Being a Kpop star isn’t always as glamorous as it might seem. Let’s face it, for every SM, there are ten more struggling companies. For every Super Junior, there is a Dalmation, and for every 2ne1, a JQT. Debuting a group is a huge risk for an entertainment company, and scoring a hit isn’t always guaranteed. It doesn’t always depend on your level of talent, work ethic, or artistic vision. Instead, it seems that the better your PR team, the prettier your face, and the bigger your budget, the more likely you are to succeed.
As such, we’ve seen many talented group debut over the years, only to see them fade back into obscurity soon afterwards. Many groups were disbanded without ever fulfilling their potential. Others are left in a permanent limbo, leaving us to wonder if they’ll ever return. Some continue trying for that breakout hit. Whatever the case, here is a list of ten girl groups that have fallen off the Kpop radar….
Members: Eun Young (Leader, Main Vocal), Yoo Jin (Main Vocal), Hye Ran (Rapper), Seo Ah (Sub Vocal), Ye Jin (Vocal)
Debut: April 2011
Last Promotion: February 2012
It seems odd that this group never had a legitimate hit. They are, after all, managed by one of Kpop’s biggest producers, Brave Brothers. He’s written chart toppers for 4minute, After School, Sistar, and many others, yet seems unable to take his own group to the top!
The five piece debuted in 2011, with much interest. Their sound experimented with several genres, including smooth RnB, Reggae, Electro Hip-Hop, and even Soul. However, their risks were never met with rewards. The group earned recognition, but never managed to break out of rookie status.
After a moderately successful third single, the group seemingly disappeared. They made appearances here and there, however, at the group’s last public appearance, Seo Ah was absent. As time went by, many began to wonder about the group’s status. In August of 2013, the group released a digital single. However, it only featured vocals from Yoo Jin and Hye Ran. Further more, only Yoo Jin was featured on the company’s Christmas single.
Although nothing has been confirmed, we should probably wonder about the group’s status. We can assume that Hye Ran and Yoo Jin are still in the group, but what about Eun Young, Seo Ah, and Ye Jin? With no news of a comeback, it seems like the Brave Girls simply aren’t a priority for Brave Brothers…especially since 4minute seems to be his new girl group.
Status: Inactive (Possible line up changes)
Members: Chemi (Leader, Lead Vocal), Re Dee (Rapper), Effie (Main Vocal), Ann J (Main Vocal), Lenny (Vocal)
Debut: October 2011
Last Promotion: May 2012
This group had everything that a rookie group needed to succeed. Their company dumped huge amounts of money into their debut, hooked them up with some of the best producers in the industry, and actually gave them an incredible debut. Their song, No No No No No, was a mid tempo pop-rnb track that really showed off the girls unique charms and powerful vocals.
Unfortunately, the group lost much of their momentum with their follow up songs. The ageyo song, Joma Joma, under performed. Subsequent digital singles, Sorry But I…, and Danger Girls showed off more mature sides of the group. However, it can be assumed that the group’s profits were unable to offset the cost of their big budget debut. The quality of their music videos definitely went down, as well as receiving little to no promotion.
After a long hiatus, their future became uncertain. Some online investigation revealed that members Re Dee and Lenny have left the group, Chemi enrolled herself at a university, while Effie and Ann J make regular appearances in a musical theater production. While the group’s agency has promised “new music very soon,” it seems that C-Real simply isn’t a priority to anyone involved…
Status: Inactive (Probably disbanded)
Members: Shine (Main Vocal), Semi (Sub Rapper, Vocal), A-zi (Rapper, Main Vocal), Sui (Vocal, Leader), Boreum (Rapper, Main Vocal),
Nara (Leader, Vocal), Ji-U (Vocal), Peach (Sub Vocal)
Debut: March 2011
Last Promotion: June 2012
Ah, yes! The Creative House Idols…a seven piece girl group turned five piece, specializing in House and Electronic music. They actually had a pretty cool concept, and released some awesome music, but perhaps the group’s line up change was the first sign that things weren’t going well behind the scenes?
They debuted, like many other group, with an unimpressive first single. However, after a line up change, and a Japanese debut that nobody asked for, things turned around for the group. Sort of…
Chi Chi released their most successful single, Love Is Energy, in June of 2012. With a unique “hand blender” dance, it became the group’s highest charting song. However, Boreum suddenly stopped appearing with the group in the middle of promotions. While they claimed that “she was sick,” she was still absent from group appearances months afterwards. After a year long hiatus, the group’s choreographer confirmed that Chi Chi had disbanded. We are left to wonder what could have been, as the group seemed to have finally hit their stride before disbanding.
