Fact Check: Did The Melon Music Awards Treat IVE Members Inequally?


On December 2, the 2023 Melon Music Awards took place, honoring K-Pop’s biggest and brightest artists this year.

The event was a memorable one for the fourth-generation representative group, IVE, who won the Album of the Year Daesang for I’ve IVE. Their live performance at the event also received praise.

ive winning album of the year (daesang) at melon music awards!


— ً (@ivepics) December 2, 2023

While overall, it was a happy occasion for the group, one clip during the award show has created some concern among fans regarding MMA‘s treatment of the members.

The particular clip shows Leeseo, the youngest of the group, sitting beside Wonyoung while Yujin walks to the second row and sits down beside her other members. However, a staff member asked Leeseo to move to the back and made Yujin sit in her place.

자리 바꿔앉는것도..🫶#아이브 #IVE #안유진 pic.twitter.com/b2kNTSOLSz

— 댕댕상 (@dangdang030901) December 2, 2023

Though in the clip, none of the idols look bothered by this switch, some suspected that the award show intentionally wanted Yujin and Wonyoung, the “more popular” members of the group, to be seated at the front, which is why they treated Leeseo with a negative bias.

But was it really the case?

It is undeniable that Yujin and Wonyoung enjoy a certain level of popularity that the rest of the IVE members have yet to achieve. But given that both of those idols were a part of IZ*ONE, a massively popular girl group before IVE, it is only normal for them to have a more stable following.

Yujin and Wonyoung during their IZ*ONE days.

And there is also no denying that in cases of certain opportunities, the more popular group members are often treated better than the others. However, in the case of the MMA, the reason the staff asked Leeseo to move back was unrelated to popularity. It was simply because Yujin was supposed to interact with Lee Youngji during her live performance.

Youngji MMA stage performance, I am Lee Youngji and Not Sorry.

abcdefxxx#YOUNGJI_MMA2023 pic.twitter.com/C9VziAiNHg

— (@youngjiarchive) December 2, 2023

While performing SEVENTEEN‘s “Fighting,” Lee Youngji gave a shoutout to Yujin, and the two did a coordinated dance step on stage, adding a spontaneous spark to the performance. Had the staff member not paid attention to the seating arrangement, the audience would have been deprived of such a fun moment.

ive dancing to fighting with lee youngji pic.twitter.com/YqONw3aMdu

— ً (@ivepics) December 2, 2023

Now, with that concern out of the way, fans can celebrate IVE’s grand prize win with complete joy and pride!

 Is this a popularity issue again? 

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