20141125_seoulbeats_exoWe’ve talked a lot about everything crazy that happened in 2014, but it’s time to move on from the drama and start looking forward. Every year, we speculate about what might happen the following year: which group will make a comeback? What collaborations will we see? How will this next year shock us more than the last (probably impossible)? This year, as one of those golden nuggets of rumors, we’ve got a list of rumored agency plans for the rest of 2015. Based on this list, we asked our writers this week:

Which rumor are you most excited about? Which agency is going in the right direction? Which plans would you advise against? How much stock do you put into posts like this?

Cjontai: I’m most excited for the Teen Top solos and Infinite H out of everything, but hopefully CLC‘s debut will be promising. If Cube has any sense, they’ll showcase their instrumental talents and not market them as a watered-down 4 Minute. I don’t believe YG will be debuting that girl group, and I don’t know why he keeps saying it every year.

I’m also not looking forward to a Psy album after the disappointment that was “Hangover.” JYPE needs to promote its current roster instead of adding to it because they can barely manage to boost the popularity of the artists they have now. Does anyone even remember Bernard Park‘s debut last year? Unlike season 2 winners Akdong Musician, he seems under the radar after winning K-pop Star 3.

Andy: The Big Bang comeback is all I really care about. Okay, I’m only sort-of joking about that, but it’s been such a long time with them gone that it’s what has my attention. The Jellyfish girl group is interesting, since Jellyfish is known for being the home of nothing but males. But, they are staying the course with their artists, so I have confidence in what they are doing. MBK is the one label I think is going in the completely wrong direction. Instead of focusing on making new groups, they should be concerned with the ones they have, particularly SPEED and F-ve Dolls. T-ara also needs to rebuild their popularity, so solo projects don’t seem smart — Hyomin and Jiyeon didn’t exactly wow the crowd last year.

As for putting stock in any of these rumors, I’ll believe it when I see it. Many of these rumors are stated every year and just don’t happen, so I’m hopefully pessimistic.

20121020_seoulbeats_bigbang3Gaya: I’m a bit scared of the supposed WM and Jellyfish girl groups, mainly because I feel like their existence will reinforce that double standard between them and their male labelmates. I will probably cry if Vixx continues to get these beautifully twisted concepts and their sister group is in school uniforms singing about lollipops or something as inane. I don’t want a female Vixx, but here’s hoping the fantasy love is shared (and choreographers too!)

And speaking of choreography, I am sooo looking forward to BoA‘s 15th anniversary events! As long as SM just does what it did for Only One and nothing like what they did for Hurricane Venus it should be good.

Amy: As much as I love Infinite H, I’m looking forward to (and slightly more curious about) Sunggyu‘s second album. Despite his first album being labeled a failure, I thought it was a solid solo debut with some beautiful rock tracks, and I’m hoping he doesn’t try to cater to public opinion and change his music as a result. Also, fingers crossed for more collaborations on his second, Nell or otherwise.

I agree MBK already has enough on their hands, but another, more selfish part of me really, really wants to see this M.C the Max influenced boy group. Also, Big Hit‘s lined up three new groups for this year, but I wonder if they’ve bitten off a bit more than they can chew, especially for such a small company…but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt for now, at least.

Mark: I’m most interested in the sleight of new groups set to debut. Unlike the onslaught of debuts that occurred between 2011 and 2013, many of the ones this year have considerable backing behind them. And as Gaya mentioned, it would be very disappointing if they came out as plain and safe as what Infinite Girls turned out to be.

On the other hand, you don’t want them to be too conceptually similar to an existing sibling like what happened to BAPamoo. It’ll be really interesting to see how Cube, YG, MBK, DSP, and JYP handles a new girl group with already one or more existing girl groups on their payroll. Same thing goes for YG, Woollim, TOP Media, MBK, DSP, Starship, and JYP who will have at least two boy groups on their roster if these rumors do come true.

20141227_seoulbeats_sonamoologoLindsay: BAPamoo? Mark, you are ridiculously funny.

