These female K-Pop idol groups originally debuted with concepts that were completely different from what they ultimately became known for.
Secret debuted with “I Want You Back” in 2009. The song was not considered a big success and placed 29th on the Gaon charts.
The following year was when they really developed their unique sound. The group debuted “Magic” and “Madonna,” respectively charting at number two and number one on the Gaon charts. Their other 2011 and 2012 releases landed in the top 10 on the Gaon charts as well.
2. Girl’s Day
This group has tried out a few different concepts throughout their career. Girl’s Day debuted with an auto-tune heavy “Tilt My Head” in 2010.
In the same year, they released “Nothing Lasts Forever,” which was arguably a stronger track that showed off the group’s powerhouse vocals but still didn’t see much success. Both 2010 songs charted in the 80s on the Gaon music charts.
In 2011, the group came back with “Twinkle Twinkle,” which was an infectious pop song that peaked at number 5 on the Gaon charts.
In 2013, the group switched it up again and debuted a sexier concept with their songs “Expect” and “Female President.” Both of their songs placed in the top 10 on the Gaon charts. The following year, they saw massive success with their songs “Something” and “Darling,” respectively placing number two and number one on the Gaon charts.
CLC debuted with the catchy “Pepe” in 2015. At the time, the group had five members and settled on a cute concept. The next year, they added two members to the group and debuted in Japan, entering into the top 10 of the Oricon chart with their EP, Charisma.
In 2017, the group completely changed their look to fit more of a “girl crush” concept and debuted their new single, “Hobgoblin.” The song had a sound reminiscent of labelmates 4Minute, which made sense as one of the co-writers was former 4Minute member, HyunA. The song was an international success.
SISTAR debuted under Starship Entertainment in 2010. That year they released three singles, “Push Push,” “Shady Girl,” and “How Dare You.” The songs were catchy and had a sound that matched with the K-Pop releases at the time.
The girls seemed to find their style when they released their hit “Loving U” in 2012. The song sold over three million sales in Korea and had a fresh summer vibe that easily got stuck in your head. The summer theme caught on and they further cemented themselves as K-Pop’s “Summer Queens” when they dropped “Touch My Body” in 2014, which quickly swept Korea’s music charts. “Touch My Body” also peaked at number three on U.S. Billboard‘s World Digital Song Sales.
STELLAR‘s 2011 debut with “Rocket Girl” was unsuccessful, and their follow-up single “UFO” unfortunately did no better.
After losing and adding two members, they released “Marionette” in 2014. The single had a completely different sound from their previous releases, and the music video was met with a lot of controversy for its revealing outfits and sultry choreography. “Marionette” was the group’s best-selling single.
The group continued with this concept until their disbandment in 2018.