Let’s Look Back At The Darkest Year Of Korean Entertainment Industry
The year of 2019 will forever be remembered as the darkest and most scandalous year of the Korean entertainment industry. Big Bang’s Seungri’s Burning Sun scandal started as a small criminal case but developed into a nationwide scandal. The scandal opened up the dirty side of some Korean celebrities and the dark side of the entertainment business.
The passing of Sulli was followed by the passing of Goo Hara and Cha In-ha, all of whom were young and talented Korean artists. Korean idols and celebrities look glamorous and happy on the outside but they suffer on the inside due to the pressure from the companies.
Let’s look back at the most surprising and shocking news in each month of 2019. In this article, Channel-Korea will provide you with a detailed rundown of everything about the shocking news in the K-Pop and K-Drama industry in 2019. So, stay tuned!
EXO’s Kai & BLACKPINK’s Jennie Confirm Dating
On the morning of New Year 2019, Korean media outlet published photos of Kai and Jennie on what seemed to be a date. They were photographed holding hands in a park in the Mapo Area, Seoul. The media also released several pictures of the power couple while driving around the Sangam Area.
According to the news media, the picture was supposedly taken on November 25th, 2019. Kai uploaded an Instagram post of a photo that was taken in a park. It is assumed that Jennie was the one who took the picture of Kai.
Both Kai and Jennie are members of super popular idol groups; EXO and Blackpink. Rumors circulated that their relationship went as far as October 2018. At the time, both were in Paris to attend the Paris Fashion Week. Jennie came to attend the Chanel show while Kai attended the Gucci show. On October 2nd, both of them posted photos of the Eiffel Tower. It appeared that Kai and Jennie were at the famous Paris landmark on that night.
After the photos surfaced, Kai’s label, SM Entertainment confirmed the dating news and said that Jennie and Kai grew fond of each other. Meanwhile, Jennie’s label, YG Entertainment stated that they were looking into the matter.
Sadly, not too long after, on January 25th, 2019, another media outlet reported that the couple had decided to end their romantic relationship. The media stated that Kai and Jennie decided to focus on their work and they maintained a senior and junior relationship.
SKY Castel’s Kim Bora & Jo Byeonggu Confirm Dating
Korean online media outlet published photos of SKY Castel’s co-stars, Kim Bora and Jo Byeonggu on February 21st, 2019. The couple was seen on a romantic late-night date. Wearing comfortable clothes, both of them held hands and hugged at the street side. They were reportedly having a close relationship on the set of the drama; however, they claimed that they were not dating.
After the photos surfaced, both of the artists’ agencies confirmed their romantic relationship. Kim Bora’s agency, Moment Entertainment, stated that she began dating him at the beginning of February. Jo Byeonggu’s agency, HB Entertainment released a similar official statement.
The previous day, the couple were seen strolling around at a mall spending time together. Just like a normal date, they visited stores and looked for clothes and accessories. They looked very comfortable with each other.
Before the eventual dating news surfaced on the internet, fans grew suspicious of their actual relationship. They were seen wearing matching outfits and were posting similar photos on their Instagram accounts.
Jo Byeonggu revealed that it was the rumors that made them closer. Initially, they were just close friends; however, since the rumors started circulating they became awkward with each other. The awkward feeling was later developed into a romantic feeling.
Jo Byeonggu initially wanted to keep the relationship a secret. When reporters caught them and took their pictures, Jo Byeonggu and Kim Bora admitted their relationship to the public.
BIGBANG’s Seungri’s Retirement
BIGBANG’s Seungri announced his retirement from the Entertainment industry amid allegations of supplying prostitutes to business partners. On March 11th, 2019, via his Instagram account, Seungri posted that it was a good time for him to retire from the entertainment industry. He decided to retire amid a huge social controversy. At the time of the announcement, he was under investigation and was hoping the truth can be revealed. He said that he received criticism and hate from the public and he was being investigated by many agencies. At the end of the post, Seungri thanked fans for their love for the past 10 years and apologized to them.
Seungri’s case came after a series of charges against other BIGBANG members. T.O.P of BIGBANG was sentenced for smoking marijuana and G Dragon was investigated for smoking marijuana but he was released from all charges. Months later, another member, Daesung was suspected of dealing with illegal entertainment businesses in a building that he owns.
