IZ*ONE has postponed its album release in the wake of a vote-rigging scandal involving Mnet’s popular ‘Produce’ reality series in which the girl group formed.
After examining fans’ and viewer’s opinions, the Korean cable channel confirmed that the girl group’s label Off The Record has decided to reschedule their first full-length album, ‘BLOOM*IZ’, and the broadcast of their comeback showcase initially set for November 11.
The viewer-voted K-Pop audition show’s chief producer Ahn Joon-young reportedly confessed to manipulating public voting of the third and fourth seasons of the ‘Produce’ audition series — 2018’s ‘Produce 48’ and 2019’s ‘Produce X 101’ — in exchange for bribes from certain entertainment agencies.
The show’s fans initially filed a complaint against Mnet’s producers and entertainment agencies after spotting differences in votes and have questioned how less popular contestants secured spots in the project boy group X1 in July.
After thorough investigation, police confirmed vote-rigging occurred from the latest season.
Police continue to investigate the show’s previous seasons as well as Mnet’s audition show, ‘Idol School’. They have also raided media and entertainment conglomerate CJ ENM and five K-Pop labels involved in the allegations.
IZ*ONE formed through last year’s ‘Produce 48’ with nine Korean and three Japanese members. This year, temporary group X1 also formed through the fan voting-based audition show.
In light of the controversy, hashtags #StandUpForX1 and #WIZONELOVEIZONE quickly were trending worldwide on Twitter.
Since 2016, the ‘Produce’ franchise has produced some temporary breakout K-Pop acts like now-disbanded Wanna One and I.O.I.