When it comes to being a K-Pop idol, it is well-known that artists are expected to adhere to strict expectations and have a lot of limitations set on them to match the high standards expected.
Yet, as hard as netizens think new idols have it, it is not rare for older idols to share how much things have changed and the amount of freedom most 4th-generation idols have.
One idol who has recently shared the vast differences between being a third and fourth-generation idol is former B.A.P member Zelo.
After debuting in 2012, Zelo and B.A.P shined with their diverse music, amazing stage presence, and visuals up until they left their agency in 2019.
Zelo recently appeared alongside Ladies’ Code‘s Ashley and Junny on an episode of DIVE Studio Podcasts. During the episode, he chatted about the hierarchy in K-Pop, his recent work, and what it was like as a member of B.A.P.
During the video, Zelo and the hosts were discussing the latest trends among idols. As expected, they pointed out that the use of TikTok is much more common and that challenges are almost a must for any group debuting or having a comeback.
Yet, it seems like it isn’t the only difference Zelo has noticed when it comes to idols debuting now compared to when B.A.P first came out as part of the third generation. In particular, he pointed out how different promotional periods are.
Before, you have to be on music shows and other TV shows for a month. That was the routine, you know. But now it’s a week or two. After the shoot, you say bye and leave.
He then explained that a lot of the promotion comes from social media and how different it was from the more conservative times when he first debuted.
In particular, although there are still taboos around many topics in K-Pop, Ashley revealed that idols seem much more able to talk about things that were initially frowned upon when he became an idol, particularly on the topics of drink and dating.
We never talked about dating nor could we say anything about drinking. I think it’s more open these days, for sure.
In particular, when it comes to drinking, it isn’t shocking to see idols who are legal to drink talking about alcohol during live broadcasts and appearances. It even seems more natural with more drinking shows, even those who are not veteran idols.
Ashley explained that it seems a lot more normal for idols to be open about their lives.
You can say how much you drink and how many dates you’ve gone on. Of course, very young artists don’t. There are a lot of YouTube contents these days. There are channels for drinking, too. Don’t you think they talk very freely on YouTube?
Earlier in the video, Ashley also pointed out that idols seemingly have more freedom when it comes to giving their opinions on things.
In particular, she pointed out that when she debuted, she wasn’t always happy with the makeup styles. Junny explained that makeup artists were much more open about allowing idols to give their input.
What was so annoying and frustrating when I debuted was that they didn’t let us express our opinions. When they do your makeup for you, you can’t always be happy with it.
Many netizens seem to believe that idols have no freedom. Whether it is the topic of dating or interacting with idols of the opposite sex, many believe fourth-generation idols ave it tougher.
Yet, it seems like idols nowadays have it much easier than those who debuted before them, which seems worlds away from the opinions most have. It seems like a lot of the restrictions on new idols comes from netizens as the expectations from companies are less conservative than in the past.
You can watch the whole episode below.