Twenty-three teasers too many: Has SM ruined EXO before their debut?

SM Entertainment has no doubt invested more money in EXO’s teasers than in any one of Super Junior’s MVs from the past three years.

With three years having passed since SM Entertainment added a new group to their roster it’s no wonder they’re excited about welcoming EXO to the world. Since the first video teaser was released via YouTube back on December 21, SM has continued a steady stream of member introductions over the past three months. But what has this prolonged teaser period accomplished?

When a small number of EXO’s members performed for the first time via SBS Gayo Daejun I expected them to make their official debut early in the New Year; however the calendar soon hit March and aside from twenty-three video teasers, two ‘prologue singles’ and a heap of photos, not much has progressed. There is still no indication as to when EXO-M and EXO-K are to make their debut. What’s up with that, SM?

The decision to have a select number of EXO feature in a showcase of SM Entertainment’s talent was a smart move on behalf of the company. By placing them alongside members from the likes of Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, Super Junior, and SHINee guaranteed fans’ attention as a stage involving these well-established groups was bound to draw viewers. But months have passed since New Years and we’re yet to see EXO perform as a complete group and the question still remains: when will we?

The build up for EXO’s debut has been so long it’s now bordering on ridiculous. The time—not to mention the money—used in this campaign must be unprecedented for the label. SM Entertainment has no doubt invested more money in EXO’s teasers than in any one of Super Junior’s MVs from the past three years. This slow but steady release of teasers—almost half of which showcasing golden child Kai—has kept fans eager and no doubt anxious to see what this new group will offer. But with more of the same teasers being released every so often it’s hard to believe any fans are truly excited by each new offering. My interest in EXO has severely dropped over the last few months as anything of substance is yet to be delivered. I have to worry if SM has hyped EXO to the point where there is no way they can live up to everyone’s expectations. Seemingly SM Entertainment has set EXO up for an inevitable fail.

It has reached the point in this pre-debut campaigning that I quite literally groan when I see an update on SM Entertainment’s official YouTube channel with yet another EXO teaser. I actually stopped watching them after the first three or four but went back and looked at all twenty-three just to see what I was missing. Evidently, not much. It’s irritating to be inundated with minute-long videos that show nothing aside from members walking around aimlessly or Kai‘s dance skills. SM are obviously very pleased with the talent they have uncovered (or produced) in Kai but a gifted dancer is hardly anything new for the label—Super Junior’s Eunhyuk and SHINee’s Taemin have been amazing fans for years with their skills. So why the obsession with Kai? I honestly have no idea. The only emotion SM Entertainment has instilled in me in regards to Kai is an irrational dislike born from overexposure.

Looking through SM Town’s channel views it’s evident I’m not the only one who simply got over EXO’s teasers. The first batch of videos pulled around one millions views; the more recent struggled to achieve 300k. This decrease in views despite the continued exposure can only spell something bad for EXO: people simply don’t care so much anymore. Instead of exponentially increasing the hype with each additional tid-bit, SM has pushed it to the extreme, so much so fans are starting to back off out of boredom. And I don’t blame them. After the first five or so teasers, the videos started to get bland. Aside from Kai, Lay and Lu Han, who featured in dance solos, and Tao with his martial arts routine, most of the teasers showed the remaining members aimlessly wandering around through nonsensical dramatic situations. The dramatic teasers rank among the worst of the collection as they really showcase nothing about the members aside from their looks, which in this industry is relative pointless. Of course they are going to be good-looking: they are, after all, Korean idols. It seems to me that SM Entertainment themselves became bored with creating exciting showcases for all twelve EXO members and slacked out with the remaining artists. It doesn’t seem fair but it’s not the first time SM has played favourites and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

EXO’s journey to debut took another irritating turn when SM Entertainment decided to release a ‘prologue single’. I’m not exactly sure what a ‘prologue single’ is, but why not just have an actual debut? In any case, EXO has not one but two of these strange little things, which, in the case of What Is Love, is essentially nothing more than long teaser video. The music video for this single is clearly made of the remnants of many of the teasers (or perhaps it’s the other way around) and only highlight Lu Han and Chen, and D.O and Baek Hyun from EXO-M and EXO-K respectively. I’d hardly class this as a single due to the limited number of members representing the group but rather as a serious teaser for who I assume to be the main vocalists. Musically, What Is Love in parts sounds shockingly similar to TVXQ’s Before U Go and I don’t see how EXO, according to SM, are supposed to ‘lead the world music industry’ with an unoriginal sound.

