Monday, January 20, 2014

Reasons Why Nicole Left KARA

Reasons Why Nicole Left KARA

by 두비두바 (from

Updated on September 12, 2014

The story is not that long compared to the long page so I hope you read it all since you already have entered this page.


In fact, Nicole only refused her contract renewal with KARA's current agency, DSP Media,

and wanted to keep promoting as KARA under another agency just like Gain of Brown Eyed Girls

who left her previous agency but not her group after her contract expired.

However, because DSP Media refused Nicole's offer, Nicole was forced to leave KARA.

There were reasons why she had to refuse her contract renewal.

Since the 'KARA Situation' back in 2011, Nicole had been receiving blatant poor treatment from the agency, DSP Media.

You can figure it out by analyzing each of KARA's activities over the past three years.

KARA Situation:
A legal situation in January 2011 that the some members' parents demanded contract termination from the agency.

Please read these if you want to know why it happened.


★Each Member's Individual Activities (Fixed Broadcasts or Acting Activities)
   Since the KARA Situation Until Nicole's Departure (Jan 2011 - Jan 2014)

-Alpha and Omega
-200 Pounds Beauty
-Reckless Family
-Jewelry House
-Nail Shop Paris
-The Show: All About K-Pop

-TV Animal Farm
-Late Romance
-Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love
-The Show: All About K-Pop

-City Hunter

-Invincible Youth 2
-Rainbow Rose

Nicole couldn't do any personal activities for three years excluding her MC role in 'Inkigayo' with Hara.

Before the situation, Nicole took off with 'Star Golden Bell,' became a fixed cast of 'Sunday NIght,'

attracted the public's attention with 'Introduction to Veterinary Science' and 'Heroes,'

and ultimately became responsible for the group's mass public appeal along with Hara.

However, after the situation, she did almost no solo guest appearances and barely appeared on broadcasts.


★KARA's Schedules During 'Damaged Lady' Promotions (Except 5-member-group Schedules)

18th SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
21st KBS2 Vitamin [Recording] (Seungyeon, Hara)
22nd YomiuriTV Downtown DX (Gyuri, Seungyeon, Hara)
23rd KBS2 The Human Condition [Recording] (Gyuri, Jiyoung)
25th SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
28th MBC Radio Star [Recording] (Seungyeon, Hara, Jiyoung)
        KBS2 Vitamin (Seungyeon, Hara)
29th KBS2 Mamma Mia [Recording] (Gyuri)
        KBS2 Family's Dignity Full House [Recording] (Hara)

1st SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
4th MBC Radio Star (Seungyeon, Hara, Jiyoung)
6th KBS2 Family's Dignity Full House (Hara)
7th MBC Quiz That Change the World (Gyuri)
8th KBS2 1vs100 [Recording] (Seungyeon)
      KBS2 Mamma Mia (Gyuri)
      SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
10th SBS Incarnation (Seungyeon)
15th KBS2 Mamma Mia (Gyuri)
        SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
16th MBC Story Show Hwasubun [Recording] (Jiyoung)
21st MBCRadio Simsimtapa (Gyuri)
22nd DATV Nail Shop Paris Ep11 (Gyuri)
        SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
29th MBC Story Show Hwasubun [Recording] (Jiyoung)
        DATV Nail Shop Paris Ep12 (Gyuri)
        SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)

1st SBS MTV The Show: All About K-Pop [Recording] (Gyuri, Seungyeon)
3rd MBC Story Show Hwasubun (Jiyoung)
5th KBS2 The Human Condition (Gyuri, Jiyoung)
6th SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
8th SBS MTV The Show: All About K-Pop (Gyuri, Seungyeon)
10th MBC Story Show Hwasubun (Jiyoung)
13th SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
15th SBS MTV The Show: All About K-Pop (Gyuri, Seungyeon)
19th 2013 World Kuksool Super Festival (Seungyeon)
20th SBS TV Animal Farm (Seungyeon)
25th TBS The Show: All About K-Pop (Gyuri, Seungyeon)

Except for 5-member-group schedules, Nicole had no schedules at all.

