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Idol Groups Only Have a Few Words in Solo Parts as Number of Members Increase

“The Beauty of Four Seconds.”

This is the snarky label from the Internet for Heechul, member of an idol group Super Junior who only has four seconds of solo singing time in “Sorry Sorry,” the title song for the group’s third album. Together, there are 13 members of Super Junior who sang this song. Since all 13 divide up a single song, each member can call himself a “singer” after singing for only four seconds.

Lately there are increasing cases in which solo parts of a song last no more than a few seconds, as the number of members in the idol groups such as Super Junior, Girl’s Generation and After School increase. This is contributing to the pop culture in which those who rely on looks or conversation skills are considered “singers” regardless of their singing abilities.

Idol Group Members Sing 16 Seconds on Average

According to Dong-A Ilbo’s measurements of solo parts, seven idol groups (Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, 4minute, After School, Infinite, MBLAQ, f(x)) appearing on MBC’s “Show Music Core” (July 10), SBS’s “Inkigayo” (July 11) and KBS’s “Music Bank” (June 25), sang for 16 seconds per person on average. Because a song lasts around 3.5 minutes on average, each member of those group sang less than one-tenth of a song, excluding the chorus.

Among the groups, Girl’s Generation (singing “Oh!”) had the shortest solo parts, averaging 9.4 seconds per part. The main vocal Taeyeon sang for 22 seconds, while Seohyeon’s solo parts — two lines consisting of “oppa look at me, just look at me” and “listen, really” — amounted to 5 seconds. When After School sang “Bang!”, members Nana and Lizzy had no solo parts; instead, the two sang together for 8 seconds. Jooyeon’s solo part — “The heart-thumping night, my heart is oh oh oh oh” — lasted 4 seconds.

Infinite, singing “Come Back Again,” had the greatest time differential among the members’ solo parts. While the main vocal Kim Sunggyu sang for 29 seconds, Lee Sung-Jong, Lee Seung-Yeol and L sang for 1, 3 and 4 seconds respectively. The words that Lee Sung-Jong sang alone were four letters (다 거짓말 “all lies”). Lee Seung-Yeol only had the line, “Feels like I’m going to die, my head hurts.” Lee Young-Joon, director of Infinite’s management company, said: “It is not that the members have different singing abilities. It is more the case that the process of assigning the solo parts while taking the tone of this particular song into consideration made the parts of certain members relatively smaller.”

As individual singing is increasingly obscured through the lengthened chorus and the shortened solo parts, certain bloggers have taken to uploading videos of live performances with pre-recorded background music edited out, then proceeding to evaluate the singers.

No Shame in No Singing

Yoona of Girls’ Generation, in “Family Outing 2” aired on SBS on June 27, said: “We can’t go longer than ten seconds (on solo parts),” and that her part is five letters. (말하고 싶어 “I want to say.”)

Since his debut, Heechul cumulatively sang 39 seconds of all Super Junior title songs; Yoona of Girls’ Generation, 42 seconds; and Nicole of Kara, 45 seconds. Instead of being embarrassed, they appear to treat this as a fodder for laughter. In MBC’s “Radio Star” aired on June 30, Jung-ah, member of After School, was a recipient of a joke from MC Kim Guk-Jin that she was “amazingly, a main vocal.” Jung-ah only responded by laughing and half-heartedly singing one line of a song. Goo Hara of Kara, whom music fans have pointed out for lacking singing ability, invited further criticism by only repeating the refrain “hallo hallo hallo” in Kara’s new song “Lupin,” released February of this year.

Music critic Im Jin-Mo said, “If there is only a few seconds of solo parts, a singer will naturally practice less singing — which is what singers are supposed to do,” and noted, “Another problem is that members with less solo parts will feel excluded, which hurts the teamwork of the group, shortening the group’s lifecycle.” Music critic Kim Jak-Ga said, “The more idol groups — who do not put much emphasis on singing — there are in the pop world, there is less room for singers with real talent.”

