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Posted by kwon_hk AKP STAFF 17 days ago

Idols of 2010 vs. 2018 - Comparing the performances, dances, and controversies

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Just a few years ago, the word 'K-pop' only brought up the thought of Psy's "Gangnam Style" to those who were not familiar with the genre. Now, the industry has gone from one-hit wonders to a global takeover - from BTS's attendance at the 'American Music Awards,' multiple idols' world tours, and Black Pink's collaboration with English singers like Dua Lipa. People who entered the realm of K-pop in the last few years are entering the most exciting years for the industry as the genre gains even more popularity and appeal among an ever-growing non-Asian audience.


We must not forget, however, that there was a time where this was certainly not true. Multiple first-generation and second-generation idols and groups like Se7en, BoA, Girls' Generation, and 2NE1 have tried to break the western market before the age of BTS, Black Pink, TWICE, and Red Velvet. Needless to say, the current state of K-pop has a lot to thank the older generation idols and groups for their consistent work and effort to maintain an audience that has only gotten more passionate over the years to bring the industry to where it is today.


As audiences change from local to global, idols and groups also change to fit the tastes of a wider audience. This, however, is not to say that they are conforming to any norm or becoming too Westernized. Much of the change that we've seen in the last decade or so also can be contributed to a changing society internally – Korea's trendsetting pace of fashion, technology, and societal norms as well as the huge wave of idol groups debuting each year affect the strategy, presentation, and performance of the idols that we know and love today.


LIVE PERFORMANCES


I remember in 2010 when miss A debuted with "Bad Girl Good Girl." Their first live performance was powerful, passionate, and sexy. Shortly after their debut, news outlets were going crazy over the fact that they were so good at their live performance. Indeed, if you see the performance, the girls' strong movements shake their voice up, but for the most part, they are incredibly stable and on-pitch throughout the performance. Other performances like 2NE1's "Go Away" and "Can't Nobody" from 2010 are also clearly live, being shaken up by the choreography.




In 2018, I'm not sure if I see so many of such organic, raw live performances anymore. Groups like MAMAMOO are notorious for their crazy-good live performances, but other groups have been caught lip-syncing or using a "pre-recorded" version of their live performances. Black Pink, TWICE, and even Girls' Generation have been indicted for using such pre-recorded performances for most of their broadcasts, even though in other occasions they have been seen singing live. Perhaps this is due to the increased complexity and difficulty of the choreography that accompany the songs (TWICE's "Dance the Night Away" is notorious for being one of the most difficult songs the group has performed).


Pre-recorded vocals were rarely used in 2010, and groups either sang completely live with background vocals or they lip-synced, after which they received backlash like Son Dambi did with her initial performances of "Queen," after which she promptly started singing live. Whether the changing atmosphere of live performances is good or bad, it seems that idols have come to focus more on the overall visual impact and quality of the performance (through choreography, outfits, etc.) than simply the audible component of it.


DANCES

Dances to K-pop songs are like bread and butter. Most, if not all, title tracks of idols' and groups' albums and releases are accompanied by some sort of choreography. This is one of those things that has not changed since 2010. But as I said before, the difficulty, precision ("knife-like" choreography), and dedication to choreography have drastically increased in the past decade.


SHINee, one of the pioneers of the precise, "knife-like" choreographies really started the boom with their dance practice video of "Lucifer" in 2010. Ever since then, more and more idols have put out their dance practice videos as YouTube became a mainstream platform for many agencies and companies (and as music videos began to garner more and more views). It came to a certain point where some idols' dance practice videos received more views than their music videos.




Other technology-related advances like professional-level cameras that captured infamous videos of idols dancing like EXID's Hani dancing to "Up and Down" and 1theK's dance competitions boosted the appeal and popularity of dance videos. And due to the high visibility of dances through fan-cams, practice videos, and competitions, choreographies to dances have put on an even more important meaning for many idol groups in 2018 than they did in 2010.


CONTROVERSIES

Rumors and scandals have been an integral part of K-pop since the beginning, whether you like it or not. Countless idols have been literally been disbanded (in the case of 2NE1), and if not, permanently dismantled from their glory days (in the case of T-ara).  Social media use has increased tremendously since 2010, and with even more eyes on idol groups with a global audience, idols' "mistakes" are under even more scrutiny.


In 2012, T-ara, who used to rule the charts with basically every single track they released, got caught up in controversy with rumors claiming that one of their members had been bullied and was forced to leave the group. This caused a flurry of speculation and rumors and a lot of backlash against the members of T-ara. While T-ara tried to continue their promotions, netizens and public opinion of them plummeted, diminishing their success to a shadow of their former glory days.


In 2014, 2NE1's member Park Bom was also caught up in a controversy involving drugs. While she continued to perform in 2NE1's world tour at the time, she promptly fell off the face of the internet and only broke her silence by showing up as a surprise in the '2015 MAMA' in Hong Kong. Still, that was not enough to keep the group together, as Minzy left the group which was followed by the group's disbandment.


In 2018, HyunA, formerly part of 4minute, dealt rather coolly with a controversy regarding her surprise announcement that she was dating rookie idol E'Dawn of Pentagon. After a few back and forths with her agency, Cube Entertainment, she eventually left the company, as Pentagon's future was put into question.


