Earlier this month, Simon took to Twitter to inform his followers that they have weeks to put the new competition together with the hopes of forming the best boy or girl group in the world.“Right now, K-pop, you could argue, is ruling the world,” he added. “Now it’s time for UK-pop.”
Needless to say, the K-pop community is outraged as they called out the Syco boss for trying to cash in the success of acts such as BTS, who is currently considered as the biggest boy band in the world. Over the recent weeks, fans have started to pour out their frustrations on Twitter and Reddit as they dragged the entrepreneur for his actions.
Simon gets a big no from the Reddit K-pop community, who points out that he’s clearly doing this to cash in on K-pop’s fame and that he’s missing “that One Direction paycheck.”
“Simon Cowell’s always made his money off boy bands,” one commenter elaborates. “See Westlife, Five, Il Divo even way before 1D. So this doesn’t really surprise me that he’s off to try to work his formula again and again.”
Another said that Simon’s plan was a lot similar to what older corporations are doing to stay relevant in the game. “[It’s ] sort of like a slow, old corporate behemoth trying to cash in on (or acquire) a trend,” said the Redditor.
“Think Walmart after taking a beating from Amazon over the past 2 decades, starting to replicate Amazon’s eCommerce formula.”
Meanwhile, others are baffled as to why Simon doesn’t just put in the effort to promote his existing groups better.
“Why doesn’t he just focus on giving Pretty much some help? Their output has been consistently strong but it still feels like they’re super underground.”
K-pop fans are also saying that Simon’s whole plan for the new show has xenophobic undertones. One Reddit commenter pointed out that the UK already has many pop artists “with plenty of representation in the Anglosphere.” Meanwhile, though K-pop is steadily gaining climbing up the music charts and streaming services, only one group (BTS) can be called mainstream. The Redditor also mentioned that the UK has been less welcoming to BTS compared to the US.
“Simon’s message seems to imply that K-pop is taking over and appeals to the patriotism of the UK, like he’s saying ‘foreigners are taking over, now it’s time to stop them and find the REAL biggest boy band because they are illegitimate,” said the commenter.
Meanwhile, others are saying that Simon is deliberately baiting K-pop fans to create buzz for the new show.
“They want clout from K-pop fans even if it’s in a negative way,” said one, while another said that Simon’s Twitter video that started it all was a “calculated move to get attention for his show and the upcoming auditions.” Whether it’s K-pop fan baiting or not, it seems as though the strategy seemed to work as Twitter stans talked about the issue nonstop, and it was said that about 25,000 people have already auditioned for the show.
It does remains to be seen whether Simon will be able to create a group that rivals BTS or BlackPink when “X:Factor: The Band” starts on Dec. 9.