Encore performances have always been cherished moments for K-Pop idols to celebrate their music show wins with fans. These stages provide an opportunity for artists to express their gratitude and showcase their live singing skills. However, as the importance of encore performances continues to grow, so does the stress and worry among idols.
Traditionally, encore stages have been a time for idols to have fun with their fans while singing the winning song after receiving their trophy. Unlike regular performances, encores are mostly 100% live and often feature unique twists or surprises. Idols may deviate from the full choreography, bringing funny or unexpected elements to entertain their dedicated supporters. Memorable examples include Red Velvet singing “Power Up” while enjoying some shaved ice or SHINee performing “Dream Girl” while doing push-ups.
While these moments are meant to be joyful and lighthearted, the emphasis on live singing has made encore stages a double-edged sword for K-Pop idols. The live aspect of these performances allows fans to judge the vocal abilities of their favorite artists, which can sometimes lead to unfavorable criticisms.
Over the years, netizens have not hesitated to express their opinions on idols’ live vocals during encore stages. Some groups have faced harsh criticism for perceived shortcomings in their singing abilities.
— For Jonghyun (@jjongalwayss) March 17, 2022
This scrutiny has created additional pressure on idols to deliver flawless performances, as any vocal mistakes or perceived lack of perfection can result in backlash and malicious comments online. An industry insider, speaking to Sports Seoul, shed light on this growing concern within the K-Pop industry.
It’s a must for any artist to be able to perform live. Vocal skills are mandatory, but it is true that idols are growing more worried and pressured about encore performances. Some idols suffer from malicious comments after their encore videos are shared online, and if, by any chance, the videos capture the idols making mistakes or lacking in vocal perfection.
— K-Pop Insider
This recent focus on live singing during encore stages highlights an enduring demand from fans: the desire for singers who excel in delivering outstanding vocal performances. If K-Pop groups continue to struggle with performing live, there is a risk that the public perception of the industry might shift towards being all style and no substance, according to the industry insider.
This proves that the public eye has not changed, no matter how many generations the K-Pop market has been through: Fans want singers who sing well. If K-Pop groups continue to struggle with performing live, then the public could eventually perceive the whole industry as flashy-with-no-substance.
— K-Pop Insider
I get absolutely zero joy watching any kpop stages (especially on music shows) where I can’t hear their real voices. If I’m watching a live performance, I want to hear live vocals! I know 3rd/4th gen kpop strives for perfection, but I’m exhausted of it. I want to see mistakes!!!
— courtne1 (@hyodararose) June 16, 2021
As K-Pop continues to gain global recognition, the expectations for live performances and vocal prowess are increasing. Idols are seemingly under immense pressure to balance their demanding schedules, intense training, and the need to deliver impressive live performances. Fans continue to insist that it is crucial for agencies to support their artists by providing ample vocal training and guidance to ensure they can meet the expectations of netizens and the industry.
4th gen is boring. They’re all busy doing acrobatics instead of taking vocal lessons😭. I feel bad for them honestly because the companies are just debuting them without giving appropriate training. Maybe they’ll get better in the future idk. https://t.co/k6iJpLFDbJ
— yll (@eriayll) September 17, 2022