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Hot K-Pop Debuts From Survival Audition Shows in 2023

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Let's take a look at ten hot K-pop debuts in 2023 from survival audition programs ranging from Mnet's globally well-received Boys Planet and Queendom Puzzle to Korea's first-ever virtual idol survival show GIRL'S RE:VERSE!


Following the global success of Girls Planet 999 and its project group Kep1er, Mnet launched the male version of the survival audition show – Boys Planet – after two years. Zhang Hao, Sung Han Bin, Seok Matthew, Ricky, Park Gun Wook, Kim Tae Rae, Kim Gyu Vin, Kim Ji Woong and Han Yu Jin won positions in the nine-member global group ZEROBASEONE. The group's name signifies the journey of nine members to be completed as one. ZEROBASEONE officially took their first step to stardom on July 10 with their first mini-album YOUTH in the SHADE, which set a new record as the first million-selling K-pop debut album on the first day of release.


Getting eliminated on a survival show doesn't mean it's the end of a trainee's idol career. Trainees can return to their agencies for more training, or even join other contestants to form a new group – just like Produce 101's JBJ! Boys Planet's Japanese trainees Anthonny, Hart (Haruto), Yuto and Takuto joined hands with YY Entertainment to debut as TOZ! Aiming to promote in both Korea and Japan, the boys show their dynamic and cheery energy through the five-track mini-album Flare.

TEAM 24:00

Over the years, there have been various "idol rebooting" survival programs for already-debuted K-pop singers, but none of them were as big as this year's PEAK TIME. The JTBC reality competition assembled 24 teams of boy band members, each named after an hour of the day. All the teams kept original group members together, except for TEAM 24:00 which was specially created with select individual participants. Formed by Xeno-T's Byung Joo, B.A.P's Moon Jong Up, B.I.G's Hee Do and ARGON's Gon, TEAM 24:00 reached the final round and took third place on PEAK TIME. Ahead of going on the PEAK TIME concert tour with the Top 6 teams, TEAM 24:00 signed with MA Entertainment for project group promotions, and even gifted fans a self-written single 4:ever to show their gratitude.


Last year, Channel A and ABEMA launched the survival audition program Stars Awakening (also known as Youth Star) in search of young stars of this generation. The Top 7 contestants including Kazuta, Park Hyun, Do Ha, Jun Hyeok, Sung Yun, Han Jun and Hui Won were later joined by Laurence, Robin and Eddie to finally complete the line-up of n.SSign (meaning "net of star sign"). After three pre-debut and special digital singles, the group officially debuted on August 9 with their first album BIRTH OF COSMO and title track Wormhole: New Track.


The final rank of #19 on Boys Planet may not be high enough to make Chinese trainee Wang Zihao a member of ZEROBASEONE, but he's more than ready to embark on solo endeavors as LE'V! After holding Lock your heart, Just do it! fanmeetings with Boys Planet's Hiroto in Japan, Zihao made his debut as solo artist LE'V with his first EP A.I.BAE produced by Lay Zhang. He comes out strong with the Chinese and Korean versions of hip-hop jam A.I.BAE and Exchange ID, both arranged by LDN Noise.

Hi-Fi Un!corn

In December 2022, Korea's SBS channel, Japan's TBS channel and FNC Entertainment worked together to create the survival program The Idol Band: Boy's Battle. Young music talents Kim Hyun Yul (guitarist), Son Ki Yoon (bassist), Um Tae Miin (guitarist and vocalist), Fukushima Shuto (vocalist) and Heo Min (drummer) were finally selected as the members of the new K-band Hi-Fi Un!corn. The promising band debuted with digital singles Over the Rainbow and DoReMiFa-Soul, both crafted by CNBLUE's Jung Yong Hwa who was one of the show's judges.


In January, Kakao Entertainment launched Korea's first-ever virtual idol survival program GIRL'S RE:VERSE, with 30 virtual avatars acted by real-life K-pop idols in the running for a "virtual debut." After two months of voting, the top five finalists – Muneo (voiced by Kwon Eun Bi), Seoritae (voiced by Apink's Ha Young), Keuang (voiced by WJSN's Luda), Rien (voiced by Loona's Hee Jin) and KimSerena (voiced by WJSN's Soo Bin) – were selected as the members of Feverse. The virtual girl group debuted on May 9 with their first digital EP CHO, including the sweet and refreshing title track CHO produced by RBW's Kim Do Hoon and Seo Yong Bae, as well as their renditions of theme song "I Promise," "Time Takes Me To Love" and "Like A Star."


MBC's Fantasy Boys, the sequel to My Teenage Girl (which debuted project girl group CLASS:y), gathered 55 global male trainees to compete for 12 spots in the idol group FANTASY BOYS managed by PocketDol Studio. Now in an 11-member lineup, FANTASY BOYS consists of Kim Gyu Rae, Hong Sung Min, Oh Hyeon Tae, Lee Han Bin, Lin Qi, Kang Min Seo, Etani Hikari, K-SOUL, Kim Woo Seok, Hikaru and Kaedan. Almost four months after the show finale, FANTASY BOYS made their debut with their first mini-album NEW TOMORROW, which expresses excitement for their bright future through three songs.


Here comes another spin-off group from Boys Planet – EVNNE! Keita, Park Han Bin, Lee Jeong Hyeon, Yoo Seung Eon, Ji Yun Seo, Mun Jung Hyun and Park Ji Hoo, who hail from different agencies, came together to debut as EVNNE under Jellyfish Entertainment. Formerly known as BLIT, the group changed their name to EVNNE, meaning the seven members are the "Evening's Newest Etoiles." They just dropped their first EP Target: ME which highlights their wild, edgy vocal and dance performances, as well as songwriting talents.


Queendom, Road to Kingdom, Kingdom, Queendom 2… and this year, Queendom Puzzle! Mnet's reality competition show Queendom Puzzle brought together 26 girl group members and solo artists to compete for seven spots in a global project girl group. H1-KEY's Hwi Seo, woo!ah!'s Nana, Purple Kiss's Yuki, Lovelyz's Kei, WJSN's Yeo Reum, Rocket Punch's Yeon Hee and CLC's Ye Eun eventually came together to become EL7Z UP in mid-August. Different from other survival show project groups, EL7Z UP members are allowed to promote with their original teams at the same time. The supergroup swiftly debuted on September 14 with their first mini-album 7+UP featuring the empowering lead single CHEEKY.

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Published September 27, 2023

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