Katherine’s K-pop Recap: January 3-9, 2022

A summary of the news, current and upcoming comebacks, charts and music show wins, and more!
FYI: This post is SUPER long because of a bunch of charts, certifications, awards shows, etc. Sorry in advance for all the scrolling!

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

  • All members of boy group IMFACT have left Star Empire Entertainment after the expiration of their original contracts. As of now, there don’t appear to be any definitive statements about the future of the group and whether they’re disbanding or not. You can read a translation of the former agency’s announcement about it here, and translations of three members’ Instagram posts about it here.
  • Former Lovelyz member Jisoo has signed a contract with Mystic Story and will be promoting as an actress from now on. She is the fourth member of the group to confirm her future plans – BabySoul (now promoting as Lee Sujeong) stayed at Woollim Entertainment, Mijoo joined Antenna, and Jiae joined YG KPLUS.
  • The person who accused April’s Naeun of school bullying last year has admitted that the allegations in their online post were false. Naeun’s agency DSP Media revealed that this individual sent her an apology letter, and she withdrew legal action after accepting it. You can read translations of their statement and the accuser’s apology here.
  • VERIVERY’s Minchan came under fire after a V-Live where he talked about an idol whom he went to middle school with and commented on her looks, while also giving details that could possibly identify her and her group. You can read a translation of his apology through the group’s Twitter account here.
  • Omega X has temporarily stopped promoting their new comeback after four members tested positive for COVID-19 (Jaehan, Hangyeom, Jehyun, and Junghoon). The other members tested negative and are also going into self-quarantine for the time being.
  • PocketDol Studios revealed that Somyi has left DIA and the company for personal health reasons.
  • EVERGLOW’s Yiren will be taking a short break from group activities to return to her home country of China and spend time with her family. You can read a translation of Yuehua Entertainment’s statement about it here.
  • Former DAY6 member Jae was criticized after making an insulting comment about soloist Jamie during one of his Twitch streams. (The two are known to be friends and previously hosted After School Club together.) He later apologized on his Twitter account – you can read that and learn more about the situation here.

Golden Disc Awards

The Golden Disc Awards took place on January 8th. (They normally happen over two days – one for album awards and one for digital awards – but everything was condensed into one ceremony due to COVID-19). You can watch all of the performances here. All of the winners are listed below:

  • Album of the Year (Daesang): BTS (for BE)
  • Album of the Year Bonsangs: BTS (for BE), IU (for Lilac), SEVENTEEN (for Attacca), NCT 127 (for Sticker), NCT Dream (for Hot Sauce), Stray Kids (for Noeasy), TXT (for The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE), ENHYPEN (for Dimension: Dilemma)
  • Song of the Year (Daesang): IU (for “Celebrity”)
  • Song of the Year Bonsangs: IU (for “Celebrity”), BTS (for “Butter”), AKMU feat. IU (for “Nakka”), Heize (for “Happen”), Oh My Girl (for “Dun Dun Dance”), STAYC (for “ASAP”), aespa (for “Next Level”), Lee Mujin (for “Traffic Light”)
  • Artist of the Year: aespa
  • Best Rookie Artist: STAYC and aespa
  • Best Group: Brave Girls
  • Best Solo Artist: Im Young Woong
  • Best Performance: The Boyz and Jeon Somi
  • seezn Golden Disc Popularity Award: BTS
  • Cosmopolitan Artist Award: SEVENTEEN and aespa

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.)

GOT the Beat, “Step Back” (1/3)*

P1Harmony, “Do It Like This” (1/3)

WJSN Chocome, “Super Yuppers” (1/5)

AleXa, “Tattoo” (1/6)

UP10TION, “Crazy About You” (1/3)

Kep1er, “Wa DaDa” (*DEBUT* 1/3)

Omega X, “Love Me Like” (1/5)

*I should have put “Step Back” last week because the dance video was posted on the 1st, but I mistakenly thought they were going to release a music video with the song’s official release ^^”’

Coming Up Next Week

Monday (1/10)Tuesday (1/11)Wednesday (1/12)Thursday (1/13)Friday (1/14)
Kim Yohan (WEi)MIRAEChangmin (TVXQ)Momoland

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” (3rd win)
Music Core (MBC)IVE, “Eleven” (6th win)
Inkigayo (SBS)IVE, “Eleven” (7th win)

Album Sales, Streaming, and Charting

Gaon Weekly Chart

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

Album SalesNCT,
2021 Winter SMTOWN: SMCU Express
Kim Jaehwan,
The Letter
Lalisa (LP)
The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE
Overall Digital“Merry-Go-Round”, Show Me the Money 10*BE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Show Me the Money 10**
“Winter Sleep”
Streaming“Merry-Go-Round”, Show Me the Money 10BE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Show Me the Money 10
“Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard,”
Show Me the Money 10***
“Winter Sleep”
Kim Jaehwan,
“Next Stop”
“Love Letter”
SocialBTSLisaBLACKPINKIm Young Woong aespa

Gaon Monthly Chart (for December 2021)

Album SalesNCT,
Zero: Fever Epilogue
Kai (EXO),
Overall Digital“Merry-Go-Round”, Show Me the Money 10“Limousine,”
Show Me the Money 10
“Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard,”
Show Me the Money 10
BE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
Show Me the Money 10****
Streaming“Merry-Go-Round”, Show Me the Money 10“Limousine,”
Show Me the Money 10
“Meeting is Easy, Parting is Hard,”
Show Me the Money 10
Show Me the Money 10
BE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
DownloadsLee Chanwon,
“Good Day”
BE’O feat. Beenzino,
“Counting Stars”
“Merry-Go-Round”, Show Me the Money 10Lee Mujin feat. Heize, “When It Snows”
SocialBTSLisaBLACKPINKIm Young Woong Kim Ho Joong

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

Gaon YEAR END 2021 Charts

Since this post is already super long, I’ve posted the Top 10 Albums and Songs of 2021 (on Gaon) below. You can read the full list of top ranking albums and songs (and the Top 5 streams and downloads) here.

