on.

Who do you think will be Kpop’s rising star this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The I.O.I Debacle: K-Pop’s Newest Conundrum

I.O.I DIA Gugudan

2016 has been a year of many changes for K-pop fans everywhere, particularly in the increasing size of groups. 12-member Cosmic Girls (WSJN), 42 quadrillion-member NCT, and most notably in the Korean spotlight, 11-member I.O.I from popular idol survival show “Produce 101,” which aired from January to April of this year.

For those of you who never watched the show, I’ll give you a quick summary [Spoiler alert!]. Mnet, one of the biggest entertainment networks in Korea, assembled a lineup of 101 female trainees from over 45 different companies to create the ultimate idol survival show. The girls were first ranked by skill level into levels A, B, C, D, or F classes. From there and on, the girls were organized into different units and tasked with performing with different songs, all while being subject to public vote.

In the end, the eleven trainees with the highest number of votes would debut as members of a temporary girl group under YMC Entertainment that would disband after one year of promotions. And this group was eventually called I.O.I, with members Somi (JYP), Nayoung (Pledis), Mina (Jellyfish), Sejeong (Jellyfish), Doyeon (Fantagio), Yoojung (Fantagio), Yeonjung (Starship), Chungha (M&H), Sohye (Redline), Chaeyeon (MBK), and Jieqiong (Pledis). Mnet made a few of the results very notable through editing and show structure — specifically, Somi placing first and being awarded the “center” position (as maknae, or youngest member, of the show’s entire 101-girl lineup), Sohye’s rise to fourth despite originally being an F trainee, and Yeonjung just making it by snagging 11th place.

Somi Sohye Yeonjung Produce 101 I.O.I

As a result, I.O.I started with incredible popularity, as all of the group’s members got tons of exposure from the show. Their first mini album “Chrysalis” sold approximately 60,000 copies and counting, demonstrating their fandom power only a month or two into their existence. And they’re not only notable in their number of fans — the group has also snagged many CFs and endorsement deals as well, showing that their popularity permeates the public itself. And while all of this is sweet and dandy, the group has also become incredibly controversial, opening up many ethical/philosophical/“is this even possible?”/“WTF?” K-pop questions for fans to ponder.


Also on KultScene: The Best K-Pop Girls of June

To begin, the group itself is entirely an experiment, because it was crafted exclusively by public vote. And considering how visual-oriented entertainment culture can be, this group has weaknesses when it comes to raw talent. Among the entire 11-member lineup, the only strong vocals are Sejeong and Yeonjung, forcing the group to pursue more rap-friendly, easy-singing songs instead of those that use stronger vocals to captivate the listener. And while all members definitely have their talents and charms as amazing and talented performers (some examples: Somi is a visual-singing-dance triple threat, Yoojung brings incredible stage presence, and Chungha is a truly gifted dancer), the group has essentially become about visuals and “pretty likeable qualities” instead of any sort of musical accomplishment. The question must be asked: is this the best way to form a girl group? Does opening up member selection to vote dilute the talent, and/or place excessive limits on the way the members use (or don’t use) their talents?

With the way I.O.I looks, I would argue that it does. The group’s image boasts talented performers, but doesn’t let them show off raw singing or dancing talent for the members that do possess those abilities. It puts incredible limits on the group’s musical abilities, and, depending on who you are, it can make the performance less exciting to watch. I don’t know about you, but I watched Yeonjung’s high notes in her “Into the New World” performance literally one hundred times before I.O.I’s debut. I was hoping for more of that in I.O.I’s repertoire, but Yeonjung’s high note in “Dream Girls” is much less impactful. With the vocal caliber, song quality, and immense size of the group, that kind of stuff seems to be less of a priority for the producers.

Yeonjung Produce 101 I.O.I

Going off of that, the next larger K-pop question comes to mind — does a group as big as 11 members really work? In the case of groups like Super Junior, EXO, Seventeen, and more, the answer seems to be yes. But for a girl group like I.O.I, it isn’t. This group isn’t an innovative performance-oriented group like Super Junior; they’re not a dance-heavy pop group like EXO; they aren’t a unit-centric, talent-based group like Seventeen. Instead, they’re just a girl group with likeable and talented members that should all get a sizable amount of the spotlight. But instead, each member is left only one or two lines in the entire song, and barely anyone gets to shine at all. While I.O.I might be popularizing a larger group model for girl groups, they’re demonstrating that it doesn’t work well in terms of music and performance.