Members: Jooyi (Main Vocal), T-ae (Vocal), Di (Vocal), Xia (Vocal), Semi (Leader, Vocal),
Riko (Main Vocal), Joy (Vocal), Yi Jo (Pre-debut)
Debut: March 2011
Last Promotion: February 2013
Rania’s debut definitely brought them both good and negative attention for their sexy, boundary pushing style. However, after the group’s second single, Joy left the group amid varying rumors. Although fans were disappointed, they once again received a shock when the group returned for a third single without Jooyi. However, that single became the girls biggest success! A fourth single featured Jooyi’s return, however, Riko was missing.
Fans began to wonder what exactly what happening behind the scenes, causing the member changes. It was speculated that it all had something to do with the group’s American advancement. Rania was originally put together with the goal of breaking the American market. However, this goal was repeatedly delayed. Finally, after a year of inactivity, rumors began to spread that the group had disbanded…further fueled by the closing of DR music’s website.
Luckily, Rania has just recently come out of hiding. While admitting that plans for an American advancement have failed, and that Riko had in fact left the group, they did bring some good news! The group has partnered with a Spanish label, in hopes of promoting in Europe. Although the group is still being managed by DR music, perhaps the new agency will be able to steer them in a better direction?
Members: LE (Rapper, Leader), Solji (Lead Vocal), Hani (Main Vocal), Jung Hwa (Vocal, Rapper), Hyerim (Vocal),
Yu Zi (Lead Vocal), Dami (Main Vocal), Hyurang (Vocal)
Debut: February 2012
Last Promotion: October 2012
Along with Brave Girls, it seems hard to imagine that this group was ever face the position that they’re in. They were put together, produced, and managed by one of the top producers in the industry, Shinsadong Tiger! He has crated hits for many artists, yet seems unable to give his own group the promotion they need to succeed.
Exid debuted with much praise, yet failed to become a cohesive unit. As a result, half of the group was ousted (and would later form the group BESTie). They were replaced by two trainees, who were able to carry the group to their biggest hit, the RnB track Every Night.
Since then, the group had various activities, including a sub-unit between Solji and Hani, LE featured on the rap song “You’ve Got Some Nerve,” and even wrote Troublemaker’s hit, Now. However, it has been almost a full year since the group has been heard from. Rumors circulated about a comeback this March, however, the Sewol Ferry tragedy probably delayed this. Member Jung Hwa was chosen as the spokes person for a vitamin brand, which further proves the comeback rumors, as the two would have coincided. Here’s hoping we hear from the girls soon!
Members: Say (Leader, Main Vocal, Lead Dancer), Yull (Main Vocal), J-Da (Rapper), Jucy (Rapper), Hayana (Vocal)
Debut: August 2012
Last Promotion: March 2013
If one of these groups had the potential to be superstars, it was no doubt EvoL. Not only did this group have one of the best rappers in the industry, but they also had their own choreographer. Their debut mini album was one of the best debuts I’ve ever seen! However, they were unfortunately caught up in their record label’s own issues.
Stardom Entertainment made headlines when they were sued by their more successful boy group, Block B, over unpaid wages. The lawsuit seemed to have taken its toll on the agency, culminating in the suicide of Stardom’s CEO. With the company turned on its head, EvoL seemed to have been pushed to the back of the company’s to do list. Things have since cleared up over at Stardom, and a new CEO has been chosen. Jucy has released a mix-tape, but EvoL still remains quiet as a group. There were rumors of a March comeback that could have been delayed due to the ferry incident, but nothing was confirmed. However, Stardom wasted no time in getting a new boy band out. Topp Dogg has had three promotions in just six months, while EvoL remains with only two in two years….
S the One
Members: Min Jung (Vocals, Rapper), Ga Jin (Vocal, Rapper), Ji Eun (Main Vocals), Da Young (Vocal), Yun Joo (Vocal)
Last Promotion: N/A
Quite possibly the most tragic story I’ve seen in Kpop. Min Jung, Ga Jin, and Ji Eun are three talented women, who unfortunately never quite managed to achieve their dreams. S the One is the girl’s third attempt…and easily their least successful. The three met when they were a part of i-13, which was supposed to be a female version of Super Junior. While i-13 was a one and done group, the three managed to come together again to create the moderately successful group, JQT.
