The Struggle of Less Popular Members in Idol Groups

Idol groups, So Nyeo Shi Dae and Super Junior are currently two of the most definite idol groups active. Both groups have large number of members and have a total of 22 members if you add them up.

Super Junior – Hee Chul, Han Kyung, Ki Bum, Kangin, Shin Dong, Sung Min, Eun Hyuk, Dong Hae, Shi Won, Ryeo Wook, Ye Sung, Kyu Hyun and Lee Teuk

So Nyeo Shi Dae – Tiffany, YoonA, Jessica, Seo Hyun, Soo Young, Yuri, Sunny, Hyo Yeon and Tae Yeon

Although So Nyeo Shi Dae, Super Junior, etc enjoys immense popularity, but because of so many members, the ones who are able to take centerstage belongs to just a selected few. The other members can only stand by the side and become “extras”. And those members who aren’t as popular has to fight for their survival in the competitive industry through other areas in order to raise their profile and popularity. Thus, they engage in hosting, acting, etc to make a name for themselves and constantly reminds the public that they are around. Anyway, each member has their distinct personality but are just showing it through many areas of the entertaiment industry at their own pace.

Popular members are always busy
So Nyeo Shi Dae member, YoonA is embarking on her acting career with a leading role in her KBS daily drama, “You’re my Destiny” starting from early May. Another member, Tiffany is often seen in product endorsements and CFs because of her fresh wholesome appearance. She is also kept busy with her numerous appearances on variety shows. Kim Hee Chul and Kangin are also established performers with their sharp wit. Although they debuted as singers, their numerous identities as hosts, etc has raised their profile much higher.

Less popular members kept busy by improving themselves
Then what about the other members? Although they are in the same group, but alas, they just aren’t that popular and they number more than the ones who are always in the spotlight. But still they preservere on in many other areas, hoping that one day, their hard work and effort would pay off in the long run.

From 4pm onwards on 28th May, all So Nyeo Shi Dae members with the exception of YoonA went through two hours of vocal training. Super Junior Ye Sung and Sung Min went through two hours of song composition lessons on 26th May before another three hours of vocal practise on 29th May. They all hope that through this, they can widen their scope of performing.

Meanwhile, for So Nyeo Shi Dae member, Soo Young, she underwent two hours of acting training from 7pm onwards on 26th May. On the same day from 10am to 5pm and from 8am to 2pm on 28th May, she was busy filming her movie.

Although these “extras” don’t appear often or at all on KBS, MBC, SBS, etc, they treat every opportunity to appear on cable programs preciously. Super Junior’s Sung Min, Paran’s Neo are all using their hosting gigs on cable programs to raise their profile. Jewelry’s Ha Joo Yeon and Kim Eun Jung are doing the same thing likewise, being active on a program through cable channels.

Relations between popular and less popular members
But with the huge disparity in popularity and opportunities, won’t there be problems between members in the group? This has always been a huge headache for management agencies who will always try to provide equal opportunities for them to shine. According to someone from Paran’s management, “When they just debuted, all competed furiously to become the most popular member so you could imagine the tension between them then. But through time and working with each other, they are now like brothers.”

Jewelry who welcomed two new members to their group faced the same issue. Kim Eun Jung expressed her understanding of their management for arranging them to be on programs, “Our unnies (Park Jung Ah and Seo In Young) have been in the business longer than us and thus they are more well-known then us. They have more programs to go to and a larger fanbase, that’s a given.”

48 thoughts on “The Struggle of Less Popular Members in Idol Groups

  1. coolsmurf, i spotted an error.

    For the quote of the new Jewelry members, for ladies they call other ladies older than them as “unnie” or “onni”, “nuna” is the term which guys address their older sisters or a lady older than them.

  2. Funny how I just got into an arguement about SUJU with an overly obsessive ELF and then this article comes up. Just proves my point that most of the members don’t share equal screentime. It’s really sad, actually. Working so hard to become famous, but in the end, still not being noticed. Sucks eh.

