Every time an idol group releases a song, their die-hard fans celebrate like it’s Chinese New Year. But not this time.
On September 26th, China’s most sought after idol boy group NINE PERCENT release their long-anticipated album More Than Forever (《限定的记忆》). It is their second album, and their last album came out ten months ago.
To the fans’ unpleasant surprises, the “group” album only contains nine solo songs from each member and no collaboration songs. Fans who preordered the album without knowing its content felt betrayed that a so-called “group album” is just a compilation of solo songs. The hashtag #Nine Percent’s album has no collaboration songs# trended on Weibo right away.
Nine Percent was born out of the talent competition reality show Idol Producer. As the first of its kind in China, Idol Producer received an incredible amount of attention and support. The top nine contestants handpicked by audiences all over China debuted together as Nine Percent. Contract disputes between the original agencies of the contestants and the agency of the group prevented the group from operating as an idol group.
The group cannot seem to figure out how to appear in events together, let alone how to record songs together. Instead of preparing for a debut album, Nine Percent held 17 fan meetings around China. Their first album only saw the day of light after seven months. According to our incomplete statistics, Nine Percent’s group project includes only two studio albums (one of which has only solo songs), 17 fan meetings, six variety show appearances and the would-be goodbye concert on October 12th.
In contrast, each member’s solo activities are much more frequent. Cai Xukun, 1st place in the competition and the center of the group, founded his personal studio right after his debut on April 2018 and released both EP 1 and single Wait Wait Wait in August. The eighth place, Lil Ghost (王琳凯), had already released three solo albums before the group released its first one. Fan Chengcheng accepted a lead role in a new drama series. And every member has done countless product endorsements solo.
The lack of group activities has created some divisions in the fan community. Group fans are rare. Fandoms of each member are in constant Weibo war against each other. As far as the fans are concerned, their idol’s Nine Percent teammates are not teammates but competitions. Weibo super hashtag is an accurate indicator of the popularity of a celebrity. Cai Xukun’s Weibo super hashtag is ranked the first among all celebrities. The other eight members’ super hashtag also ranks in the top 50. But Nine Percent’s super hashtag ranking is more than 100.
Last November, a Weibo War erupted between member Lin Yanjun’s and You Changjing’s fans. A fan of Lin Yanjun started the war by posting about You Changjing liking a female live-streaming celebrity’s youtube video. And then You Changjing’s fans dug up a series of dirt on Lin and exposed them to the public. Fandom wars like this are not uncommon.
The group name “Nine Percent” means that the nine trainees who debuted would carry on the dreams of all a hundred who participated in Idol Producer. However, this heartwarming, peaceful group name failed to bring peace or unity in the group or its fandom. Nine Percent will officially disband on October 6th. Maybe, in the minds of the fans, the group never even existed.
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