Why is K-pop sports day ISAC canceled? MBC replaces it with survival show ‘Wild Idol’

2021 Chuseok's ISAC was canceled because of the pandemic, MBC will instead focus on their latest survival show

Why is K-pop sports day ISAC canceled? MBC replaces it with survival show ‘Wild Idol’
ISAC is canceled this year (imbc.com)

Idol Star Athletics Championships aka ISAC can be considered the sports day of K-pop with most idols taking part in several sports events. Launched in 2010 by MBC, the K-pop Olympics has seen a rise of participants with 202 idols competing in 2020. Since 2011, it has been held twice during the South Korean holidays of Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) and Lunar New Year. But due to the pandemic, there has been a hitch in the sporting event since last year and has been canceled this year.

Since Covid-19 hit South Korea in March 2020, the Lunar New Year ISAC scheduled for January 2020 took place. But for the Chuseok version usually held at the end of the year, it was modified. MBC decided to hold dog agility events without any audience and esports competitions. They faced much wrath from netizens who stated that it wasn’t worth risking the idols’ health. But now it seems that MBC has taken into consideration the risk factors and decided to replace the 2021 version with their new survival show ‘Wild Idol’.

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Idol participants at ISAC 2018 (imbc.com)

2021 Chuseok ISAC canceled

The 2021 Lunar New Year’s ISAC was replaced with a special recap of previous highlights and ‘Hall of Fame’ episodes. MBC was planning on resuming the usual ISAC events as the pandemic was being managed fairly well by South Korean authorities. But a months ago in July and August, there was a sudden outbreak and several idols continue to get infected with Covid-19. In fact, Enhypen was one of the latest groups to be tested positive and hence had to cancel their appearance for KCON:TACT HI 5.

So, on September 15, MBC released a statement that due to the pandemic they will be completely canceling 2021 Chuseok’s ISAC. A large number of people are needed to organize that massive sports day. Additionally, the idols invited would be coming from different schedules and could have come in contact with a positive patient that could lead to an outbreak among a majority of the idol participants. Instead, MBC has disclosed that they will be focusing on ‘Wild Idol’.


The new idol reality show involves people competing in the wild (@mbc_wildidol/Instagram)

‘Wild Idol’ replaces ISAC

‘Extreme Debut: Wild Idol’ is MBC’s latest survival show where the participants will literally have to survive in the wild and showcase their musical skills. The winners will then debut in a new K-pop boy group. The show has been in preparation for the last few months and the people involved are living and traveling together to the filming site which makes it easier for MBC to maintain safety and follow the Covid-19 protocols. Additionally, instead of ISAC, MBC will broadcast Chuseok specials like ‘Family Register Mate’ and ‘The Masked Talent’ which is a spin-off of ‘King of Mask Singer’.


ISAC for Lunar New Year

There are reports that ISAC that is also held in the Lunar New Year will be canceled in 2022. This is because there has been a sudden outbreak of Covid-19 with several idols also testing positive. Seoul has once again implemented strict social distancing. But on December 21, an article cropped up with rumors of the K-pop groups that will be attending ISAC 2022's Lunar New Year special. While the lineup is quite star-studded it is not yet confirmed by MBC. Many think it is fake since it also includes names of disbanded and inactive groups like 4Minute, Wonder Girls, Boyfriend and B.A.P.


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