Posted by : KPopRanter August 27, 2013

Looking around at the comments, I found one that seemed extremely great to make a post on, this topic actually being one that I have somewhat covered but basically just touched the edges on. Similar to a previous post asking solely if idols were useless, I came across a comment on the recent article 'Groups' Nugu Members: Are They Really Needed' by the commenter Sylarah saying this (an excerpt of the full comment):

I would rarely call an idol useless, but I definitely think many are underutilized or simply wasted in a group.
Although to many people, it seems quite legit: Idols work so hard in training and even after training and contribute to the group through fans, talent and more so they can't be useless!, I want to argue against the popular, Mother Teresa-like opinion saying idols can be useless with three seemingly rock-hard examples to use.

  1. Not fulfilling or not expected to achieve the intended purpose or desired outcome.
vain - futile - worthless - unavailing - good-for-nothing

Do Idols Have the Ability to Be Useless?

To be honest, yes. Many believe idols receive the benefit of the doubt for their hard-work, training, sleepless nights and endless struggles however, I want to say that despite all that, there are idols who play little to no use to the group at all and as said in the previously mentioned post, if they weren't in the groups' final line-up nor debuted alongside the other members, it would go through smoothly since no one'd notice the lack (if there's even a lack there). Going back to the intro, the three rock-hard examples I wanted to use are none other than the groups A-Pink, Seventeen and T-ara--can you just guess what I'm going to say?

You all remember A-Pink's ex-member Yookyung, right? Well if you don't, here's a brief rundown of her: Placed in the group due to the size of daddy's wallet, Yookyung was not only the worst-looking in the group, but was also not that great of a singer, a dancer, a variety-dol... hell, she even had among the smallest individual fan base in the group. After her sweet, rich dad bought A-Pink's new dorm, she got the boot, even her company A-Cube Entertainment (subsidiary of Cube Entertainment) not finding use for her. If there is no prevailing characteristic to make her less futile than she was when she was in the group other than her father purchasing a dorm (they already had a dorm, was a new dorm's purchase even necessary?) and even her company kicked her out because they realized that, I cannot sit here and say that she was either "under-utilizing" or "wasted in the group" because she wasn't even under-utilizing--she wasn't even utilizing at all (under-utilizing signifies there's still some need) nor was she wasting talent or face because there wasn't much there. So... is that useless or-- 

Next example: upcoming Pledis boy group, Seventeen. If they're not splitting into sub-units (hopefully they are), each member would receive an estimated 14 seconds of video time in a 4 minute video if companies were fair. Does that not seem like enough? Okay, so let's see-- let's make the lead singer get 30 seconds, which is twice the amount of an individual's screen-time since of course, they need more shots of their singing. So who's going to receive the short end of the stick for less screen-time? Well, it's not going to be a useful member, now is it? Likewise, alongside the brutal divisions on stage, in videos and well... in payment, the guys are going to have to have brutal position divisions. I mean, how many singers can you have in a group before it's enough? How many dancers? How many rappers? What about the face--will there be multiple faces, too? With seventeen members, you cannot sit there and tell me that if just one was pulled from the final line-up--a dude who couldn't sing, dance, rap or be pretty to save his life--that it would make that big of a difference. You just can't. 

Awkward moment when there's already a lot of guys there... and that's not even all of them.
Lastly, there's Dani
The fourteen year old girl who's been rumored to join T-ara as a rapper when she can't rap to save her pubes. 
The fourteen year old girl who can't speak Korean nor can speak Japanese and can only speak English with her Chris Brown buddy. 
The fourteen year old girl who can't sing, can't dance, was picked up by Pedo Kwang Soo last year, will be out of place in the group since she's fucking fourteen years old, will have to dance to Bunny Style, will simply just wast-- 
Oh, you know her already? 

Although she's been in the Core Contents Media dungeon for the past year, how fast can a person improve their skills to speak Korean like Amber, to rap like Yoon Mi Rae, to sing like Ailee, to dance like Eunhyuk or at the very least if she can't do shit, just speak like Amber? Not to mention, it seems like she's getting hate due to all of these circumstances and of course, her addition to T-ara after both scandals will be unneeded, nugatory and... what's that word? Oh yeah--useless.

Lastly, I'm not saying all idols who can't sing the best, dance the best, rap the best or have the best face in the group are useless, (for example, CL of 2NE1 would kill the group if she wasn't there cause she livens the stage, Jessica from Girls' Generation is a necessary member towards Girls' Generation's overall success and Seungri from Big Bang is... Seungri from Big Bang) but what I am saying that in many circumstances, if a group's final line-up had that one less member or a member replacement, there'd be so little difference that well, these idols turn out to be not only under-utilizing but useless.

What do you think of the comment-ception: do idols have the ability of being useless?

P.S. I sound extremely hostile so no offense to the commenter--sarcasm and snarkiness it's simply how I get my point across so don't take it personally. Have some Hyosung to lighten the mood.

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

  1. Mmm. But what if the so-called 'useless' member's function is purely just to round out the group in terms of numbers?

    E.g. Nine Muses -- If you've watched the documentary on them you might recall their CEO going to find a replacement after one of the initial members dropped out.

    J-pop group PERFUME as well. Same thing, one member dropped out, and the two remaining members of the group were advised to add back an additional member for stage presence reasons. (Check A-chan's wiki page if you don't believe me, written there with reference to an magazine interview)

    So sure, they might(or might not) be good singers/dancers/pretty faces, but first and foremost their function is to be a warm body to raise the count. Are they useless? But conventional understanding, yes, but from the company's understanding, not at all.

    The APINK member you pointed out -- no, she is not useless. She fulfills her function of linking her father's wallet to the group. That's worth in itself (from the group/company's standpoint).

    CCM is all sorts of messy and I don't even want to try and understand how KKS thinks, so that's that.

    17 -- Well, I see your argument and I give you EXO (EXO are promoting /as one/ right now they're effectively 12), EXILE and the sister groups of EXILE whose names I cannot remember (LOL). Sheer numbers alone don't make an idol useless. In fact, have you heard of the cheerleader effect? Yeahhh.

    Uselessness is an illusion. We simply don't understand/agree with the company's use of the idol member yet.

    P.S. My point for 17 is really flimsy, but I like playing devil's advocate.

  2. I think the article is interesting and raises some very valid points with regards to idols and their uselessness (it IS hard to argue that Dani is anything by useless in terms of T-ara). There are way to many people in K-pop who have no business being in the music industry.

    That being said, the article also highlights that an idol's perceived usefulness or uselessness is considered primarily in terms of their direct contribution to the group's music (singing/rapping) or performance (dancing/looks). In theory, a group member could be useful, even important, in terms of a groups internal dynamic and marketability, while simultaneously being useless in terms of the group's music and performances.

    Also, Hyosung!!! =)

  3. Really late reply however:

    I didn't use Nine Muses for that reason. They are there to fill the count therefore, aren't even relevant in this article.

    As I noted with A Pink, I'm questioning whether or not you read the full article. It's literally right there where I said: ' If there is no prevailing characteristic to make her less futile than she was when she was in the group other than her father purchasing a dorm' implying that her only use was for her father's money and the dorm.

    17, already clarified.


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