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.
Current K-pop Idol COVID-19 Cases
Over the past week, numerous idols have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as cases rise here in South Korea. There are so many that I had to make a separate section to cover them:
- WINNER’s Lee Seunghoon (You can read YG Entertainment’s statement here.)
- The Boyz’s Eric, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Ju Haknyeon, and Sangyeon / Eric was the first one to test positive, and all the other members of The Boyz initially tested negative. Younghoon, Hyunjae, and Ju Haknyeon got positive results when re-testing within a couple days after Eric’s initial diagnosis. Sangyeon later tested positive at the end of the week. (Here are IST Entertainment’s statements for Eric, Younghoon, Hyunjae, and Ju Haknyeon/Sangyeon.)
- iKON’s Junhoe and Chanwoo / Since three other members were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, this means everyone in iKON currently has it except for Bobby. (Here are YG’s statements about Junhoe and Chanwoo.)
- TREASURE’s Yoshi, Hyunsuk, Junkyu, and Mashiho (YG Entertainment used the same statements to give updates about iKON and TREASURE members, so you can click the ones above.)
- WEi’s Donghan, Yongha, and Seokhwa (You can read OUI Entertainment’s statement here.)
- Hyolyn (You can read Bridge Entertainment’s statement here.)
- Kep1er’s Chaehyun and Youngeun (You can read WAKE ONE Entertainment’s statement here.)
- Weeekly’s Jaehee (You can read IST Entertainment’s statement here.)
- Kwon Eunbi (You can read Woollim Entertainment’s statement here.)
- Brave Girls’ Yuna (You can read Brave Entertainment’s statement here)
- VIVIZ’s Umji and Eunha (You can read Big Planet Made’s statement here.)
- Oh My Girl’s Yoobin (WM Entertainment’s statement here.)
News to Note
- P Nation trainee and LOUD contestant Tanaka Koki will no longer be part of the agency’s upcoming boy group, and will spend some more time in training before his debut. This is most likely because of his young age, since he was born in 2009. (To provide some context, that’s the same age as my sixth graders who are about to graduate elementary school in a few weeks.) You can see P Nation’s statement about it here.
- U-KISS members Soohyun, Kiseop, and Hoon have joined new agency Tango Music and will continue on as a group. You can read more about it here.
- INFINITE’s Sungjong has left Woollim Entertainment after the expiration of his contract, meaning that Woohyun is now the only member at the group’s original agency. You can read translation of Woollim’s statement and Sungjong’s Instagram post about it here.
- Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon will be hosting Season 2 of Queendom, which is supposed to start filming soon and air in the first half of this year.
- JYP Entertainment has revealed that their upcoming girl group is named NMIXX and will be debuting sometime in February. You can see their debut teaser and social media accounts here, as well as their debut photos and trailer here.
- RBW Entertainment has recently acquired DSP Media, and RBW’s current CEO will run both companies. RBW Entertainment is notably home to groups like MAMAMOO, ONEUS, ONEWE, and PURPLE KISS; they also acquired WM Entertainment last year. DSP Media currently houses groups such as KARD and MIRAE. You can read more about the situation here.
- An appeal trial for Seungri was held this week. He received a three year prison sentence last year, but it was reduced to eighteen months after the appeal trial (along with a fine close to one million dollars). You can read more about the situation here.
- It was belatedly revealed that SF9 members Hwiyoung and Chani were booked for violating COVID-19 regulations by staying at a bar until 1:00 A.M. (The current curfew for establishments is 9:00 P.M.) This happened on January 18th, during a get-together for Chani’s birthday. You can read a translation of FNC Entertainment’s statement about it here. Hwiyoung and Chani also posted apology letters on the group’s Twitter account, but I don’t have an official translation source for those.
- Girl group April has officially disbanded after almost seven years. You can read translations of DSP Media’s statement about it here and letters the members posted on Instagram here.
- SM Entertainment announced their 2022 global auditions for “Kwangya,” and anyone born between 2003 and 2011 can apply. You can read more information about it here.
Gaon Chart Music Awards
The Gaon Chart Music Awards took place on January 27th. I’ve listed most of the K-pop related awards below, and you can look at the full list of winners here.
- Song of the Year (12 awards, 1 per month)
- December (2020): Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation), “What Do I Call You”
- January (2021): IU, “Celebrity”
- February: SHINee, “Don’t Call Me”
- March: IU, “Lilac”
- April: Kang Daniel, “Antidote”
- May: BTS, “Butter”
- June: Brave Girls, “Chi Mat Ba Ram”
- July: BTS, “Permission to Dance”
- August: Red Velvet, “Queendom”
- September: Coldplay and BTS, “My Universe”
- October: IU, “Strawberry Moon”
- November: TWICE, “Scientist”
- Album of the Year (4 awards, 1 per quarter)
- First Quarter (December 2020 – February 2021): IZ*ONE, One-reeler / Act IV
- Second Quarter (March-May): NCT Dream, Hot Sauce
- Third Quarter (June-August): BTS, Permission to Dance
- Fourth Quarter (September-November): NCT 127, Sticker
- Record Production of the Year: IU and EDAM Entertainment, Lilac
- Lyricist of the Year: IU
- Discovery of the Year (Hot Trend): STAYC, “ASAP”
- Hot Performance of the Year: Oh My Girl and The Boyz
- World Rookie of the Year: aespa and ENHYPEN
- World Hallyu Star of the Year: Stray Kids
- Top Kit Seller of the Year: NCT DREAM, Hot Sauce
- Mubeat Global Choice: BTS and Lisa (BLACKPINK)
- Social Hot Star of the Year: BTS
- Retail Album of the Year: BTS, Butter
- Music Steady Seller of the Year: BTS, “Dynamite”
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.)
