Katherine’s K-Pop Recap: January 11-17, 2021

A summary of the news, current and upcoming comebacks, charts and music show wins, and more!

NOTE: Except in special cases, the news recapped in these posts will refer to K-pop only. K-dramas, variety shows, and other forms of entertainment will only be mentioned if there is an idol or idol group involved.

News to Note

  • After several rumors and reports, JYP Entertainment officially confirmed all the members of GOT7 are leaving the agency and pursuing their own paths. Their contract will effectively end on January 19th, so we will probably get more definitive news about each member’s future plans after that. GOT7 also celebrated their 7th anniversary this week.
  • MLD Entertainment is taking legal action after hidden camera photos of Momoland member Nancy started spreading online. The illegal pictures were taken when she was changing backstage while hosting the 2019 Asia Artist Awards in Vietnam, and they were also taken by a staff member. They were then photoshopped and circulated on a K-pop forum. (It’s unclear if it was a MLD staff member or someone working for the awards – I think it’s the former, but I’m not sure the Asia Artist Awards said they were cooperating with both Vietnamese and Korean police and MLD mentioned overseas law enforcement. But maybe that’s because the incident didn’t happen in Korea.)
  • There have been rumors that CJ ENM is discussing contract renewal with the members of IZ*ONE and their agencies. IZ*ONE’s agency Off the Record said that nothing has officially changed as of now, and the members are committed to promoting together until their contract expires in April.
  • Kim Sang Kyo, the whistleblower of the Burning Sun scandal of early 2019, made a now-deleted Instagram post directly mentioning Hyoyeon from Girl’s Generation. Hyoyeon was a DJ at the club on the night of the incident, and the post implied that she saw something but wasn’t saying anything. Both SM Entertainment and Hyoyeon herself spoke out denying those claims – you can read translations here.
  • There is currently a conflict over management of rookie group TOO between CJ ENM and n.CH Entertainment. Originally, the former was supposed to take care of album production while the latter handled management and promotions. However, n.CH has said that CJ ENM terminated a contract that was supposed to last seven years and told them to step down from managing TOO – directly affecting TOO’s comeback process, as they were preparing their next album. You can read more information about the situation here.
  • After taking a hiatus from social media and having limited activities, Red Velvet’s Irene posted another apology message to her fans regarding her attitude controversy last fall. The original post is on LYSN, the fandom community that SM Entertainment artists use. You can read a translation of Irene’s apology letter here.
  • TWICE is set to perform for TIME Magazine’s upcoming TIME100 Talks event, where leaders from different fields all over the world discuss major global issues. Other K-pop groups like Monsta X and Red Velvet Irene & Seulgi have performed at previous TIME100 Talks events.
  • SM Entertainment announced global auditions for their next boy group – any male born between 2002 and 2008 can apply, so basically any male who is high school or middle school age. (This means that the oldest possible member will be the same age as Jisung, the maknae of NCT.)
  • The Gaon Chart Awards were held on January 13. I’ve put some of the winners below, but you can see the full list here.
Artist of the Year (Digital, by Month)Winner
December (2019)Red Velvet, “Psycho”
January (2020)ZICO, “Any Song”
FebruaryBTS, “ON”
MarchM.C. the MAX, “Bloom”
AprilOh My Girl, “Nonstop”
MayIU feat. Suga, “eight”
JuneBLACKPINK, “How You Like That”
JulyZICO feat. Rain, “Summer Hate”
AugustBTS, “Dynamite”
SeptemberChungha and Christopher, “Bad Boy”
OctoberBLACKPINK, “Lovesick Girls”
NovemberBTS, “Life Goes On”
Artist of the Year (Physical, by Quarter)Winner
1st QuarterBTS, Map of the Soul: 7
2nd QuarterBaekhyun (EXO), Delight
3rd QuarterSEVENTEEN, Heng:garae
4th QuarterBTS, BE

This Week’s Debuts and Comebacks

(Please note that I won’t necessarily link every release that came out this week – just the ones that I’m aware of or popped up on my radar. The same is true of the “Coming Up Next Week” category.)