Seungri’s scandal came after a series of criminal charges that occurred at Burning Sun, a nightclub that was allegedly owned by Seungri. Sexual harassment, dealing drugs were allegedly done inside the nightclub. Following the investigation, it was revealed that Seungri was related to numerous criminal charges: prostitution, drug distribution, tax evasion, police bribery, and hidden camera scandal.
The Burning Sun scandal snowballed into the largest criminal scandals in the Korean entertainment industry that spanned from tax evasion, misuse of political connections, police bribery, and prostitution. The Burning Sun scandal resulted in further investigation into YG Entertainment, Seungri’s label agency. As a result of the shameful scandal, Seungri retired from the entertainment industry and YG Entertainment’s CEO, Yang Hyun-suk stepped down from the company.
Seungri was at the peak of his popularity when the scandal erupted. Other BIGBANG members were attending mandatory military service and he was the unofficial leader of BIGBANG and YG Entertainment. He owned several nightclubs, numerous chain-restaurants, and building enterprises. He proudly showed his extravagant lifestyle in variety shows.
TWICE’s Comeback With Fancy
TWICE made a comeback with their 7th album, Fancy You, on April 22nd, 2019. A showcase performance for the mini-album Fancy You was held at the Yes24 Live Hall, Seoul. The title track for the album was “Fancy.” Their 7th album peaked at the No. 2 position and No. 1 position in Korea and Japan, respectively.
For “Fancy,” TWICE made an improvement to their debut image and showed a more mature and sexy image. Regarding the new concept, TWICE’s Jihyo said that they wanted to try to change and present a new image. She said that there were signature cute dance moves but their black outfits will show a more mature side. During the promotion, TWICE alternated between different outfit concepts. Another member, Chaeyoung said that their first album in 2019, Fancy You, will be their turning point.
Jeongyeon gained attention for sporting a new hairstyle. During the promotion for Fancy You, she showed longer locks that made her more feminine and sexy compared to a shorter lock.
PRISTIN’s Disbandment News
Pristin was a short-lived girl group formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2016. Most of its 10 members appeared on the idol survival show Produce 101. PRISTIN debuted on March 21st, 2017, by releasing their debut EP Hi! Pristin. The girl group participated in the KCON Festival in Japan and received moderate success in Korea. Pledis Entertainment formed a subunit called Pristin V in 2018.
Out of nowhere, Pledis Entertainment announced Pristin’s disbandment on May 24th, 2019. Three of its members, Kyulkyung, Yehana and Sungyeon remained in the contract but the other seven members, Xiyeon, Rena, Roa, Kyla, Nayoung, Yuha, and Eunwoo were released from the company.
Pledis Entertainment announced Pristin’s disbandment in a sudden fashion. They released an official statement saying that the decision was based on the wishes of Pristin members. Pledis will continue to support three members, Kyulkyung, Yehana, and Sungyeon while the contracts for the remaining members were terminated. Pledis Entertainment continues to support the members who decided to leave the agency and asks for an apology from the fans for delivering the news very late.
Die-hard Pristin fans vented their anger at Pledis Entertainment through social media. They also expressed their disbelief and were upset with the remaining members for continuing their contracts despite other members leaving the group.
Fans criticized Pledis Entertainment’s lack of attention to their members’ activities. When Xiyeon graduated from high school, there was no congratulatory message or any response from Pledis Entertainment. Pledis didn’t mention Pristin in their official New Year message.
There were several negative rumors about their members before disbandment news broke up. A Korean online media reported that one of the Pristin members, Xiyeon decided to terminate her contract at the end of October. Another member, Kyla returned to her home country in October 2018 for health recovery. However, keen fans spotted her working at an amusement park in Los Angeles. She was seen in a slightly overweight condition.
After disbandment, former member, Kyla, opened a YouTube channel and explained her situation. On her channel, she said that she was a Pledis Entertainment trainee for 9 years before debuting in Pristin. Kyla said that she enjoyed a roller-coaster 2 years working as a member of idol group under Pledis Entertainment. She revealed that she suffered a concussion during filming one of Pristin’s MV. Due to the accident, she decided to return to the US and go on a short hiatus to recover her health.
