Missing For A Decade: The Case Of The Idol Who Disappeared After Debuting

Ten years later, the question remains: “What happened to Ori?”

January 2, 2009, was the date Ori, real name Baek Ji Hyun, made her stage debut on KBS‘s Music Bank. It was her first and last performance before disappearing, never to be seen again.

Ori, was also known by her Japanese name Tanaka Sori, which is where her stage name originated, however, a rumor started that her name was due to her being an “ugly duck” or 못생긴 오리 (mot saeng gin ori). She was 14 years old when she debuted with her eponymously named EP that contained three tracks.

She was the only singer signed to her agency Chang’s Entertainment, which was also unknown at the time. Ori’s stage was dubbed, “the worst debut stage in history.

Negative comments about Ori came in hot and fast after her debut performance.

WOW, that was actually awful. Her voice cracked, barely on tune. It was difficult to watch it all. Also what was that random part in the chorus where it sounded like she was just talking, she shoulda just talked the whole song through. At least she’s getting a lot of publicity.

IU was AMAZING, i love her song and i can see a great future for her, hope she gains more recognition

—Netizen

Oh god;

HUMILIATION.

I’m guessing she had connections to perform,

cause really..

—Netizen

Just as with the cruel comments, rumors about her spread quickly that shared the sentiment of her having connections in the industry, whether they were about her being a second-generation chaebol or the daughter of a broadcasting network’s president. As if those rumors weren’t bad enough, a secondary set of rumors emerged about her ugliness being part of an “ugly duckling to beautiful swan” concept.

As rumors continued to swirl about Ori’s potential ugly-to-beautiful transformation, Girl’s Day‘s Minah was dragged into the debacle by netizens who felt that she was secretly Ori after plastic surgery.

Ori’s Promotional Image | Source: Generasia

Girl’s Day’s Minah

Minah was even asked about it during television appearances. It reached a point where Minah’s agency, Dream T Entertainment, felt the need to release a statement confronting the rumors which said:

Minah and Ori are not the same person. Minah has been upset from this kind of rumor for a long time.

It wasn’t just Minah who was affected by the malicious comments and rumors from netizens, but the Wonder GirlsSohee as well! Netizens couldn’t hold back from drawing comparisons in terms of visuals and vocal talents between the two girls, with many saying that Sohee was cuter than Ori but similarly lacked vocal abilities.

Why the hell does her entertainment company let her debut as a solo artist? I mean..WG’s Sohee can’t really sing either. But at least JYP was smart enough to let her debut in a group. Gosh, not speaking of JYP..everyone will smart enough to know that. However, her company is not the only fault at this. I’m going to be completely honest; I don’t feel bad for het at all. I mean, come on. I assume that you know you don’t have the talent for singing? So don’t push you’re so called dream to be a singer.

—Netizen

So Hee isn’t really that cute. The whole Wonder Woman thing got her the cute image because of “omona” or something like that. IMO I think So Hee is really average looking with nothing special.

She actually sing just as well as So Hee I guess. If So Hee can get a away with singing like that then maybe they should put her in a girl group. I’m not trying to diss So Hee but if she were to be a solo artist she’ll be just as bad so putting her in Wonder Girls gave her a very good career.

—Netizen

In nearly ten years since her disastrous debut stage, no one has been able to glean any information about what happened to Ori. YouTube channel Midnight Theories dug up footage found on Dangmin Review in which the host was able to interview a trainee from the sister-company that Ori made her debut with.

The trainee went on to clear rumors of Ori being the daughter of some wealthy businessman or the daughter of a broadcasting president. She also said that Ori had trained one year prior to her debut and she was told that Ori’s singing wasn’t actually that bad, especially how it sounded on Music Bank.

—Midnight Theories

Allegedly, reading the hateful and hurtful comments hurt Ori so profoundly that she felt compelled to not only quit her agency but to leave the entertainment industry altogether.

 

The stress was so extreme that I spent half of my high school days with depression and the resulting gastrointestinal diseases. At that time, I ended my desire for music… I worked at an international airport duty-free shop and was buried in the world.

—Ori

Midnight Theories discovered that Ori is living in Japan with the hopes of becoming a composer. Whatever Ori is doing now, we hope that she’s living her best life, happy and fulfilled.