Sports Chosun Girl Group Ranking
Korea is obsessed with random rankings, surveys, and polls. Most of it’s just inane shit that isn’t worth reading (“So-and-so voted the celebrity people most likely want to read a bedtime story to”), but I get a kick out of popularity rankings. The downside is that most of them are usually biased or uninformed, like the new 2014 Girl Group Popularity Ranking that Sports Chosun published today.

Check it out below (or above if you can read hangul), with English translation from Kashigasa.

Sports Chosun

2. f(x), Girl’s Day
3. Miss A, 4minute, Secret, A-pink
4. Brown Eyed Girls, After School, Dal Shabet, Crayon Pop, Nine Muses, KARA
5. Hello Venus, Rainbow, AOA, Ladies’ Code, T-ara, Wonder  Girls and more
6. BESTie

Whoever authored this mess is clearly on the propofol because this shit is so topsy-turvy that it makes me want to take a dump at the front door of Sports Chosun’s main office. Okay, so it’s actually not that bad, but I felt like being dramatic because some of my faves were unjustly slighted by the flop that put this thing together.

Anyway, the first and most glaring error here is putting SISTAR and 2NE1 on the same level as Girls’ Generation. Last time I checked, SNSD was a GREAT WALL OF CHINA that none of these other bitches could ever dream of crawling over. In fact, all other girl groups aren’t even allowed to look at this wall, let alone attempt to climb it.

The other main fuck up is putting T-ara on level five. Okay, I get that they’re damaged goods who fell spectacularly from grace and hit every branch on the way down, but they’re still not low enough to be on fucking Hello Venus’ and Rainbow’s level. When was the last time any of the flops on this level had a top five hit or sold close to T-ara’s physical sales? Mmhmm. Also, fun fact: T-ara N4’s “Countryside Life” was a bigger hit overall than 2NE1’s No. 1 single, “Falling In Love.” Ha!

To fix this trash, I’ve decided to make a much more accurate ranking of my own. I’m in a good position to do so since I’m obsessed with Korean girl groups and follow them all, and I’ve watched the K-pop charts every week for the past couple of years.

I’m including domestic success only, but will take into account popularity of individual members and their solo activities as long as it’s in Korea and not overseas. I’m also factoring in physical sales, since it’s not easy for groups outside of SM and YG to sell albums, so anyone that does should be recognized for it. And chart longevity is a big factor, which is why I consulted the yearly chart quite a bit to weed out artists that have had bigger hits than some of you might realize.

This is also primarily based on current popularity. For example, Brown Eyed Girls are obviously a bigger group than Girl’s Day in the grand scheme of things, but Girl’s Day happen to be bigger at this very moment.

Oh, and I’m not including Wonder Girls because they’re on indefinite hiatus. I’m sure the only reason Sports Chosun listed them is so netizens could whine about Sunye’s pregnancy and marriage some more in the comments section. Anybody else that wasn’t included is because they’re simply too irrelevant to mention, like GP Basic, STELLAR, the flawless Blady, and so on.

Tier 1: Girls’ Generation

SNSD are at the top of everything. Digital monsters, physical sales that rival and surpass most boy bands, more lucrative endorsements and drama offers than they can handle, and an overwhelmingly positive image in the eyes of the public. Even “I Got a Boy,” which most Koreans hated, still outsold basically everybody last year. Who else but the Divine Nine?

Tier 2: SISTAR

SISTAR are superstars in almost every area other than physical sales, but their digital sales are so ridiculously high that it almost doesn’t matter. Outside of the group, Hyorin’s one of the biggest stars in K-pop with six top three solo hits under her belt, while Soyu’s also slaying the charts with her various collaboration singles. And then there’s Dasom, who’s starting to do well as an actress now. SISTAR just needs to work on building up their fanbase a bit more so they can sell more albums and concert tickets, since that seems to be their only real weakness right now.

Tier 3: 2NE1, Davichi

2NE1’s fallen far due to mismanagement from YG Entertainment, and out of the three singles they released last year, only one was a real hit (“Missing You”). Still, they’ve got a fiercely loyal fanbase and are loved by the public, and could probably move back up a tier if their upcoming album does well (which I’m sure it will if YG ever decides to release it).

As for Davichi, they’ve been one of K-pop’s biggest digital sellers since they debuted, and are only getting bigger and bigger with each passing year. All five singles they released last year made it into the 2013 year-end chart, with two of them (“Turtle” and “Be Warmed”) in the top ten. They were also the most streamed and most downloaded female artist of last year, and won three music program awards despite not being a typical idol act.

Tier 4: Girl’s Day, f(x), 4minute

Girl’s Day had an incredible 2013, scoring their first music program win and placing two singles in the 2013 year-end chart. 2014 looks set to offer more of the same, with their latest single, “Something,” already being the biggest hit of 2014 so far. They’re also doing extremely well when it comes to big endorsement deals, not to mention Minah’s success as an MC and Yura’s various acting roles.

4minute have mediocre physical sales when Cube aren’t doing their usual shady buy backs, but “What’s Your Name?” was the sixth biggest single of 2013, and HyunA’s a humongous star in her own right. The group’s 2YOON subunit also managed to get a top ten single last year with “24/7,” while 4minute’s new digital single, “Only Gained Weight,” just debuted at No. 5 on the Gaon chart without an MV or any promo.

