It was just last year when the group F.CUZ bursted onto the scene with one of the most highly anticipated debuts in K-pop. They had everything necessary to become a super group: the genuinely gifted singer, the skilled and emotionally charged rapper, the member with model-like looks, and the all-around talented member. To top it off, all of this was under a famous father figure’s supervision.  But what started off with great anticipation ended in lackluster results and mass disappointment. What everyone expected to be next great boy group ended up just being a dud.

F.CUZ first debuted in a group consisting of members: Lee-U, Kan, Jinon, and Yejun. They also came equipped with an abbreviated name (F.CUZ = Focus) I couldn’t understand. To me it looked like some kind of slang like when people say “What the F, cuz (cousin)!” I’m still trying to understand how it works. Is the period in F.CUZ supposed to be a super lowercased O? I’m confused.

Anyway I digress. They went up against two other boy groups (ZE:A & C.N.Blue) who were also vying for recognition and popularity amongst the K-pop crowd. They were on everyone’s radar and were the ones everyone expected to come out on top, but that didn’t happen. Entering the K-pop sphere with their title song “Jiggy,” they hoped to climb to the ranks of A-list status but the song didn’t end up catching on. The only thing people wanted to get “jiggy” with was Kan. C.N. Blue ended up walking away with the top spot along with numerous awards and plenty of adoring fans.

One thing that seemed to play against them was that they were promoted as a group to be reckoned with, but ended up giving the audience everything they had already seen before. Their teaser was so far off from what the actual song sounded like (common for K-pop teasers), and it threw everyone off.  Also, even though they debuted at a good time, they debuted with the wrong concept. Songs that won during their first promotion period were angst filled songs such as C.N. Blue’s “I’m a Loner” and HyunA’s “Change”.  With an apparent bust F.CUZ was forced to revamp their image and comeback with a brand new concept. So, comeback they did, but in a controversial way. Tongues went wagging when they released a boundary pushing teaser with a sexually charged and suggestive theme, but it only added to the damage that had already been done. Any anticipation that had been built up before debut was gone before their comeback promotion cycle started. Though their comeback single “Midnight Sun” showed growth and was undeniably better than “Jiggy,” people paid no attention to the group which led to internal frustration and eventually down the line the departure of Lee-U.

Lee-U, for the most part, was the face of the group. He wasn’t known to be the most handsome member (reserved for Kan) but he brought the most attention to the group. With an already built up fan base and a famous trot singing father (Sul Woon Do), F.CUZ was poised to be great, but there was tension from the get go. I always felt like his father wanted him to overshadow the group. In interviews you could always see how he promoted his son rather than the group as a whole and he gave off a feeling that Lee-U should be a solo singer rather than in a group. In an interview he even said something along the lines of “Don’t embarrass me” when talking to Lee-U about the groups success. He reminded me of those chaebol fathers you see in k-dramas who always force their wishes on their sons even though the son doesn’t want it. So, to say that I was surprised at his departure (for a solo career) would be a lie. Personally, I think Lee-U is dead weight to the group, not because he’s not talented, but because it’s obvious he didn’t want to be there because the group is struggling. He will probably have more success as a solo singer and I think the group will have its own identity (finally!) without him.

Now it has recently been revealed that the group will make a comeback next year with the addition of two new members. Can Entertainment released a statement saying:

“We’re glad to be able to greet you with good news today. F.CUZ has remained silent since the departure of a member, but we are now ready to start a new beginning. Kan, Jinon, and Yejun have worked hard to fill the empty void while promoting as a trio in Japan, but now they are preparing for a 2012 Korean comeback with a new member to complete the puzzle of their group. We know that you must be curious about the new member so we released a video of him covering a song by our labelmate senior Jang Hye Jin. He has a thin but powerful voice, which we’re sure you’ll be able to hear for yourself. He sang it with a nervous heart, as it is his first time greeting our fans. Finally, we hope that you provide much support to F.CUZ’s comeback in 2012.”

and

“For the fans who have waited for such a long time, Jinon, Kan, Yejun, and the two new members are preparing to return with a better image of F.CUZ than before. We ask that you give the five members your support and attention.”

With the addition of two new members, it will be interesting to see how things work out. Only time will tell if the loss of Lee-U will serve as a fatal blow to the group or actually be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully they can switch up their image and stray away from the travesty that was their first single “Jiggy” because that was like watching a unicorn fart rainbows. Here’s to good fortune for the new group and its future endeavors!

Do you think the group will survive without Lee-U?

(Daum)