K-Pop Catch-Up: November 2015

Well, this month has been an emotional roller coaster, in both the K-pop world and my personal life. Long story short, I’m am a week away from finishing up my final semester of college, so my mind has been all over the place for the last few months, and especially the last couple of weeks. Plus, I now have a lot on my mind regarding the current scary state of the world.

But my life aside, I definitely have a lot to say about the state of K-pop these days.

African-American Member to Join Rania (Source)

Rania, a girl group that I honestly forgot even existed, announced a new comeback with a new member – who happens to be African American! Now everyone is making it seem like she is the novcatchupraniafirst Black person to be included as a Korean entertainer, which is simply not true. Did everyone forget about the legendary Yoon Mi Rae??

What is noteworthy however is that she is one of the only – if not the only – person in the K-pop industry who does not have any Asian blood in her at all. Even Yoon Mi Rae is half-Korean. I think this is pretty cool. K-pop industries always promote their “world” auditions and “international” groups, but everyone in the group is still Asian. I’m not saying groups have to include non-Asian members, but it is very progressive and innovative for Rania to include a member who is Black, a race very under-represented, and non-Asian.

I just hope they don’t resort to simply using her as a prop. The teaser for the music video – which she ended up not even being in – made her seem more like a featured artist rather than a legitimate member of the group. If she is going to be in a K-pop group, they had better have her singing/rapping in Korean just like the other members, as they do with Peniel in BTOB, Mark in GOT7, Amber in f(X), and any other non-Korean singers.

Ken Reveals Coughing Up Blood While Preparing for Chained Up (Source)

“I worked so hard that I coughed up blood when I was recording. novcatchupkenI think this is the most sincere I’ve been towards an album so far.”

No! Stop it. This isn’t EXO. You don’t do stupid things like compromise your own health for the sake of an album and then feel proud of it. God, this made me so… angry. And disappointed. Ken is one of my ultimate biases, and to see him push himself to the point where he is coughing up blood is so unnerving. What is more disturbing is that he is taking it as a demonstration of his “sincerity.” NO! Pushing yourself until you cough up blood is never a good thing!

Through watching broadcasts during this promotional period, I see that Leo has been sick for a couple of weeks as well, and it really makes it that much clearer to me that VIXX wasn’t ready for a comeback. They were all already so busy with individual activities. It feels like this comeback was so rushed and forced upon them that they simply did not have the energy to really make it worth it.

SM to Debut a New Boy Group in the Near Future (Source 1) (Source 2)

novcatchuprookiesOkay, I can’t believe I’m the one saying this, but do we really need more groups? Especially from SM? SM currently manages six to seven active groups and two exclusive soloists, plus with all of the solo and subgroup projects, they already have a lot on their plate. As we’ve been seeing with EXO and Red Velvet, SM tends to put all of their focus on just a couple of groups at a time, leaving others in the dust. How does it makes sense for them to debut even more groups?

Even monetarily, it doesn’t seem to make sense. EXO is arguably the most successful artist in Korea at the moment, and their popularity only seems to be growing. They are already making a ton of money for SM. How does it makes sense to spend money putting together a competing group?

The ELF in me is screaming: What about Super Junior?!?!? Why not use this extra money to actually promote them? Yes, the group as a whole in currently on a kind of hiatus, but this is the perfect opportunity to start bringing back those forgotten subgroups and solo projects. Why not give Henry and Zhoumi comebacks, or Taemin? Or for God’s sake, give Sooyoung or Hyoyeon a solo.

Jung Hyung Don Stops All Broadcasts Due to Ongoing Anxiety (Source 1) (Source 2)

novcatchuphyungdonThis makes me so sad. Jung Hyung Don is one of my favorite entertainers, and to find out he has been going through such a tough internal struggle breaks my heart. It was very noble of his company to pull him out of his shows for now, especially considering how much in the spotlight he currently is. Anxiety is serious, and shouldn’t just be shrugged away. He needs psychiatric care, and constantly being in the spotlight wasn’t going to help with that.

A little context for why this particular issue has caught my attention: I’ve mentioned before on here that I am studying psychology. I currently work in a home for people who have this exact disorder: chronic anxiety. Four days a week I listen to the struggles of these people and hear how tough and misunderstood anxiety disorders can be. Finding out that one of my favorite entertainers has this exact disorder really hit home. I swear, if they try to play it off as something he can easily get over, I might just personally boycott Weekly Idol. This is a serious issue and I am so glad that at least for now it is being treated as such.

JYJ Law Passed (Source)

This issue has been going on since I first started getting into K-pop over five years ago, but I didn’t realize exactly what was happening until maybe a couple of years ago. The members of JYJ, after departing from TVXQ! have been somewhat MIAΒ  since then, and I learned that it was SM specifically trying to prevent them from appearing on any broadcasting showsnovcatchupjunsu (Immature, much?). Thankfully now, this law that has been passed has made it illegal for third-parties, such as SM Entertainment, to influence broadcasting stations in who they allow on their broadcasts. The article says that this can’t guarantee JYJ’s immediate inclusion in mainstream K-Entertainment, but at least it’s a start. I really hope to see the members of JYJ performing on shows again. Their music is so good, but not many people know about that due to them having been banned from being on TV.

