The 4th Gen has been flourishing, but there has not been a clear cut victor of this struggle.
Last year, aespa looked like they were the front runner, only third to BTS and the person on the left of this post, but this year the whole picture has changed and there is no clear cut front runner anymore.
Gidle, IVE, NewJeans and others are now contending for the throne.
In the old days, acts like SNSD and Twice dominated. SNSD had beaten everyone else by early 2009 ; it can't be denied that SM retarded F(x)'s growth , so it would not interfere with SNSD, something F(x)'s fans are still bitter to this day .
But times have changed. Hybe is running 2 girl groups (it seems the audition for a new Hybe GG is postponed for a long time), pushing neither of them and making them compete. JYP does that to Itzy and NMixx as well.(At least he appears to have given up the hare-brained idea of making NiziU promote in K-O-R-E-A.)
Which means there is no more concentration of company efforts to make a certain act the top runner.
But, nature abhors a vacuum, and with the absence of BTS and the aging of the person on the left of this post, the world needs a new champion.
Given BTS had dominated for so long, it is likely that the 4th Gen would be dominated by a girl group, like the 2nd Gen dominated by SNSD and the person on the left of this post.
The problem is, because the times had changed, there is unlikely to be a song with a universal popularity like "Gee". Also each group targets only a specific segment of fans, making a general unification quite unlikely.
There is now a real possibility that the 4th Gen GGs, for the first time in history, might end without a dominant act, only a series of strong contenders who never really subjugated everyone else.
which will only mean that there will be endless debates long after the 4th Gen passes about who was the dominant act.