K-Pop Catch-Up: May 2016

Where in the world did May go?? It feels like just a week ago we were reeling from the events of April and now May is already gone too!

Well, this month was definitely not without its surprises. More group chaos and member changes, and an alarming amount of singers becoming sick and injured, and then my Super Junior throwing their fans around a roller coaster of emotions. I am actually hoping to have nothing to write about next month and for June to be a quiet month with no scandals or announcements, because I just can’t handle all of the turmoil.

Come along with me as we try to process ten of the stories most pressing on my mind from the past month.

BIGFLO’s Jungkyun to Enlist in Military (Source)

Many of you are probably scratching your heads trying to remember who BIGFLO is, and I don’t blame you. BIGFLO debuted a couple of years ago, and since then has only had two comebacks. For some reason, I became intensely interested in them right from the get go, and have been following their every move for the pats two years. Out of nowhere, the news of leader Jungkyun’s enlistment was dropped on us, leaving me wondering what the future has in store for this group. It’s not uncommon for groups to quietly disband after a couple of years of failing to gain popularity, and I am hoping against all hope that BIGFLO doesn’t fall into that pattern. If you don’t know who BIGFLO is, check out their MV for “Obliviate” and please give this group the love they so deserve.

B2ST Preparing for an Album as a 5-Member Group (Source)

I didn’t make a Catch-Up post for April, so I didn’t get to tell all of you about my thoughts of Hyunseung leaving BEAST! Long story short, I’m pretty devastated. Hyunseung is/was my bias in BEAST, and it kills me to think that we won’t ever see him performing with them again. BEAST was one of my very first groups – I remember nearly six years ago countless times coming home from and going straight to my computer to watch the MV for “Shock” – and Hyunseung had caught my eye almost immediately as the most talented dancer of the group and having the most unique voice. If I were to compare Troublemaker Hyunseung and BEAST Hyunseung, I would take BEAST’s Hyunseung in a heartbeat. I feel Troublemaker and his solo promotions focus primarily on his sex appeal while his position in BEAST really shows how he can shine in a dance team. I am excited to finally hear something new from BEAST, but I know that it isn’t going to be even remotely as exciting without my favorite member. 😥

The statement CUBE released mentions there being mixed feelings about Hyunseung leaving, which suggests to me that the decision was probably due to Hyunseung’s own desire to leave the group. And that just makes me sad, to think that my shy, introverted Hyunseung felt so unfit for his group that he wanted to go solo. 😥 😥 😥 I had originally wanted to write an entire post about Hyunseung’s departure, but with Ramadan coming up so soon I don’t think I’ll have the time to. Hyunseung, I am really going to miss you. I wish you the best and I hope to see a happier you in the future.

EXO’s Lay Collapses from Exhaustion (Source 1) (Source 2)

I want to throw something. Initially the story was released that Lay had collapsed on set of a show due to food poisoning, which is forgivable, but then we found out that his collapse was in fact due to exhaustion and overworking. I am so angry about this. It seems there is constantly at least one member of EXO out of work due to illness or injury, and that is a problem. Some people are criticizing SM for Lay’s condition, which is unfortunately a pretty easy target considering SM is known for pushing their artists past their physical capabilities. Others however are commenting that Lay has been working nonstop in China, under his own label, thus this is his own doing.

My opinion is somewhere in the middle. Lay definitely has the sacrificing type of personality in which he will disregard his own health for the sake of others, whether that be his fans, his company, or his coworkers. HOWEVER, when you have an artist who has this type of personalty, that is where management is supposed to step in and slow things down. The whole point of a manager is to manage the schedule of an artist, while keeping in mind how the artist can perform to the best of his ability, a.k.a monitoring the artist’s health and personal interests. It is the manager’s job to make sure that Lay is following a realistic schedule and taking care of himself at the same time. The fact that Lay is doing show after show after show while appearing to have continuous health problems over several weeks confirms in my mind that his manager is not doing a good job at managing him. And that makes me angry as hell, because Lay himself has said that he will never take legal action against his company, which means that he will keep letting himself be pushed beyond his ability.

