The careers of K-pop groups IZ*ONE and X1 are in danger after the main producer of the TV programs that launched them admitted rigging the votes to favor certain contestants.
IZ*ONE debuted in 2018 with 12 members, who were winners of the reality competition TV show “Produce 48,” which aired in the same year.
X1 was launched last August and is composed of 11 members who won in the reality competition TV show “Produce X 101,” which aired from May to July this year.
An investigation on the suspicion of vote-rigging was launched after the winners of “Produce X 101” were announced based on the complaints of viewers and fans who said there was a pattern in allocating votes for the winning contestants.
Last Nov. 5, producers Ahn Joon-young and Kim Yong-bum, who were mainly involved in “Produce 48” and “Produce X 101,” were arrested because of the vote-rigging charges.
In an exclusive report by Korean TV channel SBS’ program “Eight O’Clock News,” it reported that “in the police investigation, PD Ahn Joon Young admitted the suspicions over fabricating rankings in ‘Produce X 101’ aired this year and ‘Produce 48’ broadcast in 2018,” according to MyDaily and V Today.
Another report by JTBC Plus said Ahn was treated by entertainment agencies more than 40 times in different establishments in Gangnam, Seoul since 2018 with the amount reaching 100 million won (about P4.36 million).
As a result, Mnet, the cable TV channel which aired the two programs, announced that the release of IZ*ONE’s comeback album scheduled on Nov. 11 has been postponed.
“We sincerely apologize that some of our programs got entangled in controversy. After carefully reviewing the opinions of fans as well as TV viewers, Off The Record postponed the release of IZone’s full album vol. 1, which was scheduled to be conducted on November 11,” Mnet said in statement, reported JTBC Plus. Off The Record is the group’s label.
It added that “Therefore, we also decided to put off the date of broadcasting IZ*ONE’s comeback show called ‘COMEBACK IZ*ONE BLOOM*IZ”, set to be aired on digital channels including Mnet and M2 at 7 pm (KST) November 11.”
Mnet said, “Once again, we would like to apologize to the audience and the fans who have been waiting for the group’s comeback activities.”