Victon, “What I Said” (1/11)

TREASURE, “My Treasure” (1/11)

(G)I-DLE, “HWAA” (1/11)


Coming Up Next Week

Monday (1/18)Tuesday (1/19)Wednesday (1/20)Thursday (1/21)Friday (1/22)
Epik HighCRAVITY Cherry Bullet

This Week’s Music Show Wins

The Show (SBS MTV)No broadcast/winner
Show Champion (MBC)No broadcast/winner
M! Countdown (MNET)Rain, “Switch to Me” with JYP (1st win)
Music Bank (KBS)NCT U, “90’s Love” (2nd win)
Music Core (MBC)BTS, “Life Goes On” (9th win)
Inkigayo (SBS)aespa, “Black Mamba” (1st win)

Aespa’s win is especially impressive considering “Black Mamba” is two months old and they’re no longer promoting it – a win under those circumstances is practically unheard of for rookie groups.

Album Sales, Streaming, and Charting

Gaon Chart

NOTE 1: Gaon‘s weekly charts reflect the previous week.

NOTE 2: Because not many K-pop songs make it onto the digital charts, I’ll only list the Top 5 for album sales and the social chart. Then I’ll make notes of any K-pop songs that placed high on the digital charts. To see a full breakdown of the chart, you can go here.

Album SalesNCT (Resonance Pt. 2)SuperM
(Super One)
NCT (Resonance Pt. 2 Kit version)MCND
(MCND Age)
Kim Ho Joong
(The Classic Album I)
SocialBLACKPINKBTSSong Ga InIm Young Woong Kim Ho Joong
  • Rain and JYP’s duet “Switch to Me” topped this week’s digital download chart, while Jeong Sewoon’s “In the Dark” debuted at #3.
  • BTS’s “Dynamite” placed #3 on the overall digital and streaming charts.

The International Side of K-pop

  • BTS’s “Dynamite” entered its 20th week in the Billboard Hot 100 at #25.
  • Several groups hit some viewer milestones on YouTube this week:
    • BTS’s “Boy With Luv” passed 1.1 billion views, their second music video to do so after “DNA.”
    • BLACKPINK’s Jennie became the first Korean female soloist to have a music video with over 600 million views with “SOLO.”
    • Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang” became their first music video to reach 500 million views.

Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols

Weekly IdolKnowing BrothersAmazing Saturday
This Week(G)I-DLEYunho (TVXQ), DinDin*Epik High
Next WeekONEUSNon-idol guestsYunho (TVXQ), DinDin

*Jungwoo, Jeno, and Chenle of NCT also appeared on the After School spinoff of Knowing Brothers, which can be found on YouTube and will probably be subbed in a few days.

Other Content

  • BLACKPINK’s Jennie started her own YouTube channel to celebrate her birthday, which you can visit here. As I post this on Sunday night KST – a day after she created it – the channel has over 2 million subscribers. Plus her first video has over 7 million views and is #1 trending on YouTube (at least in Korea, where I am).

SOURCES NOTE: I get my news from a mix of sources, and all of them report the same information and sometimes cite each other as well. So rather than linking the exact article for each and every news item (unless the article provides a lot more detail), I will cite my general news sources below. Each of them will most likely have an article and/or tweet providing more details on the item in question.

MY REGULAR NEWS SOURCES: Soompi, Omona They Didn’t (Livejournal), mes #TeamPinky (Twitter @OH_mes2), The Seoul Story (Twitter @theseoulstory), and Girl Group Zone! (Twitter @girlgroupzone)

FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: Cube Entertainment ((G)I-DLE)

VIDEO SOURCES: Cube Entertainment ((G)I-DLE), MLD Entertainment (T1419), Play M Entertainment (Victon), and YG Entertainment (TREASURE)

OTHER SOURCES:  YouTube, Wikipedia, BillboardGaon Chart, KBS, MBC, MNET, SBS

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