Four out of six members were unable to perform. Two out of seven members were absent. This was the reality of the Golden Disk Awards in a nutshell.
On January 14, JYP Entertainment announced that GOT7’s BamBam and Yugyeom would be unable to participate in the 29th Golden Disk Awards because they were not issued visas to China. Despite the fact that GOT7 was to receive the Rookie Award, only five members attended the event, which was kicked off in Beijing on January 14. The second part of the awards show will be held on January 15.
Things got even worse for BEAST. Four out of the six members were unable to receive performance visas. Consequently, almost half of the members left for China with tourists visas instead of performance visas, which are required for performing in a foreign country. Although BEAST was a prime candidate for the Digital Music Award, and finally ended up winning three trophies that evening, they were unable to perform in front of their fans and celebrate their wins.
The chaos started with the mistakes of the Chinese company in charge of organizing the event. A representative of the firm stated, “As many groups will be attending the event, it looks like a few members were missed in the process of applying for visas.”
Although this might seem like a minor concern since the Golden Disk Awards have received permission for overseas performances from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, it is the Public Safety Bureau of China that poses the challenge.
As a communist country, all concerts held in China are controlled by the Public Safety Bureau of China. A representative for an overseas event company said, “Even the sponsors of an event cannot change its organization without the permission of the Public Safety Bureau of China. If performing with a tourist visa becomes an issue, the worst case scenario could be the cancellation of the entire awards ceremony.”
This current situation is upsetting and angering fans. Yesterday, BEAST was in first place in the Digital Music category with 819,248 votes, and GOT7 was running first in the Rookie category with 1,115,003 votes. The voting was held through the Golden Disk app, and 50 votes cost 2,750 KRW (approximately 2.54 USD). While free votes were provided, the numbers were very low and earned by clicking ads. Over 100 million KRW (approximately 100,000 USD) were used in the process of voting for BEAST and GOT7.
“I am aware that most fans have spent money trying to vote for GOT7 because this is their last chance to receive a Rookie Award,” GOT7 fan Kim Hye Mi said during an interview with Kuki News. “I can’t believe that five instead of seven members will get to stand on stage just because of the organizer’s ridiculous mistake.”
The sad reality is that although fans have spent a large sum of money on voting, their idols, who should be receiving all the glory, will have to watch from behind the stage because they were unable to obtain performance visas.
It is great to promote K-Pop and catch the attention of all of Asia. However, when the subjects of all this glory are absent from the stage, does the event even make the fans happy?