Remember Mutya, Siobhan and Keisha? They were the original Sugababes but after over 10 years, it’s now Heidi, Amelle and Jade. Why do they even keep the same name? For us UK folk this is the first time we’ve seen such a change in a group’s line up but this has become quite a regular thing in Kpop. One of the latest news in Kpop world is the adding of two new members to girl-band T-ara and this is not the first time this has happened. T-ara started off as a 5 member band but then 2 left and 3 new ones were added and then another member was added making it the 7 member girl band that it is today (at the moment anyways). You can see a more detailed timeline of members over at Wiki. And now, just as we thought that T-ara was safe and onto a winning combination after a string of very successful hits, their agency has decided to add in 2 new members, yet to be revealed. The announcement of new additions have annoyed quite a few fans and being a T-ara fan myself, I still have trouble trying to figure out why the 7th member was added in let alone another 2 new members when they are doing so well!
But at least T-ara still has a few of their original members in the band. Jewelry is considered to be one of Kpop’s longest standing girl-bands with a member change up that rivals, if not outright beats, Sugababe’s member history! Jewelry is a 4 member girl band who as of 2012, has none of the original members left. In fact! They have a whooping number of SIX former members! But Jewelry are still going today having released 2 new singles last year and a 3rd single with the two new members via the sub group Jewelry S. How do the fans keep up!? Check out a very well made member timeline over at Wiki which saved us a lot of headache trying to figure out if any of the original members were left.
Even one of Kpop’s most successful girl-bands, the Wondergirls aren’t safe from member swaps. In the beginning 4minute’s Hyunah was the rapper of the group but she was replaced by Yoobin as she was taken ill during their debut. There has been many rumours as to what really happened but we won’t go into that. And that was not the end of Wondergirl’s change up, right at the height of their world domination after the success of Nobody, Sunmi (a personal favourite) decided she wanted to concentrate on her studies so was replaced with trainee Hye lim who was fluent in English and Mandarin as well as Korean! A “perfect” new member for a group planning world domination.
Can you spot Hyuna?
Afterschool is another girl-band with a forever changing member line up! But Afterschool is different as they have a “graduation program”. Trainees would debut via Afterschool and when they have proven they are awesome(?) they graduate. But whether its actually executed correctly is a whole different story as leader Gahi is the most established and successful member with a taste of solo success yet she’s still being held back in class! And Bekah has been the only one who has successfully graduated. Afterschool also started as a 5 member group like T-ara and has since added Uee, lost Soyoung, gained Nana and Raina, Lizzy, Bekah graduated, added E-Young and have now announced a 9th member named Gaeun. At this rate, they may have a member count that rivals Super Junior’s!
The changing, adding, subtracting and replacing of members is not alien to the Kpop industry unlike in the UK. When members leave, bands continue on, but are never replace. Even S Club 7 who’s name was pretty much made redundant when Paul left (to join a Heavy Metal Rock group?!) simply changed their name to S Club rather then getting in a replacement. So what would the British music industry be like if we had the same attitude as South Korea? Could we have had a 6th Spice girl in this world when Ginger left? Busted disbanded when Charlie left and James went on to form Son of Dork but if he was in South Korea, he could have just ditched Matt as well and reformed Busted with his new bandmates… But not really sure how I would feel about that…
Super Junior is a boy-band with a whopping 13 members where two members are MIA, another two are doing their military service with a few more to follow later on. But they have chosen not to replace their missing members although technically, none of the MIA members have officially left. And if Westlife can continue as a 4 member band, then Superjuniors have more then enough members to fill any void we may be feeling… WE MISS YOU HEECHUL! But Kpop boybands are not entirely safe from member swaps! Although its happened less in boybands where members normally leave rather then being replaced (Jay from 2pm or the more complicated situation of DBSK who are still going as a 2 member band). U-Kiss is a boyband who has recently experienced what its like to lose and gain a few members. Having started out as a 6 member boyband, a 7th member (Kiseop) was added in in 2009. After a few hit songs (although still no win since their debut in 2008) Kibum was removed from the group along with Alexander who wanted to leave and focus on his studies and were replaced by newest members Hoon and AJ.
So how do you guys feel about Kpop and their ever changing member line ups? Do you feel it is ok to add and replace members? Could you imagine if DBSK announced they were adding 3 new members to make DBSK 5 again?! Imagine the uproar of the Cassies!!!