This year has been terrible for K-pop, with many of the top groups losing members or just plain splitting up. It didn't look like it could get any worse after shock exits from EXO and Girls' Generation, but somehow it has, with one of the genre's most popular acts, 2NE1, now on the chopping block.
Following news that the group's breakout star, CL, is going to debut in America next year under Scooter Braun's management, member Minzy has amended her social media accounts to remove all mentions of 2NE1. She took the group's name out of her Twitter bio, and then changed her Instagram username from 'MINZY21MZ' to '_minzy_mz'.
This comes just a few days after she uploaded a cryptic photo to Instagram that read, "Things Change, People Change, Places Change, Friends Change, Careers Change, Economies Change… But God Never Changes."
A possible 2NE1 split isn't actually a huge shock considering that the group has been in trouble since June when member Park Bom was found to have illegally smuggled prescription drugs into Korea. The scandal destroyed her reputation and caused her to be kicked off the reality series Roommate, with many Korean netizens labelling the 30-something-year-old a "criminal" and calling for her exile from the entertainment industry.
To add weight to the rumours of 2NE1's disbandment, the group's record label, YG Entertainment, is apparently set to launch a brand new girl group next month -- their first since 2NE1 debuted in 2009.
However, nothing has been officially confirmed yet, so it's still too soon to know if the group is really going to call it quits or not. There's a lot of evidence leaning towards a split, but it could all just be a series of misunderstandings and coincidences.
This year has seen a number of K-pop groups lose members, including EXO, f(x) Girls' Generation, Hello Venus, MBLAQ, and FIESTAR, while indie band Busker Busker and rookie group Kiss&Cry disbanded altogether.
On a more positive note, veteran girl group KARA lost two members but were still able to make a successful comeback with a new member. Perhaps 2NE1 will be able to survive by doing the same?
Update: Minzy has now added the "2NE1" tag back to her Twitter profile. Minzy, girl...