Stellar’s “Marionette” is Getting Criticized for Being Racy but It’s Like Every Other Sexy Concept (and that’s why people hate it)

stellar marionette

One would think that with all the sexy concepts that are being churned out that one done by a relatively unpopular group wouldn’t make such a stir. But then again, the fact that Stellar has managed to receive rather volatile backlash for their sexy single “Marionette” says far more about the people criticizing Stellar than it says about the “raciness” of the music video.

In an interview with Star News, Stellar admitted that the sexy concept has led to an increase in awareness of the group:

Stellar shared, “We are showing a totally different image from our previously released songs and because it became a bigger issue than we expected, it seems like a lot more people are recognizing us… We think this is an opportunity for us to work harder and we plan to carry out our activities well.”

“We didn’t try to be erotic but we tried to show that we not only possess the image of a younger sister but that we also have mature charms… We wanted to showcase our average height of 170 cm, lengthy arms and legs, and the highlights of our physical features but it got received in a negative light, which wasn’t our intention, so we do feel a bit sad about that.”

“We think this is the beginning and we will work harder to approach the public… Not only the title track but our follow-up tracks are very good as well and we will do our best to raise awareness of our songs, so please show a lot of love… Stellar has a lot of different images so we will show them as we promote.”

“Marionette” is currently the most viewed Stellar video (by far) on Youtube. It also has way more dislikes than it has likes (and the song isn’t even bad!). Compounding all of this is the fact that “Marionette” cracked the real-time Top 30 on Instiz and the group/video instantly became a top 10 search term on Mel0n, Naver and Daum.

The funny thing is that “Marionette” is not far removed from what Girl’s Day, Rainbow BLAXX, AOA or Dal Shabet have been doing over the past couple of months. Aside from the unfortunate “butt-rub” move (which is more hilarious than it is sexy), the outfits, choreography and styling choices of the aforementioned groups have pretty much all been cribbed from the same K-Pop playbook.

So, why the backlash? Why does Stellar get more attention and publicity and face more negative feedback than any of the other girl groups who have essentially done the same thing?

Stellar kinda intuits why. Pretty girls with an “average height of 170 cm, lengthy arms and legs, and the highlights of [their] physical features” will get attention. This is not a criticism (because good lord, I have no problems with that at all) but it does lead to a critical point.

Importantly, Stellar is proving that idols are interchangeable when it comes to sexy concepts. You could mix and match members of AOA, Rainbow BLAXX, Girl’s Day, Dal Shabet and (yes) Stellar, give each of them the same song and choreography and the results would largely be the same.  And this can easily upset fan bases, especially when it comes to the near tribal nature of K-Pop fandom. It becomes very hard to accept that the love and adulation of GODDESS UNNIRS is based more on an attachment to a brand or marketing label than it is to the wonderful skills and talents of the idols themselves. This is not to say that idols aren’t talented, merely that the differentiation in talent is, by and large, minimal.




miniskirt aoa

The negative reaction to “Marionette” and Stellar isn’t due to the notion that they pushed the envelope too far when it comes to sexy material (they didn’t). It’s only partially due to the cyclical feedback loop of popularity and notoriety. What is mostly responsible for the negative reaction that “Marionette” has gotten is that Stellar has shown that even a relative no-name group can get plenty of publicity (pop’s real currency) with a sexy concept that all the more popular groups have already done and profited off of.

They were able to do so by employing similar sexy moves that their contemporaries have already been doing. The copycat nature of “Marionette” is actually where most of the “problems” lie. It shows that any idol group can do a sexy concept and when any group can do it, it makes all groups who have done it look less “special” as a result.

All Stellar has done is indirectly shown everyone that success in K-Pop is mostly based on good management, a good song (sometimes), good timing and good luck. The talents of the idols themselves rarely enter the equation.



  1. “Marionette” becoming more and more like “Friday” Rebecca Black; one of the most disliked video on k-pop, but the song is hella catchy.

    Btw, i know you are secretly biased with Junyool (the rapper one). C’mon, i know you did.

  2. This wasn’t a Sexy Concept.
    This was a “Piss off Netizens” concept and it did well
    And the EP is based, Sweetune did a great job.

  3. Kpoptartsarebestpoptarts · · Reply

    Hey, I had no idea who they were prior to this release. Now I’m a big fan. They are all gorgeous, I like the song, and I am now obsessed with Hyoeun. She rocketed straight to the upper-echelon of my list of best looking performers based on this MV.

    As far as the now infamous butt-scratch dance goes, when I first saw it my only reaction was “Holy shit, those are some tiny asses!”. But I see how it opens them up for ridicule. It is kind of silly. But overall, I liked the MV just fine. This whole “controversy” is much ado about nothing.

    1. agreed. Controversy aside, they are pulling this concept very well based on the MV and live performances. If only they’re smart of choosing the right director, style artist, and the right choreographer, this song would be a huge hit.

      Btw, Hyoeun and Gayoung slowly but deadly climbing up my bias list.

      Because who might not :

      1. Yup, it’s hard to fault a group on the edge of irrelevancy for going for it all. It’s just that, ‘it all” was rather tame and clumsily put together and nowhere near as scandalous as the reaction warranted.

  4. Fleur De Seoul · · Reply

    I still say the difference between them and other groups is the lack of personality in the sexy. I mean, I’m sure that there’s some acting in other groups, but honestly, they were closer to attractive cardboard cutout than idol in this song. It’s not the groups’ fault, it’s the director and the cinematographer.

    1. Agreed, the MV came across as more sleazy than sexy. I think most fans are ok with their female idols ‘showing they have a mature side’, so long as that side don’t make they appear like hookers.
      A good director should know how to pull it off. For instance, sexy is wearing something revealing, but making it only one key piece, not the entire outfit (e.g. a miniskirt but a regular top). Garters plus sleeveless tube tops will spilling boobs crosses the thin sexy/sleazy line.
      The choreography made a similar error too. Instead of say one signature ‘sexy move’ per MV, they threw in the entire sexy moves playbook. I do love the bondage move though 🙂

      1. That’s the thing though. It’s nothing that people haven’t seen before, it’s just more concentrated.

      2. Really they should have mixed it up, they had a good 19+ concept that Blaxx didn’t deliver on (probably because it was too much fun) and was the same “Voyeur Sexy” that all of the girl groups were doing. Doing something that is more like a 19+ version of One Way Love could have helped them

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