So far, 2016 has proven to be a terrible year when it comes to K-pop idol groups. Although the fandom remains entertained by numerous hit songs, such as “Cheer Up” by Twice, “I Like That” by Sistar, and “Fire Truck” by NCT 127, the bonds that hold K-pop idol groups together are apparent not that strong.
It all started when Seungyeon, Hara, and Gyuri of Kara announced they would not re-sign with DSP Media leaving Youngji the sole surviving member. As a result, Kara disbanded. This was followed-up with Minzy not re-signing with YG Entertainment, thus leaving 2NE1, and Jia not re-signing with JYP Entertainment and leaving Miss A. And just recently, 4minute disbanded after unsuccessful contract renewal negotiations with Jihyun, Gayoon, Jiyoon, and Sohyun, leaving Hyuna behind.
All the aforementioned news of members leaving their respective K-pop groups or K-pop groups disbanding happened within the first half of 2016. We still have the rest of 2016 to go, and there are other K-pop groups coming up for negotiations such as Secret and Rainbow, as reported by Korean news outlet Pann. However, the one girl group many K-pop fans are keeping their eyes on is f(x), specifically Krystal Jung, who is better known simply by her first name alone. Given the fact that her older sister, former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung, left SM Entertainment back in 2015, many wonder if Krystal will do the same. Ultimately, the decision is Krystal’s alone, but there are possible reasons considered as influences for Krystal to leave f(x) and SM Entertainment.
SM Entertainment Never Intended f(x) To Be Big
This is probably a statement many K-pop fans who identify themselves as MeU, the official fan club of f(x), will hate. But if any of those K-pop fans were to look back over the past seven years f(x) has performed under SM Entertainment, it seems f(x) is lacking compared to other K-pop groups signed under the entertainment agency. For starters, f(x) released four studio albums, yet their promotions seem to be very limited. This includes the lack of K-variety appearances that often accompany K-pop groups during album promotions. To be fair, not all K-pop groups are able to promote through variety shows. Yet, f(x) is signed to SM Entertainment, the biggest of “The Big Three.” As a result, getting on a variety show should have been a piece of cake.
Accompanying the lack of any real promotion outside of what SM Entertainment has done (photo shoots, video teasers, etc.), f(x) has only one tour on record as headliners, Dimension 4 – Docking Station, as promotion for 4 Walls, f(x) in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Compared to Girls’ Generation, it seems SM Entertainment kept f(x) at bay possibly so f(x) would not intercede on Girls’ Generation to some extent. As a matter of fact, the K-pop girl group created after them, Red Velvet, has been promoted more in relation to their short time since their debut. It is believed SM Entertainment is planning on making Red Velvet their next big K-pop girl group after Girls’ Generation eventually disbands.
Krystal Can Be More Open About Her Relationship With Kai
Earlier this year, it was reported that Krystal was dating EXO member and fellow SM Entertainment K-pop idol Kai. Since their relationship was made known, many netizens have criticized the relationship — mostly Krystal — since many female K-pop fans, especially the sasaengs, have a perceived view who Kai should be with. Apparently, it is not Krystal.
Unfortunately, Krystal has to act in a certain way when it comes to netizens’ criticisms of her relationship with Kai. It is a well-known fact that the fans, specifically the Korean ones, have a lot of say and power over K-pop groups in general. If Krystal was a part of Cordial Entertainment though, she would not have to worry about holding back. Cordial Entertainment seems to have been made for Jessica. Given that Jessica is Krystal’s older sister, Krystal can have more of a say if she were in Cordial Entertainment, especially reacting against netizens blatantly insulting her.
Blood Is Thicker Than Water
Probably the biggest reason for Krystal jumping off the SM Entertainment ship to join Jessica at Cordial Entertainment is simply the fact Jessica is there. They are sisters, and both have grown up in SM Entertainment, becoming big names in their respective K-pop groups. However, SM Entertainment has “hurt” both to different extents and that fact may be enough for Krystal to leave them. To explain why it is SM Entertainment, and not the Jung Sisters, doing the “hurting,” the entertainment label has a track record of issues with its talent ranging from inflexibility to slave contracts. Former TVXQ members Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, and Xiah Junsu, Han Geng formerly of Super Junior, former EXO members Kris, Luhan, and Kai, and No Min Woo formerly of TRAX are just some who are not very fond of SM Entertainment.
In Krystal’s case, she seems to receive the least amount of promotion for her solo endeavors compared to the other members after Jessica was forced out of Girls’ Generation. There is plenty of promotion of Luna and Amber’s solo music career and Victoria’s acting career in China. Krystal, though having past acting roles in High Kick: Revenge of the Short-Legged, Heirs, and My Lovely Girl, seems to have dropped off in promotions as of late. Unless a Korean television and film (or Chinese television and film in this case) fan is also MeU, most people don’t even know Krystal has upcoming lead roles in C-drama Graduation Season and C-movie Unexpected Love.
Under the Cordial Entertainment brand, there will be a lot of attention being given to Krystal simply because she is Jessica’s sister. Both sisters can work hand-to-hand, back-to-back, supporting each other on their current and future endeavors.
The aforementioned are just possible reasons and explanations on why Krystal might jump ship to Cordial Entertainment. It is possible that Krystal might be very loyal to SM Entertainment and re-sign when contract negotiations come around. In the end, most fans — specifically the international ones — who identify as MeU want to see Krystal happy. However, they do hope f(x) does stay together. It was already heartbreaking when Sulli left back in 2015, MeU does not need another member leaving one year later.
[Image via f(x)’s Official Facebook Page]