109 Responses

  1. i don’t know what all this talk is about YG artists but they definitely have NOTHING to do with this article.

    YG = REAL SOUND!

    this post definitely is NOT talking about YG artists so people need to stop dragging them into this.

    u guys already KNOW who this is referring to! their names are listed out QUITE CLEARLY in the article.

  2. God I hate it when people said BB can’t dance,seriously?did u see how taeyang dances?that hot man is way better than all shinee members put together,honestly
    and i don’t have anything against shinee,in fact,i adore onew&key,this group is quite unique in their dancing but to compare them with bb..-_- it’s almost nonsense

  3. Very true, but this is already quite known isn’t it. Many idol singers cant sing that well. This is why its stupid, these singer (if you can call them that) become singers based on their looks or personality which is wrong.

    Then again the kpop industry and the public eat it up. Good vocalists like Gummy, Wheesung, Hwanhee never win music shows or awards. Kpop industry is all a popularity contest now, whoever has the most fangirls/boys win. Thats why the justification of these end of year awards like Daesungs and the MAMA I find are questionable now. It’s based on whos popular rather then whos the best musician.

  4. Yoona just there for display.. Can’t sing can’t dance
    just looking pretty..

  5. it is true that DBSK is more talented than BIGBANG, and SHINEE is also more talented than them, however since BIGBANG were given/has written a lot more BETTER (understatement) songs than SHINEE, that’s why their much much more popular. I guess Shinee’s talents can’t shine with the songs they’re having, for me that is.

    music-wise, BigBang > Shinee, talent-wise, the other way around..

    • I’m not a fan of them but shinee i way better than big bang.
      btw, bb dudes can’t sing ballads.

      • that’s exactly why i said talent-wise, shinee wins over big bang, however as musicians, big bang wins over shinee in a sense that their music and their charisma as performers are greater, and most importantly, their music fits their style. as with shinee, they need to have better songs i guess..

        it goes both ways you know, a good song and a good singer, as shinee is now, they’re excellent singers and dancers yet their songs are mediocre, or less. no offense.

      • @nana: they can and have done ballads. jsyk.

      • Ermm Daesung can. And just doing ballads don’t make you a great musician. It’s like saying Shinee can’t rap, so that makes them inferior to Big Bang. Not true. Big Bang and Shinee are both good at their own music.

        But still i agree with Dezulo and naninoona. Even if talent wise shinee is better (questionable) music wise, big bang is better

      • talent does NOT equal “being able to sing ballads”

        big bang composes/produces/write lyrics/sing/dance/rap their own songs. with TOP and GD they can even make their own music without instruments.

        i just think a lot of people look down on Big Bang because they’re so highly praised. PLEASE STOP HATING!

    • eh…big bang needs to work on vocals and shinee needs to work on artistry. nothing new about that.

  6. wow!! eunhyuk got the longest part for sj?? that surprised me.. I thought one of KRY got the longest part… HAHAHHAHA!!! love you hyukie!!! :))))

  7. […] Idol Groups Only Have a Few Words in Solo Parts as Number of Members Increase (via K Bites) 07/29/2010 dyehlah Leave a comment Go to comments "The Beauty of Four Seconds." This is the snarky label from the Internet for Heechul, member of an idol group Super Junior who only has four seconds of solo singing time in "Sorry Sorry," the title song for the group's third album. Together, there are 13 members of Super Junior who sang this song. Since all 13 divide up a single song, each member can call himself a "singer" after singing for only four seconds. Lately there are increasing cases in … Read More […]

  8. Whats even worse is there is a new 20 member – Yes Thats Right – 20 MEMBER boy band coming out. I’m not bothering to remember their names because I am SuJu biased and SuJu is the worlds biggest boy band. But this is silly. I think there is a chance they split into sub groups like 2AM and 2PM but seriously. 20?! How many seconds on average do they get ? 4? And at least 2 or 3 of them won’t have any solo parts in a 3:30-4:00 song.

