When it comes to becoming a K-pop idol, there is a hell of a lot of things that the aspirants have to go through. From going through a hard training process, hours of tiring dance routines to adapting to the K-pop idol life, they indeed have to dedicate their lives to their dream amidst all the competition and high standards. One of the trendiest and interesting ways of forming K-pop groups is through survival shows that give a pool of contestants a platform to compete against one another and prove their worth. Moreover, the survival shows help in kick-starting the careers of the formed K-pop groups, which provides them with more exposure and support from the public.
In case you are unaware, these K-pop survival shows have given us some of the most successful and talented boy and girl groups of all time. We have brought to you a list of the most popular K-pop groups formed on survival shows which you must know about if you are a true K-pop stan!
The team members were first introduced to each other at the Mnet survival show named ‘Pentagon Maker’ and debuted as a group in 2016 under Cube Entertainment as the third boy group of the agency after Beast and BtoB. Consisting of a total of ten members— Jinho, Hui, Yuto, Hongseok, Yeo One, Shinwon, Yan An, Kino Wooseok, including the former member, E’Dawn, the group has presented two studio albums and sixteen extended plays since 2016. Although it took them some time to achieve success, after going through a number of ups and downs, they finally did it and continued to create self-produced K-pop music that most of the other contemporaries are scared to do.
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8. Wanna One
Wanna One was formed on the second season of the Produce 101 series and made its debut in 2017 under YMC Entertainment. The show began with a total of 101 participants coming from various agencies, and eventually, all of them except for the top eleven were retained, voted by the audience. Kang Daniel, Park Ji-hoon, Lee Dae-hwi, Ong Seong-wu, Kim Jae-hwan, Park Woo-jin, Lai Kuan-lin, Bae Jin-young, Yoon Ji-sung, Hwang Min-hyun, and Ha Sung-woon ended up being the top eleven trainees and entered the industry with their debut EP, ‘1X1=1(To Be One)’.
Unfortunately, the group disbanded at the peak of their career, and the group members either ended up focusing on their acting career or joined another K-pop group. Nevertheless, almost all of them reunited last year in December to perform at the 2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards as a group.
Formed in 2015, iKON not only had to go through one but two survival reality shows in order to finally debut as a group. The first one was a Mnet program called ‘WIN: Who Is Next’ as the second team in 2013 but unfortunately lost to the first team. They got a second opportunity with the follow-up of ‘WIN: Who Is Next’ titled ‘Mix & Match’ where their hard work paid off, and the final lineup of the new boy group was decided. Yunhyeong, Jinhwan, Bobby, Ju-ne, B.I and Donghyu, along with the addition of Chanwoo, formed the band.
However, despite the departure of team leader B.I, the group is still strong as a six-member band. To date, they have released a total of three extended plays and three studio albums, two in Korean and one in Japanese.
The team of boys on the Mnet’s reality survival show ‘WIN: Who Is Next’ who won against iKON is no other than ‘Winner’, who debuted under YG Entertainment. The members competed for a period of hundred years and went through three rounds of performances, ranked for each one of them through voting. Consisting of five members in all at the time of debuting— Jinwoo, Seunghoon, Taehyun, Mino, and Seungyoon, the main vocalist Taehyun left the group in 2019. The boys entered the music industry with a great start, with their first album named ‘2014 S/S’ topping the domestic charts.
Despite being rookies, the members took part in the production, designing, choreography, and marketing of the group. No wonder they were dubbed as the ‘Monster rookies’. Over the course of nine years, they have come up with four studio albums and three extended plays.
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Known for being the self-producing idol group, ‘Seventeen’ is formed through the reality program ‘Seventeen Project: Debut Big Plan’ in 2015. Composed of thirteen members— S.Coups, Jeonghan, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Joshua, Jun, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, Vernon, The8, Seungkwan, and Dino, categorized into three sections— Hip-Hop, Vocal and Performance, the group members are directly involved in making their music starting with the songwriting to the choreographing. Since their debut, the group has come up with three studio albums and twelve EPs and are termed as ‘K-pop Performance Powerhouse’ both domestically and internationally.
4. Stray Kids
The soul of fourth-generation K-pop music, the boy group Stray Kids, is formed through the survival reality show of the same title as the group name, under JYP Entertainment. In one way, it can be considered as a sequel to the 2015 survival program ‘Sixteen,’ but instead of female participants, it focuses on male trainees who are asked to survive on the show as a group rather than individuals. The team had to prepare and work on their own performance on their own starting from the choreography, vocals, and rap. It currently consists of eight members— Bang Chan, Lee Know, Han, Felix, Changbin, Hyunjin, Seungmin, and I.N, excluding Woojin, who had decided to leave the band in 2019. With eight extended plays, two studio albums, and twenty singles, Stray Kids has earned eleven music show award wins to date.
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Formed on the survival reality program, ‘Produce 48’ on Mnet in 2018, IZ*ONE is one of the most successful K-pop girl groups. Among a total of ninety-six participants, twelve talented finalists were selected. The show followed the format of grouping the participants into teams who were ranked based on their performances by the studio audience. At the end of the show, Jang Won-young, Jo Yu-ri, Kim Min-ju, Choi Ye-na, Sakura Miyawaki, An Yu-jin, Nako Yabuki, Kang Hye-won, Hitomi Honda, Kwon Eun-bi, Kim Chae-won, and Lee Chae-yeon were chosen to be the winners of the show.
Not only are they popular in South Korea, but have a bigger fanbase in Japan since Produce 48 itself was a joint collaboration between a South Korean and Japanese company. Not to mention, three of the members of the group are Japanese! Despite the huge success, they have disbanded after giving us two studio albums and seven extended plays.
2. MONSTA X
Known for its aggressive music style, formed by blending elements of pop, hip hop, and EDM, MONSTA X is a boy group formed through the K-pop reality survival show titled ‘No. Mercy’. The program involved thirteen contestants through the course of ten episodes who competed against each other to be selected under the top seven list. After debuting under Starship Entertainment as a seven-piece band composed of— Shownu, Hyungwon, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Joohoney, and I.M, the boys released four Korean, three Japanese, and three English language studio albums in all. One of the members of the band, Wonho, departed in 2019 owing to some legal allegations, but the band kept going with the rest of the members.
And here comes the most popular K-pop group formed on Mnet! Formed through the survival reality program ‘Sixteen,’ which involves sixteen trainees as participants, out of which only seven were to be selected. Not only did the program aim at testing the singing and dancing abilities of the contestants but also their capability to be able to handle the tough life of a K-pop idol. Apart from the seven trainees— Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, and Chaeyoung, at the end of the show, two originally eliminated members, Momo and Tzuyu, were added back to the group, making it a nine-member girl group, ‘Twice‘.
The group debuted in October 2015 under JYP Entertainment with the EP, ‘The Story Begins’. After that, it didn’t take them long to win the hearts of the public in South Korea and Japan. Over the years, ‘Twice’ has not only been one of the best-seller artists and record-breakers but also has been a recipient of numerous awards.
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