Pentagon, “Feelin Like” (1/24)
Kyuhyun (Super Junior), “Love Story” (1/25)
Wanna One, “Beautiful Part 3” (special single, 1/27)
NATURE, “Rica Rica” (1/24)
Def. (Jay B from GOT7), “Sunset With You” (1/26)
Coming Up Next Week
There don’t appear to be any major comebacks due to the Lunar New Year. (Aside from Mark’s solo release on SM Station on February 4th.)
This Week’s Music Show Wins
|The Show (SBS MTV)||fromis_9, “DM” (1st win)|
|Show Champion (MBC)||fromis_9, “DM” (2nd win)|
|M! Countdown (MNET)||Wheein (MAMAMOO), “Make Me Happy” |
(1st win/1st ever SOLO win)
|Music Bank (KBS)||IU, “Winter Sleep” (1st win)|
|Music Core (MBC)||No broadcast/winner announced|
|Inkigayo (SBS)||GOT The Beat, “Step Back” (1st win/1st ever win)|
Album Sales, Streaming, and Charting
NOTE: Gaon‘s weekly charts reflect the previous week. To see a full breakdown of the chart, you can go here.
|Album Sales||SMTOWN, |
2021 Winter SMTOWN: SMCU Express
|Wheein (MAMAMOO), |
|Overall Digital||Kim Minseok (Melomance), “Drunken Confession”||“Merry-Go-Round,” Show Me the Money 10*||IVE,|
|“Limousine,” Show Me the Money 10**|
|Streaming||Kim Minseok (Melomance), “Drunken Confession”||“Merry-Go-Round,” Show Me the Money 10||IVE,|
|“Limousine,” Show Me the Money 10||BE’O feat. Beenzino, “Counting Stars”|
“Can’t Control Myself”
|Choi Yena feat. BIBI,|
|Social||BTS||BLACKPINK||Lisa||Im Young Woong||Kim Ho Joong|
*“Merry-Go-Round” is by sokodomo feat. Zion.T and Wonstein, and is produced by Slom.
**”Limousine” is by BE’O feat. Song Mino, and is produced by Gray.
The International Side of K-pop
- K-pop on various Billboard charts this week:
- Coldplay and BTS’s “My Universe” ranked #92 in its seventeenth week.
- ENHYPEN’s DIMENSION: ANSWER debuted at #13 on the Billboard 200, becoming their third album to debut within the Top 20 of said chart. It also debuted at #1 on the World Album Sales chart.
- BTS has been nominated for three iHeart Radio Music Awards: Best Duo/Group of the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Fan Army. They previously won all three of these in 2021.
- V’s song “Christmas Tree” (an OST for Our Beloved Summer) has become the first Korean OST to chart on the Spotify Global 200 for more than one week.
- The following K-pop music videos reached new viewer milestones on YouTube this week:
- TWICE’s “The Feels” reached 200 million views. This makes TWICE the first and only girl group on YouTube to have sixteen music videos with over 200 million views each.
- TWICE also had another music video achievement with “I Can’t Stop Me,” which just became their fastest video to reach 400 million views.
- BLACKPINK’s “Kill This Love” is their second music video to reach 1.5 billion views after “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”
- Big Bang’s “Fantastic Baby” is their second music video to reach 500 million views after “Bang Bang Bang.”
- (G)I-DLE’s “Lion” is their fourth music video to reach 100 million views.
- aespa’s “Next Level” is their second music video to hit 200 million views after “Black Mamba.”
- Stray Kids’ “God’s Menu” is their first ever music video to reach 300 million views.
Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols
|Weekly Idol||Knowing Brothers||Amazing Saturday|
|This Week||fromis_9||Boy Group Lunar New Year Special*||Non-idol guests|
|Next Week||Kep1er||Boy Group Lunar New Year Special cont’d.||Uee, Naeun (Apink)**|
*Guests include: Leeteuk and Shindong (Super Junior – guest hosts), Jun K and Wooyoung (2PM), Minhyuk and Jooheon (Monsta X), Moonbin and Sanha (ASTRO), and Juyeon and Q (The Boyz)
**Though Naeun is an idol, she’s appearing as an actress to promote her drama Ghost Doctor.
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: Cube Entertainment (Pentagon)
VIDEO SOURCES: YouTube, Cube Entertainment (Pentagon), Jay B’s YouTube channel, n.CH Entertainment (NATURE)*, SM Entertainment (Kyuhyun), Wanna One’s YouTube channel
*”Rica Rica” music video distributed by Stone Music Entertainment.
OTHER SOURCES: Wikipedia, Billboard, Gaon Chart, KBS, MBC, MNET, SBS