NU’EST Made a Movie?? (Source 1) (Source 2)

This news is actually from March, but I didn’t know about it until a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the members of NU’EST starred in their very own movie! Their Distance takes place in Japan and follows a few characters in their searches for love and relationships. The movie features all five members, but it appears to be centered around the characters of Ren, JR, and Minhyun.

I can’t wait to watch it. NU’EST has been one of my favorite groups since their debut, but they have been so inactive for the past couple of years. A full-length movie is definitely what we LOㅅEs need to get our NU’EST fix. Plus my bias JR is one of the stars! ^.^

Jessica’s Solo Career Takes Off (Source 1) (Source 2)

Jessica released her first two music videos as a soloist this past month, and in doing so also revealed a little bit more about the nature of her separation from Girls’ Generation. She mentioned in an interview that her relationship with the other members varies for each: some she still talks to while others she does not, confirming that it was indeed a bad breakup. Interestingly, of all of the stories and statements that are spread when members leave a group, I find this one to be the most believable and realistic. Of course there are going to be hard feelings, or at least distance, that grows between current and former members, regardless of the reason for the member’s departure. This news actually made me more relieved than anything else to know how…normal things are with Jessica.

But then companies have to come in and ruin things. Despite debuting with pretty clean songs and music videos, Jessica has been unable to perform her songs on music broadcasts. The official story is due to her mentioning brand names in her lyrics, but I highly doubt that is the only reason of her absence on TV. We all know about the “JYJ Law” and how SM has maneuvered their manipulative hands all over the entertainment world to make it impossible for the ex-members of TVXQ! to appear on any programs. Sure, Jessica did not voluntarily leave, but in the corporate world money is much stronger than emotions. SM made Jessica popular whether they still want her or not, and that popularity could make her really big as a soloist. I don’t think it’s such a stretch to think that SM wants to keep their artists on top and keep Jessica from going mainstream, and thus will wield any power they have to keep her restricted to private events.

Jia Leaves Miss A and JYP Entertainment (Source)

This came as a complete shock to me, as I’m sure it did for many others. Jia’s contract with JYP ended, and instead of renewing it she decided to formally break from the company and her group. I don’t follow Miss A as much as other groups, so emotionally this does not affect me as much as it would others, but it just signals for me yet another person leaving their group. While K-pop is getting bigger and bigger, some of the seams are breaking. More and more artists are leaving, and unfortunately it seems the companies are pushing for newer faces rather than mending their existing messed up scheduling and working conditions. I don’t think there were any hard feelings in this particular story, but it is still unsettling for fans. It seems some artists are ready to move on with their lives, and we as fans need to understand that this is going to continue to happen.

VIXX’s Ravi Collapses Onstage (Source 1) (Source 2)

At VIXX’s recent show in Mexico, Ravi collapsed during one of their songs (video in the link above). The fall was due to overheating in the venue and his altitude sickness, meaning it was a one-time thing, but boy was that scary. Fanaccounts shared that several fans also passed out due to overheating and that the venue was overbooked. After the incident, Leo was also absent for the rest of the show due to similar issues. Thankfully they are both better now.

As a Starlight, I was scared and distressed just from watching the video; I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been for the fans in attendance and for the other members of VIXX. However, despite the fear and worry for Ravi and Leo’s well-being, I can’t help but feel so incredibly proud of N and Jellyfish Entertainment in how they handled the situation. The moment Ravi fell, N helped him backstage and continued the dance. Even the other members were frozen in shock for a few moments, but once N continued dancing, they did so as well very professionally. At the end of the show, N gave a talk to the audience, telling them not to worry, and I read in several fanaccounts that he was verry comforting and helpful to fans afterwards during the hi-touch event. That is the sign of a truly great leader. After the event, Jellyfish Entertainment almost immediately released a statement announcing that Ravi and Leo’s schedules were cancelled until they receive proper treatment. *gives Jellyfish a standing ovation* THANK YOU, Jellyfish, for putting your artists’ health first. Things happen, and this is exactly how it should be handled. Thank you.

