We are already in the first half of the year and it is indeed speeding past. However, the excitement has not stopped as all month and there is so much more to come in July. Before we dive head first into Summer, let’s quickly look back at some of the top News stories this month from big events, controversy and US debuts in the making.
01. Produce 48 in Full Swing.
First there was I.O.I, then Wanna One and now there will soon be another group added to the ranks The highly anticipated collaboration between the “Produce” series and AKB48, Japan’s biggest girl group has finally begun and Produce 48 is now in full swing. Three episodes have passed and now we are into the much loved Team Battles, which sees K-Pop trainees and members of the AKB48 teams performing songs such as “Peek-A-Boo”, “Love Whisper” and even their senior group I.O.I’s “Very Very Very”. Alongside these highly waited performances, there is already some recognisable favourites; including previous SIXTEEN contestant, Lee Chaeyeon, Starship Enterainment trainee, Ahn Yujin and Soompi Rising Legends winner, Alex Christine. Two trainees are also causing a stir as they are pitting against each other to become the current center position. Both HKT48’s Miyawaki Sakura and Pledis’ Lee Kaeun (previously of After School fame) are currently big fan favourites but with no restrictions of the nationality balance, anything can happen as the competition hots up.
02. B1A4 Departure?
As one of the well-known rookie groups of their generation, B1A4 always brought their kooky style and meaningful lyrics to the table in every comeback but now, it is possible that we may not see another comeback from WM’s boy group. With their contracts currently being discussed, news soon spread like wildfire that leader Jinyoung and main rapper Baro would be departing from WM Entertainment, while Sandeul, CNU & Gongchan would renew their contracts. BANAs worried that this may be the end of the group but since the news, their company has released an official statement which confirmed their departure. However, they also informed fans that they would be revising the group, looking into the future possibility of either promoting with the three members or continuing their contract as individuals. However, any word of disbandment has not been confirmed at this time. Regardless, we wish all of B1A4 the best in their own respective goals.
03. YG in Hot Water… Again.
YG Entertainment seemed to pull out all the stops for damage control this month but it doesn’t seem to be enough as controversy seems to follow the company ever since the cancellation of the MIXNINE group’s debut. This month has seen official action being taken against the company from Happy Face Entertainment, a company who houses MIXNINE winner, Woo Jin Young and Dreamcatcher who appeared alongside the #1 ranked trainee. In June 18th, Happy Face announced that they would be suing YG for compensation of damages up to 10,000,000 KRW ($9,000). The official statement noted complete disregard on YG’s side with very little communication and “Gapjil”, the act of a higher privileged class against the lower class with little reason. This is being led with the belief of the company using its well-known name to willingly take action on the trainees with any consideration from the lesser known companies who permitted the participation of their trainees. YG Entertainment has noted that they would be counter suing but that is not the only sign of “Gapjil” from the company this month. G-Dragon has been accused of getting special treatment while serving in the military through his various hospital visits and noted to have been staying in a hospital room which is reserved for colonels when he is only a private first class. Since then, he has been forced out of his hospital room while recovering for surgery but there has been little word from YG aside from confirmation that G-Dragon was discharged before returning to his service so there may be more to the rumors than anticipated which may all be revealed in the coming month.
04. US Debuts
Finally this month, we see K-Pop slowly breaking into the major market with artists such as BTS already paving the way. Former Girls Generation member, Tiffany – now known as Tiffany Young has now released her debut US track, “Over My Skin” and with a music video possibly in the works, we cannot wait to see her in action and performing the track live too. Along with the official debuts, there may be one more coming in the form of BLACKPINK. With their “Square Up” release, they are receiving a lot of love and offers from American labels who are desperate to get BLACKPINK in their area. YG Entertainment have said that they are currently looking into it but nothing has been confirmed but as “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and “Forever Young” rise in the charts, it may be soon enough so watch this space.