Tag Archives: Red Velvet

3 Reasons Why The 1st “Girls on Top” Line-Up, “GOT The Beat”, Is The Most Powerful Kpop Girl Group

21 Jan

On January 1, 2022, SM Entertainment hosted its traditional SM Town Live concert, SMTOWN LIVE 2022: SMCU EXPRESS @ KWANGYA, via their Youtube channel. During the show, SME introduced their latest girl group project, Girls on Top, and debuted their latest sub-unit: GOT the Beat with a new song “Step Back” (produced by Yoo Young Jin and Dem Jointz, to name a few). Members of GOT were taken from many other major girl groups within the company (or from their own solo activities) and gathered to create the ultimate girl group.

SM Entertainment has found recent success with these “mix-’em-up” sub-units. In 2019, SM Entertainment debuted SuperM, a boy group sub-unit that consisted of Taemin (SHINee), Baekhyun and Kai (EXO), Taeyong and Mark (NCT 127), and Ten and Lucus (WayV).

By putting these members together, the fandoms united, and this created massive success for SuperM. Their self-titled EP, SuperM, reached number one on the Billboard charts upon release. They embarked on a live world tour, only being cut short because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Though all activities have had to be adjusted to fit online streaming, the idea of this massive sub-unit has come with massive rewards for the company and the group members.

It was only a matter of time before SM Entertainment tried this method with their girl idols. GOT appears to be that formula.

GOT (Girls on Top) will be a bit different from SuperM in the fact that it will rotate the members out, much the way SM Entertainment handles their group NCT.

But so far, the first line-up for GOT is getting the reputation of being the “Female Avengers of K-pop”. After the release of GOT The Beat’s stage video performance of “Step Back”, they were already being received as a very powerful girl group from SM Entertainment, and possibly the strongest one in the whole industry at the moment.

Here are 3 reasons why this group is considered so powerful:

1. The Members Are Considered The Best At Their Craft

Let’s just introduce this line-up of girls.

First off, BoA is in this line-up. Highly regarded as the “Queen of Kpop”, “Beat of Angel”, “Asia’s Star”, and now a creative director and choreographer at SM Entertainment, BoA debuted in the year 2000 at the age of 13, influencing the early Hallyu or Korean wave that brought Kpop to the international stage. She’s also respected for having allegedly saved SM Entertainment, one of the “Big 3” music labels in South Korea, when it was in financial crisis in the early naughts. Since her debut and near 22-year reign, she has become an adept solo artist, mastering both her dancing and vocal abilities.

She’s also had a major successful break-through career in Japan, becoming quite the J-pop artist as well. BoA is also multi-lingual (speaking Korean, Japanese, and English). Her various talents and world-trotting gifts make her an “all-around” presence in the group.

The respect SM Entertainment has for her is visible through the group’s name, “Girls on Top”, which pays homage to one of BoA’s most successful Kpop songs “Girls on Top“.

BoA may seem to have tried it all, but this is her first time navigating a girl group, showing that there’s still more on her bucket list. In her reality show, Keyword#BoA and in other shows, she’s confessed that she’s always wanted to be in a girl group, particularly Girls’ Generation (SNSD) and Red Velvet. Now, it appears like she took her opportunity, and she’s not disappointing anyone. BoA is proving that age is nothing but a number, and she inspires many of many ages to keep moving forward towards their dreams.

When the stage video dropped, it was pretty clear who had the potential to be the leader of the group, especially as some discovered she got the most out of the line distribution in this debut. Rightfully so, as she crawled so all those after her could walk and run. She is strong in many areas, so it’s easy for her to perform naturally with many members of this new group.

Next in the line-up, we have Taeyeon of Kpop’s iconic and legendary girl-group Girls’ Generation (SNSD), which debuted in 2007. Overall leader of the former NINE-MEMBER girl group, a group often literally called “The Nation’s [South Korea’s] Girl Group”, one of the first to break the “glass ceiling” (being the first girl group to chart for weeks on South Korea’s major charts and award shows), the first to sell millions of albums, and the first Kpop girl group to go on to achieve global success, Taeyeon contributed massively with her amazing vocal talent. To many, her vocal prowess remains unrivaled in Kpop. With her experience in such a large-member girl group, Taeyeon has learned how to make her personal talents and presence shine within minutes, and most fans of GOT learned quickly that they can’t get their eyes (and ears) off of her.

Since her debut in 2007 with her group, Taeyeon has mastered the art of vocal control and stage charisma. Being only slightly younger than BoA, and still being considered a Kpop “visual”, she’s also proving that age is nothing but a number.

Following Taeyeon from the legendary girl group Girls’ Generation (SNSD) is the group’s powerful lead rapper and dancer Hyoyeon. Debuting in 2007 with her initial girl group, she quickly became recognized as one of the few female Kpop acts that can “dance with the boys” (with the boys being more recognized for their powerful choreography). Hyoyeon has shown time and time again that she gives nothing less than 100% with anything she takes on. Her ability to give her all in a performance makes her rap verses flow naturally and her dancing fluid and precise. After all, this girl worked with Janet Jackson and was BoA’s silhouette dancer before her debut with SNSD!

It’s ironic that, at this moment in time, she’s teaming up with someone she once shadowed. This just shows how much her status has come up in the world.

Like her fellow band-mate, she can’t help but steal the spotlight whenever she takes the stage. Her confidence and “girl-crush” aura make her a crowd favorite. There’s no way she can fade into the background. Her chemistry with her new band-mates also amazes people, showing just how adaptable she is, too.

She also brought the beauty and the “style” visually with this debut, especially standing out with her popping pinkish-red hair. Like with BoA and Taeyeon, what is age?

The girls of Girls’ Generation (SNSD) can rightfully be called “Queens”.

Moving along down the line-up is Wendy of the ever-popular Kpop girl group Red Velvet. This group became SM Entertainment’s answer to JYP’s Twice and YG’s Black Pink. Debuting in 2014 to both controversy and wildly popular admiration, Red Velvet has since carved out their own identity from former groups by experimenting with new sounds, images, and styles. They are now one of SM Entertainment’s biggest girl groups.