N.Sonic Cuts Contact from Agency (Source 1) (Source 2)

This is one you don’t hear about very often. The members of N.Sonic went MIA from their company, missing their schedules and cutting off communication with their managers. N.Sonic is another one of those groups who have been around for a while, but never quite picked up any attention. Something of B.A.P proportions must be brewing for them to take such rash action. J.Heart did update his fans on instagram with a goodbye post before he leaves for the military apologizing to them for all of the chaos, which was really nice of him to do. Whatever is going on between them and their company, the fans have no reason to be punished and it was really admirable of him to say so in the way he did. I am very curious to see what happens as a result of all of this.

Super Junior Announces US Tour Dates (Source)

For the first time ever, Super Junior is holding a show in the United States! They are coming to New York and L.A, as well as cities in Canada, Mexico, and Chile for their Super Camp Fanmeet. While I am over the moon at hearing this news, there are two let-downs. First, while yes they are coming to my country, I will still need a plane or an entire day of driving to get to either of those cities. Second, only five of our 11 members are going to be there. Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, and Ryeowook will all be absent due to military service, as well as Henry and Zhoumi. That means my two biases, four main dancers, two main vocalist, and three members with the best English ability will not be there.

I’ll have Yesung and Kyuhyun. I’ll have Leeteuk. I’ll have Heechul. I’ll hopefully have Kangin. But I’ll also have other money and time commitments. It really is a toss-up whether or not I go, and chances are leaning towards not going. But then I think about Leeteuk and how Super Junior is literally my favorite performer in all of entertainment and how this is the first time in 10 years that they are going to be in my country for a show and I cry because I don’t know what to do.

Super Junior’s Kangin DUI Accident (Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)

Amidst the happy news of Super Junior finally coming to the States, we hit a storm. Kangin has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and hitting a street light. After the accident, he left the scene and then turned himself in the next day. Since then, Kangin has been the target of hate, petitions, and cancelled appearances, while the rest of the members try to pick up the pieces that they have control over.

As an ELF, I am so frustrated with the situation, particularly because this is not the first time that this has happened. In 2009, Kangin was involved in another DUI as well as a drunken bar fight. Back then, he decided to enlist in the military as a way to reflect on his actions and made the promise to come back as a better person. After going through that entire ordeal and coming back with a clean slate, he fell into the same crime.  I think a lot of ELFs are feeling disappointed for sure, but there is also a sense of betrayal involved in this. Because he went an did the exact thing he apologized for and promised to learn from, those years and that promise to do better seem like a lie. ELFs have tried so hard to defend SuJu and Kangin for so many years now, and to have one of their own members take that loyalty and trust and break it is really hurtful. It really feels like a slap in the face. I’m not saying Kangin should leave the group, but he needs to know how much he let everyone down, and he needs to not do it again.

Regardless of who it is, drunk driving is such a despicable crime. One who drives while under the influence is literally putting the lives of other people in danger. There are so many ways to avoid driving drunk, and it is incredibly careless and selfish to dismiss those options and take the wheel. I sincerely hope none of you reading ever drive drunk. If you do, please stop. People die, and it is so often not the driver.

Okay, that’s enough from me. This was a long post, but all of this has just been brewing in my mind and I needed a place to vocalize them. What are your thoughts on any of these stories? Let’s talk it out in the comments.

#NowPlaying: Swagger Time by MAP6. I’m not going to be reviewing this video, but you all should check it out. Just your good ole upbeat song and cool dance.

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


2 thoughts on “K-Pop Catch-Up: May 2016

  1. What?! Ravi freaking collapsed? And Lay, too?! What the heck?! I just never seem to know these things until I come here… Jeez. 😦 A lot of stuff did happen this month, and most of it flew under my nose. Wow.


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