So what does this mean for the future of KARA... and how can we help?
A lot of people are now predictably saying "well, Nicole and Jiyoung leaving is surely the death of the group" - but k-pop fans have an excellent way of being wrong about these kinds of things. Even the k-pop media continually gets it wrong. Remember at the start of 2013 when people speculated on which groups would disband in the coming year and Allkpop laughably picked T-ara and Block B? If you ever wanted any hard evidence that these people have no idea about anything, there it is. As much as I absolutely hate to direct my readers to click on a link to the Great Satan of k-pop websites, feel free to click the above link anyway just to take a look at their other insane predictions for 2013 to see what else didn't come true. Then scrub your computer thoroughly for malware and tracking cookies and add the site to your browser's permanent block list.
It's easy to get distracted by the fact that 40% of KARA didn't sign new contracts while ignoring what this ALSO obviously means - the other 60% of the group DID sign new contracts. We can only presume that DSP still intends to do something with KARA - and why wouldn't they? KARA makes a shitload of money and even in Korea's "keeping up appearances" industry, money still talks and netizen bullshit still walks - for the same reason that CCM were very obviously never going to disband T-ara, DSP will keep KARA going as long as they possibly can get away with it.
The other thing to keep in mind is that KARA has had line-up juggling this severe before, and not only survived it, but benefited from it.
Kara's debut album "The First Blooooming" was an awful R&B piece of shit with only about two good songs on it, and while it didn't do all that badly commercially, the group didn't kick their career into high gear until Sunghee's parents pulled her out of the group for some more daddy-time, they got two new members in and their producers finally found where the "soft-ass R&B shit nobody over the age of five wants to hear" knob was on the studio desk and turned that down a bit. So there's no reason, at least theoretically, why KARA couldn't also survive and benefit from this latest line-up juggle.
Three members isn't a very good number for a k-pop group though. A group like KARA really needs at least four members, just so they can match the four letters of the group to them in photos and promotional material - it's just good graphic design for an idol group. Even TVXQ do okay with just two members because you can place two letters over each member, but four over three is just a mess when you're trying to make posters and CD covers. KARA really needs another member just so the girl over at DSP graphic design doesn't pull a hernia over this shit.
This might all seem a bit trivial - but remember, graphic design is part of branding and it's very important to people. Look at how excited people get about their favourite sports teams. Where I live, sports fans of team X won't necessarily live anywhere near location X, it's very common to find devout fans of a team way over on the other side of the country, and if you ask them "what initially got you into team X as your faves" they probably can't even tell you. They'll just say "they're the best" over and over while drooling and scraping their knuckles lightly on the carpet, but the truth is that usually they got into the team when they were very very young because they were asked one day "what team is your favourite" in the schoolyard and they hadn't really thought about it yet so they just picked the one that had the coolest looking logo. Sports fans at heart are really graphic design junkies. Who says it's any different for k-pop groups? After all the groups are interchangeable in just about every other aspect.
I thought it would therefore be cool to help out DSP and try to find a fourth member for KARA, by scouting through various people in the world of k-pop that may be potentially looking for employment, to see if they're doing much for the next few years, and if they would be a good fit for KARA.
Let's look at the positives and negatives of some candidates:
KAHI (ex-AFTER SCHOOL)
It's no secret that Kahi's career has been on the downturn since leaving After School and she's likely to be questioning her next career move. Could joining KARA be a mutually beneficial arrangement?
Can sing somewhat, dance and do PR
Relevant work experience
Existing sexually frustrated fanbase will appreciate her recreating KARA's dance moves
Probably a little overqualified for the role
Potential ego/leadership problems given that she's used to running shit
Might also have ego issues if management doesn't have enough time for her
Seems like more trouble than it's worth. Don't call us Kahi, we'll call you.
HWAYOUNG (ex T-ARA)
It's a pretty safe bet to say that T-ara's ex-nail polish application specialist has probably been looking for more things to do to fill her time lately.
Only a rapper, can't sing whatsoever, great replacement for Nicole
Increased web traffic from netizens can be monetised if DSP attach ads to trashy rumour mill sites
Reliability is obviously an issue
Lack of determination, potential difference in determination levels
Poor at clarifying rumours
Recent cameo MV appearance in bath suggests leg may not be completely healed
Does not play well with others. Should stick to wearing clingy white clothes and getting them wet, it's a solitary activity and she seems to be very good at it.
SOHEE (ex-WONDER GIRLS)
JYP's ex-#1 crush is at a bit of a loose end right now - does she have what it takes?
Barely functional vocals will fit right in
Can pick up lots of extra CF and magazine fashion work
Strange eyes compliment Seungyeon's, balancing her appearance
Prank calls from JYP whispering his name and hanging up a possibility
Lamination of photocards and packaging an extra expense
If Sohee and Seungyeon look in opposite directions from the stage their eye-beams could intersect and create a "crossing the streams" incident resulting in many casualties
The thought is appealing but this looks like another high-maintenance option, the restraining order necessary to keep JYP away alone may cost thousands.
CCM's failed MILF concept group has left more than a few careers on pause.
Not really good at anything much except the above, won't cramp KARA's style
As the oldest, could create ego/leadership issues
Group might flop-by-association
Future MV concepts involving bikinis may lead to post traumatic stress flashback of working on shitty CCM beach karaoke videos
Seems high-risk somehow. Maybe search elsewhere, but DSP should keep her resume on file for when it's time to make the official KARA karaoke beach DVD set.
HWANG MINWOO (aka LITTLE PSY)
Little PSY is growing up, he won't be able to milk the "I'm a younger
Already has a working relationship with KARA
General talent deficit in all areas won't cause any group dischord or bruised egos
Ugly appearance will only serve to highlight the attractiveness of the other members
Mixed gender groups traditionally not popular
We'll probably have to watch him do the horse dance again
Performing of the "butt dance" from "Mister" could cause mass suicides across Asia as both fans and casual observers alike lose all hope in future generations of young people
Although I feel for Little PSY's dim career prospects, the greater good of humanity outweighs the needs of the individual so let's decline this option.
While technically still a member of DMTN, maybe a fresh start is in order for Daniel's career as his reputation has taken a hit lately. What better way to turn over a new leaf than to change groups before his career goes up in smoke?
An eligible adult male presence might get more fangirls onboard with KARA
Nothing notable talent-wise, should fit right in
Overall happiness levels within the group bound to increase
DSP revenue streams may be bolstered even if the group doesn't do well commercially
Mixed gender groups traditionally not popular
Seungyeon may become even more crosseyed and awkward
Would probably be a good idea internally but may struggle to find mainstream acceptance. DSP employees should keep his business card for weekend use though.
Word on the street is that Korean actress/model Clara is trying to break into music lately. Could she have what it takes to make a positive contribution to KARA?
Only really famous for being famous, so should fit in
Clara rhymes with KARA, good from a marketing perspective
Experienced in doing dances that maximise body display potential
Did I mention tits
Everyone will bitch and moan OH WAIT ACTUALLY THAT'S A POSITIVE
DSP, do it. Don't leave her out on the sidewalk like that. How could you?