  9. oh btw…i don’t know why big bang and 2ne1 are in the picture when the article has nothing to do with them.

  10. LOL. didn’t we all know this already?

    but do most entertainment companies care? the more they have in a group the less money they have to spend to PR. rather than splitting them into the tradition 4/5 member groups and spending twice the money to PR for 2 groups most entertainment companies in korea are lumping them into one, group regardless of their talent, to save the money they would be spending to PR for a 2nd group.

    which i find extremely sad! the ones that do have the vocal talent gets stuck in a huge group that limits their talent and eventually they die off without really being able to showcase what they really have.

    in accounting terms these groups are called “CASH COWS” they get milked for the revenues that they will bring in for the short term. then the company will most likely move on to the next “CASH COW”

    i’m just glad that there are still a few companies out there that actually care about REAL QUALITY MUSIC!

  11. this is why i can never take large groups seriously. anything over 6, or even 5 is just ridiculous.

  12. OMg! people STFU! haha this article says nothing about who’s better DBSK (my babies) and BigBang (My Buddies) Ghhaddd! They’re not even on the list DUH! like i said before why compare two groups who are obviously not even doing the same genre?? ughhh!

    —-

    anyway i am pretty surprised with this ” Heechul cumulatively sang 39 seconds of all Super Junior title songs; Yoona of Girls’ Generation, 42 seconds; and Nicole of Kara, 45 seconds”

    like seriously?? hehe yeah basically that’s the result of having too much members. but then again. its fun. lmao.

    Mir is a rapper.. so basically he only gets the rap parts. same as to the others.

    and i must say…the voice has really nothing to do (or at some point may) ex. yesung definitely has an AMAZING voice yet he gets lesser parts/time. so yeah…

    again the argument is obvously nonsense and pointless.. hahaha

  13. for me idols are not singers..some of them can sing but they are still hiding behind MRs..idols are entertainers, they do everything to entertain their target viewers..i’m fully aware of that..but i don’t like the idea that there are members who doesn’t have singing parts or are given a few seconds to sing but still couldn’t do well..they are just there to display..there are also some members who can sing but are lazy and always rely on MRs..i don’t expect idols to sing or dance great but at least do your part well and give a pretty descent performance..
    I’m into DBSK, BigBang, 2ne1 and Miss A right now…i can never get tired of watching them..

    • oh! my fave artists too! except DBSK though, haven’t really listened or watched any videos of them..

  14. I’m just glad someone took the time to analyze this. It shows that I’m not the only one who follows groups for thier singing, and not thier looks.

    In terms of the Big Bang/DBSK/SHINee debate, I just have to say: to each his/her own. They all have different styles. You can’t really compare them without referring to your own preferences.

    Perhaps such attention will make these “singers” shape up.

  15. I cant believe this article became BB vs DBSK and to everyone who dont know DBSK did not disband yet …. anyway after reading this article I started to feel bad to the idols that are in big groups I think the best thing is to be in group that have 5 members or less

  16. […] KBites This entry was posted in 4minute, Girls' Generation, Super Junior. Bookmark the permalink. ← KARA’s Japanese MV For Mister Released […]

  17. WHAT THE HELL, none of the comments above are honestly relevant to the article. Trolls are annoying but so are people who respond to them.

    Anyways, this news doesn’t come as much of a shock, and honestly i don’t mind. Idols are not only focused on singing only these days, they also need to act in drama’s, model, appear in CF’s, MC e.t.c so groups are becoming bigger and having members who priority isn’t singing. I don’t see this trend changing since it appears that those not good as singing are actually the face of their respective group…

  18. then I gues they should have not called themselves as singers, just pretty faces. and there a lot of them even some solo singers who even lipsynch with their own song. geez..

    • goodness, for the last time, THEY DON’T CALL THEMSELVES SINGERS. jeez. they call themselves IDOLS. if they were singers they would be like one way, davichi, g.na (kind of, so far she’s doing well), gummy, etc. so don’t make lousy assumptions and say that they call themselves singers. for all we know, it might be YOU calling them singers, and once you read this article, you blamed it on them.

