When EXO was first introduced to the world in 2012, the South Korean-Chinese group had 12 members. But since then, three out of its four Chinese members – namely Luhan, Tao, and Kris – have left. Now, it looks as if the last remaining Chinese member, Lay, might just depart from the group as well.
The seed is planted
After Luhan, Tao, and Kris announced that they would be leaving EXO, a lot of positive attention was given to Lay. Fans applauded him particularly for being the last remaining Chinese member of the group. But amidst the praise, some netizens joked that Lay would eventually leave as well. However, he assured fans that he would not terminate his contract with SM Entertainment, as noted by allkpop.
At the point of their departure, Luhan, Tao, and Kris were in a legal battle against SM Entertainment. The label’s case against the musicians centered on their activities in China, which the company considered illegal violations of their contracts as SME artists.
EXO eventually overcame the relatively massive departure. The group continued to achieve success as a 9-member band.
Theory becomes truth?
But it looks as if Lay might actually be leaving EXO soon. Netizens have been quick to point out that the 25-year-old musician has been absent in several of the group’s activities. Particularly, he was unable to participate in notable parts of EXO’s concert tour due to a “failure in schedule adjustments.” Lay was also absent in the group’s comeback, “Ko Ko Bop,” as well as current promotional appearances for “Power.”
Netizens weigh in on Lay’s future with EXO
Because of his absences, many non-EXO fans have already mistakenly thought that Lay had split with the group.
“I’ve never seen him on music shows,” one netizen wrote. “I thought he had already left.”
Meanwhile, others believe that Lay’s constant nonappearance is foreshadowing his upcoming departure.
“If I were a fan of EXO, I would be supporting them as a group of 8 at this point,” a netizen advised.
Yet there is another group of netizens who believe if Lay had any plans of leaving EXO, that he would have already. After all, he has been busy with his promotions in China. He also recently became just the third artist from SM Entertainment to get a wax figure at Madame Tussauds.
However, other netizens have claimed seeing Lay in Gimpo, South Korea filming a music video. The artist was reportedly seen near the LaVeniche shopping center in a red monochrome outfit with backup singers behind him. With no other EXO members surrounding him, it is a possibility that Lay is preparing to release a solo music video. Then again, it is also possible that he could have been filming his part in a group music video.
Without any form of official word from either SM Entertainment or Lay, it is unclear what the group’s future will be. Whether they continue as an 8 or 9-member group is a question that might remain unanswered for quite some time.