Music quality is another area where I.O.I suffers incredibly. And this is the fault of none other than their label, YMC Entertainment. The first song they released as a group, “Crush,” wasn’t entirely bad in the eyes of netizens and fans alike. The music video, however, created a lot of noise — why were they all in mismatched outfits, singing and dancing without coordination in a room that resembles the worst of K-pop’s “box music video” era? Obviously, it seems that the “Crush” music video was a quick production for fans to enjoy. But the enjoyment was limited, especially when editing and/or other management problems led to Yeonjung’s criticism for allegedly trying too hard to steal the spotlight from other members. The deletion and re-release of the video, consequently with less Yeonjung, demonstrated that the whole affair was sloppy and unprofessional from the start.

Their actual debut song “Dream Girls” was just as messy and controversial. The song combined many different styles, tempos, and rhythms, and in my honest opinion, not very well. While it is catchy, the song was very sloppy and fragmented, with main vocals getting very few lines, raps coming out of nowhere, and the center member’s mysterious absence from the front-and-center region of the stage during important parts of the song. While the song was very different in sound, the music video showed many similarities to that of Girls’ Generation’s debut song “Into the New World.” While a plagiarism suit never precipitated from the scandal, fans were left very angry. Why couldn’t a better and more unique music video have been made to complement such unique girls? Many fans were also angry about Somi’s position in the song, which, essentially wasn’t center like she was voted to be. While many argue that Somi doesn’t have to be center the whole time (and that is a legitimate argument), she was barely in the center at all. It seems like, in order for her to be the center, Chaeyeon’s “We are the Dream Girls” line at the beginning of the chorus should have gone to Somi, and some other lines could have been switched around to find a place for Chaeyeon. After all, Chaeyeon’s place at the front-and-center of the song’s tagline is essentially what the center position is for. Fan’s argued that Somi was voted to be center, so she should have been there and Chaeyeon should not have. This point actually kills two birds with one stone: demonstration of the group being mismanaged, and further evidence to show that groups probably shouldn’t be decided by vote.

Dream Girls I.O.I

To be completely honest, hearing that the group would be promoting under YMC was very surprising when it was first announced. The label doesn’t exactly have brand value, since their only real sustained claim-to-fame is Ailee. And while Ailee is very successful and incredibly talented, putting the group under YMC was bound to create problems. There have been several reports of mismanagement, whether it be scary managers or arriving late to events, and the label is essentially the only one to blame for these dilemmas. Trusting this slightly unknown label with some of K-pop’s future stars might have been the wrong decision.

Putting all of these scandals and problems aside, the biggest controversies remain. First of all, as far as I know, there has never before been a group of girls signed to one label with each girl simultaneously being signed to a completely different label. The only other remotely similar example of this anomaly is Gain of Brown Eyed Girls, who was signed to Nega Network for group promotions, while signing with LOEN and other labels for solo promotions (this was before the entire group, including Gain’s solo brand, switched over to Mystic Entertainment’s APOP sub label, of course). I.O.I’s label conflict creates a lot of problems, some of which most likely led to I.O.I’s unfortunate inability to perform on any music shows other than “M! Countdown” and “Music Bank (they were even edited out of the SBS Dream Concert 2016 broadcast).”

The dual label problem gets even larger (and even ethically confusing) when members are withdrawn from one group to be part of another. All of this begins with Chaeyeon, Heehyun, and Ng Sze Kai, who were all members of groups during their participation in “Produce 101.” Chaeyeon and Heehyun were members of MBK Entertainment’s DIA, but “temporarily withdrew” in order to participate in the show as trainees, while Ng Sze Kai (more commonly known as Shin) did the same as a member of Hong Kong girl group As One. While Heehyun and Shin didn’t make the I.O.I. lineup, Chaeyeon was voted in to join the group. It was expected by fans and netizens that Chaeyeon would remain “temporarily withdrawn” from DIA until I.O.I’s disbandment next year. It’s become pretty obvious, however, that this isn’t happening. Once “Dream Girls” promotions began to wind down, Chaeyeon was pulled from the lineup of I.O.I’s upcoming subunit lineup to promote with DIA. While she isn’t an actively promoting member of I.O.I at the moment, she’s still a member of both groups at the same time, under completely different labels. It goes even further with Jellyfish girls Sejeong and Mina, who were pulled from the subunit lineup to join their home label’s first girl group Gu9udan. Even Yeonjung was pulled from the lineup to go back to Starship Entertainment. While Starship originally said she was being pulled “to work on skills other than singing,” it’s probable that she’s coming out with her own project sometime soon, considering the label just opened a new Instagram account for a project called “Y Teen” set for release this month.

