Katherine’s K-Pop Recap: May 10-16, 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 appearing on Korean music charts earlier this year, Laboum’s 2016 single “Journey to Atlantis” started topping them after project group MSG Wannabe performed a cover on variety show How Do You Play. You can read more about it (plus the members’ reactions) here.
  • The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has named LOONA as the 2021 Promotional Ambassadors for Korean Culture Abroad.
  • Former I.O.I and gugudan member Kim Sejeong has renewed her contract with Jellyfish Entertainment. You can read a translation of the agency’s statement here.
  • GOT7 leader Jay B (formerly written as JB) has officially joined H1GHR MUSIC after several months of rumors. This makes him the final member to join a new agency after leaving JYP Entertainment. Though I’ve covered this in previous weeks, here’s a quick rundown of where all of the other GOT7 members are now:
    • Mark returned to the United States and recently signed with Creative Artists Agency.
    • Jackson continues his activities with Team Wang and has a business partnership with Sublime Artist Agency to help with his work in Korea.
    • Jinyoung signed with BH Entertainment as an actor.
    • Youngjae moved to Sublime Artist Agency.
    • BamBam is at Abyss Company.
    • Yugyeom is with AOMG.
  • Jay B and H1GHR MUSIC also apologized after he held a livestream where viewers could see artwork of nude female body parts on the wall behind them. You can read a translation of H1GHR MUSIC’s statement here. (I think Jay B also posted about it on Instagram, but I can’t find the translation I read before.)
  • Girl group Berry Good has officially disbanded. You can read a translation of JTG Entertainment’s statement about it here.
  • Sandara Park has left YG Entertainment. She spent 17 years with the company, both as a member of 2NE1 and as an individual artist. You can read a translation of YG Entertainment’s statement about it here.
  • Former IZ*ONE member Sakura has stated that she will soon graduate from Japanese group HKT48, where she started her career about a decade ago. (Graduating is a way of saying that she will leave the group.) While this is not technically related to K-pop, it does raise questions about her future plans – especially since there were rumors about her being signed to HYBE. You can read HKT48’s announcement about Sakura here.

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.)

Oh My Girl, “Dun Dun Dance” (5/10)

ONEUS, “Black Mirror” (5/11)

Wonho, “Ain’t About You” feat. Kiiara (5/13)

Jay B (GOT7), “Switch It Up” feat. sokodomo / Prod. Cha Cha Malone (5/14)

NCT Dream, “Hot Sauce” (5/10)

WJSN The Black, “Easy” (5/12)

Yuqi ((G)I-DLE), “Giant” (special solo single, 5/13)

B.I, Destiny Rogers, and Tyla Yaweh,
“Got It Like That” (5/14)

Coming Up Next Week

Monday (5/17)Tuesday (5/18)Wednesday (5/19)Thursday (5/20)Friday (5/21)
fromis_9Taemin (SHINee)BTS
Rocket PunchTRI.BE

This Week’s Music Show Wins

The Show (SBS MTV)Highlight, “Not the End” (1st win)
Show Champion (MBC)ITZY, “In the Morning” (2nd win)
M! Countdown (MNET)ITZY, “In the Morning” (3rd win)
Music Bank (KBS)ITZY, “In the Morning” (4th win)
Music Core (MBC)Highlight, “Not the End” (2nd win)
Inkigayo (SBS)ITZY, “In the Morning” (5th win)

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. This week, I have included the download chart in the table because they’re mostly K-pop songs. To see a full breakdown of the chart, you can go here.

Album SalesYesung
(Super Junior),
Beautiful Night
The Blowing
Guess Who
NCT Dream,
The First
Pt 2
“Not the End”
“Ugly Dance”
“In the Morning”
Jung Dong Won,
“My Favorite”
SocialBTSBLACKPINKIm Young WoongKim Ho Joong TWICE
  • Brave Girls’ “Rollin'” placed #1 on the overall digital and streaming charts, while their other song “We Ride” placed #4 on both.
  • IU’s “Lilac” placed #3 on the overall digital and streaming charts, while her other song “Celebrity” placed #5 on the streaming chart.


  • Hanteo Chart confirmed that NCT Dream passed 1 million album sales in the first week of their comeback. They now join NCT 127 and NCT 2020 as million sellers.

The International Side of K-pop

  • KCON has announced KCON:TACT 4 U, the 4th event in its series of online concerts in the era of COVID-19. It will take place from June 19-27, and the lineup so far includes Highlight, BTOB, iKON, SF9, ONF, Weki Meki, Golden Child, and ONEUS.
  • ITZY has entered the Billboard 200 chart for the very first time, with their latest mini-album Guess Who debuting at #148.
  • BTS will be one of the guest stars for the upcoming Friends reunion on HBO Max in late May. This is particularly noteworthy because RM has previously talked about how watching Friends helped him learn English. To learn more about the reunion and who else will guest star, you can look here.
  • CL is working with American ride-share company Lyft on the #StopAsianHate campaign, which will provide safe and free/discounted transportation to certain members of the AAPI community during AAPI Heritage Month. You can read more information about it here.
  • TWICE had two music videos reach new viewer milestones on YouTube:
    • Their Japanese music video “Breakthrough” hit 100 million views.
    • “I Can’t Stop Me” is their fastest to reach 300 million views.

Drama Casting News for Idols

  • EXO’s Xiumin has been cast in an upcoming production of Hadestown, a musical adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. He will be one of the actors playing Orpheus.

Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols

Weekly IdolKnowing BrothersAmazing Saturday
This WeekENHYPENNon-idol guestsNon-idol guests
Next WeekOh My GirlNon-idol guestsHyeri (Girl’s Day) and Jang Kiyong
(This is probably to promote their upcoming drama)

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), The Seoul Story (Twitter @theseoulstory), and Girl Group Zone! (Twitter @girlgroupzone)

FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: NCT Dream’s Comeback Poster (see original on Twitter here)

VIDEO SOURCES: YouTube, Cube Entertainment (Yuqi), Highline Entertainment (Wonho), H1GHR MUSIC (Jay B), IOK Company and 131 Label (B.I), RBW Entertainment (ONEUS), SM Entertainment (NCT Dream), Starship Entertainment (WJSN The Black), WM Entertainment (Oh My Girl)

OTHER SOURCES:  YouTube, Wikipedia, BillboardGaon Chart, KBS, MBC, MNET, SBS, Hollywood Reporter (1)

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