Wendy has particularly been a stand-out with her vocals. As lead vocalist of her own group, she instantly became recognized as SM Entertainment’s “strongest vocalist”. This amazingly talented vocalist even appeared on King of Mask Singer as “Space Beauty Maetel”. And everyone knows that anyone who joins that reality show has to sell their voice and nothing else.

But Wendy has shown that she’s very capable of selling all she’s got in this debut. Pretty and talented, Wendy doesn’t shy away from performing on par with her seniors, vocally or in dance. It helps to have practiced doing solo work. It’s the key to why Wendy can shine so brightly in this group full of so much talent. When she sang in this debut, people quickly noticed how easy it was for her to hit a F5 (vocal range). People also noticed how well she danced next to some of the best. Wendy appears to be refusing to be outshined in any area. Known for being bubbly, she’s been surprising everyone with how well she’s merging with the tougher GOT concept.

As with her group-mate, Red Velvet‘s Seulgi can’t seem to fade into the background either. While most people know this diva is talented, with this debut, she has shown that her dancing, singing, and rapping chops make her a dominating force in her own group and in her new sub-unit, pulling out all-around gifts to spread to every area, similar to BoA. When Seulgi performs, it appears as if she’s been around as long as her seniors, which shows just how amazingly talented she is.

Seulgi has everything all the other girls have in one whole body, which is why she’s considered SM Entertainment’s “secret weapon” and the “ace”. She manages to maintain her own powerful identity within a group setting, merging well with the others and, yet, taking center stage effortlessly at the same time. She’s never out-of-step.

Finally, we have members from the newest and super popular Kpop sensation Aespa, which debuted in 2020. Aespa has been known to have a unique identity in SM, bringing the trap and hip-hop vibes, usually a staple of YG artists, along with some futuristic touches (such as having virtual “avatars” perform with them) to the label. From debut, they have seen significant music show success, constant streaming on platforms like Youtube and Spotify, and have charted on the Billboard 200.

Since pre-debut, everyone knew Karina was born to be a star. From being invited to perform with her senior (SHINee’s Taemin) and having the honor of appearing in a Tucson car performance ad (usually reserved for veterans), she’s already shown that she’s a big-dog in the Kpop industry already, and she’s only been full-throttle in the industry for a little over a year. Before debut, many could see her potential as a soloist, so it’s no surprise that she can so easily slip out of one group to another (from Aespa to GOT) within just one year of debut.

Karina has shown that she’s a powerful dancer, strong rapper, and obviously visually stunning, standing stronger than most of her peers and some of her seniors. Recently, she’s also shown to even have very good vocals as well! She’s quite a quad-threat. It’s no wonder she was selected to be first in line during the stage performance.

Winter is another story. Pre-debut, SM Entertainment hid her special talents behind her gorgeous and stunning visuals in her teaser videos. Yet, when Winter stepped onto her debut stage, she shocked everyone with her powerful vocals, rapping skills, and dancing abilities.

Being underestimated, everything fell in her favor due to the shock factor. It made her extremely popular and a fan favorite. Within her short time within the Kpop industry, she has also gained significant status. It’s amazing that she has been able to elevate to the point she is performing with all of the other queens in GOT. And she fits oh-so-well. Her shared “bridge” with BoA and Wendy in the “Step Back” song has had everyone talking, and it’s seriously got everyone wondering what she has next up her sleeve.

With these seven members, this sub-unit is definitely a strong forceful wind blowing in the industry.

2. FOUR Generations

GOT (Girls on Top)

Many sub-units have been formed from many labels, but very few can gather FOUR GENERATIONS of Kpop idols, let alone the most talented of them. The Refund Sisters may have been the only other one, and that was, to most, just three generations.

Many Kpop agencies haven’t even been around as long as SM Entertainment, who, quite frankly, is said to have pioneered the “Kpop-idol formula“. The agencies that were formed in the early days of the industry are either gone, having been dissolved by the industry, or all of their older idols have completely left their agencies, disbanding or retiring.

Well, considering the four generations of Kpop, the active participants in GOT cover them all. BoA is from the first generation, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon (Girls’ Generation (SNSD)) are from the second generation, Wendy and Seulgi (Red Velvet) are from the third generation, and Karina and Winter (Aespa) are from the fourth. This is already over 20 years of talent in one group, from 2000 to 2022!

Thus, this group, as it stands, is sure to bring to circle a large and diverse fanbase, one that has been both following the industry for years and the young blood. Already, newer Kpop fans are being introduced to older idols, and old-time Kpop fans are learning of the newer idols or are being reintroduced to them. This unit brings a unity to Kpop, especially because the fandom is largely divided as to which “era” of Kpop is superior.

In this group, all eras reign supreme!

3. All The Girls Are Well-Established

Finally, the reason this group is so perfect is because all of the ladies are well-established, so there’s no fight over who is getting more attention (or love from fans) than the other. Technically, each girl is a bias of some group of people, unlike what you might find in your typical Kpop group, where one girl appears to be more beloved than the others.

Many who have analyzed the line distribution have noticed that every line has been distributed as fairly as possible, allowing each girl to shine.

This could also mean that the company doesn’t believe that any one of the girls will be the main pull of this group. This is because all of the girls in this group are the pull. They have had major successes outside of GOT, have developed their own strong fandoms, and are moving into this project with a fresh outlook.

One of main causes of many fan wars (and even disbandment) has been attention disparity between members. In many other Kpop girl groups, it’s often obvious that one girl is favored. Usually, it’s noticeable when someone wears more unique outfits, gets more lines in a song, more screen-time in a music video or stage performance, and/or more side projects, like ads, than the other girls.

But in GOT, all of the usual “favorites” were combined in one group. Karina and Winter are the main “biases” in Aespa, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon are favored from SNSD, Wendy and Seulgi are favored from Red Velvet, and BoA is highly respected as a solo artist and Kpop veteran.

