When a veteran K-pop star joins a rapping competition...
Rap stars seem to be held to a higher standard in reality TV competition
One of my favourite K-pop rappers, Miryo from female quartet Brown Eyed Girls (BEG), is a contestant on the latest season of reality TV rapping competition Unpretty Rapstar.
I don't know about other BEG fans, but I have mixed feelings about seeing my not-so-young idol compete week-after-week to stay on a show targeted at millennials.
While it will give Miryo more exposure and might help to boost BEG's recent floundering popularity, she also has to be judged by peers and face the threat of elimination.
At 34, Miryo is the oldest of Unpretty Rapstar Season 3's contestants, which includes a mix of current K-pop trainees, former trainees and little-known solo artists.
BEG have six studio albums to their name and a massive hit in Abracadabra, the 2009 song that inspired Psy's Gentleman choreography.
This year, BEG are celebrating their 10th anniversary, cementing their veteran status in showbiz.
Miryo has released an EP and a single as a solo act. In 2012, she was a produceron another rap talent television programme, Show Me The Money. She dished out criticism instead of receiving it.
With so much experience, why does Miryo need to join Unpretty Rapstar?
As evident in the show's previous season, it is a double-edged sword when big names come on.
Yes, they are the ones who bring in the eyeballs. However, viewers and their fellow competitors end up judging them more harshly, expecting perfect performances from them because they are already stars.
Last year, on Unpretty Rapstar Season 2, contestants Hyolyn of Sistar, Yubin of Wonder Girls and Jiyoon of now-disbanded 4Minute, were all slammed at some point.
Hyolyn was dissed by other contestants for lip syncing, while netizens had a field day panning Yubin and Jiyoon for their respective lacklustre rap battles.
In the end, none of them managed to win. (Season 2's champion was underground rapper Truedy).
Out of the trio, Hyolyn did the best, finishing at third place.
I fear that a single bad performance from Miryo will yield an embarrassing fallout.
From the ensemble music video She's Coming, released last week and featuring the current crop of contestants, it looks like the stage is set for fierce rivalries.
Hopefully, experience will win the day for Miryo.