  19. @hyomin47: are you joking??hahahahaha…
    i like T-ARA but no one can BEAT 2ne1 !!^_^

  20. Damn there’s some yg haterade going on. Not surprised…. Mostly teeny boppers and trolls nowadays. Get your head out of their asses already! Tvxq is my #1 BUT don’t go around and deny other talent. We all know tvxq can’t be #1 forever, evidently….. Accept it, it’s okay to like more than one group jeeeezz. Now big bang is the next best thing

    • Just because people don’t share that opinion doesn’t mean they’re haters.

      • When they resort to harsh language and put downs it does.

      • i agree with @chrissy and @loverme. there’s always a better way to disagree and have a differring opinion than start cussing out and putting down other groups.

        you can have a different opinion and STILL remain sane and civil and not be a hateful troll.

        =______________=”””

      • The people swearing and being rude are haters, I agree. I was just saying that not everyone views big bang the way some of you do but that doesn’t mean they’re haters.

    • accept that some people don’t like certain groups and get over it.

  21. DBSK,BIG BANG,2NE1 are really respected for their singing abilities

    • 2NE1??????????? hahahaha nice joke
      T-ara girls sing way better than them.

      • in your dreams,
        2NE1 is much better and you know

      • FUnny YOU! are u really sure!? ?? I doubt T-ara’s last comeback song felt like they’re just relying on autotune sound or background music. Clean ur ears Kiddo!
        this kind of replies from Dumbass fans and inserting other groups are totally IDIOTS!!! No doubt!

      • @hyomin47: all she said was that the 3 groups are respected for their singing abilities. she never said they were the best or better than your precious t-ara. grow the fuck up. and btw, your t-ara is good but that doesn’t mean other ppl can’t be just as good as they are. the kpop industry is big enough for more than 1 group with great singing abilities.

        get over yourself hater.

      • No they don’t.
        T-ara’s Hyomin, Eunjung and Soyeon and perhaps Jiyeon can sing. The rest is here for the looks. And let’s be honest Boram isn’t needed at all.. Looks, singing or dance abilities, she has nothing. She’s a parachute, her father is in the industry so she entered the house with a golden ticket… THAT’S ALL !

      • agreed.. in the 2ne1 part… but T-ARA pretty much isnt good like 2ne1…
        2ne1 isnt good at live too…
        y’all just protect your idols too much…
        open your EARS! not your EYES!
        and try to listen who have the real GOOD Talent!
        dont protect who you love… and bash others…
        i love 2ne1 and tara but i gotta admit they dont sing good when it’s live~
        and I’m a music major~

    • 2NE1? LOL

      • CL Bom and Minji all have great voices, and they won song of the year in their debut year. So i dont know what your ‘lol-ing’ about

  22. This article is not even about DBSK or BB.
    Fan wars again *sigh*

  23. This article is not even about DBSK or BB. People should just get over with fan-wars.

  24. BIG BANG and DBSK are the best in the kpop,jpop

  25. this is just on these particular songs, they have other songs and a lot of them sing on reality shows proving their vocals. they are idols for a reason.

  26. ‘Goo Hara of Kara, whom music fans have pointed out for lacking singing ability, invited further criticism by only repeating the refrain “hallo hallo hallo” in Kara’s new song “Lupin”’ ‘
    OMG wtf really?????o_O

  27. Seems to be like anything over 5 members is unnecessary. DBSK, Big Bang, and Shinee don’t seem to have this problem!

    • DBSK >>> SHINee >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> bigbang

      • @ yuyaktf : was that really necessary

        I agree with ygtaeyangbb, I think 5 members or less is the best since in most (not all) cases each member really has to pull their weight in the group .

        “The more idol groups — who do not put much emphasis on singing — there are in the pop world, there is less room for singers with real talent.” -> EXACTLY!!!, Korea has some amazing singers that are often overshadowed by the large amount of idol groups there are. And the few idol groups with actual significant vocal talent often have to dumb down their vocal talent in catchy songs that do not require much singing ability to maintain their popularity.

