‘Produce 101’ Contestant Lee Hae In Leaves Agency, Won’t Debut With Lee Soo Hyun
During its airing, Produce 101 was one of the more popular music competition shows on Korean television. A lot of its popularity had to do with who participated and what was at stake: female talent from numerous agencies hoping to be a part of a girl group backed by a huge corporation.
Participants who became members of the Produce 101 girl group would do wonders for their careers. We know that to be a fact because Ideal of Idol, better known as I.O.I., has been one of the most popular girl groups to ever exist in K-pop recently. Almost every album they released, either it is an extended play (EP)/mini-album or long play (EP)/full-length studio album, have been successful selling up to the hundreds of thousands like their final K-pop comeback, a farewell single titled “Downpour.”
What some K-pop fans don’t know is that being a contestant on Produce 101 could be enough to jumpstart careers. For example, many former contestants of the music competition variety show who did not make it on I.O.I. are now members of K-pop girl groups. DIA and Gugudan come to mind.
Not all former Produce 101 former contestants are able to keep the ball rolling when handed an opportunity for one reason or the other. Case and point: Lee Hae In. Sadly for her, she had to leave her agency which also means she will not make her highly-anticipated debut with Lee Soo Hyun.
The news of Lee Hae In leaving her label and agency, HYWY Entertainment, was first made known on her official Instagram. She uploaded a post with a very lengthy caption explaining why she left. For those who are unable to read Hangul, a direct translation (which means there might be spelling and grammar issues) is provided below.
“Hello, this is Lee Hae In.”
“I want to right some hate comments and misunderstandings, and I am writing this because I don’t want to hurt everyone who have been with me and Soohyun.”
“First of all, the reason why I left HYWY is because I have a trauma from all the problems while I was at SS. I was having a hard time, and I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.”
“After that, it was hard for me to live in a dorm, so I talked multiple times with the label and while I had to prepare to debut as a team, I could not have hard training because of both my mental and physical health issues. The hospital suggested I rest, and I was scared I would harm [the team] and I didn’t know if I would be able to recover in a short time, so I told the label I wanted to be taken out of the debuting team.”
“The label took my condition into account and helped me in various ways. The members and the label worried about my condition more than anything else, and they accepted my requirements without any conditions, and left the possibilty of my debuting open when I recovered. Even after I left the label, they were worried about me and helped me at the drama filming that had already been scheduled. I want to confirm that nothing between us went badly like some people are thinking.”
“It wasn’t that I had left after I debuted, but left as a trainee, so it was difficult for the label to make an official statement. We decided to do our best without making any statements, but I am writing because misunderstandings keep happening in the silence, and I think it’s important to right it even if it’s late.”
“Suhyun is currently preparing for her debut, so I can’t see her, but I still talk to all the members and the staff, and I’m doing better than before!”
“I have recovered completely during 6 months of treatment and rest, and I am talking with the label about what to do from here. I am planning to come back with good news before the end of the year, so please wait for me just a little. And I hope everyone shows love to Soohyun’s team, because they’re such good, bright kids.”
“While I took my first break in 8 years, I realized how precious this was to me. I’m so thankful to my friends and fans who helped me win over this without giving up, and I’m writing this because I really am okay now, so I want to say you don’t have to worry.”
“I’m sorry to Soohyun, who must have suffered from the lack of statements, and also to my fans, and I’m also grateful. I won’t worry you from now on and only come back with good news!”
It is sad that Lee Hae In can’t continue onward with her K-pop career at the moment. As mentioned earlier, many were expecting to see her debut with Kim Soo Hye whom she apologized profusely to in the above message. As for the girl group she was supposed to debut under, it is called I.B.I. which also features Kim So Hee, Yoon Chaekyung, Han Hyeri, and Lee Soo Hyun.
We only hope the best for Lee Hae In gets well soon so she can get back to doing what she loves. As for I.B.I., it is expected they will continue onward as a four-member group. Maybe when Hae In is feeling better, she’ll be added in.
[Featured Image by HYWY Entertainment]