Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

K-pop group X1 disband after television voting scandal

The 11-member boy band had a promising start to their career

Korean boy band X1 have announced their disbandment. Getty 
Korean boy band X1 have announced their disbandment. Getty 

South Korea’s K-pop industry has been rocked by its version of the Milli Vanilli scandal, causing one of its most promising group to disband.

Where the Dutch Euro-pop group, Milli Vanilli, quit after it was discovered they weren’t singing any of their tunes, X1 called it a day after news emerged that their formation on the television talent quest, Produce X 101, was manipulated.

On November 5, the show’s producer Ahn Joon Young was arrested and confessed to rigging the public vote count to ensure the desired 11 members made it through to ultimately form X1.

As a result of the scandal, a string of public appearances and concerts were cancelled and the band went into hiatus to consider their future.

On January 6, X1 confirmed it has disbanded due to a lack of agreement between the various organisations involved in managing the group.

“Hello. This is Play M Entertainment, Yuehua Entertainment, TOP Media, OUI Entertainment, MBK Entertainment, Woollim Entertainment, DSP Media, Starship Entertainment, and Brand New Music,” read the statement. “The X1 members and each of the agencies negotiated under the condition of unanimous agreement, but we could not come to an agreement, so we have decided on their disbandment.”

The news marked an ignominious end to what was a promising start for the band. After the line-up was formalised in July last year, the group starred in their own reality show X1 Flash, with fans being able to track their growing stardom weekly.

Early career highlights included wining a K-pop band contest The Show with their signature track Flash, in addition to dropping their self-titled EP X1 , which went on to sell 500,000 physical copies.

As for the future for band members, some may find it easier to continue their career than others.

Cho Seung-youn is a known name in the industry, having being a member of the group Uniq in 2014. Lee Han-gyul is also a seasoned performer having been a part of the boyband IM, while Kim Woo-seok initially started his career under the name Wooshin.

A popular industry in crisis?

The X1 scandal marks another low point for the K-Pop industry, which has faced increasing scrutiny regarding the pressures it places on its young talents.

The scene was shocked last year with Choi Jin-ri, known as Sulli, and Goo Hara, took their lives within months of each other. This came on top of rising star Kang Daniel (who was once a part of the boy band Wanna One) announcing his indefinite break from the rigours of the industry for the sake of his mental health.

Despite the criticism, the industry continues to grow internationally and has recently made major inroads into the region.

Last year saw the best-selling group BTS perform in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. Meanwhile, in 2018, Dubai's Autism Rocks Arena hosted a K-Pop festival featuring major artists from SM Entertainment including Exo, Girls’ Generation, SHINee and Red Velvet.

Updated: January 7, 2020 05:39 PM

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