Thus, they’ve actually toned down on favoring the usuals, too. For example, while Karina appears to be favored in Aespa, often having the more interesting wardrobe and prettiest hair options, more lines in the song, and more visual presence, in GOT her hair is a normal dark color, with the more interesting colors given to Girls’ Generation’s members, BoA has the most lines of everyone in the song, and the visual beauty of the group is largely disputed (with many also complimenting Winter, Wendy, and Taeyeon for their feminine looks, too).

The same extremely talented individuals who always get praise for standing out also have their matches in this group. While Taeyeon, Wendy, and Winter each get praise for their powerful vocal dominance in their own groups, they are vocal equals in GOT, with BoA stepping down a peg, too, to let those ladies do their thing.

BoA also has to share the stage with her shadow Hyoyeon when it comes to dancing, and Karina and Seulgi deliver strong in that department as well.

Karina is a very powerful rapper in her group, and yet, Hyoyeon is able to keep up (and even dominate) the flow most of the time.

Together, many fans consider this the “best vocal line” in Kpop history due to there being six of seven vocalists in the group! It can equally be considered the “best dance line” as well, with over half of the members displaying significant body control in this choreography. Each member brings something to the table, and would be incomplete without everyone.

Update

GOT the Beat on McCountdown “Special Stage” “Step Back”

While acknowledging that some talents shine equally in this group, it can hurt fans who want to believe their bias is superior. But it also leaves many people humbly and genuinely respecting the individual strengths of all of the ladies, leaving no one to find a weak link. No one can honestly leave disappointed with any of them, and suddenly, many fans may find themselves latching on to a different bias than the one they actually started with.

To be honest, this is possibly why most comments on them have been positive, with few fan wars sprouting out. There’s nothing to fight about when all of them appear amazing.

Update

GOT the Beat “Special Stage” fancam view
GOT the Beat Winter (fancam)
GOT the Beat Karina (fancam)
GOT the Beat Seulgi (fancam)
GOT the Beat Wendy (fancam)
GOT the Beat Hyoyeon (fancam)
GOT the Beat Taeyeon (fancam)
GOT the Beat BoA (fancam)

Overall, this sub-unit will go far.

Unfortunately, they will be swapped out. It’s both bitter and sweet. On one hand, Kpop fans will get to see many of their other favorite idols get together and perform. On the other hand, could the next sub-unit really be as powerful as this four-generation group?

There’s still much to improve on. Many fans have found the lyrics of “Step Back” to be questionable, considering it sounds more like a “diss track” over a man than a “female-empowering” anthem, and there’s still no official music video released to really give the group justice. Before another sub-unit takes the stage, this powerful sub-unit should at least get another chance at making an even bigger mark, possibly with an EP, another comeback with fresh new lyrics, and a stylish music video. That may be asking for too much, but fans can only hope the potential here doesn’t go to waste.

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#LastBrass Amber’s Final Stages For Shake That Brass-So Which Vocalist Was YOUR Favorite?

14 Mar

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Amber is the charming “tomboy” of the f(x) group.

To learn more about f(x): f(x), the Korean Spice Girls + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

Back in February, f(x)’s Amber released her first solo music video “Shake That Brass” featuring Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon. Soon after, Amber dropped her first solo album Beautiful. Amber has been getting a lot of attention for the music video as well as the album.

Shake That Brass MV-Unique in Kpop

Snap! Crackle! Pop! Amber’s Solo Album Drops

Amber’s Beautiful Album Review

The album showcased Amber’s “hidden” vocal abilities, as well as revealing personal sides to Amber’s personality, something fans never got the fullest extent of in her quintet group, f(x).

To see more of her talents: Just How Talented is f(x)’s Amber Liu?

The music video for “Shake That Brass” was known for it’s cameo appearances from other K-pop idols, revealing Amber’s social networking skills and popularity.

For the last three weeks, Amber has been performing “Shake That Brass” on several Korean music shows. Each stage has been a little different from the other. Though Amber featured with Taeyeon on the original track, she featured with other artists from SM Entertainment, YMC Entertainment, and Woollim Entertainment on stage.

So my question for you K-pop lovers is which feature did you like best?

This is not a question just to make any of the artists feel bad. All of the ladies who featured with Amber were amazingly talented, but they each had their own charm. I’m curious to know which performance impressed upon viewers the most, and I also want to know people’s opinions about each performance. Maybe you liked them all. Or maybe there was another artist that didn’t feature that you would have liked to see perform. Whatever it is, I want to know people’s opinions.

1) Amber featuring Girls’ Generation (SNSD)’s Taeyeon

Taeyeon, of all the performers, carried the most confidence. It was pretty obvious that she was used to performing. She has an amazing voice that was well-suited to the song. Amber personally asked Taeyeon to feature in the song.

Taeyeon struck that balance between shining in the spotlight and supporting Amber. In her performance, she didn’t take over the music video, but when her part came, she made sure it was her best. She carried a hint of elegance about her, but her soft, melodious voice added a lovable charm that fit well with the song. She had a queen-like presence in the video.

During promotions, Taeyeon only featured in the video. But after promotions, at SM Town Taiwan, Taeyeon happened to perform the song with amber for the first time on stage.

2) Amber featuring Red Velvet’s Wendy

Rookie Wendy featured with Amber and did pretty well! This is probably Wendy’s first feature. As Amber’s junior, she obviously did well not to outshine Amber. Wendy has a very strong voice. What I appreciated about this performance was the fact that Wendy suited the hip-hop imagery better than the other features. Even her outfit fit well with the theme. Her use of caps made her blend in well with Amber as well. Amber dresses comfortably,  so Wendy adding a bit of “tomboy” in her look made it perfect.