As for f(x), they only just scraped into tier 4 thanks to their strong physical sales and catalogue of past hits. Their last single, “Rum Pum Pum Pum,” had huge first-week sales, but sunk shortly after and failed to make the top 100 of the yearly chart. Right now, f(x) is the kind of group that appears to be more popular than they actually are, and this is SM Entertainment’s fault. SM’s had f(x) making just one comeback a year, and promo for their last album was pulled after a couple of weeks to make way for EXO. But if SM gets behind the group again, I’m confident that they can move up a tier and get back to where they were during the Pinocchio/Hot Summer era.

Tier 5: miss A, Brown Eyed Girls, A Pink, SECRET, T-ara, KARA, Crayon Pop

Both miss A and Brown Eyed Girls peaked a few years ago, but they can still snag top five hits and they both benefit from having huge solo stars in their respective groups with Suzy and Ga-In. T-ara and KARA both damaged their popularity with scandals, but they can also still make the top five and their physical sales are higher than most other girl groups outside of YG and SM.

A Pink are on the way up and should be in a higher tier by next year. They had the third highest-selling album from a female artist last year (behind f(x) and SNSD) and 13th highest-selling song with “NoNoNo.” Not to mention Eunji and Naeun’s individual careers, with both girls successfully crossing over into acting and variety.

People think SECRET are total flops now, but that’s not entirely true. While their popularity has severely diminished, “YooHoo” still managed to make No. 30 on the yearly chart, and Jieun had a solo top ten single with “Tortured Hope.” Meanwhile, Sunhwa’s still acting and doing variety, and Hyosung just scored a role in a drama series. I do wonder if they’d be doing even better if it hadn’t been for Hyosung’s ilbe scandal, though…

As for Crayon Pop, their breakout single, “Bar Bar Bar,” is now one of the biggest and most iconic girl group hits in K-pop history, and their special Christmas single, “Lonely Christmas,” showed some surprising longevity on the charts despite only peaking at No. 12. They’ve definitely earned their place in this tier, but they’ll need another big hit this year if they want to stay here.

Tier 6: After School, Rainbow, Nine Muses, Dal Shabet, Sunny Hill, Ladies’ Code

The biggest thing about After School these days is Orange Caramel (who haven’t had a comeback since 2012), while Rainbow hasn’t been able to crack the top ten since 2011. Dal Shabet aren’t exactly big, but they’re consistently solid, with only one of their eight singles ever missing the top twenty, while Nine Muses were finally able to establish themselves with four back-to-back comebacks of varying success last year.

Ladies’ Code have made a rapid rise for a rookie group outside of the big three, already scoring two top twenty hits and having two singles (“Bad Girl” and “Pretty Pretty”) that managed to hang around on the charts for a surprisingly long time.

Last but not least is Sunny Hill, who are much more successful than most people realize. They’ve had five top ten hits overall, and made the yearly chart in both 2012 and 2013. Their latest single is actually the only flop they’ve had since relaunching in 2011, and it still managed to make the top 40.

Tier 7: SPICA, AOA, The SEEYA, Hello Venus, Jewelry

AOA’s going to climb up a tier soon thanks to the success of “Miniskirt,” but they’re stuck here for now until the song’s chart run is over. Most people know SPICA thanks to Lee Hyori, but the group’s still struggling to take things to the next level on their own, while The SEEYA’s been performing solidly since they debuted, but aren’t even close to becoming real stars yet. Jewelry somehow manages to hang around and even made the top twenty last year with “Hot & Cold,” while Hello Venus are known to people and seem to have a small but strong fanbase, but they still haven’t had a hit yet.

Tier 8: FIESTAR, GLAM, EXID, RaNia, Chocolat, F-ve Dolls, BESTie, Wa$$up. 

I feel like this last tier is pretty self-explanatory. I do want to single out EXID, though, who looked like they were on their way up after the epic “Every Night,” but then vanished into thin air and haven’t made a full group comeback since. BESTie haven’t had a hit but there seems to be some buzz behind them right now, while Wa$$up managed to get a lot of media attention for their trashy twerk concept. I think we’ll see either GLAM or BESTie breakout this year and rise higher, so keep an eye on those two.

Anyway, here’s a BLADY MV. Let’s all watch it and think positive thoughts so maybe Kween BLADY can crack tier 8 next year.

  • Li_Shaolan

    Sistar is shit, they’re manipulating digital chart..the fact that their concert only sell 2000 people and have delay 20 minutes because of very few people came, so manager decided to give free tickets..but still no one want to watch them…also when hyorin wants to pre record her song on music program, no fans come to support her, the PD tell blackjack to stay because zero audience there,,this is the proof taht they are cheating and their popularity only illusion

    • I don’t agree that they manipulate the digital chart. Their agency would go broke spending all that money to make EVERY SISTAR single a hit. People don’t realize that SISTAR’s songs have been hits since they debuted with “Push Push,” they didn’t suddenly just become famous overnight like Crayon Pop.

      • talinekae

        Their was also a lot of hype surrounding their Give It To Me comeback. TOO MUCH hype actually, everyone loved it.

