1. BTS Is Here To Stay
They were already white-hot for a while, but the last few weeks have been crucial to establishing BTS as the biggest stars in K-Pop. With history-making achievements on both the singles and albums charts in America, international radio play, and heavy press coverage, BTS has really lived up to their de-facto name change from "Bulletproof Boy Scouts" to "Beyond the Scene." "DNA" (and "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" before it) will be remembered as the moments when the group hit their stride, and right now, some may think they have reached their apex but it seems like there's even more room to peak.
2. Sadly, Sasaeng Fans Are Also Here To Stay
There is very little that can be said to justify the kind of stalking and personal space invasion that groups like Wanna One have had to face this year, but it's hardly a new trend in K-Pop. Overzealous fans are receiving more attention than they have in quite some time this year, making headlines for crowding airports and even chasing bands down at private hotels. While the enthusiasm of mega-fans is always appreciated, "sasaeng" fans cross boundaries with a brash confidence and disregard that often puts idols in difficult or dangerous situations.
3. Everyone Loves A Good Second Chance
After 'Produce 101' Season 2 became a fertile ground for the revitalization of NU'EST's career, suddenly idol reboot shows began picking up steam. The redemption story touched the hearts of many, and now plenty of other hopeful idols are looking to capture similar success through shows like KBS's 'the Unit' and YG's 'MIX Nine'. Every year, hundreds of performers debut with groups that don't catch on, but perhaps with the direct involvement of fans through voting systems they can make a longer-lasting impression.
4. The Previous Generation Is Disappearing
2NE1 is no longer together. Girls' Generation is effectively no longer a whole, with a total of 4 members now gone from its original lineup of 9. SISTAR is no longer together. 4minute is no longer together. Where's f(x)? Everything is bad, "Gee" was almost a decade ago and we're all getting a little bit old here.
5. An Overseas Presence Is Now The Norm
While certain mega-successful acts have taken their chances and done arena shows in America after years of building up a fan base, it's now becoming more commonplace for even recently debuted acts to establish a presence overseas through touring and promotion. Acts like KARD have changed the game by using social media and international appeal to their advantage, leveraging it for tours and TV appearances on international stages before they've even hit it big at home.
6. The Art Of The Gimmick Performance Is Still Alive
It's been a while since I've seen something like HyunA defeating zombies with the power of sexy song and dance. In this crazy world, it's worth appreciating.
7. EXO Is Worth Acting A Fool In Public For
The "Ko Ko Bop Challenge" became a meme over this summer, with fans in Korea and across the world taking videos of themselves doing the song's funky dance in public. EXO remains as a force in K-pop.