South Korea saw a spike in Covid-19 cases last December, hitting a record high of 1,030 cases on Dec 12 2020. On the same day, The Fact Music Awards (TFMA) was held with 18 idol groups and 2 soloists.
Although the artistes went on stage to receive their awards while wearing masks, fans still felt that it was risky to have such a big number of people at the event.
Their concerns are justified. Six idols have tested positive for the virus so far. These idols are Bitto, Xiao and Kogyeol from Up10tion, Yiren and Sihyeon of Everglow and soloist Chungha.
Due to growing concerns about the risk of infection, many fans have called for the cancellation of music shows to protect the health of their idols.
Nur Fitrah, a 17-year-old student, says: “I think that this situation should be enough to halt the music shows from airing, but it’s surprising and upsetting to see that none of them have been cancelled.”
Sabrina Safritri, a 19-year-old fan of Tomorrow X Together, adds: “Cancelling [the shows] means thousands of dollars going to waste … [But] this makes me quite frustrated because although I understand the logic of not cancelling, it’s weird to know that companies are putting money or reputation over the health and lives of idols and staff.”
In response to the sentiments, the entertainment giants have moved towards livestreaming the award shows without having the idols or any live audience on site.
Annual end-of-year music shows such as the Big Hit Labels New Year’s Eve Live (NYEL) and more recently, the Golden Disc Awards on Jan 9 and 10, were livestreamed in this format.
Nur Dzakiyyah Aqiilah, a 17-year-old BTS fan, suggests that it’s safer to have the idols perform in different venues for these shows to avoid mass gatherings.
Citing an example, she said: “As seen with the case of BTS, they booked the National Museum of Korea for their live participation in the virtual commencement ceremony Dear Class of 2020.”
Aqiilah believes that the best way to prevent idols from contracting the virus is for them to stay at home and practise proper precautions. However, she confesses that she’s still “a little glad that they’re still somewhat active in their jobs”. Many people, including herself, still wish to go to these idols “for comfort and assurance especially in the current state of the world”, she adds.
Edited by: Rachel Sin Ka Lam
Proofread by: Quek Si Min