      • ICONI3

        This is true. I will say that they give me Beyonce teas when it comes to how their PR team over hypes them.

  • KingBeaArthur

    First and foremost, let us give thanks to Blady for “Blood Type B Girl”! I love that song but the concept is a huge waste of an opportunity.

    Your list is definitely more accurate than the Sports Chosun one! It’s sad to see groups like After School [no Uee shout out, Jacques? She’s the Kidman to Eunjung’s Streep!], T-ara (stupid fxxking scandal), 9Muses, etc. who deliver constantly yet aren’t higher. I’m livid at EXID’s company for dropping the ball with them! “Every Night” was a golden ticket that they didn’t use to their advantage.

    It’s satisfying to see all of Girl’s Day’s hard work pay off for them in a huge way! BUT I need a return to comedic aegyo, at least once!

    • James Smith III

      when blady performs live they have on leather and stuff total mismanaged approach to them

  • #TohoTimeNissan

    just curious: what about YT views? they count in billboard and stuff. and billboard ranking! (and trophies. even if they are superficial people do take notice of those who won. it’s relevance lies in added PR and hype)

    did you take into acct f(x)’s solo stuff? D: luna musical, krystal (huge hit drama heirs. bad drama where secondary characters, among which is krystal, are the show’s highlights >_>) and victoria (though chinese) dramas, sulli’s 2 movies, amber, luna, victoria mc stuff (mostly last year’s), their own show in cable… endorsements tony moly, etude, lovcat, h-mart, sulli had that juice or tea one, victoria with won bin, that LTE one but i suppose that’s more smtown.. at the top of my head…

    anyway, orange caramel is coming back soon. i had hoped for an AS one but i suppose Orange Caramel is due. ugh i want after school to do better this year and 2ne1 can slide down 2 pegs or 3. DNW a stale group in the top rank *bricked*

    lmao at sport chosun grouping sistar and 2ne1 with the NGG.

  • Remixstew

    Was definitely hoping to see Girl’s Day and APINK falls under the same tier, be it 4 or 5, purely because of my mentality to treat them as rivals. NoNoNo had 2 music shows win compared to Expectation-Female President combined total of 1. When it comes to awards, most prominent award would probably be them winning the Golden Disk Awards. As for endorsements, I’d say both have their fair share of endorsement deals with APINK clinching 2 consecutive years deal with Skoolooks. Saying more will just make me sound more butthurt than I already am but then again it’s just the beginning of 2014 and it’s hard to compare achievements this way but Girls’ Day and APINK, I refuse to see them separated into different tier.

    Sorry, am a delulu gsd-apink competition shipper here.

    • I think A Pink will definitely be up a tier very soon, they just need one more comeback. They don’t come back that often so just one more hit and they’ll definitely be on Girl’s Day level.

      • dumbass

        I would argue that Girls Day only entered their current tier off of Something. They seemed to be about on par with APink last year but Something shot them up. Part of me can’t help but wonder if some of their wins are from SNS points with #Something where neither TVXQ or Girls Day were mentioned so the shows calculated arbitrarily.

        APink’s Good Morning Baby did pretty well on the charts despite that they never went on any music shows and it was released without anyone knowing it was going to be released. Plus Girls Day was just kind of…there…until Expect. APink established themselves pretty well with My My and Eunji being on Reply 97 brought them a lot of attention.

        (I don’t care for APink or Girls Day, but I definitely agree that they’re on the same level since they’ve arguably had the same amount of success).

        • I think my main reason was how few comebacks A Pink has had to Girl’s Day.

          A Pink usually only makes one comeback a year, whereas Girl’s Day had two big hits in 2013, and now have the biggest single of 2014. They also have a big hit dating back to 2011 with “Twinkle Twinkle” which made the yearly chart, and their other singles have all done decently, so they have a bigger catalog of hits behind them than A Pink does. But A Pink will DEFINITELY be up a tier after their next comeback, they just need one more hit to advance.

          • png

            I still don’t understand why APink only promotes once a year. They probably could be fairly big. I’m not saying that they’re unpopular now, but what do the members aside from Eunji/Naeun do?

          • mcf

            I think Eunji’s rise was a big reason why A-Pink went so long between comebacks.

            She had Reply 1997, a musical, followed by another drama in that time period. Plus a couple of successful duet singles.

            Bomi has kept fairly busy with variety stuff like co-hosting Weekly Idol and also did two collaborations recently with some male idol groups.

            I don’t know what the other three have been up to. Chorong and Namjoo would be great variety show fixtures but for some reason they aren’t being utilized that way.

          • dumbass

            Fair enough! Plus Girls Day did pull the whole ‘super comeback from being a hot mess to just hot’ thing going for them when A Pink has always been fairly quality.

          • yosafbridge

            A little late I know but can I just say that Eunji is the biggest hidden gem in Kpop? I don’t own a single A-Pink record but she has one of the best vocal tones ever. I prefer listening to her sing over highly rated singers like Ailee, Taeyeon and Hyorin. If she went on Immortal Songs as a a regular, she would slay.

  • Tetramorium jedi

    SNSD better live up to that title and position with their new single. They deserve better than what SM gives them musically speaking. Also, so happy for the skyrocked Girl’s Day success. Hard work and good music has paid off. Hope it continues like that and their agency moves the right pieces at the right time for now on.