  3. Well, I don’t know why Sungmin and Yesung are seem to be the “less” popular ones, but Sungmin is my favorite member in Super Junior. Yesung is somewhere up there, I guess. He’s like my 5th or 6th favorite in the group.
    And as for Soo Young, she’s my 2nd favorite member in SNSD.

    I don’t think they are the “less” popular ones at all. I love all of them @_@

  4. ^well looking past your own favorites, you have to look at how popular they are to the general population. just because they happen to be in your tops doesn’t mean they’re always so popular with the rest of the korean population. whether you want to admit it or not, there will always be those who are more popular than the others in an idol group.
    btw, no offense intended by any means. 🙂

    good post, coolsmurf. interesting stuff about them trying to improve and such + the lessons they received.

  5. There will always be the less popular ones…that’s a fact in the entertainment industry (and in real life)…

  6. The thing about this is that even the less noticed members of Super Junior have a much bigger fanbase then the most popular members of other groups. Just because they aren’t as noticed, doesn’t make them less famous because if they weren’t famous, nobody would care that they aren’t as noticed.

    It’s the same for SNSD as well, even their seemingly least worked members have huge fanbased compared to the girls in other groups.

  7. yesung really gets under the radar in SuJu when he’s, in my opinion, SUPER talented. and he has one of the best vocals in the group. he’s a bad ars on the dance floor too. he honestly has a lot to offer and i think he would be successful if he went solo.

    i really get this elitist vibe when jewelry comes to mind. it sucks that the two original members get more face time which ultimately strays away from the actual group. jewelry should’ve just been seo in young and park jung ah if they’re mainly taking the spotlight. i just saw pictures of their recent photoshoot for some mag and it’s like…where’s the rest of jewelry?

    let’s see how things go with JYP’s super group comin’ up.

  8. Good post. Like “me” said, there will always be favorites among groups, esp. ones the size of Suju and SoShi… That is the sad reality for those less popular members…

  9. the only group that did not suffer from this is shinhwa. although a few years back andy did struggle but he has proven himself. now they can proudly say that their popularity is pretty equivalent among the members.

    but I think with time, the less known members will shine. maybe they are late bloomers

  10. That’s the problem with having soo many members in a group. LOLLLL.. Everyone’s fighting for the best air. But in the end they bond and all they really care about is just having enough air to breathe. It’s quite sad actually…. It’s even sadder knowing that the less popular members KNOW they are not as popular.

  11. @suwi
    actually, Shinhwa back then was facing the same prob. like Eric always have more attention then the rest and Andy is the least. but bcos their bonding are closers than most idol groups these day, u dont see that tension much and till now they’re all old enough to do their own things

    I dont know abt GOD though, if anyone can correct me on that, as far as I know, they’re all equally in their own way and powerful as a group

    I think this is why LSM create sub-group for SuJu so all members have their chances to show off their talents and as a stepin-stone to next level in entertainment world

    if Suju or DBSK contract ended wif LSM, I dont think they will united and fight like Shinhwa but will be like HOT.

  12. Well, I think it also has to do with his/her personality. Especially his/her ability to speak. If a member is not the one to talk or not very talkative as you can say, then of course we won’t notice them as much at first. Perhaps the more outgoing you are on screen makes us see more of their character. Thus, we want to know more about them and grow to like them.

    I know this isn’t always the case. I do in fact, notice the shy ones as well because I do believe they have fun/bubbly personalities too. Probably they just don’t like to talk too much on air. For example, Kibum, Kyuhyun and Sungmin though “shy” they may be in Super Junior, I’ve grown fond of them!

  13. there will alwyas be less popular members..the thing is as much as sung min and yesung are not AS popular…there wouldnt’ be super junior without them…..and they are just not AS popular as the other members..they still have quite a number of fans!!!! =)!!! so all those that are overlooked…. FIGHTING!!! aja!!

