The EXO-L fandom was upset as SM Entertainment suddenly announced EXO Kai's enlistment through a notice on May 3, 2023. The agency shared that the idol was preparing for the group's comeback scheduled for this year when they were informed about his enlistment. The agency stated that the artist is set to begin his duties next week in light of recent changes in the Military Manpower Administration regulations.
Translated into English as per allkpop, the agency's statement read:
"Kai was preparing for EXO's comeback for this year, but because of a recent change in regulations by the Military Manpower Administration, he's set to enter the army recruit training center on May 11. He'll receive basic military training, and he will then serve as a public service worker"
Fans were heartbroken after the announcement was made.
The EXO comeback would mark the first time since 2019 that all group members would be reunited for an album. Moreover, in his previous interactions with fans, Kai expressed his excitement about the full group comeback.
Fans get emotional as EXO Kai is set to enlist in the military on May 11, 2023
Fans were ecstatic when Suho announced that they will be making a full group comeback this year in a post uploaded to Instagram on January 1, 2023. With six members (Xiumin, D.O., Suho, Chen, Chanyeol, and Baekhyun) completing their military service, only Kai, aka Jong-in, and Sehun were left to enlist.
Fans were especially thrilled to see Baekhyun get discharged last month, as it meant that all the members would soon be under one roof.
EXO leader Suho's Instagram post teasing the comeback this year heightened fans' excitement. However, it was short-lived as SM Entertainment made a surprise announcement about Kai's enlistment date being set for May 11, 2023. With barely a week to go, fans were devastated upon hearing the announcement of the group being separated once again.
The group's last release was in June 2021 with the album titled Don’t Fight the Feeling. The last time EXO was together as a group was in 2019, when Xiumin enlisted for his military duties.
Many fans mentioned that they were tired of waiting for the group's comeback. They also shared how excited the Rover singer was during his recent live stream as he spoke about the comeback. Some even talked about the fact that the group wasn't even together for a long time before the Rover singer's enlistment announcement took the industry by storm.
Moreover, SM Entertainment's choice of words suggested that the military draft was sudden. They shared that the idol was preparing for the album and that the agency will inform fans about the upcoming album after ironing out the details.
EXO is one of the most prominent K-pop groups in history. Having debuted in 2012, the group gave the K-pop industry classic hits such as Growl, Monster, CALL ME BABY, The Eve, Love Shot, and more. Members of the group have also made their own successful individual careers, ranging from entertainers to actors and even solo musicians.
Kai recently made an impressive comeback on March 13, 2023, with this third EP titled Rover. The Rover dance challenge also went viral on the internet.