SOUTH KOREA - JYP Entertainment, one of the three most influential showbiz agencies in the country, on Tuesday announced a set of plans to launch three new K-pop groups next year.
In January, a seven-member boy band consisting of singers and dancers from the US, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Korea will be unveiled. Tentatively named "Post 2PM," the group will be an "enhanced version" of the megahit group 2PM, the agency said.
The members are reportedly planning to present martial arts performances on stage while singing. JB and Junior, members of the JJ Project that debuted last year with the single "Bounce," will join the new team. The pair have reportedly been refining their dance skills.
Another girl group will be launched in the first quarter of the year, four years after the debut of Miss A. Unlike Miss A, which released a batch of rather retro-beat music, the new girls will be showing off their sex appeal, insiders said.
In the second half of the year, 5 Live will release their next single. The five-member group has put out "Lovely Girl," which was part of the original soundtrack for the KBS TV drama "Pretty Man."
Such ambitious plans, amid observations from skeptics that the K-pop market is already saturated, seem to have stemmed from a sense of desperation, observers say. JYP has been less than impressive over the past two years compared to its rivals SM and YG, which have continued to produce hit albums and artists.
In January, Sunye, the leader of Wonder Girls, the golden egg of the agency, married a Christian missionary and gave birth to a daughter, which brought the group's activities to an indefinite halt. The members decided to seek out individual projects, including appearances in musicals and on TV programs. Meanwhile, Park So-hee, the most popular member of the bunch, announced that she would not renew her contract with the agency.
Miss A's second album, "Hush," also produced less-than-impressive results when it was released in November, despite the explosive popularity of its key member, Bae Suzy. The acrobatic masculine boy band 2PM also suffered low album sales in Korea, driving them to wander around Asia for concerts and other promotions.
"It seems that next year will be critical for JYP," a music industry insider said.