Before the situation, she was the most active member on broadcasts

and even appeared alone to represent KARA on the popular shows like 'Family Outing' and 'Happy Together.'

However, during the three years after the situation, the only Korean show she appeared alone

was 'We Got Married,' which was only due to her 91-Line friends.

Some people argue that the lack of TV appearances was because of her variety-show-phobia

that she mentioned on 'Do Dream,' but she wrote this on Twitter.

"I still have lots of goals. (...) that's why since I want to invest for my future,
I decided to not renew my contract with DSP."

Do you really think a celebrity, who left her ex-agency despite all the risks because of her many goals,

had denied her individual schedules for three years just because of a phobia? That's totally nonsense.


★Solo Collection

In 2012, KARA released an album called 'KARA Solo Collection' which includes each member's solo songs.

Nicole's solo song, Lost, has the highest MV views on GomTV.

The statistics show that Lost's MV viewer's gender ratio is 80:20, which is the same as the other members.

It means the high views are due to Nicole and the song's popularity,

not due to Lee Jong Suk, who appeared in the MV, nor Jung Jinwoon, who featured the song.

It also has the second highest views on YouTube.

High 'Like's on Melon

Only five stars on Bugs.

On all of the digital music stores, Nicole's solo song received high response.

However, only Nicole and Hara could not perform their songs on music shows.

For Hara, it might be better for her to not perform because of the public's prejudice against her,

but the fact that Nicole, who has the best performance skills among the members

and who received the best response for her solo song, could not perform doesn't make any sense at all.

(Even though Nicole could not perform,
she still visited the other members' stages with her home-made food to support them.)


★Each Member's Solo Songs Except Solo Collection
   Since the KARA Situation Until Nicole's Departure (Jan 2011 - Jan 2014)

-I Only See You (City Hunter OST)
-Galpangjilpang (Hooray for Love OST)
-I Love You More Than My Soul (Tasty Life OST)
-Breaking Fate (The Great Seer OST)
-I Will Wait (Nail Shop Paris OST)
-I Love You the Best (Galileo OST)
-Kiss Me (Galileo OST)

-Because of Love (Warrior Baek Dong-soo OST)

-I Love U, I Want U, I Need U (City Hunter OST)
-Magic of Love (Galileo OST)

-Rainbow Rose (Rainbow Rose OST)

Before the situation, Nicole featured a song,

and released 'Happy And' with Noel member Kang Kyun Sung and 'Whale' with Park Myung Soo.

After the situation, only Nicole has no solo songs at all.


★Each Member's Fashion Magazine Photo Shoots
   Since the KARA Situation Until Nicole's Departure (Jan 2011 - Jan 2014)

-InStyle June 2011
-InStyle July 2011 (V100)
-Esquire May 2013
-Cosmopolitan June 2013
-Sure December 2013
-Allure January 2014 (Gyuri and Seungyeon's two-member pictorial)

-High Cut V84
-Allure April 2012
-Elle May 2012 (Seungyeon and Nicole's two-member pictorial)
-CAMPUS10 April 2013
-InStyle April 2013
-Beauty+ May 2013
-Sure June 2013
-Vogue Girl December 2013
-Allure January 2014 (Gyuri and Seungyeon's two-member pictorial)
-The Celebrity February 2014

-Vogue Girl February 2011
-Elle June 2011
-InStyle July 2011 (V100)
-Cosmopolitan September 2011 (Hara and Jiyoung's two-member pictorial)
-1st Look V1
-High Cut V64
-Vogue Girl February 2012
-W Korea April 2012
-Elle September 2012
-Beauty+ September 2012
-Elle Girl October 2012
-Dazed & Confused December 2012
-Esquire December 2012
-Esquire January 2013
-Vogue Girl March 2013
-Elle April 2013
-Cosmopolitan August 2013
-Dazed & Confused September 2013
-High Cut V111
-Allure November 2013
-Vogue Girl November 2013
-1st Look V57
-Elle December 2013
-The Celebrity January 2014
-Ceci February 2014