In any case we can only assume second prologue single History is a more accurate depiction of EXO’s overall sound. It finally features EXO-K and EXO-M as two complete units and shows a fully choreographed MV. The song is pretty decent but has me asking—how much higher can they raise the bar? This song is frustratingly catchy with its ‘oh oh oh’ call that it places a hefty amount of pressure on the debut to surpass this. Sure, it’s possible, but all this build up runs the risk of leaving fans underwhelmed. Regardless, the snippets featured in the other teasers (albeit mostly void of vocals) are very much intriguing and I hope their debut establishes this sound further as it would be great to see an idol group with a heavy techno influence. But I guess we won’t know until SM decides to officially release these boys out into the world, whenever that will be.

Unlike the atmosphere surrounding the initial New Year teasers, I am no longer awaiting EXO’s debut with bated breath. In fact, at this point the only thing SM Entertainment can do to surprise me is actually announce a release date. It’s disappointing how much interest I have lost in EXO’s debut as I like a lot of the bands on SM’s current roster and was looking forward to something new. However, this prolonged pre-debut campaign has been so excessive and overhyped it really has been killed for me. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. I’d like to hope EXO do eventually have a successful debut before a group of fans who endured the mass of teasers and stuck around through all this wank. All I know is if I see one more damn teaser featuring Kai I will hit something.


18 responses

  1. “SM Entertainment has no doubt invested more money in EXO’s teasers than in any one of Super Junior’s MVs from the past three years.” <—-Totally made me laugh ^.^ But that's besides the point.

    Though I have decided to turn a new leaf and be somewhat excited for EXO's debut, I can't help but feel that these teasers are more detrimental than helpful. Yes, it does built anticipation but at the same time people are more prone to be like eh whatever I've already seen all they offer etc. You'd think that maybe, just maybe EXO is having a little too much exposure before their debut. I mean the expectations are insanely high here. I think if even at the littlest bit that they aren't met, this will be quite the fall for SM and EXO.

    Teasers, in my opinion, should showcase something that the fans haven't seen before. Okay, one, maybe two dancing styles, and then a few different genres of singing would've been nice. And oh yeah not showing Kai in nearly every single teaser would have been nice too. Each additional teaser honestly doesn't show anything new. I mean I'd be fine with hmmm 10 teasers and maybe, just maybe this exception for EXO, one prologue single though I think that's ridiculous. I've never heard of a "prologue" single prior to EXO. But 23 teasers? 2 proluge singles? Really? Unnecessary. I think SM should invest money elsewhere.

    I'm waiting for them, my readers will be prepared for a long post whenever they do debut. I'm guessing for more of a late spring maybe early summer debut but who knows? I might even be finished with high school by the time they decide to debut.

    Sorry for the long comment ^.^

    • I’m trying to stay hopeful and interested, but SM really aren’t helping anything.

      Considering SHINee are now gearing for a comeback and Kangin is out of the army in April which /may/ prompt Super Junior activities, I think we’ll be waiting mid-year until we actually see EXO in action.

      I suppose we can attribute the delay to the simultaneous Korean and Chinese releases, but if SM played their cards right they would have organised this behind the scenes instead of dragging it out in public. As it is now, I’m more keen for EXO-M than K simply because Kai makes me incredibly mad.

      I very much welcome your long comments and thank you very much for the reblog!

  2. I actually don’t look forward to anything off the SM channel but I’m especially unimpressed with the total lack of substance all the EXO teasers have. It makes sense that the earlier teasers have more views though–they’ve been on the Internet much longer. Much, much, much longer as it’s been about three months since the first one.

