Recently EXID’s Hani and NU’EST’s JR were interviewed by Sports Donga for a special feature on “reversal” idols.
“Reversal” idols refer to celebrities who suddenly shoot to meteoric fame after struggling for a while to make a mark in the entertainment industry. EXID’s “reversal” moment came in 2014 when a fan cam of their “Up and Down” dance went viral, while NU’EST hit their big break in 2017 after four of the members participated in Mnet’s “Produce 101 Season 2.”
When asked about the moment that EXID’s life changed forever, Hani said, “Of course [I remember]! I will never forget it for as long as I live. We worked hard to promote ‘Up and Down,’ which came out on August 27, 2014, but there wasn’t much of a response. We weren’t receiving a lot of requests to perform, so we went to local fairs a lot. We also went to a lot of military camps. One of the performances was filmed by a fan and it went viral. All of a sudden it was like a spotlight was shining down on ‘Up and Down’ and the song did well on music charts.”
Despite taking place almost four years ago, Hani still couldn’t contain her joy in speaking about the moment “Up and Down” took first place on the music charts. “It was December 24,” she said. “It was Christmas [Eve] so I can never forget the date.”
About his group’s own “reversal” moment, JR said, “It was just last year. June 17! Some of the songs we released in the past charted on one music chart from No. 1 to No. 13. We had just one opportunity, and it was our appearance on the audition program ‘Produce 101 Season 2’ last year. We felt that a lot of people were cheering us on during the show, but people continued to show interest in us even after it ended. NU’EST’s songs began to rise on the music charts as well, and we couldn’t believe it. We thought that ‘Produce 101 Season 2’ would be our last chance. It felt like we were violating a rule since it was a program for trainees, but we thought there would be nothing left to lose. We had promoted together for a long time but didn’t get very good results so the members decided we would lay down our group name and our pride.”
Hani also spoke out about how proud she was of NU’EST and NU’EST W’s newfound success. “We debuted and promoted at similar times, so I always took an interest in them,” she said. “One day, we were on our way to a scheduled event and listening to a NU’EST song. I thought it was such a shame that not many people were listening to the song. When I saw that they went on ‘Produce 101 Season 2,’ I felt like I could relate to what they were going through. We’ve been through it too so we know how hard it is.”
Both idols also spoke about the importance of strong relationships between the members for getting through the hard times when they were working out of the spotlight. Hani said, “We implicitly try not to talk about when we’re going through a hard time with one another. We think that it’s because negativity spreads like an infectious disease. It’s a comfort just to know that four other people are always by your side going through the same things as you are. You can endure anything if you have someone to share your worries and help you through them.”
JR agreed, adding, “The members are really important. It’s also important to have hobbies [outside of work]. You can forget your worries and negative experiences by playing games or watching cartoons.”