From an online discussion forum, it was revealed that fans consider the incompetence of Pledis Entertainment in developing Pristin as the main reason for the disbandment. They thought similar generation groups survived and produced other singles despite having less talent than Pristin. Fans assumed that Pristin were sacrificed to form a new girl group with fewer members.
Former member of Pristin with Chinese origin, Kyulkyung, found several career paths in her home country. She released a debut single Why and appeared in the Chinese web drama Miss Truth.
8 K-Pop Groups Debuted
In the middle of 2019, eight new idol groups debuted in the Korean music industry.
Hot Teen, a hip-hop dance group, debuted as the youngest ever girl group to debut in the Korean music industry. Hot Teen’s average age was 12.5 years. Their members, Eunjong, Yebon, Yewan, released their hit single Bonita on June 1st, 2019.
Blackbunny debuted with their first digital single album Oh! My God. Blackbunny is a dance girl group with a sexy bunny image.
Whiteday debuted on June 14th, 2019 with their hit song “Shine on Light.” Whiteday was formed by WD Entertainment and consists of three members: Eunji, Yujeong, and Jihye. All of the members are popular for their multiple talents. Eunji’s dance video when auditioning for JYP Entertainment was viewed more than 70000 times. Jihye was modeling for a food commercial, while Yujeong acted and participated in the drama Mistress. Their concept was cute, fresh and lovely.
Bz-Boyz was formed by Chrome Entertainment and debuted on June 17th, 2019 by releasing their debut song “Question.” Bz-Boys members include four male idols: Bon as the leader and main vocal, Choi Tae-wong as the rapper, Double D as the rapper, and Jeong Seung-hyeon as the sub-vocal.
Purplebeck is a girl group under Majesty Entertainment. They released their debut album Crystal Ball on June 24th, 2019. Purplebeck members are Yeoul as the leader, Yerim, Minlee, and Rayeon as vocals, and Seyeon as a rapper.
G-(i)Kon debuted as a 4-member girl group. They are Lee ha-rang, Yooni, Kwon Ji-yoo, and Jeong Hwa-yeon. Their debut single is titled Oppa Run! BongBong.
Another girl group debuted in June 2019. Lusty debuted on June 26th, 2019 with their hit single Thirsty. Lusty members are Yoonji as rapper and leader, Harin as sub-vocal, Jinhee as main vocal, Leesol as main vocal, and Yeryong as sub-vocal.
CICI, a four-member boy group, debuted on June 27th, 2019 with the single CC. The group consists of JL, Sunghyun, Won, and Haneul. Sadly, CICI was disbanded on September 17th, 2019.
Super Junior’s Kangin’s Departure From The Group
Super Junior’s Kangin announced his departure from Super Junior on July 11th, 2019. The news came as a little surprise since fans threatened to boycott Super Junior if troublemaker Kangin did not resign from the group. Kangin had been with Super Junior for 14 years since their debut in 2005.
He announced the decision through his Instagram account. He said that he had been letting down other members and fans for too long. He considered quitting due to his damaging image to Super Junior. He expressed his gratitude to the fans and the agency that supported him throughout his career. Kangin was apologetic to fans for letting them down.
Kangin’s agency, Label SJ, responded to his announcement. SJ Label stated that they respected his voluntary decision to leave Super Junior. He remained in an exclusive contract with the company.
Kangin’s departure will make way for the new album that is set to be released after Super Junior’s youngest member, Kyuhyun, completes his military service. Though leaving Super Junior, he remained in an exclusive contract with Super Junior label and no decision has been made regarding his future career path.
Kangin has been involved in numerous scandals throughout his long career since debuting with Super Junior. He was involved in a fight with two men outside a pub in September 2009. The following month, Kangin was arrested for driving under the influence and crashing his car into another car. He was fined for a DUI and a hit and run incident. Kangin’s label agency, SM Entertainment forced him into a short hiatus. He had another DUI case in May 2016 and another assault charge in November 2017. Since the victim decided not to file charges, his case was canceled and he only received a warning.
Fans responded positively after his departure announcement. They supported him and felt sorry for not being able to protect him. Most of the fans understand the hardships he had to go through as a Super Junior member.
After leaving Super Junior, Kangin remained in the entertainment industry and chose to focus on acting rather than being a singer. He appeared as the male lead in the romantic movie What Happened to Mirae.