-Elle Girl July 2011
-Elle Girl August 2011
-Cosmopolitan September 2011(Hara and Jiyoung's two-member pictorial)
-High Cut V78
-Dazed & Confused March 2013
-Campus10 April 2013
-InStyle July 2013
-Vogue Girl October 2013
-Sure November 2013
-Arena Homme + December 2013
-High Cut V114

-Elle May 2012 (Seungyeon and Nicole's two-member pictorial)
-Sure May 2013

It wasn't until recently that idols taking fashion magazine photo shoots has become usual.

Excluding Hara's one photo shoot, all the members had never taken any personal pictorial until 2010,

so it can't be compared with the past.

However, since 2011, the other members have done many personal photo shoots while Nicole has done only one.

That only photo shoot is this.

(More photos from this photo shoot are available here.)

As you might know if you've seen it, it was trending on the major web portals, all the comments were positive,

and the response from all of the community boards were also great.

Although there is no way to make statistics from the photo shoot's reception like MV views,

it is sure that it was one of the most well received photo shoots by a KARA member.

So the fact that Nicole has no other personal pictorials except this is unconvincing.


★Amount of Choreography, Song, and MV Parts Before and After the KARA Situation

Nicole's dancing skills were acknowledged by a professional as the best among the girl groups.

Because she was the main dancer of the group, she was the 'center' of Mister and Lupin's choreography,

had the longest screen time in the MVs, was the most popular among the members,

and led KARA's peak days by making Mister and Lupin KARA's top hits.

It was Nicole who made the 'butt dance' a mega-hit dance with her butt-shaking skills that

experts evaluated even better than that of the choreographer who created the butt dance.

Mister Japanese MV (There is no Korean version.)

Lupin MV

However, after the situation, Nicole could dance only on the back sides with almost no 'center'

even though she was the main dancer, and got the least screen time in MVs.

Even for Nicole's singing parts, MV cameras rarely shot her

and her parts were mostly full-shots with almost no close-ups.

Also, she couldn't have ad-lib lines that she usually did before the situation

because of the similar talents even though she was not a main vocal,

and couldn't even do all the rap parts that she had to do as the rapper of the group.

Overall, she became completely ignored.


As it was proved with the butt dance, Nicole's butt-shaking skills are on a different level from the other members.

Therefore, placing Nicole in the 'center' could be the best way to make STEP's pelvic dance a hit.

However, on the contrary, Nicole was the only member who didn't have any 'center' position.

She got a solo rap + dance break instead, but she had to share it with Hara and Jiyoung,

so the parts among the whole song that Nicole could attract attention were only four measures.

As a result, despite its KARA's all-time best song, choreography and MV quality,

STEP didn't make as big as Mister and achieved somewhat lacking results.

Damaged Lady MV

In Lupin, the part that gained the most attention was Nicole's intro rap.

Therefore, letting the main rapper, Nicole, do the intro and outro rap

could be the best way to make Damaged Lady a hit.

However, as you've seen, she couldn't do these parts.

The middle rap part that she got instead was just an unimportant bridge,

and it didn't even have a solo dance break like STEP and Pandora.

In the MV, the cameras only shot the other members, not Nicole even though it was her lines.

When Nicole was in the center of the choreography, it wasn't the real 'center' but just a back edge center,

and it even was rarely shown in the MV.

As a result, in addition to the Radio Star controversy that Nicole couldn't even involve,

Damaged Lady achieved disappointing results.


★Each Member's Popularity in Japan and Amount of Parts in Japanese Songs

In Korea, because Nicole has had no individual activities and no broadcast appearances for a too much long time,

it is true that her popularity has declined compared to the days of Star Golden Bell, Mister, and Lupin,

which when she was the ace of the group.

However, in Japan, where KARA has only promoted as a five-member group

without any individual activities, she is still a popular member.

Along with the YouTube MV views that are shown above,

Nicole always gets ranked number one or two among the members in almost all categories.