As someone who carries a young and fresh vibe, this kind of song invites rookie artists like Wendy. I applaud her courage. She stood in for one of the most popular idols in K-pop, Taeyeon. She challenged herself, hitting those notes within the song. She also seems to carry a little sass about her, giving it her own unique charm. The cherry on top is that she speaks fluent English…

3) Amber featuring f(x)’s Luna

Luna was the third person to feature on Amber’s stage. It’s clear to see from the number of performances with Amber that Luna was in demand by fans. This is natural, considering Luna is from Amber’s group. Luna felt the most natural. Luna was more in sync with Amber, and it was clear to tell they have performed together before. Luna’s bubbly and upbeat personality fit well with the song. Of course, Luna is a vocalist. Her vocals suited the song well.

At the end of these performances, there are interesting interactions between Luna and Amber. Their close relationship is clearly obvious. To add, Luna’s outfits are just as quirky as Amber’s, which added that f(x) flair.

Though Amber said she really wanted to work with new people this time, for f(x) fans, it was a dream come true to at least see two members from the group together on the same stage. f(x) comes out with ONE comeback a year after all.

Amber featuring Ailee

This was the one and only performance Amber had with Ailee, and yet it was a powerful one. Ailee made the song her own rather than following the “standard”. Ailee is known as the “Beyonce of Korea”, and her vocals were clearly shown in this performance.

To add, her chemistry with Amber was noticeable. She and Amber are best friends, according to Amber. Rather than seeming like Ailee was featuring in the performance, it almost seemed like a fun duo between friends. This performance is so impressive, it’s hard not to watch it more than once. Amber and Ailee seemed really excited to be performing together, and this performance seemed like it was the most fun.

Ailee’s asset is also the fact that she speaks English very well.

Amber featuring Lovelyz’s Kei

Kei is even more of a rookie than Wendy, but she took up the challenge. Kei is probably more similar to Taeyeon as far as performances. Lovelyz sort of reminds me of SNSD. They both give off an element of “sweet charm”. The difference is that Kei is even more adorable! Her performance with Amber was charming as well as entertaining. That ending bit though! So charismatic! And very energetic! Kei brings so much energy to this performance.

Kei gives it her all with her vocals. Kei helped in providing the entertainment for our final “Last Brass” week. She gave her cute, “lovely” addition to it. It really suited the upbeat song well. She felt like the perfect girl to attract a young and lively crowd.

So now that the promotion weeks are coming to a close (hu hu 😥  ), I just have to ask: Which did you like? Give me reasons for why you liked that stage! Who would you have LIKED to see Amber perform with? I’ve heard a lot of people say f(x)’s Krystal…

SM Entertainment Gets Hit Hard: Luhan Leaves EXO and Jessica was FORCED OUT of Girls’ Generation!

14 Oct

I step away from K-pop for a moment and THIS is what I hear?

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This year has been the year of news-media slumps for SM. From the dating scandals, lawsuits, controversial music videos and debuts, as well as group mutiny, SM hasn’t had the best of luck with it’s artists this year.

To strike the lowest blow, all of these problems have brought SM’s stock market profits down 15%, down to an all time low! They are now under YG Entertainment as the most successful K-pop production label. The name alone used to be worth something. The name of SM has now been smeared over the past couple of months…Though they still are pretty profitable. But YG’s market value is higher, and this gives YG the lead in the consumer world.

The latest slams have been towards two of SM’s most successful groups: The young boy band, EXO, and the fully established female group, Girls’ Generation!

I have this strange feeling that this production company is being sabotaged by some underlying force. How can all of these scandals come out so rapidly, in one whole year? I guess that’s what happens when you reach the top. Stories are juicier coming from a major company. And those companies are easier to shatter. Well now that YG is at the top, I bet they will be next…

YG has something that makes them superior to SM’s label. YG is truthful. They don’t try to purify their artists. They give their artists more freedom than any other label in Korea. SM makes their artists into “Gods” and “Goddesses”, something that is hard to live up to. Because SM profits off of this manufactured perfection, they end up controlling their artists’ actions so they won’t look bad and so their label won’t be smeared. It ends up doing the opposite to them as a company.

I’m not one to take sides unless I know the full story, but because of SM’s tactics, the average person sees SM as foggy. It’s hard to know whether we should sympathize with the company or the artists. Sure, we can’t blame the company for every artist that jumps ship, but we should hold them responsible for something. Well, I’m here to give you my opinion on the two recent MAJOR scandals that can influence the future of SM’s success. I’m here to talk about the departure of members from MAJOR K-pop groups.

EXO: Luhan has filed a Lawsuit

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EXO was a 12-member group consisting of a Korean group and a Chinese Mandarin group: EXO-K and EXO-M.

Earlier in the spring, EXO-M’s Kris filed a lawsuit out of nowhere just before he was about to go on tour. All 12 members were diligently preparing for the tour. Suddenly, and without warning, Kris jumped ship. Many people thought he was fed up with SM, as SM has lost artists to lawsuits before (Super Junior and JYJ), but Kris went about it in a way…that seemed poorly executed.

Here we are, 4 months later, and another Chinese member flows the coop: Luhan, with the same tactics Kris executed.

All eyes are peering closely at SM. Many people believe there is someone in the Chinese music industry offering deals to the members. If this were true, what is more tempting to these members than working for SM? Whatever offers are being made available for these artists, it seems enough for the artists to drop their loyalties.

Well, I think it should be a little obvious. A good number of SM’s artists are not from Korea. This is also the difference between SM and YG. Kris and Luhan may feel more comfortable in a country that speaks their language and understands their culture. Further, they could be closer to family members…

Or is there more to the story? Kris was from Canada. Moving to China wouldn’t make him close to his folks. But it certainly doesn’t seem to stop his career. Perhaps China has better music label contracts in it’s country. In Korea, his career may be over. But in China, it is just beginning.

EXO is a fairly new group, and it’s unusual for two members to leave within two years of their debut, and at the height of their success for that matter. Did they just discover there were other things they wanted to do? But what would be the need to sue a company? The company locks them into binding contracts, but so does every label. Is SM treating the members of EXO unfairly? Why would they have the need to hit so hard? I mean, it’s very easy to treat members unfairly when you have so many members to tend to.

