It all started with "Bo Peep Bo Peep" that I started liking T-ara's music. I listened to everything that they released at that time, but I honestly never tried to learn their names. I've probably already mentioned that I'm terrible with remembering Korean names, especially if there are more than five members in a group. Their sound was fun, catchy, and actually had some sort of substance to it. Their image seemed almost contradictory to their sound, but they were easily likable to me.
In 2010, I was surprised to see the introduction of Hwayoung to the group as well as their newest video at the time for "Yayaya". Although I enjoyed this nonsensical and fun song, I was confused by the member addition. Even though I didn't know the members' names, I could tell that the line distribution with their songs wasn't even among the six members. Adding a seventh member would be ridiculous and seeing their next releases, my point was proven. They hardly utilized their newest member and their music became more like catchy hooks and lackluster substance with "Roly Poly" and "Lovey Dovey".
Finding out this year that two more members would be added to the group made me and I'm sure others very upset. I'm sure adding more members to the group wouldn't make them any better especially when only less than half of the girls sing and the material was extremely simplified. What really jarred fans about the member addition was the CEO of Core Contents Media Kim Kwang-soo who encouraged competition between the girls as well as threating their positions if the girls caused any problems. Who would've thought problems would occur? ohohoho
T-ara has been pegged as either the hardest working female idol group as well as the laziest, but I think the lazy comment comes from Mr. Kim Kwang-soo. The girls haven't had a break since their debut in 2009 and some of the girls' schedule are packed with twelve different things in the day. I've heard accounts of exhaustion causes, the girls secretly inputting that they haven't had a break, and jokes about starvation for a promotion. From modelling, TV appearances, dramas, and music, these girls probably do more than any other girl group in a day and KKS wants to call them lazy!
I thought SM Entertainment was the evil of evil, but this guy is a slave driver and apparently this isn't his first offense with a group either. So, what brought about this post against him is the situation with Hwayoung's departure that has gone completely out of control. Recently, Hwayoung decided not to attend a performance for Music Bank which a couple of the members had to learn her parts and rework choreography to make up for her absence. There were Twitter posts from some of the girls questioning her determination pertaining the group and she responded with her own reply. This brought up the subject of potential bullying within the group. There hasn't been much hard evidence whether the bullying situation occurred or not and we will probably never know, but fans and anti-fans have drawn their own conclusions on the matter causing a T-ara disbanding petition, fan cafes shutting down, netizens demanding them to be removed from guest appearances on TV, and several endorsements to be pulled from the members. It seems the majority are putting the blame on the girls for this shit storm of drama, but the real root of the problem is Kim Kwang-soo's lack of professionalism.
I already mentioned that I thought Hwayoung's addition seemed and was proven pointless until the release of "Day by Day" this year. KKS obviously doesn't know how to utilize the members he has and help build their skills to be better than other top female idol groups. Adding more members to the mix just causes more problems and as proven by the charts, makes you lose your ranking as a popular act among the masses. This is the reason I don't like too many members in a group. Perhaps I should call it the Pussycat Dolls method where only certain people sing and everyone else is just dance filler. Along with the useless member additions, the latest additions have an age gap between the existing members and I believe it's Dani that lacks a lot of skill that I'm pretty sure KKS isn't going to take care of. She's not a very good rapper and she appears to lack the ability to converse in Korean. This could cause a lot of problems with the already unsettle chemistry with the girls and having a threat thrown their way by the CEO isn't going to help.
Pertaining the tweets, KKS was too late to do the damage control that fans and antis have formulated and his cover ups were a complete failure. It was obvious everything he said was complete bs since he would change his story to a point. First, the girls' Twitter accounts were hacked, then he discussed the bullying situation that never occurred and threw the whole determination nonsense that Hwayoung seemed to be lacking. He later adds that Hwayoung contract termination was due to her "diva" attitude and that there were complaints from stylists and other staff members. They honestly shouldn't have any power over such decisions, but it's KKS. He also says that the testimonies from dancers and other staff members that support Hwayoung's case were false. While he was doing a poor job of cleaning up the mess fans and himself had made, he wanted to continue with their concert and promotions, but finally decided to postpone it for next year...if the girls actually survive this nonsense. I guess he got the hint after fans demanded refunds for their concert tickets. To make matters worse and a bit confusing was when Eunjung gave a thank you and apology message to the fans. It seemed a bit out of place and possibly unnecessary. Even more suspicious was Hwayoung's apology to the fans as well that seemed forced. Those who have been paying close attention to KKS's puppetry work may suspect some foul yakuza play going on between him, Hwayoung, and possibly her family. There was a subtle threat in one of his messages to her about her keeping her mouth shut, but on the other hand, he also offers to support her entertainment career if she accepts her wrongdoings. I honestly hope she doesn't go back to him either.
Aside from KKS being a lousy CEO, places like AllKPop are totally not helping the situation either by offering fans tabloid-esque information on such a serious situation that may involve bullying. Fans eat up the information they get without thinking and immediately lash out without logically thinking everything out. Of course, antis are quick to jump in as well since they feed off drama and negativity whenever they get the chance. I'm sure places like that do provide some good information but sometimes you can tell they're in it for the hit counts on their site. Sometimes their information isn't carefully researched either and have errors or contradicting statements. You have to have a good eye on how to weed out the bs from such articles or you get exaggerated narratives from fans and antis. Fans also need to stop making up bullying evidence as well from variety shows and hidden messages in tweets. Anything could be considered something else when taken out of context.
I think fans need to chill out for a moment and really look at the situation with the girls, Hwayoung, and Kim Kwang-soo. If you're going to be pointing fingers at anyone, it should be the CEO who has added all the stress, competitive attitudes, and drama. If he made better decisions for the direction of T-ara and even the member additions, perhaps things would be better now for everyone. For now, they will definitely have a hard time coming back from this.