"Crystal ball predictions" LOL! Just saying that brings back memories of the days when we would try to predict just what ole’ JungSoo would say next.
I think Eunhyuk rocked the leadership role. A lot of what the leaders in kpop groups do is hidden from our eyes, with some doing more and some doing less for the group. However, with Teukie, the role has always been pretty clear - hold together a band of unruly teens and passionate young men in their twenties. When they hit their late 20’s, Teukie left the group briefly to fulfill his national duty. Eunhyuk was left with a stabilized group and a large, loyal fan base. This did not mean however, that he had nothing to deal with.
As we all know, shortly after Teuk left there were a couple of scandals, followed by another member entering the army, and of course, that gorgeous example of fandom called Only13. As someone who was not the oldest, Eun Hyuk still gained respect even from the ones who would have ground to disrespect him - HeeChul and Kangin, since they are his seniors, and pretty opinionated ones at that. That there were no major blowups, and that HC and KI publicly supported him, tells me SJ is a group with a strong sense of discipline - they are good at following orders, and they are very aware of their individual roles within the team.
What do I think will happen with Leader transitioning back into the team? Given their discipline, I think it would be fine. The feared ‘two leader’ syndrome that Teukie mentioned - I doubt that will happen. If anything, I think his time away has solidified his leadership. He’s back now to help the team weather the next storm - 4 very important team members off to army at the same time - EH, DH, SM and SW. They can’t keep doing this hiatus thing they did with Teukie, so I am curious how they will cope when these four are away.
What I do wonder about is whether Teukie himself has changed. His army times, as I have always said, is marked by two big difficulties for him. Firstly, separation and isolation. He’s always had his SJ family and his workaholic schedule, and it would have made him vulnerable without that. Then his family tragedy took place and I can see how not having a cushion of work and family might be highly traumatic. Is he a changed man? How can he NOT be? The only question is how much. That remains to be seen. D-1!
Thanks so much for asking the question. I didn’t know I had all these thoughts in me! :P