The real mystery comes up when considering how the two members went about it. They didn’t tell SM, they didn’t tell their fellow members. They just went about their task in a sneaky way, as if they trusted no one. Could it also mean that their relationship with remaining members were not that tight either?

 Information about Kris’s lawsuit-Click Me

Variety shows are bs. K-pop artists have to act close on these shows in order to sell their products. But even brothers fight. This doesn’t mean there was no trouble in paradise. What’s really going on is a mystery.

I want to blame the management at SM. I want to attack the way they’ve treated their artists. They don’t have a good reputation. Perhaps they treat their international artists poorly. Perhaps their international artists are not used to Korea’s standards. Coming from a different country, there was still a lot for these young men to learn about the culture. But perhaps they were just too young when they were trained. I think SM trains it’s artists too young. Many of these kids barely know what’s good for them. Teens see the world through rose-colored glasses until they are out to fend for themselves. Life changes when people become adults. Many times, teens grow up wanting to do other things. They eventually find themselves doing things they never wanted to do before. I wanted to be a journalist as a teen. I ended up being an educator…Though I still write on the side. You just never know where life will lead you. This just doesn’t apply to careers, but relationships, too. Trust me.

I want to charge like a bull at this company, but why did these men have to jeopardize the other members’ careers? Couldn’t they have at least prepared the other members? Couldn’t they have at least first talked to SM about it to see what they could do? The way they went about it makes it hard for others to side with them.

But we don’t know the whole circumstance or why these men had to be so secretive about it. What we do know is now EXO is down to 10 members.

Luhan had more of a clear reason than EXO’s Kris. He cited an invalid contract. Still, SM says he claimed he had “health issues”, which seems to be the common excuse for SM artists. SM always claims they were “talking” to these members about it, but we don’t know if that’s true. What I do agree with SM on is that the EXO members didn’t have to file a lawsuit to get their supposed problems solved…It seemed a little too…blown up.

SM’s claims are interesting regarding Luhan.

“[Luhan] had expressed that he wanted to focus on individual activities in China rather than moving as a group with EXO due to health issues, and we were in the middle of discussing his future activities, so this sudden lawsuit is puzzling,” SM Entertainment’s statement read in part. “However, seeing that, just as in the case with Kris, Luhan filed for a lawsuit with the same law firm in the same way without reason makes us think that after gaining popularity with the group, he is now prioritizing his own personal benefit with disregard for those affected by the termination of his contract. Moreover, it seems that there is a behind-the-scenes influence.”

Perhaps he does see how he can strike it solo now that he’s a major star. Maybe he did take advantage of the lawsuit fiasco. Maybe there is someone sabotaging the label and offering the artists better opportunities. I mean, what label doesn’t want EXO on their hands?

It’s interesting to quote the bit: “with disregard for those affected by the termination of his contract”. This sounds like SM is putting some negative salt out there. But it may be true; we don’t know. He obviously didn’t care how this would affect his group or his fans. He was just fed up, and he knew his fans would worship, ahem, I mean, support him, no matter what.

But SM really needs to get their crap together or they will lose everything.

More on Luhan’s lawsuit-Click Me

Then there’s the EXO fandom. I hate to come down hard on them, but some of them are abusive when it comes to EXO, and many of them don’t respect EXO. They tend to embarrass the group and other fans. Maybe these boys want out of such abusive fan-idol relationships. Maybe they want to date, live their life, and be young. I always say a company is as crazy as it’s fans. I mean, the fans are the money, and that’s what the company wants. If the fans are crazy, the company will be, too.

EXO tickets sales plummet due to member dating

EXO fans blow up crazy after other female idols “like” a picture on instagram

EXO fans jump with anger because a member looks like he’s hugging a girl

Girls’ Generation: Jessica has been BOOTED out! Say What?

jessica-jessica-girls-generation-28498958-430-583

Is this even legal?

Girls’ Generation (SNSD) was a 9-member group that laid serious K-pop ground since 2007! They were SM’s first major all-female group. Their success has traveled far and wide, bringing K-pop to other parts of the world.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jessica is ousted from the group! Here’s the lowdown.

Jessica wanted to start her own fashion business and just opened her first store in Hong Kong. She claims she asked SM and her fellow members about it a long time ago, and they gave her the go-ahead. But a month after, they trapped her in a meeting and asked her to choose between her music career and her fashion business. SM and her fellow members claimed that it conflicted with performing schedules. SM also said that Jessica chose to leave the group due to personal reasons. They claimed that during “insufficient negotiations regarding conflicts of differences”, Jessica proceeded to start her business. They basically claimed she never officially secured agreement with the company.

Jessica said that she never wanted to leave SNSD. She claimed she was forced out. She claimed that the company and her members wanted her to choose, and she refused to choose between her two passions. The agency told her she could continue the fashion line under her renewed contract, but they also told her she was no longer a member of Girls’ Generation! Jessica sounded devastated on all of her responses, like she didn’t know this was coming. She even said she was excited about an up-coming fan event. Jessica said she was removed for no “justifiable reason”. The reason seems a little petty to me. It’s something that could’ve been resolved.

If it was Jessica’s decision to leave, why would she be acting so shocked? If this were her decision, she would be confirming these statements or staying quiet about it, like everyone else who has decided to leave SM.

Further, this doesn’t seem like an SM problem. Why do I think this has little to do with the label? Because they are still continuing to support her business, they are still using her name under their label, and they plan to debut Jessica as a solo artist. This leads me to believe this has something to do with the group-on a personal level.

Artists do solo activities ALL the time. Many artists around the world have run successful fashion lines as well as continued their careers. Since this is her business, I’m sure she could’ve adjusted her schedule so it wouldn’t interfere with promotion of her music. So why was she not given that chance? At least one chance to prove she can do it?

