When it comes to the final 3 days of the year, many singers would be invited to perform at the 3 major Korean tv stations gayo festivals. But for them, the packed schedule and ridiculous demands from the show PDs often leaves them feeling drained, or worse, ending up being hospitalized for fatique.
From 29th to 31st December, SBS, KBS and MBC will have their year-end gayo festivals to usher in the new year. But even with a different title and concept, the content for the 3 are mostly similar. From the list of singers invited to the gayo festivals, you will find that most of them are kind of similar too. The Wonder Girls, Jewelry, Rain and Big Bang are just a few who have appeared for the 3 festivals and are basically drained from this punishing schedule.
For gagmen or actors, they only need to attend their respective Entertainer Awards or Drama Awards, pick up their awards, congratulate the winners, present awards and just enjoy the performances. But in contrast, singers who attend the gayo festivals usually have to think up of special performances. With fierce competition especially for advertising dollars and ratings, the 3 tv broadcasters would ask the singers to prepare “extraordinary” performances to lure the viewers in to watch. But there is really a lack of time since they only have a week of preparation (rehearsals) and even worse, they can only rehearse at the actual venue on the day itself (morning/afternoon).
To fulfil the demands of the PDs from the 3 tv stations, the Wonder Girls had to prepare 3 different remixes of Nobody complete with different new dance cheoreography for each. This is not all, they have to participate in the many other special collaborations that they have been assigned for. In the final week of December, the Wonder Girls were only able to squeeze in just 2 – 3 hours of sleep daily. But they survived and will have a good rest in January.
The year-end gayo festivals always comes in for criticism but nothing is done. Not only does it place a big strain on the health of singers, the performances usually aren’t quite up to par because of the lack of time for preparation. There have been calls since 2005 for a joint year-end festival instead but until now, the 3 tv stations have continued their individual gayo festivals. Why would they stop since a joint gayo festival would just eat into their advertising dollars. A manager of a boy group expressed, “We are tired of this vicious cycle being repeated every year. A joint year-end gayo festival is more reasonable.”