On the commercial model ranking in Japan that was introduced on Radio Star, Nicole ranked 9th place,
which was the second highest among the members. (I assume it was a Model Press ranking in 2011.)

Mixi membership numbers (Japanese fancafe numbers)

As of February 8th, 2014
KARA★ハラ (30,987) Hara
KARA★ニコル (23,856) Nicole
KARA☆ジヨン (22,211) Jiyoung
KARA★スンヨン (22,049) Seungyeon
KARA☆ギュリ (10,235) Gyuri

Pluses and minuses over the two and a half years compared to August 1st, 2011.
Nicole +3,893
Seungyeon +3,390
Gyuri +736
Jiyoung -3
Hara -3,781

Fan army on the last day of the Japanese concert tour in 2012

The blue fans are Nicole's fans. During this tour, Nicole always had been the first member to sell out her goods.

Not only at the scenes but also on the online store.

Each member's fan army on the last day of the Japanese concert tour in 2013.

Nicole had been the first member to sell out her goods in most cases in 2013's tour as well.

In July 2013, KARA released limited editions for each member for a single called 'Thank You Summer Love.'
Nicole was the second member to sell out her version.

For 'French Kiss' that was released in November 2013, Nicole was the first member to sell out her version.

However, even in Japanese songs, Nicole wasn't well promoted and only received few parts in songs and MVs.

Speed Up MV

The cameras shot the other members well in their singing parts,

but for Nicole's singing parts, the cameras didn't really focus on her.

Nicole's only 'center' position was in the four measures of the outro,

but it wasn't even well shown unlike the other members' 'center' positions.

Overall in the MV, Nicole had too few screen time.

Electric Boy MV

In the verses, the other members sang four measures while Nicole and Hara sang only two measures.

In the middle part that Nicole suddenly appears, the camera irrelevantly shot the other members.

Nicole actually had one short 'center' position in the end,

but it wasn't well shown in the MV and this part was edited out on the music show stages.

Bye Bye Happy Days MV

Since this MV has a story, it has to show the story along with the singing members.

Among the members, Nicole's singing parts were sacrificed the most for the story,

and only Nicole had no 'center' in the chorus.

Not only the songs that I described above, all the songs that KARA released

in both Korea and Japan over the past three years were the same.

Some people argue that the poor treatment in the Japanese songs were the faults of the Japanese company,

but the Japanese company, Universal Sigma, is a record label, not an entertainment agency,

so they only work as a distributor, schedule manager, and marketer in Japan.

Even for Japanese songs, it was all DSP Media's jobs to create concepts, outfits, choreography, and MVs.



Running Man

Nicole was the only KARA member who hadn't appeared on the show.


In 2012, Nicole and Gyuri appeared on Vitamin, but only Gyuri took the physical exam,

and Nicole, who participated in the studio without the exam, was treated like an audience.

When Hara and Seungyeon appeared on the show in 2013, both of them took the physical exam.

'Dance for You' Dance Video

Nicole practiced hard for two months, but the agency didn't make any schedule for the stage.

Rather, they just filmed it with a smartphone and uploaded on YouTube.

2013 MBC Gayo Daejejeon

It was Nicole's last stage as a KARA member, but her outfit was even worse than the backup dancers.


★Truths about Nicole's Individual Activities Since the KARA Situation

Even for the few temporary individual schedules that Nicole had done over the past three years,

there had been no schedules that DSP Media made for Nicole.

Mango Six's Cookie Six:
Nicole could do it due to her friendship with the CEO.

A cameo appearance in My Way:
Nicole could do it due to her friendship with the director Kang Je-gyu.

A MC role in Golden Disk:
Nicole did it just because she was an English speaker among the participants since the event was held in Malaysia.

Guest appearances in the Japanese radio shows:
As I described above, Japanese schedules were in charge of Universal Sigma.

A guest appearance in We Got Married:
As I described above, it was an episode that the 91-Line had a party
for Jinwoon's birthday, so Nicole was cast for her friends.