There are more cases of idols and groups being involved in controversies, like MAMAMOO's blackface incident or Tiffany's Instagram rising sun flag post during Korea's Liberation Day. However, if there is one thing that hasn't changed since 2010 to this day, is a cyclical problem of rumor-spreading, speculation, and hate comments that blow up these controversies to endless limits. The backlash each group or idol receives in face of controversy sometimes seems excessive, unfair, and outright demeaning. While their honesty and transparency have increasingly helped idols get out of holes, the netizens' passion for bringing others down seems to have not changed one bit since a decade ago.


I've discussed the three things that I've seen changes from 2010 to 2018 in the world of K-pop. What else has changed or not changed since 2010? Leave a comment below! 


SEE ALSO: PLT's Jung Jinwoo releases ethereal music video for sub-title track 'Color'

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Giosa 17 days ago 0
17 days ago

What about when Kpop idols get married? For example, Super Junior's Sungmin got married and fans were upset that they were not informed earlier and wanted him out of Super Junior and ever since this controversy took place Sungmin was unable to promote or participate in any Super Junior activities which is really sad. I wish kpop fans can understand that at sime time or the other these idols will reach a certain age where they will find their better half and would want to get married. It's just part of life.

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teleri 16 days ago 0
16 days ago

Left out the biggest scandal of KPop, in 2010 and arguably still - the TVXQ split. Whatever opinion I may have on who's the baddy, I still manage to dissolve in tears whenever I watch a new TVXQ duo video, thinking of what might have been. Same for JYJ to a point although with them I tend to get more indignant over them not being allowed on SK musical and variety shows illegally for so long.

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seoksin 16 days ago 0
16 days ago

I'm not sure what loves you were watching but lip syncing and heavy back tracks have always been a thing, it wasn't until later that some of the music shows made it a requirement to sing live. the infamous mr removed of t-ara? coed? i feel groups sing more now than they did in 2010.


also, I'm pretty sure it was infinite and btd that started the precision trend, not shinee

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anna_sueweeties 14 days ago 0
14 days ago

i'm tears in happiness... thank you so much for acknowledged missA... the girls always try their best in every comeback and always known for singing LIVE in every performances put aside good or lack, it just their things for not to lip sync. Also they always known for their unique & strong choreography with the empowering women songs style... i've become a Kpop fan because of missA & they will always be my Ultimate Bias GG back then, now & forever... fellow #sayA stay strong & keep moving on in our own path without forgetting our roots & memories whtr it's bitter or sweet, thanks for being there at that time together with me >__________<

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-2

SoshiMECH 17 days ago 12
17 days ago

You better have some strong evidence to back up this ridiculous accusation? "Blackpink.... have been indicted for using such pre-recorded performances for (?) MOST (?) of their broadcasts" Do you actually belive Blackpink doesn't perform live for most of their broadcasts (???) despite the overwhelming evidence that they can and do sing live very well? You better hope that YG doesn't read this article!

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hexrealm 16 days ago 5
16 days ago

Able to sing live well doesn't mean they will do live everytime and there are many versions of pre-recording, some can sound live to make you think so. Just saying.

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SoshiMECH 16 days ago 4
16 days ago

Saying they don't sing live every time is not even close to saying they don't sing live most of the time! Blackpink has clearly shown their ability to sing live on a number of occasions and has been spending weeks practicing so they can sing live at there Korean concert. YG has a long history of choosing artists with real talent and takes pride in their ability to perform live, so God help the writer of this defamatory article if YG reads it!

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Donna_Dash 16 days ago 5
16 days ago

Just because they CAN sing live doesn't mean that they always do. Most of their TV performances are not live and that's a fact if you want live vocal from blackpink than you have to find fancams of their festival stages or when they're on tour. There's no reason to be mad tho 99% of all groups lypsync or have pre-recorded vocals it's really not that big of a deal.

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-5

Wang_Sejung 17 days ago 6
17 days ago

Thank you AKP for highlighting the 2 biggest scandals who ruined our reputation around the world. Bully gang T-ara who bullied my unni Hwayoung and as you said Karma hit them very hard and while my unni Hwayoung is very successful as actress bully sluts T-ara are in hiatus. After failing in China they tried to return in Korea but we korean public we didn't forgive them ! As Bom the addicted smuggler monster she just screw up 2ne1 and was the main cause of 2ne1 disbandment, I really hope our gvt will deport Park Bom to USA and will save our youth from drug addiction.

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3

Izzie2019 17 days ago 4
17 days ago

you need na award for the most ignorant comments on the internet. does your life consists in hating and judging others? if so thats really really sad.

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-2

Wang_Sejung 17 days ago 3
17 days ago

if you call Gangster and drug smuggler " People" it's your choice but despise these dirty specimen !

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xhecthor 16 days ago 0
16 days ago

The biggest scandal was when SM kicked my baby Jessica out of SNSD. And you better stop bullying my T-ARA girls, they are innocents of all that shit. And you unnie Hwayoung recently got into more controversies for her terrible actions.

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