The numbers have shocked not only her fans but also many Korean netizens.
Former (G)I-DLE member Soojin, who departed from the group in 2021 amidst school bullying allegations, has made an unexpected solo debut and is seeing surprising commercial success.
Soojin released her first solo EP, Agassy, on November 8 under a new agency, BRD. The title track, “AGASSY,” not only entered the popular Korean chart MelOn but debuted at a high position of #48, surpassing many other idol solo debuts. On Genie, it also nearly cracked the top 100, reaching #109.
These numbers have shocked not only her fans but also many Korean netizens, who didn’t expect Soojin to chart so well given her controversial leave from (G)I-DLE last year. A post on the Korean online community TheQoo about Soojin’s charting has gone viral, with hundreds of comments expressing their thoughts on the soloist’s performance.
Many comments expressed surprise that Soojin is receiving such strong public support and chart success despite the accusations against her. Some felt her high positions indicated she retains a loyal fanbase that believes in her innocence.
However, other netizens argued that Soojin’s success is frustrating, considering the bullying allegations. Some called out her fans for allegedly blaming the victim, who was on the receiving end of the alleged bullying. Other reactions criticized the quality of her solo debut as being lackluster and “boring.”
- “Soojin was actually popular.”
- “All the YouTube comments say that she was kicked out when she didn’t do anything wrong… She instead victim-blamed another celebrity. Isn’t it hard to get into Hot100? I’m surprised…”
- “Wow, she’s coming out even though her victim is a celebrity. This is why civilian victims can’t stand up for themselves…”
- “Wow, it’s high damn.”
- “Who is she?”
- “Soojin’s fans blame the victim all the time.”
- “I saw the MV, and I don’t think it’ll be a hit anyway… Even the first minute is boring. Her song, visuals, and performance are all iffy.”
Nonetheless, with over 67,000 album copies sold, Soojin is seeing a receptive audience for her post-(G)I-DLE solo career.
.@BRD_SOOJIN ‘AGASSY’ 1st week sales on HANTEO Chart:
1st day: 9,486 copies
2nd day: 45,848 copies
3rd day: 11,707 copies
— Soojin Charts (@ChartsSoojin) November 10, 2023
The conflicting responses highlight the polarization around Soojin since the bullying scandal. Despite denying the accusations, her reputation was clearly tarnished. However, she appears to have retained a faithful fanbase from her time in the CUBE Entertainment girl group, who continue to support her musical endeavors.
The surprising solo success has certainly sparked discussion online about scandal-ridden celebrities and their ability to continue pursuing careers in South Korea. Soojin’s solo activities will likely continue fueling debate as netizens process the unexpected revival of her fame.