It’s a hard truth that young K-pop male artists have to leave their groups and fans for about two years to serve in the military. The artists used to postpone the serving as much as possible in the past. However, idol stars these days tend to serve almost simultaneously with other group members, so that they can come back as a group as soon as possible.
This year, too, a number of idol stars are to enlist. Some of them, including Big Bang’s Seungri, Wanna One’s Yoon Ji-sung, HIGHLIGHT Lee Gi-Kwang, and EXO’s Xiumin, have not specified the dates but planning to start their services this year.
BTOB’s Lee Chang-sub joined the military on January 14, becoming the first to serve as a K-pop singer this year. Another member from the group, Lee Min-hyuk, is waiting for his enlistment on February 7 as well.
B1A4’s member CNU is enlisting on January 22. At the recent fan meet event, CNU spoke about his imminent enlistment, saying, “It was sooner than I thought, but I will be back as a stubborn man after doing my duties as a citizen.”
Following CNU, HIGHLIGHT’s Yang Yo-sub is enlisting on January 24. He recently stepped down from his radio show. Block B’s Park Kyung has replaced him as the DJ.
In addition, rappers Loco and Hanhae are enlisting early next month.
HIGHLIGHT celebrates 9th anniversary with heartfelt posts and announcement of upcoming music and solo concert!
On October 16, HIGHLIGHT members expressed their gratitude towards fans through Instagram posts. Along with the posts, the group held a V live broadcast the day prior to their actually anniversary, where they announced the release of a new track on October 29 and solo concert in November.
First, Son Dong-Woon said, “since middle school, when I had begun training, until the day I debuted, I had never felt easy about anything. I was worried everything could fall apart in any second. However, you were the ones who brought stability and completed my life. I sincerely hope that there will be enough time in the future for me to repay all the love, and I hope that I could be that person who is capable of doing so.”
He continued, “my dear friend, Lights. You’ve done a great job so far, congratulations on 9th anniversary, and please keep taking of us.”
Yang Yo-Seob said, “just like this picture, where everyone became one team with one heart and one goal, we will always walk our path together as a team. I’m aware that some of our decisions from the past may have been a little upsetting to you. However, our fans, staff, and colleagues have always had our backs and continued to encourage and help us. Thank you. Also to my friends, Yoon, Yong, Lee, and Song. I hereby state my respect and gratitude to you.”
Yong Jun-Hyung briefly said, “Happy 9th anniversary,” along with the picture of HIGHLIGHT members. In the picture, the 4 members held a picture of Yoon Doo-Joon instead, for he is currently serving in the military and could not be with them on this day.
Lastly, Lee Gi-Kwang said, “it’s our 9th anniversary. I sincerely thank all our fans, who have supported us, encouraged us, and taken care of us for the longest time ever. Because of you, I was able to happily dance and sing with my friends until now. From now on, I will work ever harder and I will improve upon myself. Please continue to take care of us.”
He also thanked his company staff members. Lee said, “also, to all staff at our company, thank you so much for working hard even when no one can see you. Finally, to my members. I’m honestly very glad that we are together and that i have you. I’m grateful every day and I enjoy it very much. Let’s be together for the next hundreds and thousands of years. I love you.”
Lee Gi-Kwang shares a few words now that KBS drama “Lovely Horribly” has aired its final episode.
On October 2, KBS drama “Lovely Horribly” aired its final episode and came to an end. To commemorate the end of the drama, Lee Gi-Kwang has shared a few words about how the drama has taught him to become a better actor.
Lee Gi-Kwang started off by talking about the weather change. He said, “when we began filming for the drama, the hot weather was almost suffocating us. But now that the drama has neared its end, the cold wind blows.”
He continued, “first of all, it was an honor to appear in such a great drama with a great role in hand. It was also an honor to act alongside Si-Hoo, Ji-Hyo, and Yeo-Jin,as well as other amazing seniors and juniors. Because everyone, from our director to all staff, has poured their heart into the production, the drama was a success.”
Lee Gi-Kwang took on the role of Lee Sung-Joong, an up-and-coming drama director, who holds a special place in his heart for Eul-Soon, the character played by Song Ji-Hyo.
He said, “it was my first time taking on a character who is in one-way love. Personally, I learned a lot from it. I think my acting spectrum has gotten wider thanks to my character. It was very fun taking on the role of Sung-Joong, a person who may seem very innocent and easy-going, but is not afraid to say what he has in mind.”
He continued, “from now on, I will challenge myself on taking on as many characters as possible, and really grow as an actor that you can trust.”
At the end, Lee Gi-Kwang said, “the weather is so unpredictable. Try not to catch a cold. I will continue to try my best to become an actor who can stand proudly in front of you.”
A news report alleged that Dongshin University gave four then BEAST members preferential treatment regarding attendance, scholarships, and performance.
In a dizzying report on August 12, SBS “8 O’Clock News” reported that Dongshin University provided preferential treatment not only to public officials but K-pop idols too.
