EXO is set to release a new album in mid-July, and its only Chinese member Lay will not be part of it. Lay is reportedly not part of EXO’s comeback album because of his prior professional commitments in China.
S.M. Entertainment, EXO’s management agency, has released a statement to confirm Lay’s non-participation in the group’s forthcoming album, according to Korea Boo
“Lay had an individual schedule in China for a long time and due to this, he won’t be able to participate in the comeback promotion with the group.”
Lay is reportedly regretful about not being part of the new album. He is the only Chinese member who is still with the Chinese-Korean boy band, which debuted with four Chinese idols. The other three Chinese members Luhan, Kris and Tao have exited EXO. The K-pop group now has eight Korean members and one Chinese member. Rumors have continued to swirl that Lay, too, would quit the group fairly soon, but they have just remained rumors.
But, since some time, Lay has been missing from the activities undertaken by EXO. He was unable to join EXO’s recent concert, part of their EXO’rDIUM DOT concert tour, in Seoul, and it was also due to schedule conflicts. Fans are speculating that Lay is giving EXO’s activities a miss because of the current diplomatic tension between China and South Korea.
South Korean pop stars enjoy considerable popularity in China and have a huge fan following there. But South Korea’s decision to deploy an American missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD), has made China ban all Korean entertainment related activities in the country. Since last year, K-pop stars have been unable to tour China.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, reports claimed that EXO had already worked on their title track, and they were currently practicing the choreography for it. Soompi quoted a source as saying that the agency’s representatives would be pleased with the title track. The source also hinted that EXO’s long-awaited comeback album’s new song might have something to do with “hot.”
Lay, 25, may not be part of the new EXO album, but he is expected to be busy with his acting projects and endorsements activities in China. In April 2015, S.M. Entertainment established a solo studio for him to support his activities in his home country.
Lay, whose real name is Zhang Yixing, is a regular cast member of Chinese variety program Go Fighting! And he recently starred in 32-episode Chinese drama Operation Love, where he, for the first time, played the main lead. He also featured in Jackie Chan’s movie Kung Fu Yoga.
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Image]