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.
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.