Sejeong Mina I.O.I Gugudan

The dual group membership concept creates many problems in this setting. To bring back another K-pop example, an instance that resembles the current I.O.I situation is Yeonkyung of MBK Entertainment, who was at one point a member of both The SeeYa and F-ve Dolls. We didn’t get to see many of the consequences of this arrangement, however, because both groups went inactive not too long after that announcement. Besides, both groups were under the same label, so the conflict is much less prevalent and plans can be made in accordance with both groups. Japanese record labels do this all the time — the main dancers of BABYMETAL were actually simultaneously part of another girl group under the same label (although they’ve recently withdrawn from the other group), and AKB48 constantly has concurrent members between itself and its many sister groups. The major difference is that, once again, they are all under the same management.

In Chaeyeon’s case, she finished “Dream Girls” promotions with only a few weeks before diving into DIA promotions, leaving her practically no time to rest. According to recent reports, she is even being considered for a drama, which is just astounding, if you ask me. She debuted only months ago and she is already a member of not one, but two girl groups, on top of acting in a drama?! Too much in too little time — her health must be seriously suffering. The same can be said of Sejeong and Mina, who joined Gu9udan promotions very soon after I.O.I took a break.

And there’s another conflict: neither of these groups’ releases has been successful. DIA’s “On the Road” barely managed to chart in the top fifty, and while Gu9udan’s physical sales are good (the Jellyfish trio from “Produce 101” has a pretty formidable fanbase), their track “Wonderland” keeps on falling only days after release, with negative reactions from many fans and netizens alike. The rushed nature of these releases is most likely in part responsible for their lackluster quality, crammed to coincide exactly with the time during which I.O.I goes into subunit mode.

I.O.I Subunit


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So the questions must be asked: should one girl be in two groups at the same time? Does this become even more concerning when the girl is under two different record labels simultaneously? Not to mention the consequences — I.O.I’s subunit is missing both of its main vocals. While these positions are likely to be filled by Somi and Chungha, neither of these two has the vocal prowess and technical skill possessed by Sejeong and Yeonjung. And what about health? Not only are Chaeyeon, Sejeong, Mina, and Yeonjung being thrown between labels and groups, but the I.O.I members won’t get that much time to rest before subunit promotions begin, as it is.

And there’s also probably the biggest, most frustrating conflict of all for many Korean fans — if they voted and supported their fave through “Produce 101,” isn’t it only fair that their home label not pull them out of the group while they’re still claiming their year-long prize? Is that unfair to the fans who voted for them, or should fans simply remain supportive as their idol moves between groups and promotion cycles? In theory, I personally think there’s nothing wrong with one person being part of two groups. But when the concept is carried out the way it is in this situation, I disapprove, simply because of how music releases, promotion cycles, and most of all, the members themselves are being treated.

The dilemmas are endless; I.O.I truly is a K-pop conundrum. Despite my intense criticism, I am a huge I.O.I fan in all honesty. My critique is not for the group members themselves. It’s instead for whoever thought a publicly voted girl group would reach some sort of perfect “Ideal of Idol” (what the actual I.O.I acronym stands for). It’s for whoever is managing them, whether it be YMC or the home label they’re debuting under. It’s for whoever put these eleven talented, beautiful, and amazing girls in the crossfire of a label jurisdiction war. With only three more releases from I.O.I coming our way, and whether they’re in units or not, my only hope is that some of our many K-pop dilemmas are resolved before their untimely disbandment.

What do you think of I.O.I’s controversies? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.