Katherine’s K-pop Recap: December 20-26, 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

  • JTBC’s new drama Snowdrop, which stars BLACKPINK’s Jisoo in her acting debut, has received a lot of backlash from Koreans in the past week since it first aired. (This isn’t technically K-pop related, but I included it because it involves Jisoo and because it’s major news over here.) The drama is set during a tragic time for South Korea and numerous Koreans feel that it alters history and romanticizes certain events and people that it shouldn’t. JTBC responded to these concerns, which you can read a translation of here. They also chose to air three episodes of the drama this week to help clarify plot points, and you can read a translation of their explanation here.
  • Some previous Girls Planet 999 participants have announced their plans to debut in new girl groups. Nonaka Shana, a Japanese contestant, will be debuting in MLD Entertainment’s new girl group. (This company is best known for creating Momoland.) Meanwhile, FCENM Entertainment announced an upcoming girl group that includes Korean contestant Lee Yunji, Chinese contestant Chang Ching, and Japanese contestants Kishida Ririka and Hayase Hana.
  • Former BTOB member Jung Ilhoon posted an apology letter on Instagram following the conclusion of his appeal trial last week, where his original prison sentence for buying and using marijuana got changed to probation. You can read a translation of it here.
  • Ha Sungwoon has officially signed with Big Planet Made after wrapping up his activities with Star Crew Entertainment. BPM is also notably home to VIVIZ, aka the three members of GFriend who are planning to re-debut.
  • SM Entertainment announced Girls on Top, a new girl group comprised of female artists already active at the company. (Much like SuperM, which combined male artists from existing boy groups.) The lineup includes BoA, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon from Girls’ Generation, Seulgi and Wendy from Red Velvet, and Karina and Winter from aespa. According to the group’s first tweet, they will be having their first stage on January 1st – during the SM concert? – and releasing their first single on January 3rd.
  • COVID-19 related news:
    • BTOB’s Minhyuk tested negative for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a case; he previously had the virus earlier this year. You can read a translation of Cube Entertainment’s statement about it here.
    • Three members of BTS have contracted COVID-19. First, Suga tested positive upon his return to Seoul from the United States. RM and Jin were confirmed as cases shortly after, but under different circumstances since both had come back from the U.S. a while ago. You can read translations of Big Hit Music’s statements about Suga here and RM and Jin here.
  • End of year shows:
    • SBS held their annual Gayo Daejeon on Christmas, and you can watch the performances here.
    • MBC revealed their lineup for the Gayo Daejejeon which will happen on New Year’s Eve. The K-pop groups performing are MAMAMOO, Red Velvet, ASTRO, Brave Girls, NCT (U/127/Dream), The Boyz, Stray Kids, ITZY, STAYC, aespa, and IVE. You can see the full lineup here and information on some collaboration stages 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.)

aespa, “Dreams Come True” (remake of song by BoA 12/20)

Jeon Somi, “Anymore” (special single, 12/25)

Minho (SHINee), “Heartbreak” (special single, 12/21)

Coming Up Next Week

Since it’s the end of the year, nothing’s happening except for SM Entertainment dropping their big compilation album – which will be on 12/27!

This Week’s Music Show Wins

The Show (SBS MTV)No broadcast/winner announced
Show Champion (MBC)No broadcast/winner announced
M! Countdown (MNET)No broadcast/winner announced
Music Bank (KBS)NCT U, “Universe” (1st win)
Music Core (MBC)No broadcast/winner announced
Inkigayo (SBS)No broadcast/winner announced

Album Sales, Streaming, and Charting

Gaon Chart

NOTE: Gaon‘s weekly charts reflect the previous week. To see a full breakdown of the chart, you can go here.

Album SalesNCT,
Formula of Love: O+T=<3 (Result File Ver.)
Mino (WINNER),
To Infinity
NCT 127,
Overall DigitalBE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Show Me the Money 10*
Show Me the Money 10**
“Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard,” Show Me the Money 10***IVE,
StreamingBE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Show Me the Money 10
Show Me the Money 10
“Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard,” Show Me the Money 10“Dissonance,” Show Me the Money 10****
DownloadsBE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Lee Chanwon,
“Good Day”
Monday Kiz,
“White Snow”
SocialBTSLisaBLACKPINKIm Young Woong Kim Ho Joong

*”Merry-Go-Round” is by sokodomo featuring Zion.T and Wonstein and produced by Slom.
**”Limousine” is by BE’O featuring Song Mino and produced by Gray.
***”Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard” is by Basick featuring Leellamarz and produced by Toil.
****”Dissonance” is by Mudd the Student featuring AKMU and produced by Gray.

The International Side of K-pop

  • K-pop on various Billboard charts this week:
    • “Girl of My Dreams” by Juice WRLD with Suga from BTS debuted at #1 on the Digital Song Sales chart, making Suga the first Korean soloist to ever debut in the top spot on that chart. It also ranked #29 on the “Hot 100.”
    • Coldplay and BTS’s “My Universe” ranked #74 on the “Hot 100” in its twelfth week.
    • Monsta X’s English album The Dreaming debuted at #21 on the Billboard 200.
    • TWICE’s Formula of Love: O+T=<3 ranked #84 on the Billboard 200 in its fifth week. It’s still the longest charting girl group K-pop album of 2021, and the second longest of all time (after BLACKPINK’s The Album).
    • NCT 127’s Sticker ranked #82 on the Billboard 200 in its thirteenth week. This makes it the longest charting K-pop album of 2021, narrowly beating out TXT’s The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE. (While both of them charted for thirteen weeks, NCT 127’s were consecutive and TXT’s were not.)
    • ATEEZ’s Zero Fever: Epilogue debuted at #73 on the Billboard 200 and placed #1 on the World Album Sales chart.
  • BTS topped both Oricon’s year end album chart and year end artist chart. (Oricon is a Japanese music statistics site, similar to South Korea’s Gaon and the United States’ Billboard.) BTS topped the album chart with their compilation album BTS, THE BEST, making them the first foreign group to do so as well as the first non-Japanese artist to do so in almost forty years – the last artist to do it was Michael Jackson in 1984. BTS is also the first non-Japanese act to top the year end artist chart ever.
    • Other K-pop artists who ranked on the album chart are Jaejoong (JYJ), SHINee, 2PM, EXO (and Baekhyun separately), SEVENTEEN, TWICE, ASTRO, NCT, NCT 127, NCT DREAM, Stray Kids, TXT, TREASURE, and ENHYPEN. You can see which albums made it onto the chart here.
  • The following K-pop music videos reached new viewer milestones on YouTube this week:
    • BTS’s “Permission to Dance” reached 400 million views.
    • ITZY’s “Wannabe” also hit 400 million views, but it’s their first to do so.

Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols

Weekly IdolKnowing BrothersAmazing Saturday
This WeekDayoung and Yeoreum (WJSN), Inseong and Dawon (SF9) – year end special episodeChristmas special (non-idol guests)Rain and Kim Bum (promoting an upcoming drama)
Next WeekNo broadcastIVE (Yujin and Wonyoung)* + other non-idol guestsNon-idol guests

*Based on the episode preview, it looks like Yujin and Wonyoung are two of the episode’s main guests. However, there’s a brief shot towards the end that shows all of IVE performing their song – so maybe the other members also appear for a short time.

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: Oh My Girl at the SBS Gayo Daejeon red carpet, you can see the original on the SBS Now Twitter account here

VIDEO SOURCES: YouTube, SM Entertainment (Minho and aespa), The Black Label (Somi)

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

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