    • talinekae

      Well apparently LSM scrapped their new MV or some shit because it wasn’t good enough, so I too am hoping for some good quality music and video this time. I managed to forgive them for The Boys and I Got A Boy.

    • James Smith III

      i think we should love the fact that SM takes musical risk with the KWEENS, their popularity is such that one miss-fire will never truly end them

  • talinekae

    Girls Day being along side f(x) is something I’d never imagine. Their company WORKED.

    • dumbass

      f(x) is a huge mess and wasted opportunity of SM. If SM would have hurried up and followed Electric Shock (I would argue that ES was the height of their popularity; it practically went viral) rather than waiting over a year to do anything with them and then coming back with a hipster album with a flop of a comeback that SM decided to promote a rookie group instead of, f(x) could be on tier 3 with 2ne1 and Davichi.

  • ICONI3

    What about the flawless C-real?

    I actually Agree with your list. Only thing I disagree with on sports Chosun is that SISTAR,Girl’s day and Secret are too high. As much as I LOVE SISTAR..something about them still doesn’t scream top tier group. I also agree that Miss A and BEG have pretty much peaked, but have sustained enough popularity to still get them hits, but it seems the individual members(suzy&Gain) are actually starting to become bigger than their respective groups.

    • dumbass

      BEG I think are very popular with the general Korean public, since nobody really considers them an idol group; so it’s not as cheesy/looked down upon to like them, like it is a lot of the other pop idols. But your point about Ga In is too true; I thought Miryo and Narsha were supposed to have a subunit to slay us all and then I’m pretty sure it got scrapped?

      • png

        I think those two did have a subunit. M&N with the song “Tonight”

        • dumbass

          Yeah that’s what I was talking about! Thanks! I saw a bunch of teaser photos and then never even heard if the song came out; I guess it did. It’s a shame because all the BEG girls kick ass but only Ga In really gets any recognition for kicking ass and taking names

          • Yeah it was a shame. It was a nice song but it wasn’t a proper comeback or debut. It didn’t even have a full MV and the video was just footage from them shooting the single artwork, and they didn’t promote it either.

          • ICONI3

            Yeah..they’re suppose to officially debut with a mini album this year.

          • ICONI3

            Yeah I think it has to do with two reasons. 1)Gain’s stint on WGM got her a lot of fans and kept the momentum of the group going while they were on hiatus. It gave her a chance to form a fanbase outside of the group. 2)Nega Network is really bad at managing their artists. Black Box was so fucked up by the mismanagement. I mean Gain’s upcoming comeback was billboard,flyers and shit to promote her comeback. Most didn’t even know Beg was coming back till three days before the actual comeback.

          • Honestly I’m so pissed at how Nega handled BEG’s comeback. They put them against big artists, rushed out the comeback out of nowhere, and barely even promoted it properly. Like WTF.

            Because Kill Bill was such a drastic change for BEG there should’ve been more pre-promo so the public were prepared, and fucking “Recipe” should’ve had an MV. Maybe not a proper MV, but at least like footage of BEG shooting the kitchen themed album jacket (you know how Narsha in the kitchen with the spaghetti).

            Recipe and Kill Bill both went top five with the worst promo. If the era had been managed better it could’ve done so much more.

            What is wrong with Nega now? They manage LC9 badly too. No wonder Ga-In signed elsewhere for her solo promotions.

    • Yo momma

      I actually agree, C-REAL should be in at least Tier 8 since they do pretty well for a nugu

  • png

    As a delusional Sone, I hope their comeback is a such a hit just to rub it in Dsp/jyp/yg faces about how Sme continues to reign with Snsd. Supposedly their comeback song is called Mr. Mr. Judging from the old concert photos, but a part of me wishes it would be called Mm mm to be extra sassy.

    None of this will probably happen and we may see Beep Beep Korean version or Ayo GG!

    Rainbow Blaxx surprisingly was in the top 3 at Inkigayo this week.

    • dumbass

      I love Beep Beep but a Korean version as a single would be BS. It’s not an SNSD level song. They need a Trick/Express999 type song this time, I think. Regardless of what gets released, it’ll do well since it’s SNSD, but I think that if it’s another mess, they may lose a lot of their fanbase.

  • Laurence Nope

    The only thing I would change would be to combine tiers 2 and 3 into a single tier. I see no way that Sistar should be in a higher tier than Davichi. It’s good that you didn’t include Wonder Girls since they’re basically disbanded, but it’s completely ridiculous that Sports Chosun put them in the same tier as Hello Venus. If they somehow had a comeback right now it would be HUGE.

    • I think because SISTAR have successful solo careers/units that it gives them the edge over Davichi, plus Hyorin is so famous, but yeah Davichi could’ve been tier 2 as well. They could fit in either tier 2 or 3.

      • dumbass

        Yeah Sistar19 is one of the most popular subunits of a group in Korea; their debut single did better than most of Sistar’s songs up until that point too from what I understand. They just don’t have a strong/loyal fanbase like a majority of other groups but they seem popular with the Korean public.

  • oz

    if you were to include WG where would you place them? they can’t be in the same tier as flop group Hello Venus, forever mismanaged Rainbow and some rookies. I wish Sunny Hill would go up a few tiers. I thought they had potential after The Grasshopper song and after they did a few ballads but now they’re stuck on ballads. I need social commentary songs ASAP.