All of the SNSD members have had solo activities that have interfered with promotions. In fact, many of SM’s artists have. Just look at f(x). Okay, and I will admit that I’ve been seeing Jessica do a whole lot of solo activities lately. But shoot, they haven’t been a part of f(x). That’s all those girls do! And if Jessica has been hanging with baby sis Krystal, I’m sure she’s seen the benefit of securing herself in other areas besides music. SNSD isn’t getting any younger. They need other skills in order to continue their success. But that doesn’t mean she wanted to let her fans down!

And despite what they say about Jessica, she has NEVER missed a fan event! She’s been at all the events, schedules, and promotions, which is more than I can say about other members. So how has she been putting her business before the group? Furthermore, the business is too early on to make that kind of conclusion! She just started a month ago!

SM would not be against the fashion business as much as the members because it brings more money in their pockets, as they own the rights to Jessica’s name and they are funding the business. This has to do with hidden animosity within the group. Someone was not happy with Jessica. And I think it has little to do with the fashion business. SNSD’s Sub-unit, TTS, claimed that they were trying to protect the group’s interests, but that just sounds like Jessica was some sort of threat to them for whatever reason. They shed tears, but it’s hard to tell whether they are crying for Jessica or crying because people are pointing out their unethical move and it’s making them look bad.

Instead of seeing her business as acting against the group, they should’ve looked on the positive side. It actually could’ve promoted Girls’ Generation more! With fashion stores around the world, she would be bringing K-pop to everyone, simple because she was a member! It would’ve been like SNSD merchandise!

They claimed they wanted to make the best decision for the group. But if they were really thinking about the group’s interests as they claimed, they would’ve been thinking logically from a business perspective. They would’ve been thinking about declining sales, fan disappointment, poor customer service, extra work to re-do future performances where Jessica is included, etc. We could tell this was a bad decision. Shortly after, SM’s market value declined sharply! Negotiations, compromises, trying something new, supporting the business by adding some SNSD flavor to the business, like perfume and merchandise-there were so many things that could’ve been done to handle this situation! A group that really valued Jessica would fight to keep her there.

It’s amazing to me that they couldn’t see this opportunity…

SM has so many problems with members LEAVING their company or suing them. Why would they risk another lawsuit with Jessica or simply get rid of a girl that brings in some of their greatest revenue? They wouldn’t make up for loss with a loss! No. They wouldn’t do it without serious pressure to do so from somewhere. The pressure must have been coming from the other members.

I also find it funny that ALL 9 members agreed with this. You mean not one member objected to her being removed? They’ve moved on without her. Only the leader has made comments on it. At least with Kris, all the other members expressed their shock and disappointment.

Why would any of them pressure her to choose when they acted excited about it? Didn’t they understand that this would be a hard decision? That sounds a little like betrayal to me. A fortune-teller did tell Jessica that she had some “untrue” friends…

And yes, we don’t know the whole story. But no matter from what angle you tell this story, the other members are going to look bad. They look like witches in this situation.

Jessica could’ve been a tyrant, hard to work with, or completely neglecting the group in every way. Krystal said she had a strong personality and a bad temper. But if that were the case, couldn’t they have talked to her about her attitude first before jeopardizing the future success of the group? And if she was putting her business before her work, supposedly, why was she at EVERY event? She never missed ONE! They’ve gotten along this long, and we all work with people we can’t get along with. I’m sure the other members have sour points in their personalities. Still, it was not enough to remove her from the group. Why wasn’t an agreement made? Why weren’t the members a little more supportive of her dreams? Why now of all times? Something stinks.

And is it legal for them to remove her without notification or without her agreement? Her contract binds her to SNSD, not anything else. She’s a member and deserves a vote. It’s so rare you find a member fired rather than quitting!

This is the result of poor ethical business practices, and it reveals the mentality of the label, as well as the rest of the members. This much confusion from both parties is alarming. Jessica didn’t expect this, but SM said she chose this. Jessica claimed she secured agreement, but SM said it wasn’t official yet.

This is how I think it went down. Ahem: The agency and her group mates asked Jessica to choose between her business and her music. Jessica said she wasn’t going to make that decision. But Jessica started her business anyway. So, because she went ahead with her business, I guess they assumed Jessica made the decision to put her fashion before music. So, they decided for her and kicked her out of the group. As far as they were concerned, she made her choice. That’s what I think happened.

This is why Jessica should’ve gotten everything in writing. If someone agrees to something, it should be documented and signed. Then, she could prove that SM agreed to it. And thus, she could’ve had a winning lawsuit. But now, there is no telling who we can believe. It’s because she didn’t get it in writing, we have no choice but to believe SM when they said she didn’t secure agreement. I personally believe she told them about it and asked for the go-ahead, even if she can’t prove it. No one would jeopardize their career like that. I bet she’ll remember this in the future. So will I. This reminds me to secure everything I ask for in WRITING.

I just hope Jessica can continue both her music career and her fashion business. She’s good at both. I also hope this doesn’t affect Krystal from f(x).

I honestly don’t know if I respect the group after this. I can’t see them the same. To add, my favorite member was Jessica. She was the only member I followed with interest, and I will continue to.

This all honestly makes me worried about f(x)’s Sulli. I hope she doesn’t leave. I’m very worried. This was my first year being interested in the group, so I’m anxious about it.

This makes me wonder overall. Are these K-pop groups as close-knit as they portray themselves?

The IRONIC PART: Red Velvet just had a comeback with a concept that seemed more suitable for SNSD. It’s so convenient for SM to give Red Velvet songs to cover up their scandals.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about all of these SM scandals!

SMTOWN LIVE WORLD TOUR IV: Starting August 15, 2014! Performances include…

6 Aug

SM Town Live World Tour IV will begin AUGUST 15, 2014, and will begin at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul, Korea! But they will also be touring other cities around the world. The other cities listed are Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hsinchu.

