Kara Member Nicole Leaving in 2014, Another Possibly Following

Kara's Nicole

Member Jiyoung is also contemplating leaving the popular K-pop girl group once her contract expires.

Next year, longtime K-pop group Kara will look a little bit different. DSP Media, the quintet's label, revealed that 21-year-old member Nicole, a Los Angeles native, decided not to renew her contract when it expires in January.

The company announced that members Gyuri, Seungyeon and Hara had all renewed their contracts while six-year member Nicole had not. 

DSP Media added that fellow member Jiyoung is contemplating leaving the group to focus on her education, but she will not have to make that decision for a few months as her contract expires in April.

The agency promised that the Kara brand will continue even if members leave, sure to the delight fans in both Korea and Japan: The girls have logged four Top 10 singles on the K-Pop Hot 100 since the chart's introduction in 2011; Kara has also snagged nine Top 10 singles on the Japan Hot 100, including two No. 1s.

This is not the first time Kara has seen their lineup change. In early 2008, Kara was a quintet with members Nicole, Gyuri, Seungyeon and Sunghee. Citing parental pressure, Sunghee left the group and, after holding auditions, DSP Media added two new members with Jiyoung and Hara. 

Kara recently released a new album "Full Bloom," with two hit singles "Runaway" (No. 5 on the K-Pop Hot 100) and "Damaged Lady" (No. 9). The LP will likely be their last Korean full-length as a quintet, but no official release plans for Kara or Nicole have been announced.

Look back on happier times for Kara with the cheery, upbeat "Step" single (one of their best) from 2011 below: