2014's Scandal of the Year

By all counts, 2014 has been an unmitigated success. Never before has Kpop been blessed with such a varied potpourri of scandal! We are truly spoiled for choice. Where to even begin…? With an illicit romance? Or how about some racist iconography? No, no, there’s only one real way to begin.

After years of agencies hogging the scandal spotlight, the idols struck back. And how! It wasn’t just about who was dating who (Sulli, we’re looking at you and Choiza, we knew from the start). Glam’s Dahee debuted her very own solo scandal. Her $5 million hit, “Blackmailing Lee Byung Hun for making lewd comments with me and my model friend,” garnered acclaim and a possible five year prison sentence. Her follow up letters of apology have not, as of yet, gained the same notoriety, but we eagerly await a possible comeback.

You like blackmail? What about drugs? We got you some drugs. 2NE1’s Park Bom’s amphetamines scandal was the gift that kept on giving. Speaking of giving, Bumkey made headlines for his repeated and generous gifts of meth (in exchange for money, of course). Not into that? How about a simpler business exchange?

And what could be simpler than beans? Nothing compared to the scandal of the century, Lee Hyori’s organic/not so organic beans. Since she didn’t go through the proper channels to identify these so-called beans as organic, Lee Hyori caught the helpful eye of netizens across the world, who notified the eager authorities and nearly made Lee Hyori into Dahee’s unlikely roommate (possible reality show?). Simply by default, Lee Hyori should win in any category in which she is placed. She’s earned it, as the undisputed Queen of Kpop. But how can a Queen topple something as forever as twelve? Or should we say ten?

Kris and Luhan made a dozen into ten with their energetic exits and subsequent collaborative lawsuits with SM Entertainment. Exo has become the “Survivor” of idol groups: “Who will be ousted next?! Tune in next week,” proving that forever is just subjective, really. Think about it: is SNSD really #forever9? You’d be surprised what a little math will do here. SNSD - Jessica = 8/9, last time we checked. Jessica’s surprising goodbye could very well have won Scandal of the Year if she hadn’t been completely overshadowed by ZE:A’s Junyoung’s descent into social media insanity. Come on, Jessica, pick up the pace! Maybe if any of the groups had been as united as BAP and their contract dispute with TS Entertainment, we’d have a winner here!

This year also saw our innocent idols grow into shrewd peddlers of lewd material. Because nothing, dear reader, sells like a scandal. Debut group Red Velvet earned their time in the spotlight, not for a deliriously happy song, but for having the courage to show their true, anti-Japanese sentiments. It’s a real shame none of their fans took the time to read that parrot’s lips. That would’ve been good for another 10 million views.

Instead, the parroting was left up to Block B’s Zico, who called his rap peers a “faggot bitch” in his solo debut, “Tough Cookie.” The apology from Seven Seasons cleared up that mess nicely. No offense intended, it was just Zico repeating a hateful slur he heard somewhere. No big deal.

And why should it be? Sistar proved this year that repeating material that isn’t yours can lead directly to a MAMA award for artist of the year. Even though “I Swear” was one of Sistar’s only releases in 2014, their bold thievery impressed fans and judges alike. How could a simple drug smuggling scandal or illicit romances stack up?

Girls’ Generation certainly gave it their all this year. A romance between members of two of the most popular Kpop groups of all time is pure gold! Except it wasn’t enough. Taeyeon and Baekhyun’s star began fading too fast. And with awards season fast approaching, SM Entertainment did what it does best. They booted Jessica out, because, like, she wanted a fashion line. Easy call.

Or is it? So what do you think? We’ll tell you.

And the Scandal of the Year Award Goes to…

Exo! No other group came close to the amount of stress that Exo put on their adoring fans. Exostans spent 2014 in a constant state of worry. Is Taeyeon good enough to date Baekhyun? What will we do without Kris? What will we do without Luhan? How can we possibly promote with only 10 members? Is Chanyeol getting the right diet? If I buy five more albums, do you think it will all be okay?

And that constant state of fear pushed Exo straight to the top. After only releasing one six-song album, Exo somehow managed to snag the MAMA awards for Artist of the Year, Best Male Group, Album of the Year, and Best Asian Style. If ever a scandal deserved mention in a thank you speech, this was it. Exo earns our award for Scandal of the Year for their amazing, incredibly long, superfluous, drawn-out scandal. Not for a single second was Exo far from the spotlight. No press is bad press, right? Let’s see if they can defend their title in 2015!


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