1) Tokyo, Japan’s performances will be held at the Ajinomoto Stadium. Tour dates:

*October 4, 2014

*October 5, 2014

2) Shanghai, China’s performances will be held at the Shanghai stadium. Tour dates:

*October 18, 2014

3) Hsinchu, Taiwan’s performances will be held at the Hsinchu County Stadium. Tour Dates:

*March 21, 2015

The Tour will include performances from the following artists:

Kangta

From being a part of SM’s first biggest boy-band success, H.O.T. (debut in 1996 WOW), to charting his own solo career, Kangta is a determined force to be reckoned with! This group thrust SM Entertainment into being one of the biggest labels in Korea, and are one of the groups to spark the “idol group” trend! They were the first SM group to hold a concert performance outside of Korea. Move aside noobs, Kangta’s taking the stage this time! He is also scheduled to have a comeback THIS YEAR! His last comeback was in 2010, and that was in Chinese. So his presence will definitely be a treat, both for old-time fans and for newcomers. I just can’t wait to see him grace the stage once again! Check out his last Korean release along with his debut!

BoA

Hailed as Korea’s Princess of Pop (and in many people’s eyes, the Queen), BoA Kwon (debut in 2000 WOW) will also take the stage once again! She is acknowledged for being one of the first Korean artists to achieve international success! She’s not only a household name in Korea, but in Japan as well! She has also stepped into the Chinese market as well as the American market! She has had the privilege of performing alongside the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears! She has also performed with Backstreet Boy’s Howie D. and with “Bratz” (MGA Entertainment’s line of fashion dolls). BoA is well-known to most westerners for singing the ending theme for the anime Inuyasha. BoA was SM’s first artist to chart American music industry territory with her self-titled all-English album, BoA. She also recently starred in her first U.S. movie, Make Your Move with Derek Hough! This humble diva has a huge resume following her, and she’s only 27! Currently, she has been working on her Japanese comeback, scheduled September 3. BoA is also well-known for her extremely immaculate dancing talent, which has gotten the attention of western audiences in Make Your Move and during her U.S. debut. Guys, ya’ll know BoA is my FAVORITE K-pop idol (a tad bit more than f(x)) 😛 I’ve been a fan of this chick since 2003 when she featured in the Bratz song and single Show Me What You Got! Check out her latest Korean activities as well as her debut!  The Queen shall take the stage! Bow down!

TVXQ

Originally five members, TVXQ (Though I know them as DBSK) are often referred to as the “Kings of K-pop” by many. TVXQ (debut 2003) have now been stripped down to two members. This group has had the privilege of performing among one of America’s most notorious stars, Britney Spears! These men have since risen as international superstars! They have made their names well-known in Japan. They are noted as being the first K-pop act to have 13 number one singles in Japan! They were the first non-Japanese Asian artists to headline a Japanese nationwide dome tour. Billboard has even described them as “K-pop Royalty”. They have recently been focusing on their activities in Japan, and have had success with their last four singles released there. This group is known for their eloquent, efficient, and polished dancing. They have a distinct style that is hard to miss, and their experience shows. Member Yunho was also featured in the American movie Make Your Move. He showed off his sexy moves! I certainly can’t wait to see these men steam up the stage this August! Check out their latest Korean activities and their debut!

Super Junior

Super Junior (debut in 2005) began with TWELVE full members. They got a lot of attention by having all of those men singing in harmony, almost like a choir! At the group’s peak, they have had THIRTEEN members. That’s a lot of men in one group! Currently, Suju has TEN active members. This was also the first group to add two sub-group members to help cater to the Chinese-Mandarin language. Super Junior was the first SM group to have major success in China. Super Junior has had success in other industries besides music. Along with singing and dancing, they have a lot of entertainment experience from acting and hosting. Because of their success in entertaining, other management companies have been training their idols in other areas of entertainment as well. They were K-pop’s best-selling artists three years in a row! This group is one of SM’s international superstars, and is one of the most notorious groups in the modern K-pop world. Super Junior will bring all that makes them awesome to us this August! Check out this group’s latest Korean activities and their debut!

Girls’ Generation (SNSD)

The 9-member Goddesses, Girls’ Generation (SNSD) (debut in 2007) made their stamp on the K-pop industry with the ever-catchy, “Gee”, gaining them success in Asia and beyond!  They certainly represent the beauty of Korea! They are SM’s latest divas, often called the “K-pop Queens of this Decade”. This group has also gained a lot of attention for their number of members! Their voices, in harmony, can take up a whole dome!  They still carry the largest number of members of any successful female group! Their foray into the Japanese market has also been highly successful. Their album, Girls’ Generation, is still the highest selling K-pop album in Japan to date! They are considered one of Korea’s top tier female groups in the modern decade. They have managed to experiment with different languages with their songs, most notably “The Boys”, releasing the song in Japanese, Korean, and for the first time, in English. To date, they ARE SM’s biggest and most successful girl group! And their success doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. They will bless us with their lovely presence this August! Enjoy their most recent Korean activities and their debut!

Shinee

Shinee (debut in 2008), the five-member male fashion and style icons of the modern decade, are well-known for their creative, synchronized, and complex dancing. And yes, they are fashion pioneers, starting the “Shinee Trend”. To date, they are the only male group that remained close since their debut, and have never split. They have great success in the Japanese market, being labeled as the group that “managed to get in top 3 for 3 continuous releases since debut”. Shinee is known for their striking, dramatic, individual personalities, which lands them acting roles. Shinee is also known for their boyish youth and energy. When Shinee performs, they perform with their “whole soul” as if they really love music even more than success. Unlike most male groups, Shinee doesn’t mind singing romantic love songs more often than once! They are definitely one of the most unique boy bands of the modern decade. They have had major K-pop success with three full-length albums, five EPs, three concert tours, and many awards. Shinee will “shine” for us this August! I can’t wait to see what these men will cook up for this tour…This is my favorite male group, so I’m anticipating it very much! Check out their most recent Korean activities as well as their debut!

