Hello and welcome to the third installment of KPop CloseUp! :D Today I will be talking a little about a KPop Idol's schedule, and what their day-to-day looks like once they're signed on with a company.
I started to become interested in this side of the KPop world when I started seeing just how much KPop Idols worked, and how little rest they seemed to get. I saw how members of my beloved SHINee would do a comeback (new song) or a new video, or they would do a song for a drama, or be an actor in a drama. Or they would sign on for a modelling deal. My bias, Jonghyun, is still a regular feature on a Korean radio show, as of this year, which means he's doing that pretty much every day as well as whatever other things he needs to do to be a part of SHINee. Crazy, right?
But that's not even the whole story. The schedules that KPop stars - even rookies-in-training - are expected to keep are absolutely brutal. It is normal for a KPop Idol to work more than 60 hours per week (to give you an idea, the average hours per week worked by people in Australia in 2011 was around 38). As soon as someone is signed on to become a KPop Idol, the dream can quickly turn into grueling hard work.
When I started looking into this sort of thing, I came across a (now slightly old) article done on GreenTeaGraffiti, which discusses the lifestyle of someone working in KPop. The writer, Jason Yu, put up a sample of what a KPop Idol Schedule looked like...
I don't know about you, but I can't really imagine working to a schedule like that (granted, I don't really work to any schedule).
And the fact of the matter is that KPop rookies are often trained up for a year or two before their official debut, so they've pretty much got this schedule ingrained into them by the time we even really know they exist.
Understandably, this sort of lifestyle takes its toll. I think we, as fans, are often groomed to forget that KPop Idols are still human, until something shocking reminds us suddenly. Just a simple search of 'KPop fainting' on youtube will show you just how common it is for members of these groups to be worked so hard that their bodies just give up on them - right at what might be seen as a crucial moment. Even members of SHINee are not immune - Taemin has semi-collapsed onto band members at least once in the past. BIG BANG have had all members in hospital at least once, with Seungri only recently having serious issues with liver damage after a rather nasty car crash.
I think a lot of this kind of feeds into our view that work is kind of the be-all-and-end-all of life - if you're not working, you're not contributing. So, obviously, working all the time means you're contributing a lot, right? But at what cost? I am just a regular fan of KPop, but I worry about their ability to live normal lives - particularly in the face of so much demand.
What are your thoughts? Do you think you could stick to a KPop Idol's schedule? Let me know in the comments!