According to the news program’s exclusive investigation som,e of the privileges given to these individuals included “convenience in attendance, scholarships, and graduation” with below-standard performance. Further, the university’s 2011 records indicate that it gave four people a “special scholarship” or marked them with an “X,” indicating that they cannot take classes like regular students. A school dean signed the form.
In the report, the “8 O’Clock News” cast suspicion on former BEAST members Yoon Doo-joon, Yong Jun-hyung, Lee Gi-Kwang, and Jang Hyun-seung as these four people. The four singer all started attended Dongshin University, South Jeolla Province, simultaneously in 2010. With that said, the SBS program has claimed that the four former group members attended and graduated from the university without doing the necessary work.
In a follow-up report, the show hypothesized that the university provided preferential treatment to meet state-mandated quotas for new admissions in order to get a subsidy.
In response, both Donshin University and Cube Entertainment the former agency of BEAST and Jang Hyun-seung’s current management denied the allegations.
Dongshin University said in a statement that they “did not order or provide any special treatment to students who could not attend class” like other attendees of the university. Similarly, Cube Entertainment said that they “are trying to understand the exact situation” and are inquiring employees who were in charge of BEAST in the past. Once they find something conclusive, the agency place to “an effort to deliver an official position as soon as possible.”
The two responses come hours after Around Us Entertainment, the agency of HIGHLIGHT (formerly BEAST and sans Jang Hyun-seung) issued a denial of the claims. In a statement, the company said the now HIGHLIGHT member attended classes as regularly as they could manage. However, due to their schedule, they would make requests from time-to-time to take required tests separately at university-sanctioned times.
Meanwhile, preferential treatment of celebrities has become a hot-button issue. Earlier this year, CNBLUE Jong Yong-hwa and 2AM Jo Kwon were accused of being accepted and attending different universities under suspicious circumstances.
According to a recent investigation, Dongshin University gave preferential treatment to three HIGHLIGHT (formerly BEAST) members and one former member.
On August 12, SBS “8 o’Clock News” reported that Dongshin University in Naju, South Jeolla Province has provided various privileges to public official and idols who are or have attended.
Including in the list of those who may have benefitted from preferential treatment includes current HIGHLIGHT members Yoon Doo-joon, Yong Jun-hyung, Lee Gi-Kwang, and former BEAST member Jang Hyun-seung. According to SBS, some of the privileges given to these individuals included “convenience in attendance, scholarships, and graduation” with below-standard performance.
“It would have been difficult to attend (classes) with a busy schedule. Dongshin University has been offering scholarships not only to public officials but to idols too,” the program revealed. In 2011, the educational institute’s records marked certain students as recipients of a “special scholarship” or were marked with an “X.” All of the singers entered the university in 2010.
Furthermore, according to further investigation by SBS, four people got scholarships from the school and were pre-designated as students who could not, or did not, attend classes.
However, the news program said that they could not determine whether all of the HIGHLIGHT/ BEAST members attended each class. Moreover, “even though the regular attendance was difficult, all four graduated safely and went to graduate school,” they said.
As suspicions grew after the broadcast aired, HIGHLIGHT’s management company Around Us Entertainment issues a statement denying the claims that Yoon Doo-joon, Yong Jun-hyung, and Lee Gi-Kwang did not attend class. “It is not true that they have never been to school at all,” the agency said.
Moreover, Around Us Entertainment explains that if their schedules conflicted with their educational obligations such as tests, the members would ask the school for consent to take it separately at another time. Continuing, the agency went on to said that the singer “worked as a public relations model for the school, took classes with other students, took tests, and participated faithfully in school events,” pointing out how involved they were in school life.
At the same time, the members who are aware of the growing controversy finds it regrettable that they could not be “sincere in their school classes compared to other students.”
On the other hand, Cube Entertainment with whom former member Jang Hyun-seung is contracted with has not been available for a response.
K-pop boy group Highlight’s member Lee Gi-kwang has confirmed his appearance in drama “Lovely Horribly.”
On June 5, Lee Gi-kwang’s agency AroundUS announced that the artist is to star in “Lovely Horribly,” which is to premiere in August following “Are You Human?” According to the announcement, Lee Gi-kwang is to take the role as Seong-joon, a guy who can see ghosts.
The winner of last year’s KBS drama scenario contest, “Lovely Horribly” is about the relationship between a celebrity and drama writer who share a single fate.
While Song Ji-hyo and Park Shi-hoo are confirmed as the leading characters, Lee Gi-kwang is joining the two as a key character to add tension.
“The synopsis was so interesting, to start with, and I found the character so attractive as well,” said Lee Gi-kwang. “I’m excited to be a part of such a great piece with amazing casts.”
Previously, Lee Gi-kwang showed his acting ability in several TV dramas, including “Me Too, Flower!” “Mrs. Cop,” “Monster,” and “Circle.”