Top K-pop awards in Beijing hit by visa screw-up
It was a big music event meant to honour the best-selling K-pop acts.
But a logistical oversight turned it into something of a damp squib.
At the 29th Golden Disk Awards held in Beijing, China, on Wednesday and Thursday night, some members of several K-pop groups were not allowed to perform on stage or even enter the country due to visa problems.
The boy band BEAST, for example, was not allowed to perform, even though it won three awards including the Best Male Performance award.
Rookie group GOT7won the New Artist award on the first night, but only five of its seven members turned up - Bambam and Yugyeom were conspicuously absent due to visa issues.
Jungkook of boy band BTS was also absent and the other six members of the group performed without him.
Some fans who watched the Golden Disk Awards online took to fansites and forums to voice their unhappiness.
It is understood that some fans had spent money voting for their idols so that they could bag the awards.
The voting was held via the Golden Disk app and every 50 votes cost 2,750 won (S$3.40). Winners were determined by combining the results from a panel of judges, public voting and the volume of album or single sales.
Netizen JohannaR wrote: "(GOT7's performance) was different because they're incomplete. I am so disappointed.
"I feel sad for Bambam and Yugyeom for not being there to receive their first rookie award. It must be hard for them. They missed the moment of winning an award. Organisers, (please) be careful next time."
Another viewer Aidah Sha wrote: "Honestly, what's happening with the organisers of Golden Disk Awards this year? What a mess."
The organisers released a statement on their Facebook page on Jan 14, saying: "BEAST will be attending as scheduled as presenters. However, they will not be able to perform. BEAST members and their agency tried their best in order to be able to perform as planned, but the organisers failed to solve the visa issues.
"With the exception of the GOT7 and BTS members who were unable to obtain performance visas, the rest of the group will be performing. We apologise to the artists and all of the fans for causing an inconvenience."
Sounding frustrated with the situation too, BEAST member Yoseob wrote on Twitter: "All six members will be attending the Golden Disk Awards.
"However, due to performance visa issues not working out, BEAST will not be able to perform on stage. I would like to apologise to the many fans who waited a long time and were looking forward to it.
"Especially our Chinese fans who are likely (to be) even more disappointed as our last concert in China had been cancelled.
"We will try to repay you with an even better performance later. I'm sorry."
The Golden Disk Awards is an annual music awards show that started in 1986. In the past few years, Korea, Japan and Malaysia have hosted the event.
The big winners from this year's ceremony were Taeyang, who won the Grand Prize, and boy band EXO, who bagged the Album Grand Prize.
Acts such as Girl's Day, Infinite and CNBlue managed to perform at the show without incident.