    • Josh Chinnery

      My very thoughts about Sunny Hill; I’m going to need them to break out something like Midnight Circus, Is The White Horse Coming, and the Grasshopper Song all in one

  • leesigh3

    I like your list. TIer 5 is interesting because its got a mix of falling groups and rising groups.

  • Remi

    very nice analysis! i felt upset over some judgement but really this is a blunt statement of the popularity of groups and it is correct to a fucking T. I wish BESTie and SECRET breakout this year, they deserve it. Any way great post!

    • Thanks! And I also hope SECRET start doing well again and that BESTie breaks out!

    • mcf

      My favorite rookie groups from 2010 (Sistar), 2011 (A-Pink), and 2012 (Crayon Pop) all eventually ended up being the most successful girl groups from their respective debut years.

      I hope BESTie, my favorite rookie of 2013, extends my streak of picking winners.

  • winara deka

    f(x) is the one for me.
    and yes. hot summer is the first song that i hear and made me love them

  • S☆NE

    why is Davichi on this list? They are not idols and they are not marketed to directly compete with idols. People usually leave them out of these lists for the same reason you don’t see Epik High or Busker Busker on boy group rankings. If you add Davichi you might as well add other non idol girl groups that are more or as popular in Korea than some already listed like Miss $ or Gavy NJ. Oh, and I’m not trying to be mean or anything, I’m legitimately curious to know why you decided to include them :)

    • I think Davichi is a rare act that’s both an idol act and an adult contemporary act. Even though they do ballads they’re still modern enough to appeal to idol pop fans. It’s not like ALL of Davichi’s songs are strictly standard OST ballads. Songs like “Turtle” and “Don’t Say Goodbye” are quite poppy, and their classic hit, “8282,” is half a dance song.

      • S☆NE

        Well I didn’t quite mean any of that because of their music style. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with considering ballad singers idols. I think 2AM members are better at the whole “idol” role than a lot of “poppy” groups but I digress. I was leaning more towards the way Davichi is promoted. CCM loves to make a point about how Davichi isn’t an idol group. They sort of rubbed it in some idols’ faces that they grabbed music show wins without the advantage of having a fanclub like them. Then there’s the fact they don’t really go on variety too often (though i wish they would :x ) and they kinda just release songs and move on instead of doing a dozen fanmeets and mediaplaying the heck out of their promotions with other silly strategies.

        But I guess you still answered my question in a way. You included them because you consider them idols, even if CCM doesn’t. And even with the differences they have from idols there are similarities too, so I understand.

  • a_chan

    Most girl groups have already peaked, SNSD included. That being said SNSD will never be surpassed. They are a cultural phenomenon and their presence will be felt in the industry long after they disband. Kara, 2ne1 and T-ara all had their chances to take the throne but they all fell short and it is too late in the game for anyone else to try.

    My predictions for 2014 are Apink will keep rising. The new SM group will eclipse f(x). Sistar will fall from grace in the vein of T-ara/KARA. Orange Caramel and Uee will graduate. Everyone in your top 5 tiers (plus Orange Caramel and Ladie’s Code) has a chance to rise, everyone else is doomed if they don’t get it together in their next comeback.

    • norimix

      I don’t know about SNSD peaking.. Their comebacks always get more views than previous MVs. IGAB got almost 85 million views in a year a feat that Took “Gee” years to achieve.

      • a_chan

        K-pop is more popular now on a global scale than it was before, more people checking out K-pop videos as a whole.

        But here are the receipts. The Boys sold much more physically than IGAB did, even with IGAB’s 8 different versions for stans to collect vs. the 2 versions of The Boys. Their first J-album sold more than all their subsequent J-releases combined. Their latest Christmas/New Years special tv concert had much lower ratings than their previous one. The list goes on.

        At the end of the day they are still the divine nine and the undisputed queens of the industry. But their peak was 2010-2012.

        • seventheory


          When a group promotes a Single Song in Korea once every 14 – 16 months (“The Boys” in Oct 2011 / “I Got a Boy” in Jan 2013),

          and with their comebacks only lasting for less than a month before they flew off to Japan for their 30++ bread and butter Japan Tour concerts, subsequently Asia Tour.

          And of course, don’t forget about the SONE backlash because of:

          1) the 10 version milking (nobody wants to be treated as cashcows so blatantly, even loyal SONEs)

          2) the song I Got A Boy taking a while to warm up to, and the mixed reception from the Korean public.

          it is amazing that IGAB sold as much as it did (293k in 2013).

          The Boys sold 358k in 2011. I’m waiting to see the sales figures for IGAB in 2015.


          “Girls’ Generation”, SNSD’s first Japanese album, is of relatively high quality and took the Japanese market by storm.

          Doubters were left standing in their wake and SM raked in major cash.

          It is too high a peak to surpass, made worse by ever-present Japan / Korea political relations.

          Christmas Show

          Low ratings? It was a late screening, on cable TV.

          And with SM choosing to focus on making as much as cash as possible with concerts and selective endorsements,

          even hardcore SONEs are silently pissed at the lack of Soshi in Korea.