However, JQT’s management made the same mistake that many do, and attempted to push the girls in the western market. But can you blame them? Akon’s label found the girls on YouTube, took an interest in them, and offered to have them open for his World Tour. JQT would have been foolish to turn that down! Unfortunately, when the tour was inexplicably cancelled…it left them with nothing but a few cheaply produced English tracks, and a lot of wasted time and money. The girls ditched their record label, signed with a new one, and were joined by two new members to become S the One.
Unfortunately, EC Ebenezer did little to promote them. Other than a cheap music video, and a few showcases in Japan and Thailand…little else can be found by the group. Having never made an official debut…it’s safe to assume that this group is probably done for. Perhaps Min Jung, Ji Eun, and Ga Jin can band together a fourth time?
Members: Ji Yeon (Leader, Rapper, Vocal) Miso (Main Vocal), Dahee (Main Vocal), Zinni (Main Dancer, Rapper, Vocal),
Trinity (Dancer, Sub Vocal)
Debut: July 2012
Last Promotion: March 2013
Glam debuted with a fun and lively song, and tons of potential to be the next big thing. Their company did a great job of promoting them, and they even managed to turn in an impressive second and third single! They became known for their meaningful lyrics, and tackling tough social themes. They gave an LGBT friendly message in their debut, Party (XXO), talked about female independence in I Like That, and the pressure that women face to give into beauty standards in In Front of the Mirror.
Their singles gave the girls tons of momentum! They were rising in popularity when suddenly they just….disappeared. They were even absent from their company’s Christmas single! It was thought that we had heard the last from the quartet, when suddenly they released a special Valentines Day single this year, with little to no promotion.
The reason for the group’s silence? Probably record label politics. Glam was put together as a joint venture between Source Music, and Big Hit Entertainment (current home to BTS). At the time, Big Hit was also in a partnership with JYP Entertainment (Home to Miss A, 2PM, Wonder Girls). However, JYPE decided to consolidate his subsidiaries, and pulled out of his partnership with Big Hit. While 2AM survived the shuffle, it seems that Glam did not. Perhaps they will find someone who is willing to support them soon?
Members: Woomi (Leader, Rapper), Ji Yo (Main Vocals), Eepel (Rapper, Vocals), Seohal (Rapper)
Debut: February 2013
Last Promotion: February 2013
Purplay debuted on the premise of being the next top dance group. They boasted some serious dance training, and even some powerful vocal ability as well, courtesy of Ji Yo. Their debut was a soft and tender RnB track, that did include a powerful dance break. The problem? Well…the dancing wasn’t exactly as powerful and intense as they made it sound. Oh yeah…and it was directly copied from an American Dance crew too. Controversy!
Despite having a good debut song, the group received tons of hate from netizens, calling them plagiarizers. Word eventually got back to I.Am.Me, who called the group out for copying their routine, and not giving them credit. Purplay’s company released a statement of apology and gave credit where it was due…but the damage was done. Purplay most likely didn’t survive the controversy.
Debut: August 2011
Last Promotion: June 2013
Members: Melanie (Lead Vocal), Tia (Lead Dancer, Vocal), Soa (Leader, Main Vocal), Juliane (Vocal),
Jae Yoon (Lead Vocal), Lori (Vocal)
Chocolat made a name for themselves as the first bi-racial Kpop group. With three members who were half-Caucasian, there was much anticipation for their debut. The group held a successful round of promotions, and further impressed with their followup single despite the departure of Jae Yoon.
However, their subsequent releases failed to achieve the same positive response. One More Day was praised for the girl’s powerful RnB vocals, but was criticized for the overly sexual dance routine (considering that three of the girls were under age). Black Tinkerbell was also praised as being an excellent electro-pop song, but failed to chart well due to heavy competition at the time. As a result, the group was shut out of most music shows.
However, the group did have some good news when they announced the addition of member Lori, who was featured int the Black Tinkerbell music video. However, as time went by without any releases, rumors have surfaced that both Lori and Melanie have left the group. Although nothing is confirmed, this rumor, paired with the underwhelming success of Black Tinkerbell suggests that the group may be in trouble…
Status: Inactive (though rumors say disbanded)