For musicians around the world there are a few benchmarks to measure success. There are the obvious measures like record sales and music chart rankings or artistic standards like music reviews or the number of awards won. Some artists base their feeling of success on the amount of fans or Twitter followers they have or the number of YouTube views a music video has received.
Since the 90"s, when K-Pop was first getting off the ground, one factor has been used to help gauge the popularity of idol singers in the Korean mainstream - weekly music shows. These programs are used by the singers and their management to promote new songs and album releases and also give the stars a chance to showcase their hard work and talents in front of live audiences. They also go head to head with other groups to win the top prize each week.
Over the years these music programs have changed names and formats, but the basic premise remains the same - the most popular song of the week earns the artist a trophy.
Presently there are four major music programs in South Korea - Music Bank, Music Core, Inkigayo, and M! Countdown - and at six years in the biz, K-Pop boy band U-KISS has not won a single trophy.
Since their 2008 debut, U-KISS has fluctuated between five and seven active members and has released a high volume of albums, EPs, and singles over the years. However, even with three albums ranking number one on Korea"s GaOn Chart (in the same vein as the US"s Billboard), they have yet to take home a television music show prize.
With the departure of Dongho in late 2013 due to medical reasons and the temporary hiatus of member AJ while he completes his studies at Columbia University, U-KISS was starting to get a little thin in the middle. On May 15, after a photo was accidentally leaked, the group"s agency NH Media announced that another member, Joon, was to be added and will start promotions with the group from next month"s comeback.
"We regret that the photo of the new member was leaked due to a mistake by the staff," said NH Media in a statement. "The new member will join during promotions for the album releasing in June. Following the leave of U-KISS"s maknae [youngest member] Dongho, this person will surely fill in the empty space. Look forward to the transformed U-KISS."
At just 17-years-old, Joon will be the youngest U-KISS member by a long shot and the tallest as well. According to the group"s management, Joon comes in at 6"1" (185cm) and is said to be talented in both singing and dancing.
Next month U-KISS will be making a major comeback, their first since wrapping up their US tour earlier this year. Could Joon be the good luck charm the group needs to reach number one?
If the U-KISS and their production team make a concerted effort to show a revitalized front and incorporate Joon and his talents into the already well-established group, there is definitely a good chance that they could finally win a music show trophy.
Unfortunately Kissmes (as U-KISS fans are affectionately called) will just have to wait until June to find out what sort of exciting new things U-KISS and Joon plan to bring to the table.
Do you think a new member can help U-KISS win a music show number one? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.