IVE, NMIXX and Kep1er are the 3 most outstanding 4th generation female rookies at the moment, but their debuts all came under controversy.
With the presence of 2 former IZ*ONE members, Jang Won Young and Ahn Yu Jin, in the lineup, IVE quickly gained popularity following their debut. The group became the fastest girl group to earn a music show 1st win in Kpop history. Their debut album sold more than 150,000 copies within the first week. The title track ELEVEN has also been doing well on domestic digital charts and drawn much attention on social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok…
But aside from success, the Starship girl group has also been entangled in several controversies. One of which is regarding the members’ singing skills. Specifically, in some live encore performances, member Rei was accused of repeatedly avoiding hitting high notes by shouting the fandom’s name or bursting into tears. Some other members also received mixed reactions for their underwhelming vocals when having to sing completely live.
The stylings of IVE also sparked controversy, although this is not the members’ fault. Many netizens think some outfits IVE were dressed in during their promotions are too short, tight and inappropriate for their age. The group’s stylist also came under criticism for picking outfits that show their bias towards Wonyoung while turning other members into backup dancers.
IVE’s most famous member Won Young has been the biggest “victim” of negative comments since the group’s debut. She has been criticized for lacking skills and alleged disrespect towards her seniors on stage. Wonyoung was also accused of lazy dancing and focusing too much on her appearance in some performances. She was caught dancing slower than other members, ruining the synchronization of IVE’s choreography.
The girl group that came out of Mnet’s survival show Girls Planet 999, Kep1er, officially debuted on January 3 with the mini-album FIRST IMPACT and the title track WA DA DA. On Hanteo, Kep1er has surpassed aespa and set the record for the girl group with the highest first-day debut album sales.
However, Kep1er could not avoid mixed opinions about their debut, specifically regarding the teen-crush concept that is gradually becoming saturated in Kpop. Some netizens think WA DA DA has a vibrant melody but is quite forgettable. The choreography does not leave much impression, while the MV is said to look low-budget.
Kpop Herald commented that the company decided to let Kep1er debut too soon. Therefore, from the choice of the title track to the concept, everything seems rushed, leading to a debut song that fell short of expectations compared to the members’ potential.
In addition, Kep1er’s management company was criticized for discriminating between members of the group. Specifically, Kim Chae Hyun – the contestant who won first place in the final round of ‘Girls Planet 999’ was only given the center position in the title song ‘WA DA DA’. In other Kep1er’s performances, the person who took this position was Shen Xiao Ting – the final 9th place contestant. There is also a big difference between the members’ individual screen time. While Da Yeon has about 22 seconds, Huening Bahiyyih only appears on the screen for about 8 seconds.
On February 22, JYP officially launched their new girl group NMIXX with the debut MV ‘O.O’. According to Soompi, after only one day of its release, the debut product of TWICE’s juniors has brought about a relatively positive achievement with 20 million views on YouTube. At the same time, ‘O.O’ reached the top trending music in 40 countries and regions. NMIXX’s debut album also peaked at #2 on the worldwide iTunes Album Chart.
However, the debut of JYP’s new girl group was also caused in several controversies. Not only was the group criticized for their music, NMIXX was also said to plagiarize the concept in ATEEZ’s “Illusion” MV when using the contexts of a large ship and pink clouds appearing throughout the MV. In addition, NMIXX’s costumes were also accused of stealing ideas by a designer called @friskmegooddd.
Not stopping there, 7 dresses of NMIXX members are also said to imitate famous designs in the Haute Couture collection of Viktor & Rolf Spring Summer 2019 and Giambattista Valli x HM. On Twitter, the hashtag on this issue was on the top trending chart with tens of thousands of interactions, most of them expressed frustration about the unprofessionalism of JYP Ent.
On SNS, NMIXX’s debut song was also said to be hard to hear, disjointed and somewhat awkward. According to KBS, JYP intends to change their strategy when not allowing NMIXX to follow the success formula of their previous girl groups. This is quite risky because the image of a girl group with youthful and vibrant colors like TWICE or ITZY has become a famous brand that is always related to JYP’s name.