          Personally, I expected the ratings for Romantic Fantasy to be an absolute dud, but it did okay because literally every Korean knows SNSD.

          And with such bare minimum presence in Korea, SNSD are still ranked in the Gallup and popularity polls

          SM are just resting on their laurels, and as a slightly hardcore stan, I am disappointed.

          You may say that SNSD has hit their peak in 2011 – 2012, but honestly if Soshi were to appear on variety shows more, instead of 50 concerts a year, they will gain so many more international fans and increase in popularity.

          It’s a sad sight when only Jessica (Running Man – April 2013), Sunny (Grandpa over Flowers – Sept 2013) and Yoona (Happy Together – Dec 2013) are the only Soshi variety guests in the last 12 months.

          • a_chan

            First of all, I said that while they have peaked they are still undisputed queens of the industry so calm down. They peaked, it happens to everyone. They’re still in a league of their own.

            Secondly, The Boys had just as much of mixed reaction as IGAB so that’s no defence about the lower sales.

            Thirdly, their nosedive in sales in Japan is because only one girl can speak Japanese. Members have even messed up lyrics on live broadcast before.

          • seventheory

            But no one threatened to boycott album sales and leave the fandom during “The Boys”.

            My tweet list comprised of 20% such nonsense and other similar gibberish during “I Got A Boy”.

            This was when I was following 2000 SNSD-related accounts.

            The fact that Soshi couldn’t even stay up for 4 weeks spoke volumes.

            But guess what, this time round, SM still decided to wait 14 months before releasing a teaser for their new mini-album: Mr Mr.

            Resting on their laurels much? Yes.

            Seohyun could speak Japanese rather frequently after their 1st album (yea, she’s that kind of idol).

            Taeyeon could read a Japanese letter written in Kanji during their 1st Japan tour.


            Tiffany was adorable with her loudness and broken Japanese / Korean,

            Yuri had her epic language skills from the start.

            All Jessica and Yoona had to do was just stand there and
            still draw in legions of fans,

            Sunny aeygo is pretty much universal, even though not the most well-received in Japan,

            Hyoyeon is her forever-blur self, may be somewhat adorable to Japanese fans who bothered to watch their Korean shows.

            and of course Sooyoung.

            Japan does love the girls, just look at the concert attendance over the past 3 years. It’s unfathomable.

            But international politics play a bigger role than one would expect, after the Fishing Island incident, there isn’t any Korean group in the Oricon top 100 chart of 2013.

            A coincidence? Doubtful, the Japanese are patriotic to a certain degree. I can speak frequent Japanese and I was a huge J-pop fan before I was a SONE.

            I know of quite a few Japanese SONEs as well.

            Sorry that you had to take the blunt of my inner frustration.
            I don’t disagree with your observation the SNSD has indeed peaked. :(

            But can you imagine?
            2 Korean comebacks in the last 1000 days.

            There is so much more potential.

            Concerts are indeed profitable. But argh. Okay I’m just rumbling.
            Sorry again.

            I’ll go do something more productive.
            Thanks for your honest observations.

          • screaminpka

            im sorry for intruding but >there isn’t any Korean group in the Oricon top 100 chart of 2013< im aware that this is a girl group discussion but since you said 'any Korean group' i feel like i have to point out some links:


            as u can see, Tohoshinki (TVXQ)'s TIME charted at #10 yearly album charts. and suju's HERO is also there at #49.


            you can also see Tohoshinki at #40, #42 & #47 as well as 2PM at #44 for the yearly singles chart.

            but yeah, sadly no korean girl groups managed to chart in either top 50 charts. hoping for a better luck this year tho

          • oneclearnight

            Their nosedive in sales in Japan is actually mostly due to the fact that hallyu, which was huge in 2011, died a horrible death in 2012. Apart from TVXQ, everyone’s sales have suffered from 2012 onwards. The lack of fluency in Japanese is probably a factor too, but when they hit it big in 2011 no one really cared about that. It’s not the main reason why their sales dropped so drastically; KARA are all supposedly fluent in Japanese, but their sales post 2011 declined even more than SNSD’s. It’s just that the general popularity of kpop artists in Japan declined rapidly in 2012.

    • James Smith III

      i see this year for SISTAR and APINK; Starship is setting up for this summer to be biggest year for Sistar, just look at Hyolyn and Soyu and their solo promotion.

  • Egbutts Egbust

    T-ara is actually back on the rise again.

    Most netizens, while still being a little bit pressed, don’t pay as much attention to the scandal, in fact some netizens were even defending them. Lmao, they’re starting to get angry at Hwayoung, thinking that her company is constantly throwing shade at T-ara, which they are. I mean you don’t have to bring them up EVERY single interview, and sure people are interested, but it’s like they’re leading with it now. It’s quite redic.

  • rita rinadha

    i think Apink is above Girls day, look awards and selling

    • Charles Ng

      Yeah but look variety shows, promotions, CF productions and acting roles. Because awards is pretty much the same for both, and selling is in favour with APink, but at the moment Girl’s Day is bigger

      • rita rinadha

        is gsd already having bonsang? no, apink already 2

        • Charles Ng

          it doesn’t matter, this poll was made at that time, and at that time Girl’s Day just made their comeback, and thus why they were ranked higher. Don’t forget this was based on CURRENT popularity.

