The 6 Reasons K-Pop Idols Take Their In-Ear Monitors Off While Performing, Explained By Music Professionals

There are a few things that can quickly go wrong.

Ever wondered why K-Pop idols take their in-ear monitors out while performing on stage? Two music professionals from the vocal group NeighBro explained some of the situations where it’s necessary to do so.

BTS’s Jungkook taking out his in-ear monitor.

1. Shifting Loose

Although idols attach their in-ear monitors with tape, no amount of checking it beforehand will stop them from moving out of place when dancing. So they take them off for comfort when they shake loose.

They usually attach their in-ear with a skin tone tape. They turn their head to check if it’s attached well. It can move around when they dance, and it can be bothersome.

— Mr. Kim

2. Hearing Fans

Because in-ear monitors use noise-canceling, idols often don’t hear anything besides a metronome and a voice giving them instructions. To listen to fans, they have to remove them.

3. Miscommunication

Sometimes, the voices giving instructions through the in-ear aren’t always accurate for timing. When an idol sings and notices that the beat doesn’t match up with the sound, they can no longer rely on them.

For example, they give you a beat. But the beat and the drum sound don’t match. So, what do you gotta so? You need to take it off.

— Mr. Kwak

4. Improper Sound

Although the purpose of in-ear monitors is for a singer to hear their vocals, that can backfire if the sound level is adjusted so loud they have to remove them.

5. Cognitive Dissonance

If singers perform at a huge venue, they expect to hear an echo in their in-ear to match the size. That doesn’t happen because the monitors minimize the sound, causing a disconnect between what idols are seeing and not hearing.

From viewing, it’s a big concert hall. So, the sound I expect is echoing bigger.

But what you actually hear is very small from your in-ear. So you can feel the imbalance from that point.

— Mr. Kwak

6. Fan Service

At the mention of idols taking off in-ears to “look cool,Mr. Kim confirmed that it could be an act of fan service because they “look powerful when they do it.

Though idols want to hear the cheers of fans, they sometimes face other unseen obstacles that make them remove their in-ears.

Check out the music professionals sharing how idols fare with in-ear monitors.