“Girl Group Vocal Ranking” is becoming the hot topic on online community websites. Netizens “storm clicked (numerous clicks)” the post comparing each groups’ vocal skills.

Before and After Debut, Main Vocalist “One Top Generation”

Typically, girl groups are composed of a visual line, entertainment line, dance line, and vocal line. Out of each line the most importantly sought after is of course, the vocal line. The main vocalist sings 20~30% of a song (not depending on member counts) so their position cannot help but to be important. This is the reason the main vocalist adjustment is the most arranged position even right before debut. One official explained, “However great a song may be, it could never receive interest if the vocal does not successfully pull it off. So even if a main vocalist has been decided and practice has begun, the position can be changed if we see other members showing steady vocal skills by having the members compete one another right before debut.”

The main vocalist’s “one top generation” is still continuing even after debut. These members tend to be leaders while still being the visual line and keeping the “center position” and have an evident popularity. Another official shared, “Members who are good at singing have the ability to interpret songs in common. Whether or not they can dance well or not, their expression, eye contact, and the ability to express emotions is excellent. Main vocalists have no choice but to be focused since their singing quantity is more than the other members.”

Vocal Importance Decreases as Time Passes?

During early debut, the main vocalist with a vocal advantage usually receives spotlight on stage. For instance, Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Nine MusesSera are great examples of main vocalists with vocal advantages.

However, once a girl group starts to gain popularity after debut, the main vocalist’s activity begins to decrease as the visual line and/or the entertainment line rapidly rises to attention. The “center position” also changes to a member with higher male fan popularity, “ant (slender) waist,” “doll beauty,” or a visual line member who gains prominent recognition from the public. 

An official explains, “These kinds of situations occur because we have no choice but to build a stronger fandom. In the beginning, the main vocalist has the highest popularity. There are some fans who keep their loyalty and continue to be fans of the main vocailists. However, it is difficult to gain national popularity if only one member receives recognition. That is why we try to have at least two more members obtain the spotlight as well. Once a fandom is tight knit, it does not easily break apart. So once the main vocalist is easily recognized, it is a chance for other members to be known. That is the key for a girl groups to grow and expand in fandom.”

Then What Becomes of the Main Vocalist?

Entertainment companies strategically give chance for each team members to a variety of activities. Visual lines earn public recognition through dramas or movies while entertainment lines appear on variety programs. But main vocalists’ range of activities is not as wide.

Another official states, “Main vocalists tend to have the recognition as ‘the singer’ than the other members. They want to only sing so they sometimes feel burdened to appear on entertainment programs or do not have an interest in other fields at all. We do not want to force them to do something they do not want to do so it can be awkward to suggest other activities.”

That is why main vocalists habitually debut as a radio DJ or a musical actress, a field where they can still be with music. Girl Generations’ Taeyeon and Jessica and KARA’s Park Gyuri are the typical cases. An official shared, “Since the main vocalists have a good sense of expression and vocal skills while still keeping their fandom, they display great progress in the musical field. It is a chance for themselves to prove their musical talents.”