Kara vocalist, Kim Sung Hee announced her departure today from the group.
The decision was taken after lengthy discussions between her father who was unhappy with her for neglecting her studies and DSP Entertainment.
According to someone from DSP, “Kim Sung Hee and the other members have always got along well with each other and are on good relations. They (Park Gyu Ri, Han Seung Yeon and Jung Nicole) are noticeably sad to see her depart.
Sung Hee had earlier promised her parents that she would do her best in her studies while going about her singing duties with Kara. But because of the hectic singing schedule, she neglected her studies and due to heavy stress, she also developed health issues. She will now focus on her studies instead.
DSP will launch an audition through MNet in mid March to find new members for Kara and make up for Kim Sung Hee absence. And it’s understood that they are auditioning for two members instead and make Kara a 5-member group.
DSP spokesperson added, “The process of replacing Kim Sung Hee through auditions will be shown on MNet. After going through this tough period, Kara will make their comeback with a new mature image.”
This latest development in the Korean pop industry brings us another question, are idol competitions the latest phenomenon to hit Korea?
As we all know, JYP newest creation, “Hot-Blooded Men” is now undergoing an Idol elimination style of competition on MNet and their numbers will be reduced from an initial 13 to a manageable number. And Kara is also set to go down this path to find their 2 new members on MNet as well starting March 2008.
According to DSP Entertainment, the auditions for the 2 new members of Kara will follow the style of “MTV Wonder Girls” Season 1. So in a way, it’s different from the Idol elimination style of competition of “Hot-Blooded Men”.
JYP’s “Hot-Blooded Men” is a survival competition between 13 trainees. The trainees who will remain behind will be decided by fans voting.
Wonder Girls started getting noticed by fans after the broadcast of “MTV Wonder Girls” before their actual debut. Big Bang was another example who started out with 6 members before eventually becoming a 5-member group after selection. Their selection process got a lot of attention after it was shown.
So why do these programs get the attention from so many viewers? According to someone from the broadcast industry, “Many youths harbor dreams of being a star and the numbers are increasing by the minute. Viewers are interested to know how they actually debut through their training, competition, etc. From a company perspective, it is a win-win situation for them since it helps to raise the profile of their singers before debuting.”