      • Lol you a newbie kpop fan or something? Everyone knows DBSK’s the legend followed by Big Bang.

      • Why even say that shit for? I wasn’t even comparing them to each other, but rather to the groups mentioned in the article. People always have to try and start fanwars.

      • @yjyaktf: I couldnt agree more.

        DBSK is ALWAYS #1

        I really like bb and all but honestly shinee boys are way more talented than big bang.

      • Totally agree.
        all shinee members CAN sing AND dance.. people know they are more talented than big bang.

      • @yjyaktf @….yjykyf <<<<<<<>>>***” such bullshit of You kpopnewbies!
        you dont really know what those group youre putting down have capabilities! both have different style in music. At Least BB is more musically talented!

        GTFO KIDDOS!!!!

      • yups, always tot that big bang are overrated. and im not a new kpop kid :p

      • yeah … whatever if that what makes you haters happy. still it doesn’t change the facts that Big Bang has achieved more than some of those people you mentioned, as a group and individually.

      • lol, @121, that’s your opinion and i respect that.

        now, to all the other ppl here who seem to be overdose on the haterade, y’all need to chill and listen up.

        i think, regardless of whether DBSK are still around or not, during the course of their career, they have already established themselves as one of the best. there’s no point in denying that. ppl who are trying to deny it are idiots basically. proof and history shows how huge they were so really we can’t deny facts just cuz we don’t like them.

        also, i’d like to add that personally, i think, NONE of the SHINee boys can ever go solo and even dream of being 1/5 as successful as BB members can. except maybe jjong and dubu. but they still have a long way ahead of them. sorry, i love the boys as much as the next shawol does, but that’s my opinion.

        how can you say that they are supposedly “more” talented than BIGBANG, when 3/5 BIGBANG members can write their own hit songs, hit albums, even a daesang worthy album, 2/5 of them can create an entire choreography, 2/5 of them can create rap lyrics that other idols can only dream of being able to think of, and still be able to maintain the quality of it all. AND add to the fact that they are also just as good as SHINee when delivering a live performance. and mind you, BIGBANG can also sing and dance while performing live. wth are you smoking? pffft…. troll harder, hater.

        i have nothing against SHINee. i think they are VERY talented in their own rights, but ppl need to start being objective and consider all FACTS and not just how you feel abt these ppl. i’m not saying that SHINee can’t achieve these things, i’m saying that they haven’t achieved it yet, and there’s still a long way to go for them. and even though i have my doubts, i think they just might surprise me. there’s always room for development, so who knows.

        p/s: TOP’s solo song wasn’t even promoted and it still topped the charts for quite some time. GD’s whole solo album dominated the charts not even an hour after it was released, won a daesang and that was his first ever solo album. taeyang’s album topped canada and US itunes r&b charts and 50,000 of his more expensive deluxe edition of his album sold out in the same day.

        when SHINee members go solo and are able to achieve all that, then i will say that they are of equal level, talents-wise. otherwise, you just need to learn to either keep quiet or your words will backfire on you.

      • @naninoona cant agree more and i love u,lol~

      • @naninoona lol that is the fake 121 it was not me lol welcome to my world 😛 till this day I cant believe that I have a fan… and yes to me DBSK is the best male group in Korea but noway I will say that BB are not talented or shinee is more talented b/c if I said that it means Im lying to myself

      • @121: i see. sorry for that then. i think you and i have the same fan cuz there’s someone who’s stealing my nickname recently too! i dunno whether to be happy that i have a fan, angry that i have an impostor trying to make me look bad or just sad for them cuz they are cowards.

