On May 26, Red Velvet‘s Joy fainted on stage while performing “Happiness” and looked to be in pain and short of breath all throughout. According to fan accounts and pictures, it seems that she may have had an electric shock from her in-ear short circuiting.
However, this instance is just an anomaly when looking at instances where idols faint on stage. Earlier the same week, VIXX‘s Ravi and Leo both fainted during a concert in Mexico. This came just a few days after their set in Canada, and a mere day after they arrived in Mexico. While the rapper was promptly carried off stage, Leo continued on until he went backstage because he could not carry on, and did not return. Jellyfish Entertainment was quick to respond by canceling their schedules and having them rest.
There are still questions that remain to be asked and are amplified when looking at the history of idols fainting on stage. F(x)‘s Krystal is probably one of the most famous examples, but there is also SHINee‘s Onew, Girls Day‘s Hyeri, and 4Minute‘s Hyuna, just to name a few. Why is it that idols faint so frequently? Is it merely because of the strict diets and jam packed schedules? What other external factors are there? What could be done to lessen the instances, and how should companies respond after?
Erianne: I think when it comes to schedules and idol activities, it’s definitely up to the company’s better and more professional judgement to understand what should be the main priority when it comes to promotions and other related events that these idols have to attend or do. For example, idol composers or idol groups who really spend most of their free time producing and writing songs should definitely have limited variety show appearances or at the very least, should just appear in certain variety shows during promotions period that do not really require much physical activity from the members. The company should know that because after all, it’s not like these idols are just lollygagging during their free time (not that I’m saying that non-composers do because everyone in this industry does work respectively hard). It’s just that on top of regular promotions, plus learning and practicing choreography, these idols also spend time in the studio both recording and making music.
However, if a certain group isn’t necessarily known for making their own songs, then I guess it’s okay for them to regularly appear in certain variety programs/events during promotions. Of course, their health and well-being should always be priority as well, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that the way companies treat/promote idol groups shouldn’t be so generic. It’s not like all groups don’t actively take part in the production and composition of their songs. Some groups would spend a portion of their hiatus/resting time doing just that while some groups don’t have to. So I think it’s all about understanding the dynamics of that because let’s be real: idol composers are at best and worst some of the most extreme perfectionists in the industry and I think companies should learn to respect and understand this aspect of their artist and just sort of work around that because they will not budge.
And speaking of respecting the artist, companies should definitely start investing on some legitimately proper dietary planning for their idols. Extreme diets coupled with endless hours of working out, rehearsals, travelling, and live performances can definitely take its toll on the human body. If they’re not even going to give these idols a break, then at least feed them well so they can have the stamina to put up with all of this capitalism BS.
Madi: For once we might not always be able to use companies as an excuse for pushing idols to the limit.
At first, this always seemed to be the case. I think that came from fans not knowing much about idols outside of their schedules and appearance. But now that we know a little more of their inside life, we’re aware how some artists push themselves past their limits. VIXX’s Ravi and even BTS‘s Suga can get caught up in composing, writing, and/or producing that they won’t rest until there’s a result they are satisfied with. In a sense, you can say their passion drives them to overwork themselves.
Of course, in that instance, companies should monitor them to make sure they’re getting ample rest. Fan response better to knowing their biases are well and are healthy. Although some people get upset when they are/aren’t promoting, so damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
If you’re going to push idols to perform, then you need to push them to rest as well. Sure, you can look as your idols as cash cows and people who bring in the money, but also keep in mind that if they’re not up to par healthwise where you’re going to be forced to cancel events, sometimes a little rest goes a long way. There’s a lot of groups and artists out there to deserve at least three months off just to be on vacation to recuperate.
As for how companies can respond, well most do a good job of letting the fans know what happened and events are cancelled, but behind the scenes, companies shouldn’t also try and rush someone to get better with a million shots and vitamins. Yes, we all want them back on their feet as soon as possible, but if they haven’t fully recovered, there’s a chance they’ll relapse and become worse.
Erianne: Another one would be scheduling as a whole. I recently came across BTS’ schedule for May up until August and it was super packed because apart from their Asian Epilogue Tour, the boys would also be appearing in KCON and other promotional events. It’s ridiculous that BTS is scheduled to perform on July 30 at Manila, Philippines and then go to KCON on the 31st. Talk about jet lag! Looking at how BTS is more or less a relatively young group with a growing fanbase (and they’re wrapping up HYYH as well), it’s understandable why they would perhaps consent to these activities, but companies should still know better despite what the group would desire. Hence, they should definitely learn how to space activities properly and not just give them such impossible schedules. Some compromises (i.e. limiting fansign events, deciding not to attend a certain music festival, scheduling a concert days apart from the last one, etc.) might have to be made, but it should never be at the expense of the idol’s health.
Pat: Like Erianne, I definitely think scheduling plays a huge part in this. Furthering the BTS example: I travel on a regular basis and I’m used to the travel time between the Philippines to the United States. It is daunting. I normally need a full day to rest and not be too active before I can even do anything, and that doesn’t even include how long jetlag lasts. I don’t follow BTS, but I sure hope that after this tour is done, they get at least a two week vacation after. If not, I can see them being more and more worn down just like B.A.P was after their various international tours.
I think artists like VIXX’s Ravi and BTS Suga, and most idols involved in composing, deserves a bit more time in between schedules since they’re more likely to be working overtime to participate in song writing for their next releases. In the case of Ravi, they had just come back with Chained Up and Ravi was already talking about working on their next album. On one hand, I’m usually very happy because Ravi gets no individual schedule when VIXX aren’t promoting so that he can have rest in between promotion cycles. On the other, Ravi (and Leo) have foldable beds in their studio-like rooms in Jellyfish headquarters. I guess it’s a good thing that they don’t have to make the drive to their dorms, but to have actual beds???? Something just seems wrong in that.
Unlike pre-2009 K-pop where debuts were an actual huge thing because they didn’t happen every week, this current super competitive nature in K-pop works against idols resting. With so many idol groups popping up (only to disappear sooner or later), it becomes harder to get attention. It leads to companies feeling the need to crowd the schedule and make their idols do the most despite also giving them strict diets (Somi‘s banana diet anyone?) and not getting enough sleep every day.
(Images via Jellyfish Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment, Dispatch)