As part of the 2022 MBC Gayo Daejejeon (also known as MBC Music Festival), IVE‘s Jang Wonyoung and Leeseo performed a special cover version of sunbae IU‘s “strawberry moon” on December 31 (KST).
And, as per usual, MBC‘s YouTube channel uploaded a video of the performance that showcased the two members singing while sitting on high stools.
Since the performance, however—especially following the video upload, the girl group members and their agency, Starship Entertainment, have come to face immense criticism.
The initial flak came from the fact that Jang Wonyoung and Leeseo were “obviously lip syncing.” Though some pointed out that lip syncing is generally more accepted at these year-end festivals (considering the short practice time frame), most agreed that the idols “didn’t put in any effort at all” to make the performance “worth watching.”
- “So they don’t want to be singers. They just want to sit pretty like dolls.”
- “I wonder if both of them are so busy and exhausted that they can’t even sing a single track live…? Because, no matter what the excuses, singers should sing on stage. And idols are singers, too. This is kind of disappointing.”
- “Obviously lip syncing. I wonder if it doesn’t embarrass them at all. I would understand if their vocal chords are all damaged and they’re just not in the condition. But for singers to go on stage to sit and act like they’re singing? How is that acceptable?”
- “I can’t believe IVE won daesang, though… What a shame.”
- “The members should absolutely be mortified. A lip synced performance? TBH, they don’t even look like they want to put in the effort to make it at least seem real. Is this all it takes to be singers? Just to look pretty on stage?”
Then, as the backlash continued over thousands of comments under the YouTube video and across online K-Pop communities, others accused Starship Entertainment of “recycling” the exact audio that was recorded five months ago.
Insisting that the AR came from a cover video shared to IVE’s official YouTube channel back in July 2022, fans expressed disappointment at both IVE and Starship Entertainment for being “insincere.”
You can play the videos at the same time and you’ll be able to hear that it’s one audio.
One fan clarified, “It’s not that [the fans] are looking for a reason to hate on the members, but more so that [they] want to know if there was no other way for the performance to have been done.”
So they really couldn’t even record a new version of the AR, huh? They’re literally just sitting pretty. What effort is being made here, for that performance? An effort to look good?
The fact that the whole thing was lip synced is already low effort. But for the AR to have been months old, recorded for another video…? It’s disrespectful, especially considering the size of the event this was. I know IVE members must have worked really hard to get where they are now. But I also feel like they could do better.
In general, the fans expressed disappointment in the fact that IVE “seemed reluctant” to put on a good quality show for their fans.
- “People are more understanding of idols lip syncing cover performances at these year-end festivals because there are three broadcasting stations. Idols usually have to perform their own songs, sometimes arranged differently. They have covers, collaborations, and more. So it’s taken into consideration the sheer amount of time and effort needed in such a short period of time. But this performance…? This isn’t a cover. This is basically a replay of their five-month-old video.”
- “Some idols put together special performances and have their choreographies down to a T even after having been on an international tour all this time… Yet for them to half-a*s a cover performance like this, lip syncing while sitting down?”
- “This is the worst… I feel like Starship Entertainment pushed through with this because they can. It’s impossible to overlook how unprepared the members were. And I refuse to believe that there wasn’t any time to prepare. They had time. They just didn’t want to put in the effort.”
- “It’s MBC and Starship Entertainment getting in over their heads. Jang Wonyoung is a popular member, so they want to put her on stage. But they couldn’t get her to practice.”
- “[The fact they re-used the audio] is the most baffling to me. How insincere!”
- “Like, I don’t actually mind lip synced performances all that much. Especially for year-end shows like this, I’m fine with lip syncing. I’m fine with seated performances, too! But for them to re-use an old audio… Now, that is disappointing. It no longer is about the members’ abilities to sing or not. It’s about their sincerity for the stage.”
Some even argued that IVE and/or Starship Entertainment “got in over their heads” and threw together a “subpar performance,” when “other artists—who can sing live—could have wanted and/or needed the opportunity.”
I hope the members feel bad for what they’ve done, to themselves and to fellow K-Pop idols. IVE isn’t the only group who was packed with schedules at the end of the year. If things got really out of hand and they realized they had no time to put the performance together, they should have turned down the stage…
Like, what was even the point of this? A lot of other idols would have appreciated the opportunity to be on stage. I’m a general K-Pop fan and this just absolutely breaks my heart. This is an opportunity completely wasted…
Neither the members nor Starship Entertainment has responded to the online heat.
Listen to IU’s performance of “strawberry moon” at the 2021 MMAs here.