K-pop group NCT have announced their third LP, Universe, is set to drop on December 14 – but not all the fans of the 20-plus member group are thrilled, as Lucas and WinWin appear to be missing in action.
NCT, which incorporates subgroups NCT 127, NCT Dream and WayV, is managed by South Korean company SM Entertainment, and was launched in 2016.
Universe follows two previous all-NCT albums, last year’s NCT 2020 Resonance and 2018’s NCT 2018 Empathy. Unlike Empathy and Resonance, which added new members to the NCT line-up (there were 23 active members by the end of 2020), a promotional image released on November 15 for Universe appears to have subtracted two members from the group, featuring only 21.
Despite NCT’s concept being based on members working together in fluid formations, the absence of Lucas and WinWin in the image has caught many off guard. They took to social media to voice their concern.
Lucas (also known as Wong Yuk-hei) is on hiatus after rumours earlier this year about his romantic life, but the absence of WinWin (Dong Sicheng) has come as a surprise to fans. It is rumoured to be because of his acting work in China.
SM Entertainment has historically pulled members from album promotions for a variety of reasons. Major K-pop groups like Super Junior and Exo have regularly rotated members in and out, with some absences becoming permanent.
NCT’s 2020 group project, now known to be the Universe album, was announced earlier this year, and follows multimillion-selling hit albums from NCT 127 and NCT Dream, as well as WayV’s members focusing on their solo and unit activities.