Poor T-ara have had a rough time over the past six months. The group’s bullying scandal not only caused a negative netizen reaction and a dip in sales, but also the loss of work — especially for Eunjung. Last year, the 24-year-old was booked to headline the SBS drama series, Five Fingers, when the network replaced her with another actress at the eleventh hour. A similar thing happened to Soyeon on KBS’ Haeundae Lovers, but at least Soyeon got to star in a few episodes before her character was unceremoniously written out of the show without explanation. While T-ara have continued to lay low in Korea since the scandal broke (and another scandal, after that one), Eunjung is now heading back to work as the new host of MBC’s music program, Show Champion. She’ll join f(x)’s Amber, with the pair replacing former hosts, Super Junior’s Shindong and comedian Kim Shin Young.
The new gig is Amber’s second big solo project outside of f(x) following her role on Invincible Youth 2. She’s now the third f(x) member to MC a music program after Luna, who hosted MTV’s The Show, and Sulli, who did Inkigayo. Career wise, it’s a good move for Amber, but it’s definitely a step backwards for Eunjung. Pre-scandal, Eunjung had already bagged starring roles in two major network dramas (Coffee House, Dream High), headlined her own theatrical film (White: Curse of the Melody) and cable drama (Queen Insoo), and starred on one of the country’s most well-known variety shows, We Got Married. She was even the first idol to host SNL Korea, bringing the show its highest ratings ever. To go from all that to hosting one of TV’s minor music programs is the K-pop equivalent of Lara Flynn Boyle going from Twin Peaks and The Practice to Hansel & Gretel Get Baked.
But every disgraced star’s gotta work their way back up from the bottom, right? Robert Downey Jr. did it. Jennifer Lopez did it. Christina Aguilera’s trying to do it. Now it’s Eunjung’s turn! And on a more positive note, Show Champion is currently revamping its format for 2013, and now that Inkigayo has joined Music Core and stopped awarding first place trophies, Show Champion has a real chance to gain more popularity through its awards system.
On top of Eunjung’s new job, T-ara are preparing to return to the music scene in March with the release of a new Japanese single called “Banisuta.” The CD single will come in ten different editions, with seven containing a special solo track from each member, while the remaining three will be collaboration tracks between select members. Hopefully, T-ara can make it through the next few months without causing another scandal so we can get a K-pop comeback from them, too.