NCT U is officially confirmed to perform on Mnet‘s M Countdown next week, making them the first SM Entertainment group to grace the show’s stage in over two years.

During every M Countdown episode, Mnet shows fans previews of which groups to expect the following week. This week, one of the scheduled acts was a big surprise: NCT U. The seven-member NCT unit will be performing their pop dance meets hip hop track, “Make a Wish (Birthday Song)”.

While NCT U performing on one of the most popular music shows in South Korea may not seem like a surprise at first, their performance actually marks the first time any SM Entertainment group has attended M Countdown in over two years. The last group from the agency to perform there was SHINee, who had an M Countdown stage for “Our Page” on June 28, 2018.

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For the last few years, fans have suspected that SM Entertainment was boycotting Mnet productions, including both M Countdown and the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). Following the 2017 MAMA ceremony, the only group from the agency to attend was WayV in 2019. WayV is managed by a subsidiary SM Entertainment label, Label V, which might explain the discrepancy.

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| @MnetMAMA/Twitter

Since the theory was never proven, no one was certain what the two companies could be feuding over. But, some of the most common theories are the Mnet may have mistreated SM Entertainment’s artists, or that they may have given preferential treatment to other agencies.

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Lee Soo Man, founder of SM Entertainment | Hankyung DB

And, it wouldn’t be the first time such a feud occurred. SM Entertainment boycotted Mnet in 2009 and 2010 too, with reports claiming the companies had fought over a music distribution deal.

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Heo Min Hoi, CEO of Mnet’s parent company | CJ ENM

Going forward, what does NCT U’s appearance on M Countdown mean for the rest of SM Entertainment’s artists? It seems likely that this performance signals the end of any bad blood between the two companies, which means other groups from the agency could perform on M Countdown in the future.

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This could also mean the return of groups like Red Velvet and EXO to the Mnet Asian Music Awards. The 2020 MAMA ceremony is set to take place online on December 6 this year.