  14. It’s true :/
    This made me think of ShinDong; even though he does stuff on the outside and I’m sure he’s got a lot of fans, but I don’t see him enough in performances and MVs 😦
    Hope I’m not being too biased >_>

  15. this is because of putting too many members in a group….i’m not korean-addicted and i’ve never seen a band which included so many people before. The most i used to see is S club 7….3 boys 4 girls? just that.
    for who isn’t their fans can’t even remember th name of them!

  16. e entertainment industry is frivolous… all u can do is work hard, do your best, n see what happens..

    if you look at e entertainment industry long engh, u’d probably start to think there isn’t much sense involved in it all..

    sometimes e most boring, mediocre looking, karaoke singer, gets to be super uber popular… n i go scratching my head thinking wth.. n like some really unfunny comedian gets to be a top gagman featured on 90% of e shows.. same goes with talented singers and actors.. u just can’t say.. it’s not like “if i hv e talent i’ll get noticed sooner or later” or “if i hv no talent ppl will get tired of me”.

    but e good thing is that nothing is fixed in e entertainment industry either.. things change like mad n so fast..

    just look at H.O.T for an example.. Tony Ahn was one of e lesser noticed members, n now he is up there with kangta in popularity..

  17. there’s more to suju right? i just realized that they added more people.

    more reason why this MR. A is depressed.


  18. @ Lee: Shindong is actually one of the more popular/well-known members of Super Junior. He doesn’t get pushed to the front in the MVs (he only raps so it’s not like he’d get a lot of screen-time anyway) but he is probably in the top five favorites of Super Junior members AND he has tons of fans outside the suju fandom as well. I think the most popular/well-known members are: Heechul, Kangin, Siwon, Kibum, Shindong, and Leeteuk.

    But poor Ryeowook (also of Super Junior); he’s so unpopular that he doesn’t even make it on the un-popular list. lol

  19. you know what’s sad… hyoyeon (snsd) is the least popular by far out of snsd and yet, she doesn’t even get a mention on this article.

    i mean soo young? c’mon.

  20. hahaha…so totally agree with ‘peachdisco’ and ‘what about hyoyeon’..
    when i first read da article’s title, they popped in my head..

    but poor ryeowook and hyoyeon, didn’t even make it on da un-popular list..

  21. Shouldn’t DBSK’s Changmin (Max) also be included in this.
    I mean now DBSK’s been going strong for 3+ years and Changmin’s popularity had skyrocketed along with the rest of the group but still…

    I remember when they debuted, I think Changmin got least airplay on shows DBSK cameo together on such as XMan. It’s worth a mention maybe?

  22. sungmin is REALLLLLYYY popular
    and yesungs popular now!
    yuri is very popular
    this is wrong!! lolll jk

  23. this sucks a lot. becuase SUJU has so many members, there are destined to be less popular people.
    for some reason, all the mentioned ‘unpopular’ suju members are my favs. yesung, sungmin, wookie….
    lol- the irony.

  24. That’s what you get for creating unnecessarily big, singing groups in pop music. SuJu and SNSD are absurdly large, K-pop choirboys and choirgirls.

  25. It’s sad, because I like most of them, I think if you look at SUJU, most popular to least popular: Heechul/Kangin (Good Talker), Siwon/Kibum (Acting/Good Looks), Hangeng (Chinese), Leeteuk, Shindong, Donghae, Sungmin, Yesung, Eunhyuk, Ryewook/Kyunhyn (Too Quiet), even though RW and KH are the two best singer in the group, they are the least popular because they can’t talk well, thus people don’t see their personality. For girl groups, it’s a little different, because it is more focused on looks, if you look at SNSD, most to least: TaeYeon/Yoona/Tiffany (Looks), Jessica, Yuri, Sooyonng, Sunny/Seohyeon/HyoHyeon (not as pretty). So it would be harder for a less popular member out of a girl group to make it on their own even if they are talented like Hyohyeon.

    BTW, does anyone know when some suju members’ contracts will end?