Top Albums of 2021

  1. BTS, Butter
  2. NCT 127, Sticker
  3. NCT Dream, Hot Sauce
  4. SEVENTEEN, Attacca
  5. NCT, Universe
  6. SEVENTEEN, Your Choice
  7. EXO, Don’t Fight the Feeling
  8. Stray Kids, NOEASY
  9. ENHYPEN, Dimension: Dilemma
  10. BTS, BE

Top Songs of 2021

  1. IU, “Celebrity”
  2. Brave Girls, “Rollin'”
  3. BTS, “Dynamite”
  4. IU, “Lilac”
  5. aespa, “Next Level”
  6. Justin Bieber, “Peaches”
  7. BTS, “Butter”
  8. Lee Mujin, Traffic Light
  9. KyoungSeo, “Shiny Star (2020)”
  10. MSG Wannabe (M.O.M), “Foolish Love”

Gaon Certifications

TXTThe Chaos Chapter: Fight or EscapeTriple platinum (album sales)
TWICEFormula of Love: O+T=<3Double platinum (album sales)
The BoyzMaverickDouble platinum (album sales)
Monsta XNo LimitPlatinum (album sales)
Jawsh 685, Jason Derulo, BTS“Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) (BTS Remix)”Platinum (streams)
aespa“Next Level”Platinum (streams)
N.Flying“Rooftop”Platinum (downloads)


  • Kep1er sold over 150,000 copies of their debut album FIRST IMPACT on their first day of release. They are now the only girl group in Hanteo’s history to sell over that amount in first day sales (with a debut album).
  • 2021 Winter SMTOWN : SMCU EXPRESS sold over 400,000 copies in its first week, becoming the highest selling SMTOWN album. (This probably refers to compilation albums by SM Entertainment artists, not individual group or soloist albums.)

The International Side of K-pop

  • K-pop on various Billboard charts this week:
    • BTS member V’s Our Beloved Summer OST “Christmas Tree” debuted at #1 on the Digital Song Sales, making him the first Korean artist to do so with a solo song. (Suga was the first Korean soloist to ever debut at #1 on the chart last month with his Juice WRLD collaboration.) “Christmas Tree” is also the first Korean OST to rank #1 on the chart.
    • “Christmas Tree” also debuted at #79 on the “Hot 100.”
    • Coldplay and BTS’s “My Universe” ranked #72 on the “Hot 100” in its 14th week.
    • TWICE’s English single “The Feels” is their first ever to appear on the Pop Radio Airplay chart, debuting at #40.
    • TWICE’s Formula of Love: O+T=<3 ranked #79 on the Billboard 200 in its seventh week, continuing its reign as the longest charting K-pop girl group album released in 2021.
    • NCT 127’s Sticker ranked #88 on the Billboard 200 in its fifteenth week, continuing its reign as the longest charting K-pop album released in 2021.
    • NCT’s Universe ranked #32 on the Billboard 200 in its second week and placed #1 on the World Album sales chart for the second week in a row.
  • BTS’s “Butter” is the top-selling song of 2021 in the United States. In addition, four of their songs made the Top 10: “Butter” at #1, “Permission to Dance” at #3, “Dynamite” at #6 (last years #1), and “My Universe” with Coldplay at #7. You can see the full Top 10 here.
  • ATEEZ has postponed the European leg of their upcoming world tour. You can read promoter MyMusicTaste’s statement about it here.
  • GOT7’s BamBam has become an official global ambassador for the Golden State Warriors (an NBA team in San Francisco, California.) You can see his Instagram post about it here.
  • Lisa’s music video for “Lalisa” passed 400 million views in just under four months, breaking fellow BLACKPINK member Jennie’s record for the fastest female K-pop solo music video to do so.

Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols

Weekly IdolKnowing BrothersAmazing Saturday
This WeekXdinary HeroesNon-idol guestsNon-idol guests
Next WeekWJSN Chocome2AMXiumin (EXO) and Kang Hongseok*

*Though Xiumin is a K-pop idol, he will be appearing on Amazing Saturday as a musical actor to promote his musical Hadestown.

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: Swing Entertainment/Wake One Entertainment (Kep1er)

VIDEO SOURCES: YouTube, FNC Entertainment (P1Harmony), SM Entertainment (GOT the Beat), Spire Entertainment (Omega X), Starship Entertainment (WJSN Chocome), Swing Entertainment/Wake One Entertainment (Kep1er), TOP Media (UP10TION), ZB Label (AleXa)
The VERIVERY V-Live clip was posted on YouTube (and subbed in English) by user Muchee TV.

OTHER SOURCES: Wikipedia, BillboardGaon Chart, KBS, MBC, MNET, SBS, Hanteo, MRC Data, Instagram (1)

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