f(x)

f(x) (debut in 2009) is SM’s first major multi-national group where over half the members were NOT born in Korea! f(x) entered the Korean market during a time when most girls were doing the “cute” thing. f(x) decided to “do something different”, and voila! You get the sense of this group. f(x) boasts as being Asia’s Best Female Dance Group, and so far, they are! f(x) is known for their “legendary and epic” dance moves, as well as their multitude of talents: acting, piano, song-writing, guitar, ice skating, drums, acrobatics, and so much more! Because of their individual talents, the members have developed their own independent careers outside of this group! f(x) is known as SM’s “experimental” group because of f(x)’s unconventional sounds and quirky lyrics. Their fashion styles are bold and individualistic. In fact, Olleh finds f(x) to be Korea’s most individualistic girl group. With f(x), you never know how they will comeback! Their “art of surprise” keeps their fans on their toes. f(x) draws curious attention from their unusual approach, but they also gain the respect of many foreign music critics for their original and artistic style. In fact, f(x) is considered SM’s most critically-acclaimed group by many! This group, of all of SM’s groups, seems to have the most artistic freedom, and is the most musically and fashionably expressive.  They have had major success in Korea, and have gained Chinese and American attention as well, mostly due to the multi-cultural girls within the group that speak languages those nations can understand. I personally love this group! They recently had their comeback in July, though they went on a hiatus shortly after. It is good to know they will be back to performing in August. I can’t wait to see f(x) make an impact on the stage! Check out their recent Korean activities as well as their debut.

EXO

EXO (debut in 2011, basically 2012) are SM Town’s most recent, fresh boy-band act. They debuted with TWELVE members, just like Super Junior, but unlike Suju, they debuted as two sub-unit groups: EXO-K (Korean) and EXO-M (Chinese-Mandarin). They have had HUGE success, both in Korea and in China. Their fresh, rugged vibe attracts the hearts of many young fan girls, and their “one-shot” camera shooting, a hallmark of their music videos, draws attention from video experts. They are SM’s modern-day boy band, keeping up with the “Social Media Age” and the “Digital Revolution” to properly promote, spread, and highlight this group. EXO, in just two short years, has gained the success that most of their seniors have had to slowly acquire over the years! In less than two years, they have had their first LIVE TOUR! They have only had TWO albums: full-length and repackage (2013), and their repackage was the best selling album of that year! Thanks to SNS, international fans have more access to K-pop, which contributes to their success. But their on-camera confidence, their ability to use two languages at the same time, and their modern, trendy music help to put the cherry on top! They radiate all that an idol boy-band needs to be a huge success. Shoot, their seniors might want to learn FROM THEM. They will be “bursting at the scenes” when they hit the stage this August. It’s hard to deny the affect they’ve had on the K-pop world. They are considered K-pop’s top tier male group in this decade.

Newcomers: Red Velvet

Newcomers, Red Velvet (debut in 2014), just debuted about a week ago, and they have already captured the attention of fellow SM label fans! SM describes them as a mix between Girls’ Generation and f(x). We can see that it’s very true. Like Girls’ Generation, they are four lovely girls, with amazing vocal abilities, and with charming, girlish, and sweet personas. They also look a lot alike! But like f(x), their style is bold, quirky, and colorful. They are SM’s fourth girl group (The Grace, SNSD, f(x), and now them). It has been a while since SM debuted a girl group, so this is quite a refreshing change for SM fans. As they just debuted, there’s a lot more for us to discover about this new group. This Tour in August is the perfect time for them to show the world what they are made of! Check out their debut!

J-Min

J-Min’s inspirations can tell you a lot about her. The person that struck me was Michelle Branch. I honestly didn’t know any K-pop idols knew of Michelle Branch, but here comes J-Min! “K-pop Queen of Acoustic”, J-Min can be likened to the “Jewel of K-pop”. Her music is very different from the other SM Entertainment artists. In fact, if you ever heard her music, you wouldn’t even know she was an SM artist! Her distinct style and expressive music prove that true art can still shine in a modern-music world. Most of her success is in Japan, as that is where she first debuted. It is not surprising, as many artistic artists make their mark there (Utada Hikaru, Gackt, School Food Punishment). It’s no wonder she stands out so much: her music is more Japanese than Korean! She is a huge soundtrack maven! Try your favorite K-drama, and listen to the opening or the ending. You might just see her name pop up in the credits! Her music is very suited to K-dramas because her music is very “real”. Even though she debuted into the music industry in 2007, her first Korean EP and full-album were just released in 2014! I can’t wait to see this performance! It will definitely blow me away! Check out her Korean debut!

Zhang Li Yin

Zhang Li Yin (debut in 2006) is a Chinese solo artist who gained China’s attention AND Korea’s attention. That is quite an accomplishment for a foreign solo artist. She speaks fluent Mandarin and Korean. SM nicknamed her the “Chinese BoA”. She was one of the lead players of the “Korean Wave”. Though she only had one studio album, many of her singles were #1 hits. She was the first foreign artist to win Best Newcomer Award at the Mnet Music Awards. Zhang Li Yin has charted her own destiny, stepping out of BoA’s shadow, and into her own skin. She is now a “Ballad Goddess”. Her music videos are always touching, and she always has a meaningful story behind them. Most definitely NOT generic, and a must-watch! All of her ballads are amazing! Zhang Li Yin is hitting the stage once again! We get to hear her lovely melodious voice soar on stage! I’m so excited! Check out her recent Korean activities as well as her debut!

Fly to the Sky

Instead of going for electronic, upbeat sounds, Fly to the Sky (debut 1999) took a more unique approach to music at the time of their debut. This mid-tempo group is known for their soothing, R&B melodies. They incorporate hip-hop and rap in their music as well. This makes them distinct among SM’s artists. This was one of the groups that also had an international American artist in it. They branched away from SM for awhile, but they came back with the label. They have been on a five year hiatus. But now, they are back! I’m sure fans are anxious to see their faces once more.

So now that I have introduced you to the SM artists that will be attending the Live World Tour, are you people excited? I look forward to August 15!

Leave me a comment and let me know which artist you look forward to the most! Which artist did you just learn about?

You can order tickets online at GMarket: http://ticket.gmarket.co.kr

Ticket info: 1566-5702

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