  26. well you just don’t know how popular each members are..
    it maybe not in korea.
    they have plenty of fans in other countries as well..

    they may not be in the screen at all times but that doesn’t mean they are not popular at all..

    what i mean is.. each member are unique in different ways.
    they are popular in different ways..

    im sure people will notice them..

  27. What about AJ from Paran?! He doesn’t get ANY spotlight. Even in interviews.

    I’m sick of Yoona and Tiffany. Their everywhere.
    I’d rather see Soo Young and Yuri replace them.

  28. HEY!!NO WAY!!!!!!!
    yesung is the lacking in popularity in suju???
    he is the main vocalist in can???NO!!yesung is nice!!!
    the 1 i cant accept is SUNGMIN???hey he is ok what???not lacking in popularity!!!

    but for sure my teuk is the best^^hahaaa

  29. damn it!!hey!!!teuk is quiet u said??he is the 5th best dancer,got own tv show,a dj radio…so what???he is one of the best n of coz the best since he is the leader!!!!for real,i have been ELF for couple years ago,teuk talking ability is better then kangin..yea!!!

  30. dun call them ‘less’…
    coz everyone in the group got their own talent…

    without sung min and ye sung…
    their song will be not as good as now…

    all of them are special…
    even i had my own favourite in Super Junior..
    i think all of them are ONE…

    and they will always be ONE…

  31. Really, I think that the popularity shifts among the members of the groups…for example, during early 2007, the most popular members amongst SJ were from SJ-T, such as Lee Teuk, Hee Chul, Kang In, Shindong…but when Suju-M appeared, everyone’s attention shifted automatically to Shiwon and Hangeng of Super Junior as a whole; but now that SJ-M has quieted down and SJ-H’s formation, Ye Sung has gained more popularity than ever, while the popularity of the other SJ-H members seems to top that of Hangeng and Shiwon! IMO, I think that right now, the least populars are Hee Chul and Ki Bum…I guess mainly cause they aren’t in any sub-groups atm. Really, these things are constantly changing, so you can’t really say that there are more/less popular ones, cause in the end, I really believe that they are more or less on the same popularity level~~~! ❤

  32. SungMin is my favorite and for me he is the cutest.. haha.. but it’s true that in a group there’s more popular and less popular.. i think because they have their own personalities that producers got interested to them.Like KangIN and HeeChul they are very talkative and they have unique personalities. Teukie he is a good host..

    But still SungMin is the cutest for me.. hihi.

  33. @ NiSA needs ALSHIN

    well… I don’t think leeteuk is the 5th best dancer…
    In my opinion It’s sungmin. He get’s to have more spotlight in dancing than leeteuk does…

    yesung and sungmin are part of super junior’s main vocals right?

    I’m not a big fan but their songs won’t be like that without those two… ryeowook?… is he the one with the tiniest and highest voice in suju?

  34. i don’t think that there should be a question on who’s more popular or less popular. people recognize these bands as a whole or as a group. especially for international fans, since they see or watch them less often. besides they’re all cute! 🙂

  35. honestly,tiffany never had a solo cf,so ins very unfair to say that she is always busy filming cf, duh???as far as i can tell,all cf’s that tiffany has appeared to are always the ones with the snsd members!!!! the only members that ever filmed a solo cf were yoona and yuri!!!

  36. Sungmin is my fave!!!
    mainly cos he’s cute/good-looking, TALENTED, sings and dances well
    and yesung is hilarious seriously…
    Though it’s true that when they sing the fans’ screams aren’t as loud, and that they get picked on by theiur members lol
    but it’s because they are quiet sometimes, that you norice them…cos it’s not like ppl are always going to be paying attention to only the loud/talkative ones!

    and I’d much rather see Sooyoung than yoona/tiff, or in fact, any other snsd member other than those 2…

  37. well,for me all of them are equal since we know them as a whole group,as one. They have their own talents and uniqueness. And popularity changes. wheter you like it or not.

    Heechul ❤

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