The Most Passionate K-Pop Fandom Of All Time, According to Circle Chart Director

“Because of their immense amount of love for them, they had to deal with emotional damage throughout the years.”

Steve Choi, the director of Circle Chart and secretary general of the Korea Music Copyright Association (KMCA), has been uploading popular “K-Pop Analysis” videos on the OK POP!! YouTube channel for a while now. During the videos, usually dedicated to a specific artist, Choi talks about the artist’s success and whether it’s more reliant on a big fandom or love from the general public.

This week’s analysis saw the Circle Chart director talk about SM Entertainment‘s hitmakers EXO. Not only did Choi go in depth about EXO’s commercial success through the years, but he also revealed why he considers the group’s fandom, EXO-L, the most passionate fandom in K-Pop.

If you were to ask me which fandom is the most fervent in all of K-pop history, many people might have their own opinions, but personally, I would say it is EXO-L.

— Steve Choi

| SM Entertainment

While Choi admitted that currently, there are a lot of fandoms that could compete for the title, he explained that EXO-L takes the cake when it comes to their intense passion and the immense amount of love they have for their idols. Choi mentioned the fact that EXO did not start with the same amount of members that it has now and how, despite several members leaving through the years, the fans’ love for the group never wavered.

We must think of the current EXO-L as a fandom with plenty of complicated feelings and sorrow. Because of their immense amount of love for them, they had to deal with emotional damage throughout the years.

— Steve Choi

50,000 EXO-Ls watching EXO perform at their fan meeting in Japan earlier this week. | @weareoneEXO/Twitter

Admittedly, the EXO-L fandom has had to go through quite a lot ever since EXO first debuted in 2012. Just a few years after their official debut, in 2014, one of the group’s rappers, Kris Wu, filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment and stopped promoting with the rest of the members. Luhan followed suit just a few months after this, and both members officially departed from EXO in 2016. Tao also filed his own lawsuit in 2015 and eventually left the group in 2018.

EXO in 2012 | SM Entertainment

Following the three lawsuits, Lay also didn’t participate in the group’s activities for their 2017 album The War due to conflicting schedules with his solo activities. He did not return to active participation until 2021, except for his vocal contribution to EXO’s Chinese version of the title track “Tempo” in 2018. However, Lay was able to participate in all songs of the Don’t Fight The Feeling album and feature in the music video for its title track. Despite all of these ups and downs, the EXO-L fandom still remains supportive of the group.

Lay | SM Entertainment

But they managed to endure it, and even today, they are proudly supporting EXO as EXO-L.

— Steve Choi

| @weareoneEXO/Twitter

Lastly, Choi also noted how there are now more fandoms than ever in K-Pop, and each of them is super supportive of their favorite groups. However, he stated that EXO-Ls power of unity has to be respected by everyone. According to him, the EXO-L fandom is the one that largely “suggested the paradigm” in the idol fandom culture as well.

This is the power that keeps EXO going.

— Steve Choi

| @weareoneEXO/Twitter

You can watch the full analysis here:

Source: OK POP!!


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