EXO Announces North American Tour (Source 1)


EXO might be coming to my city! Finally! Except for KCON a couple of times, EXO has never performed in North America. The only two times that SMTOWN had a concert in the US, EXO hadn’t even debuted yet. But now finally, finally, finally they are coming! They have announced that they will hit six cities, revealing exactly which cities they are within the next week, and there is a strong possibility that my city might be one of them! Vancouver, San Francisco, LA, Mexico City, Dallas, Atlanta, NYC, Toronto, and Chicago are the nine possible cities that they may go to. Based on the popularity on MyMusicTaste, Vancouver, LA, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and NYC have the most interest, by at least 30% compared to other cities, so those would be my predicted six results. Which is making me shake with excitement because CHICAGOOOO~


EXO is in my top five when it comes to favorite artists, so you best believe that I’m going to be going to this one if they do in fact announce Chicago. Sure, it’s still not Super Junior, but they are basically the next best thing.

MAMA Awards (Source)

Speaking of Super Junior and EXO, the MAMA Awards happened last week.

novcatchupmamaI have watched the MAMA Awards for the past…four years? Of course I started watching the awards to see Super Junior, but for the past couple of years I was actually interested in the other acts and awards. However, I have to admit that I was extremely disappointed with last year’s awards. It was the first year that Super Junior was not highlighted at all. I don’t even think they attended. It was the first year that I realized that Super Junior is officially on their way out. 😦

Then this year, both Super Junior and VIXX did not perform nor attend, which was another disappointment. They were both nominated for awards, as well as Kyuhyun and VIXX LR, but not a single member of either group took home an award. Due to all of that, I actually did not watch the awards this year.

It’s really sad seeing a group go from sweeping every single award to not even performing one song.

novcatchupmama2Sidenote, but related: The MAMAs seemed to have turned into an EXO and YG focused show, which is a separate issue, but I was actually surprisingly disappointed with EXO’s performance. I did watch the video of their performance, but it was surprisingly not that impressive, and they have had really impressive stages in the past. Additionally – and this is where my biases totally become apparent – Lay was barely shown at all. He wasn’t in the pre-recorded version, and his parts were cut out of the live performance. I am glad that he hasn’t left EXO, but lately he has barely been with them at all. Then the performance that he finally reunites with them, there is barely any focus on him at all. If you’ll allow me to get totally novcatchuplaybiased and subjective for a moment: in terms of live performances and variety shows, EXO is nothing to me without Lay. I will always love listening to their songs, but I only watch their performances for Lay. Once I realized that he wasn’t going to have his lines, I was done.

That being said, I really hope against all hope that if they do come to Chicago, Lay will be there. I do have other members who I like, so I would still go if he’s not there, but boy will it be a huge disappointment to wait all these years to see them and then to have my bias not attend.

U-KISS’s Eli Reveals Wife and Pregnancy (Source 1)


Eli!!!!!! Ah! I’m so happy for him!

In the midst of a pretty terrible week, I was going through instagram and read Eli’s post and instantly broke into the widest smile. If you haven’t gathered yet, basically Eli has been married for the past year and a half and his wife is now three months pregnant.

As I said about Dongho last month, I am so happy that Eli found his happiness despite working in an industry that makes it so difficult to have a relationship. It’s sad that he had to end his instagram post with an apology, but from what I’ve seen, it looks like fans are being more supportive than anything else.

Sidenote: I have been writing a fanfiction story with literally this exact storyline. I thought I was being unrealistic, but I guess secret marriages actually can happen.

If my math is right, he got together with this girl when he was 19. That is crazy. But it definitely restores my faith in love and marriage. πŸ™‚

Wow. I think this is the most bluntly honest and biased I have been on this blog. I really hope I did not offend anyone. Like I said back when I first proposed these posts, these are for me to post my totally subjective opinions. All of that about EXO and Lay has just been building up inside and I really needed to let it out. I trust all of you enough for me to be able to let it out here.

Question of the Day:

Thoughts on any of these stories?

#NowPlaying: Spider by VIXX. I am in love with their Chained Up album, but this song is by far my favorite. Hongbin really shines in this song. Every single album has that one song that I identify as my song, and this one is it. (P.S. check out how this person does their videos. They are a lot like how I used to do my Super Junior lyrics videos)

Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!


2 thoughts on “K-Pop Catch-Up: November 2015

  1. Ah but I thought Exo performed amazingly!!
    Chanyeol even almost fainted after one of the performances πŸ™Š. However I do agree that it was a more EXO and YG focused show. But EXO and groups in YG are very popular now and usually people really wanna watch what’s trending .
    But I do wish they could have shown Lay in the pre recorded video but he I read he didn’t make it in time for that , due to his big projects in China.
    I do understand your opinion but EXO I feel like they expressed themselves more like during Drop that. Sadly they didn’t show Lay during most of the performances ( which is really sad for me too because he is my bias as well) but I guess the cameramen are to blame for that really. Also I do hope he’ll come on the Exolusion tour but he is very committed to his activitues in China.
    And I’m sorry I blabbed all this out I just felt a bit bad for EXO because like many kpop groups they work so hard and I really thought they did their best for the MAMA performances. I just wanted to express my opinion so thank you if you dont hate me after this lol πŸ™ˆ.


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