In the world of K-Pop voting and scores are important matters. Weekly music shows like SBS‘s Inkigayo and KBS‘s Music Bank use voting and scores to decide the winner of the week, while groups like Wanna One and I.O.I were decided by fans’ votes. Sometimes, however, shows are accused of and found to be guilty of rigging scores and results in a way that can be devastating for those involved.
Here are 5 instances of K-Pop shows coming under fire for allegedly falsifying results.
1. KBS’s Music Bank
In May 2022, KBS‘s Music Bank came under fire when allegations of LE SSERAFIM‘s win over Lim Young Woong being rigged surfaced. Media outlet Dispatch began an investigation into the allegations, specifically why Lim Young Woong was given zero for a broadcast score.
After KBS shared that Lim Young Woong’s song was not played on any qualifying KBS broadcast, Dispatch found proof that it was included in several broadcasts’ playlists and even alleged that KBS attempted a cover-up.
Ultimately, Dispatch claimed that KBS did not come forward with straightforward explanations during their investigation.
2. Finding MOMOLAND
Prior to her official departure from the group, former MOMOLAND member Daisy revealed to KBS that the reality program that was established to create the group was rigged in her favor.
Finding MOMOLAND was a reality survival show where viewers selected the members of MOMOLAND, and aired beginning in June 2016. 7 members out of 10 were selected to join the initial lineup of MOMOLAND, while 3 were eliminated. Members were selected through a combination of 60% Producers’ judging, 20% online viewer votes, and 20% audience voting on the final performance.
Daisy was originally eliminated from the show but shared that she was offered a position in MOMOLAND the day that the final members were chosen.
The agency called me on the day of the eliminations and asked to meet me the next day. They told me that regardless of what happened in the eliminations, I was going to join the group. They said to wait until after the first album promotions were completed, and that I would make my debut with them in the second album, Wonderful Love.
In addition to the rigging, Daisy revealed that MLD Entertainment forced the members of the group to pay for the production costs of the show and nearly 70 million KRW (₩65,899,912 KRW) was her portion of the costs.
MLD confirmed that what Daisy stated was true and that the members were already aware of settlement costs when they signed their contracts.
3. Produce series (Produce 101, Produce 48, and Produce X 101)
In September 2019, it was confirmed by police that vote manipulation of the final results of the reality program Produce X 101 occurred. According to an exclusive report from No Cut News about the investigation results, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s cyber investigation team discovered that some of the 11 trainees who were voted into X1 received votes that were supposed to belong to other eliminated trainees. The investigation found that two to three members of X1 were rigged into the group based on a variety of different proofs including audio recordings.
Continued investigations found that not only were the results of Produce X 101 rigged but the results of Produce 48 as well. All the members of both X1 and IZ*ONE were decided by Ahn Joon Young PD and Kim Yong Bum CP, as well as one member of Wanna One.
4. Idol School
Along with manipulation from the Produce series, police found that the Mnet program, Idol School also rigged its results as well. During the first round of trials, it was revealed that three members from the debut group, fromis_9, were rigged in.
This pushed out three deserving candidates from the debut team. The fraudulent votes cheated about 69,000 paying voters for profits estimated to be around ₩15,000,000 KRW ($13,500 USD).
5. 2022 MAMA Awards
Shortly after voting for the 2022 MAMA Worldwide Fans’ Choice award opened, allegations of vote rigging were voiced by fans. This award is the only one that is solely based on fan voting.
[#2022MAMA] <Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10> Voting Notice
📍 Voting Schedule
– Pre Vote : 2022.10.24 19:00 – 2022.11.04 23:59 (KST)
– Vote : 2022.11.10 19:00 – 11.24 23:59 (KST)
2022 MAMA AWARDS
— MAMA AWARDS (@MnetMAMA) October 24, 2022
A Korean netizen compiled charts of the voting patterns of each group and found that a majority including BTS and BLACKPINK exhibited normal voting patterns, while IVE, DREAMCATCHER, LOONA, Kep1er, and Brave Girls saw a huge increase in voting over a few days.
Mnet soon released a statement regarding the voting process and how any fraudulent votes would be handled.
The “2022 MAMA AWARDS” voting currently being held by Mnet Plus is being thoroughly verified step by step to ensure that a transparent and fair voting takes place throughout the entire process from joining membership to opening and closing of voting. The entire voting process discloses the total number of votes and the percentage of votes per artist in real time so that all global K-POP fans can see it.
In addition, data identified as fraudulent voting during the monitoring process will be excluded from the final aggregation.
The statement appears on the MAMA website as soon as it is accessed.