MTV VMAJ stage:
Nicole was cast by MTV Asia's vice-president, who is close with Nicole's mother.


★Direct Comments from Nicole's Side

Replies from Nicole's mother for the question by a fan that asked why Nicole had been poorly treated.
She practically conceded the fact that there had been discrimination from the agency.

Reactions to this post by a fan who works at the restaurant owned by Nicole's mother.
She suggested there had been more discrimination that outsiders couldn't see.

Reactions to the final statement on Nicole's departure by the same fan.

The agency didn't let Nicole to appear on Radio Star

and reported that Nicole would not participate because of another schedule.

When the other members were recording Radio Star, Nicole, who had to do another schedule if the report was true,

probably got upset by the false report, and uploaded this tweet and Instagram while messing around in a bookstore.

If you want to read Nicole's direct explanations of her position before her departure, please check out her tweet.


★The Agency's Totally Different Reactions to the Denials of the Contract Renewals

The agency, DSP Media, revealed the fact that Nicole had denied her contract renewal to the media

three months before the contract expiration,

and oppressively pressured Nicole by using their power in the media.

(I'm not including the articles because reading these will only make your blood boil and you all already know them.)

In contrast, when Jiyoung's father revealed their denial of renewal, DSP Media's reactions were completely different.



After the 'KARA Situation,' Nicole had been too poorly treated

compared to her contributions for the group, individual popularity, and talents.

It is true that, among idol groups, it is difficult for every member to have an equal number of individual activities,

and a member that the agency promotes has to change over time.

However, the fact that Nicole had had almost no activities in all areas,

had never been able to perform as her positions in the group,

the main dancer and rapper, in all of the promotional songs for three years,

which is a long time for an entertainer and even a much longer time for an idol,

can only be seen as blatant discrimination from the agency.

Nicole already had sacrificed herself enough for KARA by always working her hardest

in KARA's all activities while being treated like this.

There are no reasons for her to sacrifice herself more and give up her personal future.

Nicole's decision to refuse the contract renewal with KARA's current agency, DSP Media, was an absolute right decision.


★Lastly, a Request to the Readers

Some people try to blame everything on Nicole's mother,

but whatever she did, these treatments from the agency on their own idol for three years can never be justified.

For example, if a soccer player could not play any game for three years

just because he demanded a transfer, does it make sense?

Moreover, the 'KARA Situation' was not just an unreasonable demand for a transfer

but more like a demand for basic rights against an illegal and irrational company.

KARA(Nicole)'s schedules before the situation

Nicole's mother, who had to take legal action as a last resort for her daughter against the agency

that had exploited her daughter with these crazy schedules even without any time to sleep

while not even showing the details of their transactions of the activities and refusing to communicate,

and Nicole, who only had worked hard and had been discriminated for three long years,

both are the victims of a company's tyranny.

Please don't be fooled by the biased image created by the DSP-influenced mass media on a powerless individual,

and think one more time before targeting your criticism.

☆Note 1:
All the blame must go to, not to Nicole's mother, but to the current CEO of DSP Media.
Although she had no experience in business management,
she appointed herself as a CEO right after her husband suffered a stroke,
fired all the board members and appointed her daughter from her previous marriage as a director,
moved the company into her own building and has been making profits from it,
and so much drama was going on.

More info about her arrogation is available on this news article.

☆Note 2:
Unlike DSP's media play, there was no background nor broker for the 'KARA Situation.'
It was just that a famous entertainment producer who was close with Nicole's mother
helped the parents of the members as an entertainment industry expert.
He is deceased now, but if you see the large crowd and the list of the people who visited his mortuary,
you can figure out that he was not a suspicious person.

☆Note 3:
₩8,000 per bottle of soju isn't that expensive for a luxurious restaurant in Gangnam.

☆Note 4:
As a result of the agreement of the 'KARA Situation,' DSP Media has become more systematic than before,
so the other artists and staff members are enjoying their benefits.


Thank you so much for reading this all.

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