  • Karen Louise Echavez

    the problem with SISTAR is that if you take them outside Korea, they won’t sell. That’s why SNSD and 2NE1 are at the top. The market for K-pop in Korea is slowly becoming unsustainable. They need to go out around Asia and the rest of the World to survive. There’s an influx of girl group since 2009, the current market won’t be able to take it 2-3 years from now if they only focus on getting popular locally. This isn’t really about sales, it’s about fanbase.

    • Well if you read the post I said that this is domestic only, not international. If it was international T-ara would be much higher too since they’re popular in Thailand, Japan, China etc. 2NE1 is actually more popular in the West but they’re flops in Japan which is the most important market.

  • sassyfitch

    I like your list overall. Just that I don’t get why people are against Sistar being that high or too high or that tier or shouldn’t be in that tier.

  • AweshumVic AnimalLover

    I definitely agree with SNSD having their own tier. They’re really just this huge wall I can’t imagine anyone getting over. They’re more like a phenomenon.

    The only thing I disagree is with SISTAR. I agree that they’re well-loved by the public, and their songs have been hits, and Hyorin is famous, BUT they just don’t have the fanbase. If I were to compare them, I’d compare them to a ticking bomb, or a “famous group just a step away from downfall”. The public can love SISTAR all they want, but one day, if they hit a relatively bad scandal, who’s going to continue loving them? They barely have any fans to watch their concerts (couldn’t even fill a 3000-seat concert), so they won’t have a backbone or anyone even supporting them/bringing more positive light to the public. By then, they’ll be under the hands of the public, and everyone knows how quickly the public can turn, under bad scandals.

    I think it’s an acknowledged trend that girl groups TEND (not saying all, but tend) to do better than boy groups in digitals, while boy groups TEND to do better in physical than girl groups (for obvious reasons: love from public vs love from fangirls). If SISTAR continues like this, even if they get hits, if they have no fanbase, they’re going to face a downfall sooner or later. It’s a case of if a group doesn’t have the fanbase to support, then the higher you go, the harder you’ll fall.

    • NiiaChaan

      “This is also primarily based on current popularity.”

      Current popularity wise Sistar is bigger than the groups below them. How they’ll do on the long run is something else.

  • 364Leinad

    HAHAHAHA!!! 2NE1 in front of Girl’s Day, A-Pink and f(x)! HAHAHA! Thanks for that Jacques I really needed that laugh!
    In all seriousness though 2NE1 would be lucky to even brush elbows with a tier 4 group these days.

    • Dillan Brown

      What about now?

  • ❀ Alycia ❀

    Thank you for this realistic list ! ☺

  • satou

    you forgot to put piggy dolls in tier 1!!!

  • UncleFan

    You know what’s amazing about K-pop? Even “Tier 8” is full of great groups…

  • mine

    how in the world is fx so below sistar when fx sells much more albums than sistar and albums bring in more money than digital singles.

    • Because digital sales reflect general public support whereas album sales or mostly just fanbase support and all SM artists sell a lot of albums automatically.

      Also, SISTAR had TWO songs in the top ten of the 2013 yearly chart, whereas f(x) didn’t have ANY in the entire top 100.

      I’m an f (x) fan don’t get me wrong, but they’re not as big as people think. SM needs to manage them better with more comebacks and promo so they’ll be bigger.

      • mine

        album sales indicate popularity as well, just because it’s more fandom orientated doesn’t discredit that, big fandoms means popularity too and as stated album bring in more money than digital songs.

        unless this is a digital only ranking which in that case sistar should be higher than snsd.

  • JustJam

    Poor KARA. The only senior below Top 3…but I’m happy for SISTAR. They are very talented girls. They deserve to be #2. Besides they’ve been more active than f(x) and 2NE1 over the last couple of years.

  • norimix

    Your analogy of SNSD to the Great Wall of China made me lol.. <3

  • James Smith III

    i still love seeing wonder girls there even though they havent released in anything in almost two years

  • Yo momma

    After School in Tier 6? Davichi in Tier 3? T-ara in Tier 5? Is this some sort of joke..?

  • Garima Singh

    Obvioisly ur a sone…..firstly..u reviewed only d 2ne1 which werent well received and hence totally skipped reviewing missing you….u also called dara “d least talented of kpop idols” who r u to say dat when most of d snsds dont do a anything bt sing in d chorus….u habe also dissed ugly in one of ur posts even though its eons ahead when compared to iGAB both in terms of music and lyrics…….

    • shit

      Yeah. I like 2ne1 better. The reasoning for th e ranks was obviously to put SnSd to look exceptional. When it comes to being domestic legend id rather choose BEG. They sung abracadabra btw.

  • uschi tuschi

    You can´t put AFTERSCHOOL on the same thier as DAL SHABET or the others!!!!
    They had some instant Hits like “Because of you” or Bang!” or “Flashback” and
    “First Love” was also very popular and the choreo. was amazing!

