Posted by : KPopRanter June 17, 2013


I was web-surfing and found an article here (great blog! you should definitely check it out!) debating on whether or not some idols are useless. As said by the writer, May Berrylyn:
To be useless would mean to be in a kpop group without possessing any special talent. A useless member would essentially not help to increase the fan base, and is simply on the stage and relying on the talents and hard work of the other members.
...being useless has different aspects. A member may not contribute to the group [vocally], but that very same member may be an excellent visual, being able to grab tons of CF offers. Through this example we can see, a member may be useless in one aspect, but may be useful to the group in another. Here are the aspects:
1)     [Vocally]
2)     Dance
3)     Visually
4)     Variety
After reading the full article, I felt like creating my own version of it, breaking down the 4 main "talents" of being a K-Pop Idol, answering the questions going along with the talents and whether or not they actually serve a use.

The Vocals
Everyone can sing. That's a fact. But not everyone can sing well. Correspondingly, there are few K-Pop Idols who can actually sing better than average, taking SISTAR's vocal powerhouse, Hyorin, and B.A.P's high note machine, Daehyun, as prime examples, these two being good vocalists. 
In any case, however, among many group's main and lead vocalists, not all are even qualified to have the position (their vocals being average at most) but have to take it on because it's either the group primary purpose leans more towards dancing than singing or because their vocals are other member's vocals are worse (for example, Miss A's Suzy). Nevertheless, the vocally untalented usually do contribute to the group's talent bucket in other category such as dance, visuals or variety... but if right now, we're only dealing with the factor of the vocals, there are two questions that are left unanswered:
Are idols with poor vocal talent useful?
Yes and no. For example, the idol can be Girls' Generation Hyoyeon or Yoona, having the worst vocals in the group yet, contributing to the group in other categories. Not to mention, sometimes, the main singer isn't even the best singer, this case applying to groups like 2NE1, being that Bom is the designated main vocalist yet Minzy has the best vocals, both actually being necessary to the group's formation. Yet, if you're someone like A-Pink's ex-member Yooyoung who can't sing well, can't dance all that well, lacks in visuals, sucks in variety and has the smallest fan base in the group, you need to rethink your purpose to the team.

If an idol has good vocal technique but doesn't have a chance to sing on stage, is he/she useless?
Pretty much. If the idol has good vocal technique, from what I see, it's likely they lack in other categories like dancing or rapping because training usually focuses in developing one talent to the best of its ability while making the other talents average. For example, the case with SISTAR's Soyu and SISTAR's Hyorin. Soyu has incredible vocal talent yet, is completely overshadowed by the (as said before) vocal powerhouse, Hyorin, and isn't given her chance to shine. Therefore, what's her purpose other than to basically be a back-up singer and sing the few lines that her company throws at her while gives the rest to Hyorin? Likewise, she doesn't contribute in other categories that much either and has one of the smallest fan bases in SISTAR. Another example is Girls' Generation's Sooyoung. As stated in a previous post, she can sing, but someone can sing better, she can dance, but someone can dance better... to add, she has visuals, but someone has better visuals. She's funny on variety shows, but someone else is, too, not to mention, her fan base is probably the smallest in Girls' Generation and she gets among the least lines in the group. In fact, I remember she complained openly to SM Entertainment about that she wanted more lines because she only received eight words in I Got a Boy. Eight words. Come on, now. Before everyone goes bat-shit, defensive and out-of-control... just give yourself a second to think about it. Eight words. Eight words.

The Dance
Dancing is one of the things that differentiates idol acts from most other musical-performing acts. Using May Berrylyn's example, EXO-K's Kai, he can dance exceptionally well, yet adds his own "touch" to the rehearsed choreography that leaves a large visual component when performing. Like the vocals category, the two questions pertaining the dance are:
Are idols who merely follow the dance routine (without dancing it to their “own style”) useless?
Yes and no, again. Groups like Miss A, as stated above, focus more on dancing than singing... and if you're a member like Miss A's Jia who dances amazingly yet, is stuck in the position as lead dancer, there might be something else you're good at... like rapping, visuals or variety (again, if you're a great dancer, it's unlikely you're a great singer, too, due to training usually focuses on refining one skill). Likewise with Girls' Generation's Jessica, who, as seen in previous videos of Girls' Generation, actually can dance but just chooses not to, has her exceptional singing, beauty and a large individual fan base to make up for it. Nevertheless, if you're a member of SISTAR where Hyorin is not only the main singer, but is also the main dancer, the leader and basically the face (Oh, gosh, STAR1's. Don't try to hide it! She's basically the face of the group)... you're stuck at a hole in which you can't get out of no matter how much you wiggle...and that hole is called uselessness.

