Posted by : KPopRanter August 16, 2013

I've noticed that in every single group, there's at least one member who doesn't get an equal or sufficient amount of either screen time in music videos, in distribution lines during songs or center stage in performances and even at fan-signings, doesn't even get enough to be even be the equivalent of half of the rest of the number in the relevant members' lines. Those people get paid the least overall, find happiness in even getting a small cheer when it's their turn to sing on live stages and complain the most about their lack of lines or lack of popularity on television shows. If it wasn't for the group, that person would be no where, lacking enough strength to support their own solo careers and lacking enough attention from the company to launch an acting career, these people are more-or-less dead ends.
Regarding this, on a rather recent episode of the television show Happy Together 3, the groups', SISTAR, Super Junior and 4 Minute, invited their own nugu members to finally get their few minutes of fame, confessing to the public their own frustrations of always being in the back:

Soyu said, "Our group has done a lot of variety shows and it's been over 3 years since our debut so each member seems to have found their own niche. For programs focusing on vocal ability, Hyorin has made herself known as the main vocalist of the group. Bora started becoming known for her athleticism so she's done a lot of variety around that, and as for Dasom, she's picked up acting. So with three years having passed, when the agency asked me, 'Soyu, what do you want to do?', it's like, what can I even do now?" She also lightheartedly pointed out that MC Park Myung Soo kept forgetting her name on a radio program previously, calling her Dasom or Bora.

Gayoon revealed that she could relate, as she said, "There are times when I've been embarrassed before because when HyunA would come to the front, people would scream while they wouldn't when the other members would come out... However, I'm quite realistic so I think of it as an obvious thing now, but sometimes when the reaction is really severe, it does get to me a little."

Hearing Gayoon talk about her experience, Henry chimed in, "It was really severe for me. As you know, all the SuJu members are really famous, and I joined later. So when there were fan signings, all the members would sit in a row, and the fans would line up.  While the other members had an immense amount of people line up, my line had about maybe 10 or 20. So like how [Gayoon] was talking about the screaming when introducing members, for us, when the other members were being introduced, everyone would scream, but when I was introduced, it would just be quiet claps."

Are these members, as well as other groups' nugu members, really even needed?
Most K-Pop Mother Teresa's online would say something along the lines of "every K-Pop Idol is useful" but, that is clearly a bunch of Kumbaya bull shit. Genuinely, I believe the need for the nugu members only relies and depends on a few circumstances, talent not even being a key part (for example, SISTAR's Soyu can sing well but is a nugu member and overshadowed by Hyorin). It depends mostly on how much the company is willing to market the member to the public and whether or not it's completely effective. Simply a few years ago, you'd never even hear of Hyoyeon having a large fan base because she was the nugu member of Girls' Generation. But with the company, SM Entertainment, promoting her a bit more as well as her 'blossoming' looks, it's safe now to say that she relieved herself as the least popular member of Girls' Generation. Likewise, 4 Minute's 2YOON wouldn't have even happened if it wasn't for Cube Entertainment attempting to push the two to fame which is similar to Henry's solo debut with Trap around the time Eunhyuk revealed Henry and the other SuJu-M member, ZhouMi, weren't official members.

But if you're a group... let's say by the name of SISTAR who has been doing basically nothing to promote all four members and rather, just specific members like Hyorin (mostly) and Bora or like Miss A who is going full out with Suzy, sprinkling a bit of fame to Fei and then forgetting the other members Min and Jia's names... that's a big issue.

I'm not saying that their untalented people because most of the time, the most talented people end up being the least popular like Big Bang's Daesung whereas the ones who have the best face and can smile pretty like Yoona get most of the glory, however, I'm just noting that if the group were to... let's say debut without those members even present... it would go smoothly and no one would even notice the subtraction.

Altogether, though I wish equality among groups were a bit more distributed like KARA, SHINee and Brown Eyed Girls, it's hard to not do that, the public usually finding one or two members that they find most appealing and then shoving the rest into the 'nugu-zone' without a second's hesitation. And while many nugu members do hold a lot of talent, it's hard or just simply too much work to market them all and these members not only become the members with the least pay but also the members that really, don't have much use in them.

What do you think about group's nugu members? Useless, useful--comment below!

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

  1. I would rarely call an idol useless, but I definitely think many are underutilized or simply wasted in a group.

    Personally, I dislike it when companies, like SME and CMM, seem to shove as many people into a group as humanly possible, regardless of their talent or actual usefulness to the group (Does your group REALLY need another "rapper"?).

    I don't know whether I find it worse when an idol's talents are being wasted or when an idol doesn't contribute anything to the group (whether it is because of the idol's own lack of skills and/or the company's unwillingness to properly train and promote them).

    It's clear that not all companies have realized that investing in the training and promotion of all the members of a group CAN be valuable for both the company, the group itself, and their fans.

  2. I think most of these "nugus" still contribute in the sense that they form part of the group's identity. SNSD has some "useless" members but you know the fandom would go apeshit if SM booted any of them out of the group. Same with most other groups.


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