    I do think that rather than building the band up, SM is trying to introduce the members. No doubt they’ve heard of all the moans about having to be able to tell Super Junior apart, and since EXO has 12 members total they’re in the same boat. However, they ultimately failed as I saw a comment where someone was legitimately mindblown that EXO wasn’t Kai’s stage name. A lot of people also seem to hate EXO because they find releasing so many teasers cheap.

    Overall, I find all their teasers ridiculous in their sheer numbers (the only one I’ve actually seen is the boy waving a giant rod around for a few seconds). And this ‘prologue single’ stuff is ridiculous. Is their actual debut going to be some fifteen minute track?

  3. Just came by to say I enjoy your reviews, for someone like me who unfortunately can’t spare the time to listen to the gazillion songs being churned out of the kpop factory, your posts help me identify what’s good and bad :D.

    • Why thank you very, very much. I’m glad this blog is of use to someone! ^_^

      I’ll do my best to keep up with all the new releases but even for someone who has time it can be a little overwhelming! I do endeavour to cover many of the big releases promptly.

      Thanks once again.

  4. If SM spent half the amount of effort and money that they wasted on EXO on SHINee, maybe they would have been able to afford costumes for the “Sherlock” teaser pics.

    I am completely uninterested in EXO now. SM, why you do this!

  5. EXO is SM big fail. It surprises me because SM artist usually debut with big anticipation, and become hot issue in short time after the debut, but EXO??? keep perfoming in Mnet etc without so much interest from public. sad.

  6. story behind EXO’s teasers :

  7. I kinda hate this blog. It’s so judgmental even if you’ve only seen their teasers. And you hate Kai? It’s not his fault that SM made him 12 teasers out of 23 teasers. We know that there are reasons why SM made that teasers. And delayed their debut. And look at them now.They only released 1 album and already so popular not only in Korea but also on other countries.

    SORRY if this will make you offend I’M SO SORRY *peace* :)). I’m just sharing my thoughts and I know that you’re just also sharing your thoughts about SM releasing so many teasers of EXO. ^__^

    Even though I discovered this blog and comment so LATE ^^ Hope you/people who will read my comment will understand what i’m trying to say :))

    • You certainly did not offend me and I encourage opinions that differ to my own. That’s why I choose to write such scandalous things–to stimulate debate.

      I also have no sincere hatred for Kai. I was being dramatic.

  8. I’ve been a fan of EXO since beginning of this year and I’ve watched all their teasers and everything. But now EXO is like so popular!! They won two awards today (out of the many awards they have won in the past) in EMA in London and Kris and Suho went to attend!! I mean thats fking awesome!! They even beat Justin Beiber and 1DIrection… and they have a lot of fans! You have to admit that it is pretty cool… Other groups haven’t achieved so high in such a short time (in less that two years)!! They have a few albums and loads of fans! Their songs aren’t that bad… they are really good!! They deserve the awards and I hope EXO achieve higher goals…
    Last time I went to the ‘K-Pop store’ and every single EXO thing was sold out and I was like T______________________________________________T

    Ok guys I know this post is really late but I felt I just had to comment because of all the negative things on this page about them… I mean they are a totally awesome group!! They all have unique personalities, they are funny, sexy and amazing!!

    P.S Sorry if this was offending to the EXO and K-Pop haters… :D

    XOXO (<= see what I did there)

  9. Frankly speaking, I only knew about EXO from a Chinese variety show… Well yea, I’m Chinese, and I didn’t really like kpop as it’s devastating to wait for subtitles everytime. But anyways, that’s really not the point. I was just really surprised to see a third of the members can actually speak Chinese, so I searched about them online.

    I’m glad that I only watched the teasers afterwards, ’cause I gave up halfway through. It’s just plain BORING… I mean, we all can get the ‘Wow, Kai is so good at dancing’ part from a few teasers, there’s really no need for him to appear in half of the teasers. I’m not that keen on kpop, but 23 teasers are really too much for any idol group. So SM really sucks at the teaser part.

    But yea, I really like EXO-M more :) Forget the Kai part, they’re so much more natural. EXO-M looks like they are actually friends, where as most of EXO-K just looks fake.

    God… I only discovered this blog so late. Why did I even bother to post a comment?…

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