Korean girl-group T-ara loses one more

Korean girl-group T-ara loses one more
Troubled K-pop girl group T-ara announced the departure of member Hwa Young (extreme left) last year following talks that she was bullied repeatedly by the other girls. Last week, newest member Areum Lee (extreme right) announced her decision to leave the group to pursue a solo career.

SINGAPORE - K-pop girl group T-ara hogged headlines last year when one of its members Ryu Hwa Young, 20, was kicked out of the group following an internal bullying scandal.

It was deja vu last week, when newest member Areum Lee announced her decision to leave and pursue a solo career.

It shouldn't come as a surprise though - I would quit the troubled outfit as well if I were her.

Lee, 19, joined T-ara in June last year, when the group was at the peak of its popularity having topped charts with its 2011 infectious hit Roly Poly and catchy electropop tune Lovey Dovey which hogged the top spot on Korean charts and bagged coveted awards.

T-ara's agency Core Contents Media also gave Lee exposure by giving her substantial lines in new singles Don't Leave and Day By Day.

She became a major talking point overnight after her entry into T-ara as she could rap and had more singing parts than some of the existing members such as Qri (Lee Ji Hyun) and Jeon Boram.

Then the scandal happened in late July, as talk of Hwa Young being bullied repeatedly by the other girls spread online.

Several days later, the agency announced that Hwa Young would be leaving the group, claiming she had displayed a bad and unprofessional attitude.

T-ara, one of the top girl groups in Korea last year, saw its popularity nosedive right after, with groups opposed to it being set up immediately, some gaining more than 160,000 members within a few days.

Lee had the most to lose. Barely a month after her debut, she had to deal with the backlash, though she was not involved in the bullying.

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