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Former K-pop idols pursue different paths

The disbanded group 4minute when they were together. All five members are each pursuing respective careers./ Korea Times file
Over the past year, some top K-pop idol groups including 2NE1, 4minute and Beast that formed in the 2000s disbanded to the dismay of their fans. The upside may well be that there could be more opportunities to see the former members in various settings including entertainment programs.

Yoon Doo-joon, 29, appears on "Mr. Baek, The Homemade Food Master" that is airing its third season on cable channel tvN. Yoon was a member of the K-pop boy band Beast who along with Lee Gi-kwang, Yong Joon-hyung, Yang Yo-sub and Sohn Dong-woon, left Cube Entertainment last year and joined a new agency, Around Us Entertainment. After friction over the use of the group's name Beast, the five will now be called Highlight, reports said. Former Beast member Chang Hyun-seung remains with Cube Entertainment, which has said that it will form a new three-member Beast. Yoon also made a guest appearance when his fellow member Lee Gi-kwang showed his "single" house in "I Live Alone" airing on the popular network MBC. Lee is active on variety programs as well.

Popular former K-pop girl group 4minute also disbanded last year. Of the five members _ Jihyun, Gayoon, Jiyoon, Hyuna, Sohyun _ only Hyuna has re-signed with her agency, Cube Entertainment, where she is pursuing a solo career. Last year, Hyuna released a single. Jiyoon has signed with JS E&M and is starting her own solo career. The three others _ Gayoon, Sohyun and Jihyun _ have shifted to acting careers. Sohyun signed with 935 Entertainment, home to such popular actors as Namkoong Min (whose current drama "Good Manager" is topping the ratings on Wednesdays and Thursdays). Gayoon has joined BS Company, and is reportedly auditioning for dramas and films.

The shift to acting is perhaps natural course; multitudes of current K-pop idols seek acting in parallel. But also other former K-pop band members such as Eugene of S.E.S. and Seo Hyun-jin formerly of the girl group M.I.L.K. are active on the small screen. Just this year, Park Hyung-sik of the boy band ZE:A is starring in — and SHINee member Minho is playing a supporting role — in the KBS drama "Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth." The drama is about Hwarang, an elite group of young, handsome men of the Silla Kingdom who trained themselves in the arts, culture and martial arts. Girls' Generation member Yuri is currently playing a lawyer advocating the protagonist Ji-sung in the Monday/Tuesday SBS drama "Defendant." Prior to this, top female solo singer IU starred in the SBS drama "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo" opposite top actor Lee Joon-gi as well as EXO member Baekhyun.

Another K-pop girl group 2NE1, known for such songs as "I am the Best," disbanded last November. Of the four members — Dara, Park Bom, CL and Minzy — CL and Dara have re-signed with YG Entertainment. Minzy recently appeared as a new cast member for KBS's entertainment reality program "Sisters' Slam Dunk" season two with original members Hong Jin-kyung and Kim Sook, along with new members actresses Kang Ye-won and Han Chae-young, and singers Hong Jin-young and Jeon So-mi. Dara is also active on various reality programs such as "Battle Trip," in which she shared her tips for touring the Philippines with the Korean audience. Dara has said she will pursue a solo music career as well.

In January this year, JYP Entertainment's Wonder Girls officially disbanded. The girl band seemingly ran into obstacles in its group activity when former member Sunye married in 2013, and Sohee left the agency to focus on acting. After some member changes, the band however officially broke up after Sunmi and Yeeun did not renew their contract this year.

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