Kpop Idol Survival Programs

It takes blood, sweat and tears (hehe) to be put into a kpop group, and we can see all that hard work manifest in the final product. But what about before debut?

Some companies announce upcoming groups and member line-ups, and some announce this through survival programs. And I find this really interesting. The audience is given a glimpse into the process of choosing the members of the group, and even vote for who they think deserves to debut.

I wouldn’t exactly be spoiling the series as the final member line-up of each group is already determined and they have debuted already. Here’s a list of idol groups that debuted from survival programs:

VIXX – MyDol

Unless you’re a Starlight (or just someone interested in survival programs), then you probably haven’t heard of this show. It was not as popular as other survival programs (I think, I don’t really know…) but it had definitely produced one of the most fascinating kpop boybands today, VIXX.

Winner – Who Is Next? (WIN)

I knew about WIN because I had started to like iKON and already watched Mix&Match. It was from my interest in iKON that I read about WIN and I even watched Team B’s performances.

So, yeah, WIN produced the group now known as WINNER. Creative, right? Team A was actually the underdog in the competition, but completely turned the tables and became the chosen team to debut.

iKON – Mix&Match

After W.I.N, Team B had undergone another survival program. Mix&Match began with three original members in the final line-up. B.I, Bobby and Jinhwan were fixed members, meaning they were sure to debut with iKON. The rest were in danger of elimination, though not by much. OT6 had pretty strong supporters, so really the competition was mostly between the three new contestants.

Monsta X – No.Mercy

As the title suggests, this survival program has no mercy as members were ranked and called not by name but by their numbers. Not only that, but they decided to add in a new contestant after (I think) 3 eliminations have been done. [I love I.M and all, but it was unfair to the other contestants.] (Addition of a new contestant also happened in Mix&Match, but they didn’t eliminate anyone throughout the show.)

So far, some of the eliminated trainees have now debuted. Yoonho joined VAV and Minkyun debuted with ONF. #GUN is a solo rapper (?? correct me if I’m wrong). [[pls support them too T-T]]

Twice – Sixteen

One of the most popular girl groups today, Twice, was formed from this show. Somi, who also participated in Produce 101 and joined IOI, was also a contestant on this show.

IOI  and Wanna One – Produce101

It’s probably one of the most popular survival shows in kpop history. With an initial number of 101 female trainees coming from various agencies, Produce101 was definitely something to be interested.

Season 2 of Produce 101, often called ‘Bro-duce’ (I’m not really sure, though. I call it bro-duce.) consisted of an all male cast. I haven’t watched it but from the few performances I’ve watched I can guarantee these boys are very talented.


In my opinion, it was a rather disappointing male version of Produce101. While it was great that the boys did not have to be trainees to join, it lacked so much in the performance aspect compared to its female counterpart.

Yes, the boys are talented. Yes, they are good looking. But as the male version of Produce101? They should have just stuck to the same concept.

I’m aware that they had to change up some aspects because of problems encountered on Produce101. There was the whole mess about debuted girl group members being temporarily pulled out of their group because they auditioned or already signed the contract with Mnet before they debuted, I think, and then there was a perceived favoritism towards the more popular agencies (which is justifiable as these agencies have debuted talented groups).

I don’t keep up with the boys of Boys24, but so I can’t really say much. I think they’ve officially debuted. Not sure, though.

SF9 – Dance or Band (D.O.B)

I was actually unaware of SF9 being from a survival program. When the teasers for Neoz School came out, I thought it was something like SeventeenTV where the members of the group was already set for debut. Of course, Seventeen didn’t debut all seventeen of the boys from there as some of them left (not eliminated) but that was what I thought the concept was. My thoughts were that it would be similar to the SM Rookies, too. They were trainees waiting for debut.

Apparently, I was wrong. I’m not an FNC Ent. stan, or any company stan, so I only knew SF9 as they were. As I was going through Google, I read about Dance or Band.

What I found interesting here was that it was similar to WIN, in that there are two already fixed groups and these two groups were put against each other for a chance to debut. However, it was odd that they decided that one group is a four-member band and the other a nine-member dance group (hence the title). They are two different types of groups so the concept is pretty interesting.

Pentagon – Pentagon Maker

I’m not sure if this should be considered a survival show, but it did have the elements to be one. (Some members were also in danger of being ‘eliminated’, too.) All ten members made it, obviously, but I do recommend watching it to get to know the members. There are some really great performances, too.

Stray Kids

Another JYP survival show, this time for male trainees. I haven’t watched this yet (just the performance clips of the YG vs JYP episode), but I have heard their song Hellevator. From what I’ve read about the show, it is similar to Pentagon Maker.


Similar to Produce101, this YG Entertainment show gives trainees from other companies a chance to debut in a group formed by YG. Although, there are also debuted idols who have joined the program.

The Unit: Idol Rebooting Program

This was meant to be a program to give “failed” idols a chance to rise, hence being called an idol rebooting show. I haven’t watched it yet, save a few performances, but someone told me there are also trainees who had not debuted yet. (A mix-up wit MixNine?)


((updated: 2017/12/16))


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s