      • @naninoona lol its okay no need to say sorry ^_^ as u said the one that stealing our nicknames are just cowered and pathetic ….. To be honest Im still shocked that some would actually waste their time at people they don’t even know just to make them look bad to me this is just sad anyway I think the best thing that we need to do is just ignore our fan or lol should say our antifan at first I used to reply at him/her but then I told myself why I should waste my time at someone like her/him so just ignore let her/him say whatever he/ she wants he or she is not worth it

      • ** coward**

      • Completely agree with naninoona =]
        I don’t even like DBSK that much, but still I admit they have amazing talent in terms of vocals and dance.
        As for Shinee, they have good vocals and I admit Seung Ri hasn’t got the best vocals, but like naninoona said. Not many other groups write their own music, and become major hits. Rather then just receiving a song a just performing on stage, Big Bang are truly passionate to music and are always creating their own music.

  28. The leaders get more parts or the popular member:/

  29. Singers are suppose to sing
    shouldn’t rely on variety talents
    probably why most soloists and ballad groups are respected

    also I think only DBSK is really respected for their singing abilities

    • Jen forgot Big Bang. Idols these days are just going for the fame and everything. There’s hardly any really PASSIONATE singers out here now. The only ones who are really passionate, well those i can think of is prolly DBSK and Big Bang, the two legends.

      • Hmmm I think big bang is talented but I wouldn’t call them a legend just yet.

      • DBSK is a legend, Big bang is just a cool group.

      • Big Bang is NOT just a cool group.

        Big Bang started fashion trends. Recently, Big Bang and SNSD are the only two who have made big marks in affecting the way people dress.

        SNSD with their colorful/white skinny jeans, and Big Bang before that with colorful clothing, bandannas, kicks, shades, etc.

        Besides, Seungri (sorry :/), Big Bang’s individual members are SO-FREAKING-UNIQUE-AND-DEFINITELY-INFINITELY-MORE-TALENTED-THAN-YOU-@tukkie.

      • @tukkie. agree with u.

        BB are good performers and their songs are catchy but they’re not at the same level as DBSK.
        the 5 guys of DBSK are REALLY Talented.

      • Well DBSK are definetly talented, all 5 members can sing as kell, but the rest of the girl and boy bands, yeah I do believe that some will go for fame either than the love for music..but they are talented singers for sure…just maybe a bit hidden somewhere lol

      • don’t make me laugh

      • @blasphemy
        we’re talking about vocal talents here… not fashion..
        so what if they affect the way people dress?
        what does have to do with vocals?

        and i agree… BB is no legend… not yet? maybe? but now, not at all~
        DBSK is…

    • durr you wish.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.. pfft.

    • Idols are Idols
      Singers are singers.

      Love Shindong <333333333😀

      • Then they shouldn’t label themselves as singers.

      • We gotta remember that the company does whatever the crap they want to do………..

      • They don’t label themselves as singers. That’s why they’re idol. If you’re looking for singers, you better go for V.O.S, Davichi, Big Mamma, Epik High, Oneway – go for them.

        It’s not even their fault they only sing few seconds. If you wanna rank them, they pass the average of being singer, but dancing and all the hectic schedule refrain them from being the real singers. If you ask Epik High to vigorously dance while singing and rapping they don’t even close to 2PM (just saying)

        but there are reasons why idol exists. Kpop industry is already stagnant.Nothing can make you stand out. Even with good music, it won’t last longer. Things change fast, thus fans loyalty is uncertain. and I don’t think with music alone kpop will become this big, spreading all over the world. It’s fandom that keeps them spreading and the personalities that shine in idols. There is something in kpop that makes you stay tangle with them, right? To judge the idols alone is unfair to me. Idols contributed a lot to Korean Hallyu wave compared to the singers (If not idol, it’s actor).

        but the bad thing is, idol dominates everything, that hidden the real people. Korean should find a way to reduce the idol domination especially in every charts. The frustrating thing about idol is, it involves young kids & teens… and it seems the judgment come from this group is taken into consideration and counted in everything. and the fact that kpop reports everything about netizens- while they’re a bunch of immature kids.

    • DBSK is gone !!!!!

      Now Shinee is the best K boy group.

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