Good day everyone!
This post will surely get downvoted a lot due to the topic but this article aims at analyzing double standards for boy groups and girls groups in Kpop : here auto-tune.
First, what is auto-tune? Auto-Tune is an audio processor which uses a proprietary device to alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances. It is originally used to correct off-key vocal mistakes but is also used to give a ‘soothing’ or ‘robotic’ feel to a song.
Second, any true Kpop fan knows that Kpop is sadly full of sexist double standards, Korea being a very conservative and patriarcal society. These double standards mainly concern sexiness on stage for example, Wanna One's Kang Daniel and BTS's Jungkook constantly getting praised for lifting their shirts while girl groups like AOA or Sistar get literally censured by Music shows for wearing skirts as well as getting slut shamed on forums. If you have any doubts about the existence of the issue, please watch this 3-minute youtube video.
In March 2019, a month ago, 6-member girl group EVERGLOW debuted in Korea under Yue-Ha Entertainment with Bon Bon Chocolat as their title track. The girls gathered much attention because of their unique choreography (by 1 Million Dance studio's co-founder Lia Kim) as well as the vibe of their song, mainly caused by the large presence of auto-tune in their vocals. Even though EVERGLOW proved to the public they can sing without auto-tune (listen to their Mr Removed here), the girls received thousands of hate comments stating they were incapable of singing and were bashed for weeks on social media.
[+1998/-156] Failed Idols
[+1179/-42] They are so bad at singing lol, auto-tune is so 1990s why bring it now ? They should consider becoming back-up dancers for real
[+850/-28] We were going fine with Cherry Bullet and ITZY but N-everglow came in ;(
[+788/-4] The auto-tune ruins the song, thank you everglow for hurting my ears -.-
On the other hand, global phenomenon BTS made their come back yesterday (12th April) with dreamy and romantic title track 'Boy With Luv' (a reference to their 2014 track 'Boy In Luv') featuring Halsey, 24 year-old singer considered to be 2019's rising star in the USA after charting #1 with 'Without Me' on Billboard in 2018. 'Boy With Luv' slayed worldwide charts, selling more than 3 million albums before the official release and the MV being the most watched YouTube video in 24 hours of all times (unofficially 78M views according to Twitter fan accounts). The song perfectly conveys a romantic and soothing feel thanks to the boys' and Halsey's voices but also because of the auto-tune used by producers.
However, on social media and forums, BTS didn't get any hate or criticism because of the auto-tune used in their song :
[+2901/-300] That song is sooooo soothing and relaxing, it is produced so well and Jimin-oppa voice oh my <3
[+2587/-350] Halsey's voice is so beautiful, the auto-tune is so well mixed I feel high but I still wanna dance lmao
[+1803/-165] Everything is PERFECT about that song : the voices, the instrumental, the lyrics and the visuals <3 <3 <3
People therefore seem very satisfied with BTS's comeback and rather appreciate how the song was mixed, including the auto-tune which was highly praised on forums and social media.
Here is the problem, why does BTS get praised for using auto-tune on their title track while EVERGLOW doesn't and even gets hate and insults? Some people could say that BTS is already very well known and everybody knows what they are capable of, if they want to use auto-tune they can, they have nothing to prove to anybody. EVERGLOW on the contrary, is a rookie group and nobody knows what they can do, so using that much auto-tune makes the girls appear as tone deaf. The issue is that the girls were already well known before debut, especially Yiren and Sihyun who participated to Mnet hit show 'Produce 48' and both ranked extremely well (#28 and #27 respectively). Yue Ha Enter. also posted videos of the girls singing and training prior to debut; proving to the general public that they could actually sing. Finally, as mentioned in this article above, the Mr Removed clearly shows the girls can sing live just as well without any auto-tune.
So what do you think? Is it a double standards issue or is it because BTS's auto-tune was well used while EVERGLOW's song sounded off? Let us know in the comments!