The controversy over their debut has caused this group to become the target of Korean netizens’ criticism.
Along with the “Produce 101” series, “Idol School” is another Mnet survival show that was involved in the vote manipulation scandal. Based on the information announced by the Korean court in June 2021, there were 3 trainees who did not receive enough votes to enter the top 9 but were still included in the fromis_9’s debut lineup. On the other hand, there were 3 other trainees who were supposed to debut but couldn’t. Most notably, Lee Haein was confirmed to be the most voted trainee in the finale, which means she should have debuted as the center of fromis_9, but Idol School’s producers decided to remove Lee Haein from the debut lineup because they thought she would not fit the group’s concept.
After the vote rigging scandals were exposed, the people involved were also convicted for their wrongdoings. However, according to an article that was reported on September 8, CP Kim of “Idol School” revealed in the first appellate court that, “We are in the process of making an agreement with the victim Lee Haein”. This means that by far, the biggest victim of the show’s vote manipulation, Lee Haein, has not yet been compensated for what she rightfully deserved but ended up being unjustly taken away from her.
This information makes netizens even more angry when thinking about the current whereabouts of fromis_9. Among the groups with members whose debuts were manipulated, fromis_9 is the only group that is still active (while X1 and IZ*ONE already disbanded). Moreover, they even have a better future as they’re now under Pledis Entertainment/HYBE Labels and recently got their first win on a music show.
On September 7, the song “Talk & Talk” brought an emotional win for fromis_9 on “The Show” against two other songs, “Door” by Kwon Eun Bi (former IZ*ONE member) and “Splash” by MIRAE. fromis_9 was formed in 2017 and officially debuted in January 2018. This means that it took the “Idol School” girl group almost 4 years to get their first music show win of their career.
Usually, for groups that take a long time to win their first trophy, the netizens always give them a lot of praise and warm congratulations. But fromis_9 is a special exception when before their victory, the reaction from Korean netizens is only sarcasm and criticism, even simultaneously asking the group to disband.
- “The words that the person who cheated to take the 1st place said yesterday: “Flover, we won!!” (actually)”
- “Didn’t you feel embarrassed when you said the word “first place” with your own mouth”
- “What is Mnet doing that they still haven’t compensated the victims… I only feel sorry for the victims”
- “Honestly, looking at the contestants’ expressions when announcing the debut lineup… Not only Lee Haein but also the others made me very sad”
- “Why hasn’t this group disbanded yet? Produce’s groups are still getting scolded after disbanding, why are these girls still acting as nothing happened?”
- “X1 was immediately forced to disband and this group is still there, why are they brazenly active… Even though ‘Produce 101’ and ‘Idol School’ are two different shows, just look at whatever happened is enough to see that there are dozens of reasons to quickly disband fromis_9… It’s true that no one dares to accept number 2.”
- “This group absolutely can’t win trophies on central radio or grow anymore. Now many people know that fromis_9 is a cheat group, so the reaction of the public and the press is not good”
- “To those of you who are still defending this group of cheaters, don’t you still feel pain when you see this picture?
- “Pledis is such a stupid company. They should have kept PRISTIN and forced fromis_9 to disband, but they did the opposite…”
- “What the hell do you think HYBE brought back fromis_9..? It’s still time to disband ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ”
Previously, in August of this year, the management right fromis_9 was transferred by Off The Record Entertainment to Pledis Entertainment as part of Off The Record‘s restructuring plan. Not long after, fromis_9 returned with “Talk & Talk” and is currently actively promoting the song on weekly music shows.