  • Fasis DasQe

    มั่วป่าววะ กุเห็น t-ara ผลโหวตนำเป็น ล้าน ไหงไปยู่รั้งท้าย

  • Aayushree Pradhan

    ummm sorry sunny hill should be nowhere in the rankings…. and as for 2ne1 Im sure in a short while they will kick snsd’s ass off because snsd doesnt have a mixture like 2ne1; funny dara, girly bom, all-rounder and a great leader CL and cute minzy… they just need to release more albums and poof! snsd will be gone… im not hating but its a fact

    • erica

      you obliviously haven’t watch any variety/reality shows with snsd. all the girls are funny but the Funniest/all rounded is Kim Hyo-yeon, cute Seohyun, great manger Tiffany, the realest/girly Jessica, great leader Taeyeon, athletic Yuri, cute/great personality Sunny, funny/4 dimension personlaity Sooyoung and 4 dimension personality Yoona. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER SNSD, just like there will never be another MJ.

  • ItsFrancesca

    F(x) will probably rise up as far as where SNSD is now, IF SM will Give them more attention.

  • Doge.nefarious

    Good work but all i care about is Girl’s Day <3. GO GIRLS DAY!

  • Mysgirl Ko

    okay, so am I the only one who thinks that girlsday’s big jump is kinda too much. To think that they didn’t won any MAMA for the expectation and didn’t even swept the charts for their something comeback. Compare it to Apink’s NoNoNo which gave them the next generation award in MAMA and they even kill the charts with consistent no.1 wins with Mr.Chu. They were even complimented for having so many fans with strong fanchants for every performance. Their fandom is bigger compared to Girlday because they have placed second next to gg in fancafe. How come Girlsday is higher than Apink?? Many celebrities have danced to No No No especially exo. It became a craze in Korea during the awarding period even during its promotion times. Please give Apink equal justice

  • Joah

    I don’t get how Kara And T-ara is ranked so low. Their scandals does not affect their quality.

  • Antonio Carollo

    Ladies Code should be a little higher because in 2013 they had over 1 million digital downloads with “Pretty Pretty” “Bad Girl” and “Hate You”. That’s insane for a rookie group.

  • hay

    SISTAR u r the best. I hope they could come to myanmar. I am myanmar. Why the k pop singers do not come to our country?????? Anyway sistar 사랑해 파이팅.

  • dsns

    I might agree with the ranking but not the 2nd and 3rd!!!. How can Davichi be on the same level as 2ne1 and why in the fucking world Sistar is the second? I thought you’ve been with the kpop industry for years? 1.snsd 2.2ne1 that’s it! -_-

  • pinocchiochu

    I guess you have to change the popularity ranking now since 2ne1’s crush slayed digitally so I guess it’s more accurate to say snsd>>>>2ne1>sistar now

    • Physical sales were underwhelming though and now with Park Bom’s scandal who knows what will happen to them

      • pinocchiochu

        but sistar have worse physical sales than 2ne1 like a lot worse since they have a really small fandom.I know you don’t like 2ne1 but it’s obvious that 2ne1 surpassed sistar digitally and sistar barely sell out a concert so it’s still 2ne1>>sistar

        • But SISTAR’s songs do better digitally than 2NE1’s and SISTAR’s solo songs did better than 2NE1’s recent solos as well. You can also be sure that SISTAR’s upcoming single will do better than 2NE1’s singles from this year.

  • KatieeKate

    I agree with Girls Generation but Sistar? They had a hit song but I dont think its enough to put them in that high position. I love their songs but not so much to peak that high. 2ne1 should be at number 2. I agree they had bad songs in the year 2013 but popularity is still there either way. Besides their new album was really good. They got right back on their feet. GG & 2ne1 are the best for me! :>

  • Dillan Brown

    I think you need to reevaluate here, after Mr. Taxi, SNSD never came out with song that was dynamic like Gee or Genie for your Wish. I Got a Boy won something but note it was for Youtube video of the year, not for the song. Though it did sell very well and was the best comeback of the year. I loved their Japanese single about the galaxy or something (I keep forgetting the name) but your not giving 2ne1 any credit at all. They were the monster rookies when they debuted and shot up to stardom with ‘I don’t care’, which was followed with hit after hit after bloody hit. And then the album that knocked everyone’s shoes clean off. SISTAR are nowhere near 2NE1’s level of overall achievements and while their singles weren’t blow away knockouts last year, they are in a league of their own and for you to knock them down and put them in third tear is absolutely ludicrous. I Got a Boy was nothing compared to Gee, which made them the front-liner for everything K-pop, and FIN and DYLM was nothing compared to I don’t care, they both are in different leagues but on the same level of ‘you can’t jump over me’. Explain yourself.

  • DanDan Brojan

    go !!! 2NE1

  • Lara Ariola

    2ne1 should be in first place look 2014 mama 2ne1
    Got high votes of kpop best female group
    and 2ne1 is more popular in america and other countries
    so idont belive that is true even if you look 2ne1s MV they have
    a lot of views than sistar

  • Gemma Aguilar Galang

    snsd is the best

  • Abigail Leon

    I agree that SNSD is on top, my only question is if this is overall or just in one year. Because when it comes to digital sales 2NE1 beats every girl group overall, so I would have put them in second with Sistar. Anyway, great list!

  • Yunbumie

    Its absolutely amazing how much this list has changed in such short time. Reading this almost a year later, EXID and AOA (and arguably Apink) have climbed. This is the age of girl groups and Im glad to be living it :’D