K-Pop fans have long accused agencies of picking “favorites” in their groups and promoting those members to an unfair advantage. But is it really true? Second generation star Crayon Pop‘s Way revealed the truth in a new WayLand YouTube video.

The theory that companies intentionally promote one idol more than others has long been debated. When one groupmate seems to get more screen time, more lines, and more individual opportunities than the rest, it’s hard not to believe their company is playing favorites.

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Many believe BLACKPINK’s Jennie is “YG’s favorite” because of her solo activities. | SBS

According to Crayon Pop’s Way, it’s not just a theory—it’s the truth. The second generation K-Pop star revealed that in most cases, agencies actually choose which member they’ll promote most before the group even debuts.

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| WayLand/YouTube

But why? Wouldn’t it be more effective for the agency to give every member equal support and opportunity? Way explained that that’s not necessarily the case. Instead, every group needs “a member who catches attention” if they want to succeed.

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Former Miss A’s Suzy was often called “JYP’s favorite” before leaving the company. | Dior

Naturally, said member will then receive more “support and focus” from the company in order to propel them to stardom. In turn, agencies hope the “favorite” member’s popularity will trickle down to increase sales and streams from the whole group.

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| WayLand/YouTube

Way went on to admit that underpromoted group members often see agency favoritism as unfair. She explained that it’s difficult for a K-Pop company to fully understand the potential of every trainee over the course of just a few years. As a result, many idols feel stressed and misunderstood when their companies decide who will be promoted in each field.

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Some think Red Velvet’s Joy is “SM’s favorite” because of her photoshoots and acting roles. | Female

And once groups debut and members find their own places in the industry, some can start to feel resentment towards groupmates with more promotion. For example, if Member A was selected as the group’s TV star before debut, but Member B becomes better at variety shows, it’s only natural that Member B will wonder why the company doesn’t push them too.

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| WayLand/YouTube

Of course, agencies’ promotional plans don’t always work out exactly as intended. Way says that nowadays, even if a company pushes one member more than the others, there are still cases where another member becomes the most popular on their own. However, this won’t necessarily lead an agency to change course; some will continue to push the intended member no matter how popular the rest become.