As covered before, Miss Back is a variety and documentary show for former female singers who are hoping at a second chance for one reason or another. It’s hosted by Baek Ji Young, who is an ideal choice as a mentor given what she’s been through in her career. Also serving as mentors are Song Eun Yi and Yoon Il Sang.
STELLAR’s Gayoung, WASSUP’s Nada, After School’s Rania, Nine Muses’ Sera, T-ara’s Soyeon, Crayon Pop’s Soyul, Dal Shabet’s Subin, and The Ark’s Jung Yujin were the eight women selected for the show, which is close to ideal for international girl group stans.
Initially, I was going to do an article on the show once everybody performed, but then I realized it might take a month at the rate they were going and there was a surprising amount of stuff that was going on, so doing it every episode seemed justified.
One easy thing to like about the show from the start is the emphasis on the participant stories more than any type of competition aspect. It’s more like ‘Healing Camp’ than ‘Produce 101’ for most of it. As such, it fosters a sense of camaraderie on the show rather than confrontation that’s something many have desired for a while now out of variety programs.
Small stuff like not using the girl group names and what not sent a message early regarding the focus being personal more than anything else.
The fact that it reunited Gayoung and Soyul, who are close, certainly didn’t hurt.
Sera’s segment started by talking about how the clip from ‘The Nine Muses Of Star Empire’ where she’s hit in the face with rolled up paper followed her for a while and she had broken down having to wear garter belts for their debut stage, which led to her being demoted as leader.
She also talked about having to take out loans for living expenses and how she is being treated for panic disorder and depression. In one segment, she’s shown reacting on her YouTube channel and then breaking down telling herself that “it’s okay”.
The part that’s perhaps most worrying is video of her eating in her sleep but not remembering anything, which is probably connected to the medication she takes.
T-ara member Soyeon related to her story, talking about her own similar experiences and saying that they should be friends.
In the studio, Soyeon related to Sera’s story. She said, “As a woman, you can become emotionally wounded while being in a girl group and working in the entertainment industry. My story is also similar.”
“This is the first time I’ve talked about this,” she continued. “It started when my group received hate due to a misunderstanding. At the time, I was scared of going to the hospital too. I was worried that it might be misunderstood, so I didn’t go and I endured it for a few years. Then it was too difficult.”
Eventually, she opened up to her mother and she received treatment for an anxiety disorder and depression. She was given medication, but she didn’t take it as she worried she wouldn’t be able to recover fully if she only depended on it. Soyeon shared that she’s since gotten better.
“I was worried while watching that because she seemed so isolated,” Soyeon said. “I hope that we all get along well during this program and get better.” She said to Sera, “Let’s be friends, we’re the same age.”
For her performance, she covered “Please” by Lee So Ra. An emotional ballad, I don’t think her talent was ever really doubted, so it’s not a surprise she did well and it was nice to see her be able to showcase it.
Soyul, my previous ult from my previous ult group Crayon Pop, was next up. She talked dabout living in a van and how giving birth didn’t mean she lost her desire to perform, and she felt emptiness like she forgot who she was.
Not to minimize the hardships she’s faced, but comparatively, they seemed mainly about getting her life sidetracked. Assuming that’s true, it was more relieving for me, personally.
Soyul’s performance was more of an upbeat affair, doing “Southbound Train” by Kim Soo Hee. Never knew she wanted to do trot, but with it making a bit of a comeback in pop culture and with her current image, it could suit her well.
The episode ended before Gayoung performed, but there was a lot about her backstory that was worth discussing and I’ll save that for the next post.
Overall, the show seems to hit the right notes with its target demo, which is primarily second-gen fans of dead girl groups (like me). As most of that demo don’t want to see their faves suffer any more and would rather hear their stories and watch them perform, the show definitely succeeds on that level. An added bonus is any friendships that develop from this, which already seems like something that’s underway.
Not sure how much mainstream attention this will garner, but I enjoyed Miss Back’s debut and am definitely looking forward to the coming episodes.