1. Girls' Generation becomes 8 members
The group may be standing 10-years strong but it is one less a member. Jessica left the group in 2014 after an awkward situation with the other members and her agency. Just a month since launching her fashion brand, "Blanc and Eclare," Jessica was asked to choose between her business and Girls' Generation. Although Jessica claims she had been transparent with SM Entertainment and had received permission to pursue her business interests, she was suddenly asked to leave the group.
2. The demise of the Wonder Girls
Girls' Generation and Wonder Girls were the biggest girl groups back in the day. In fact, Girls Generation has even pinpointed the Wonder Girls, who debuted a couple months earlier, to be their biggest rivals. The two groups shared all the spotlight, taking turns snagging the number-one spot on music charts. But Wonder Girls ultimately could not keep up with Girls Generation's 10-year streak. They had some member changes along the way -- but the group officially disbanded earlier this year.
3. All the K-Pop marriages and idol-turned parents
Some of the biggest stars we idolized are now parents! Wonder Girls leader Sunye was first to depart the group after getting married in 2013, and is now the mother of two daughters! U-Kiss didn't debut until 2008, but members Eli and Dong Ho are both happily married, each with one son. Lee Hyori does not have kids yet, but you couldn't have predicted the K-Pop diva would fly away to Jeju Island to live with her hubby!
4. Public acknowledgement of dating!
Dating is not so covert anymore for K-Pop idols. Yes, Dispatch will most likely catch them first, but stars are no longer very shy about their dating lives AND breakups! Just among the Girls Generation members, there was Tiffany and Nichkhun, Yuri and baseball player Oh Seung Hwan, Taeyeon and labelmate BaekHyun. Sadly, Sooyoung and her boyfriend, actor, are the only ones who have maintained their relationship.
5. A closer glimpse into K-Pop idols as never seen before
Some management companies have prevented idols from even owning cellphones in the past, but now, fans have a more personal access to their favorite stars thanks to social media! K-Pop idols share photos of their daily activities -- even outside of promotions -- and also exchange conversations with fans. The power of social media!
6. K-Pop conquers YouTube -- and the world in general
You couldn't have predicted that a K-Pop music video would one day become the most watched video on YouTube (it has since been surpassed). Psy's "Gangnam Style" became the first video to reach one billion views -- it now has close to three billion -- and held the "most-watched" title for five years! But in general, K-Pop has grown an enormous fan base all around the world. Back then it was an achievement if a K-pop music video received 100,000 views on YouTube.
7. Big Bang's reign in K-Pop and the world
Big Bang debuted in 2006, but it's fair to say they were the male equivalent of Girls' Generation or Wonder Girls back in the day. They are the top-grossing boy band not just in Korea but in the world -- they earned $44 million in 2016 according to Forbes. And only a powerhouse like this group could withstand some of the worst scandals in K-Pop history. Take Daesung's driving accident -- in 2011, he struck a motorcyclist who later died, but was cleared of his death. Then there was Seungri's sex scandals, and G-Dragon and T.O.P.'s marijuana scandals.
8. The foreign invasion
Hangeng of Super Junior was one of the first non-Korean idol stars to debut in Korea. When the group promoted their single "Twins," Hangeng had to wear a mask on stage to hide his identity. Visa issues restricted him from performing on stage and participating in other activities. Sadly, he has since left the group, but he definitely has paved a path for the growing foreign members to come. Now, almost every K-pop group has a foreigner member.
9. All the ugly K-Pop idol scandals
With the rise of social media and netizen's watchful eyes, it's getting more and more difficult, if not impossible, for celebs to hide any shady acts. There are the bully controversies, like with T-ara. Then there are those that involve drugs, including Park Bom's drug smuggling scandal. There are also the awkward idol group departures, like Jessica from Girl's Generation and Jay Park from 2PM. And then there are times idols have gotten into serious trouble, like Super Junior's Kangin for drunk driving.
10. K-Pop idols breaking geographic boundaries
Wonder Girls' debut in the U.S. may not have been very successful, but the influence of K-Pop idols have expanded worldwide. Girls' Generation has released a couple of their hit songs in English, including "Run Devil Run" and "The Boys." Then there's CL, who officially launched her U.S. debut with the hit, "Lifted." You may not have thought Jay Park's music career was over when he awkwardly left 2PM, but he's since formed his own entertainment label "AOMG" and just signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation. Then there's BTS, who have topped billboard charts and even won the Top Social Artist award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. And most importantly, I think it's safe to say this is only the beginning.
11. Sexy concepts reign supreme
Back in 2007, K-pop was mostly cutesy and bubbly pop. Now, sexy concepts reign supreme. There are many groups who are showing more skin and dancing provocatively that I'm sure a lot of K-pop fans back in 2007 would never have seen coming.