I’m worried and excited about TOP Media’s activities. They’ve had a hard time promoting 100%, despite their above average talent, and if the company debuts another group it will likely jeopardize 100% as a group even more. That being said, I like Teen Top and 100% a lot, so of course I’d also be excited to see what else TOP Media has up their sleeve.

Has Pledis just given up on NU’EST?

Hania: I’m pretty singularly focused on iKon‘s debut. For a group that’s been drummed up so much before they’ve even debuted, we’ve certainly been led to expect great things. I’m also keen to see whether their big brothers, Big Bang, really will make a comeback, although I’m quite doubtful about the actuality of this.

Finally, I want to see if SM can recover from the train wreck that was 2014. The slew of solo debuts and also a revamped Exo has me curious to see if they’re going to repeat the same mistakes, or arise victorious from the ashes.

Irteqa: A Cube and Cube seem to hold the most genuine promise of delivering something new and fresh to me. A Pink just had a successful album release and an extremely pleasing shift in their image, from sweet to subtle, anything soulful from Huh Gak is always pleasing. For some reason when I think of a new boy group spawned by A Cube, I think of New Planet Entertainment‘s “A Prince.” Hopefully I am very wrong. It would be absolutely amazing if A Cube’s new boy group successfully emulated Vixx, AKA the epitome of the masculine spirit.

As far as A Cube is concerned, I’m really looking forward to a 4minute comeback. I trust that they will expend their efforts in re-entering the K-pop scene with a subdued and classy concept instead of last year’s saturated saga (although their songs were entertaining and catchy). CLC is vague, but by the sounds of the group name I might just be amazed by an explosion of bad boldness.

20141228_seoulbeats_ikon_bobby 3Lo: I, for one, am crazy pumped for new Big Bang and the debut of iKon. Hell, the request for new Big Bang material was on my list to K-pop Santa! That said, I am nervous that iKon will end up what Winner wasn’t — Big Bang 2.0. Fingers crossed, though.

I’m also excited for new After School material. I really liked Dress to Kill, and I would love to see E-young and Kaeun take on a bigger role in the group as Lizzy, Nana, and Raina become Orange Caramel the group, not OC the subunit.

Nick: I tend to believe most of the rumour posts like this. As an Exo fan, I watched last year as netizens accurately predicted the times at which Kris, then LuHan would announce their departure from the group; in my experience, rumours tend to be true more often than they aren’t.

SM is doing the best thing they can in light of 2014 – solo debuts for their safe, well-liked artists. I’m looking forward to see how they’ll pull off Exo’s comeback as well, and how “EXO’luXion” ties into all this.

I’m also looking forward to all the fresh blood rumoured to debut this year, especially A Cube’s boy group, as well as in what direction Woolim is going to take their rumoured new boy group. I hope they’re not an Infinite clone, but still retain a lot of the musical and performance elements that make Infinite such strong artists today.

seoulbeats_20141214_2ne1Chelsea: I think agencies tend to have a good road map at the beginning of the year that quickly falls apart as the K-pop market changes and scandals emerge. So, while I do put some faith in these lists, I’m not holding my breath for a YG girl group debut in 2015.

Like Nick, I’m also looking forward to SM’s string of solo debuts, specifically Amber‘s. I think solos are a good way to showcase their idols and also an excellent method for breaking up group promotion cycles.

On the other hand — aside from maybe iKon — I am not looking forward to any new group debuts. There are too many groups — all the recent debuts have blurred together and I need time to find my bearings before I can invest any time towards something new. But, who knows, maybe one of the new groups will grab my attention and make me eat my words.

Willis: Agency plans are always interesting to see. However, the k-pop industry is unpredictable, so I won’t get my hopes up too much until an official teaser is released.

I will second Cjontai’s sentiments regarding JYPE. Although I am extremely pumped for the long awaited Miss A comeback, I seriously doubt JYPE’s capabilities in successfully launching both Five Live and Six Mix while still giving their current roster the attention they deserve.

On another note, I’m also excited for some new After School. Out of the first generation of members, only Jungah remains. The rumored ‘rebirth’ makes me curious. After School always bring a fresh performance element to their comebacks, and like Lo, I would love to see their newer members get a chance to shine.

What rumors are you looking forward to in 2015, readers?