If an idol can dance well, but doesn’t have the chance to show it, is he/she useless?
Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon is the main dancer of Girls' Generation however, barely gets any screen time let alone dance solos! Even though she's the best rapper in Girls' Generation, too (they can't rap, anyway) she, unfortunately, is given barely any lines in Girls' Generation songs containing rapping like I Got a Boy and The Boys. Like really, what's up with that SM Entertainment? You even give Yoona more rap lines though she probably is the worst rapper out of all of Girls' Generation's "rappers" but give Hyoyeon only one individual line in I Got a Boy? Are you kidding me?
Honestly, I'm kind of stuck in the middle with Hyoyeon (maybe because I'm a biased or maybe, because I actually do have a point) on whether or not she's useful or useless. Her singing's the worst in the group, her dancing's barely ever showcased, she's criticized to hell for her visuals (she was most popular when she was a trainee since her dancing was superb, however, her face was the biggest issue), and her fan base is one of the smallest in the group... but she is pretty good in variety (even though that's the worst category).

The Visuals
Judging by most cases, being a visual basically means you have little to no talent but because you're pretty, you get praised. For example, KARA's Goo Hara cannot sing and her dancing isn't something to die for... but, she's visually appealing.

Are good looking members useful?
In most cases, yes. They usually have among the largest fan base, increases the group's popularity and metaphorically (sometimes even literally) puts the food on the table for the rest of the group. Like Miss A's Suzy, who, after Dream High raked in countless CF offers and brought in the money for Miss A and for JYP Entertainment. Without her, I don't know where JYP or Miss A would be right now. 

The Most Ridiculous Excuse to Be in a K-Pop Group Variety Performance
Variety-dols are the final category and are usually on TV or talk-shows a lot. Some examples are Super Junior's Shindong and ZE:A's Kwanghee, who's funny on screen and among the most popular in the group. 
Are variety-dols useful?
Yes and no. On one hand, variety-dols like ZE:A's Kwanghee and Super Junior's Shindong give the group even more popularity... in fact, ZE:A's Kwanghee is probably what still keeps ZE:A relevant, their fan base and popularity not being that large. They rake in money for the company and show their funny side, making shows more enjoyable and people want to see more of the group. However, on the other hand, if you're a misfortune variety-dol like SECRET's Hyosung who misused the word democratization and more-or-less left the group burning in flames (Hyosung was the most popular in the group), then maybe you should hold back on what you were either saying/doing... or maybe just rethink your career choice.

With all of that being said, although there are other "talents" you can probably place some group members in (about 3/4 of Pledis Entertainment's newest boy group, Seventeen, will need these categories, for sure!), these are the most important categories, leaving some idols being useful, while others being useless.

Lastly, I want to conclude by thanking May Berrylyn, hoping you surely visit the inspiration of this post.

Like our stuff? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. This is the best and the truth! Especially the part about visuals. Some of the visuals you know it's them singing due to process of elimination. Sometimes their voices sound different in various songs.

  2. You shoul problably check your information about Suzy being the money maker in JYP. He him self in an enterview said that 2PM bring in the most money for the company, they may not be working in Korea so much but they'd still been working around asia in tours and that brings in a lot of money, so it's probably them along with Suzy that keep JYP alive.

  3. Ha! This really got me going. It's true 2PM makes more money than Suzy as they're a group of 6 guys but let's think about this rationally--

    they're a group of 6 guys who work together.

    Suzy is one girl who's not even a solo artist but branches out and 2PM can only make TWICE as much as her ALONE.

    Likewise, read the thing again:

    "...usually have among the largest fan base, increases the group's popularity and metaphorically (sometimes even literally) puts the food on the table for the rest of the group. Like Miss A's Suzy, who, after Dream High raked in countless CF offers and brought in the money for Miss A and for JYP Entertainment. Without her, I don't know where JYP or Miss A would be right now."

    I never exclaimed Suzy made the most of the profit for JYP Entertainment ever in any of my sentences. I only said she made a lot of dough and truthfully, without her, JYP would not be where they are now.

  4. Maybe we'll have to wait until 2PM actually leaves JYP. I think that's
    why their trying so desperetely to promote the other new groups.
    know that they're 6 guys working together, but what I was refering to
    was that, yes Miss A probably woudn't survived without Suzy but JYP has
    been surviving only on 2PM for years before Miss A debuted, and they
    probably had to made up for the Wonder Girls failed american attempt and
    they still do now, even dividing the amount between 6 people and the
    amount they have to give to the company the still are among the most
    rich celebrities in Korea, the amount they make must be huge.
    two finacial supporters of JYP are them. So, when they leave would Suzy
    alone really be able to mantain the company for it to keep its status
    among the big 3 (other popular celebrities that make a lot of money like
    Kim Soo Hyun are in companies not nearly as big as JYP).
    Still I know she makes a lot of money alone.
    Anyway I wasn´t mad at you or anything I'm just mad at JYP.


- Copyright © K-Pop Ranter - K-Pop Ranter - About - Contact Us! -

Google Analytics Alternative