K-Pop as we know it has grown exponentially in the past few decades. Members are in the groups we associate with them the most, songs were released at the right time, and certain acts have gotten more or less popular throughout the years. All this happened because of individual—and sometimes nationwide—decisions…but what if they didn’t happen at all? What if some events were altered even just slightly?
Netizens from Reddit have compiled a list of “what if” scenarios that had the possibility to change the K-Pop world as we know it—if they had happened. Check them out below!
1. What if Hyunseung debuted with BIGBANG?
BIGBANG almost debuted as a six-member group in 2006. The group was formed through a competition, and CEO Yang Hyun Suk picked G-Dragon, T.O.P, Daesung, Taeyang, and Seungri as the YG Entertainment trainees to make their debut. The member who was cut, Hyunseung, eventually became a vocalist and dancer of BEAST.
If he debuted in BIGBANG, the chemistry of both groups would have definitely changed!
2. What if Produce was never rigged?
If Mnet‘s Produce series was based solely on netizen votes like its premise promised, then X1 could have been one of the top groups of 2019 and onwards. They were already on track to grabbing many rookie of the year trophies at year-end award shows before Ahn PD admitted to manipulating rankings.
Now the members are either pursuing solo or duo activities or returning to their original groups.
3. What if groups were managed properly?
There is a seemingly endless number of groups that could have made it big if only their companies helped them succeed. Nine Muses, B.A.P, and PRISTIN are just a few examples of groups that were on the cusp of breaking out but never quite made it.
B.A.P was even favored to win several “Best New Rookie” awards next to EXO when they debuted in 2012.
BLACKPINK is also on the same boat. While they are undoubtedly famous, their popularity would have likely skyrocketed had YG Entertainment not delayed their comebacks and had they given the members, like Rosé, more solo activities.
4. What if BoA never debuted?
BoA was the first soloist to really make it big in the industry. Known as “Queen of K-Pop”, she was instrumental in the success of SM Entertainment as one of their most profitable acts.
Without her, it is possible that the company would not have had the revenue and connections to debut their other groups such as Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, and SHINee.
More importantly, BoA opened doors to the Japanese market as she released nine successful albums in the country. She is the only foreign artist who sold over one million copies in Japan.
5. What if China never banned K-Pop?
China began restricting the entry of K-Pop idols and music in 2016 after they deemed the Korean policy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) a risk to national security.
Not only did companies lose millions of dollars due to the ban—such as YG Entertainment’s $230 million USD loss—but groups were essentially split up. Lay has not promoted with EXO since July 2017 and Super Junior-M is no longer active. f(x) could have made it big in China because member Victoria was gaining popularity in the country.
6. What if Momo and Tzuyu never debuted with TWICE?
It’s hard to think about what TWICE would be like without their main dancer Momo and visual Tzuyu. They were added to the group at the very last minute in the survival show Sixteen, so it was thanks to CEO Park Jinyoung that their dreams were fulfilled.
Now Momo is known as one of the best dancers in K-Pop and Tzuyu was even named 2019’s most beautiful face. Without them, it is possible that TWICE would not have become the top girl group of their generation. After all, Momo and Tzuyu are fully loved by their members and ONCEs all over the world.
7. What if men did not have to enlist in the military?
Finally, while this is definitely a controversial topic, it is true that K-Pop would look completely different if men did not leave for two years to serve in the military. The top groups from the second generation may have remained equally popular today. SHINee, for instance, would all be promoting together instead of Taemin doing solo activities.
On the other hand, fans would have never seen the best of their idols if military enlistment was not mandatory. Taecyeon of 2PM received praise for doing his best to enlist, going so far as to receive surgery to correct his poor back condition so that he would be allowed to serve in the military.
Whatever has happened or could have happened, the K-Pop industry is what it is. Instead of dwelling on the “what if’s”, it may be better to look at the future!