The first generation of K-Pop saw the rising popularity of the formation of groups like Fin.K.L., Shinhwa, H.O.T., and S.E.S. In between the success of these rising groups came the three-member girl group GirlFrND, which stood for “Girl From New Dream.“
GirlFrND debuted under Howdy Entertainment on August 13, 2001, and released a full-length album, Girl From New Dream. The group consisted of vocalist, rapper, and leader Sunny, vocalist and former child actress Eunji, and maknae Gayeon.
The group’s fun, upbeat dance track, “Tonight,” received positive feedback after its release. Having three beautiful members with talented vocals, it seemed the group was on track to have a promising future.
They made their music show debut, and although their performance was impressive, their vocals seemed to exactly match the album recording despite dancing on stage. During this time, lip-syncing on music shows was not uncommon, and was allowed on the major broadcast networks.
Their promotions were going well until they were set to make their first appearance on MBC‘s music show at the time, Music Camp.
That year, changes were happening at Music Camp that saw them require artists to sing live on the program. Since the changes were relatively recent, GirlFrND’s management team wasn’t aware this was a requirement, so the members expected to be able to lip sync.
During rehearsals, when they realized they would have to sing live, they broke down and confessed to their manager that the only member whose vocals were on the album was Gayeon. Sunny and Eunji had been lip-syncing to another singer’s vocals.
The group was forced to cancel their Music Camp performance, and their manager, who had no idea the artists he managed were not the singers on the album, quit.
Howdy Entertainment briefly tried to cover up the incident before announcing the group would come back with a second album. Before that album could be released, the group disbanded in October 2001, just two months after their debut.
The incident is said to have changed the way music shows treated performances ever since, as broadcast companies made clear stances that musical artists were to perform live on their shows after news of GirlFrND’s lip-syncing scandal came to light.
Eight years later, Gayeon re-entered the entertainment industry and debuted as a member of the former long-standing trot girl group, LPG. She was active in the group from 2009-2012 and has since married and had a son.
Check out GirlFrND’s first and final music video below: