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Fly High, X1!: Where Are They Now

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Like it or not, we can't deny that the Produce 101 audition program series has made a lot of unknown or underrated trainees into K-pop superstars. Following I.O.I, Wanna One and IZ*ONE, 2019's Produce X 101 gathered the top 11 finalists from nine companies to form the project group X1, which was originally planned to promote for five years. Debuting on August 27, 2019, X1 hit it big in just three months of active promotion. They sold half a million copies of Bisang: Quantum Leap in their first week, which set a new record for rookies, and they topped multiple charts and won 11 times on Korean music shows.

On January 6, 2020, X1 officially disbanded due to controversies related to the audition program. Now that all the members are pursuing their own paths, let's check out what they're up to!

Kim Yo Han – WEi, Solo Debut, First Drama

Twilight MV

Once a national taekwondo athlete, Produce X 101 winner Kim Yo Han found his way into viewers' hearts with his charms, despite the fact that he had only been a trainee for three months at the time. During his Produce and X1 eras, the athlete-turned-singer polished his abilities in singing, dancing and rapping, but his activities weren't just limited to his identity as an "idol singer." He joined the KBS variety show Battle of Musicians after going solo, and was later cast in the main role of Korea's remake of A Love So Beautiful. Ahead of his group debut, Kim Yo Han released the photobook One day after another and the solo digital single No More, which he co-wrote with Zion.T. In October, he finally debuted as a member of WEi with the group's first mini-album IDENTITY: First Sight and the addictive title track Twilight.

Kim Woo Seok – Solo Debut, Twenty-Twenty

Red Moon MV

After going through dark times in the years before, UP10TION's Kim Woo Seok participated in Produce X 101 hoping to change public perception of him and to show himself to the world. The vocalist not only has the ideal "flower boy" face but is also good at singing and dancing, given that he had already been active for over four year when he joined Produce. His first solo mini-album 1st Desire [GREED] sold more than 80,000 copies in the first week, and he was given the Voice Award at the 4th Soribada Best K-Music Awards. Woo Seok also began his acting career with a leading role in Playlist Studio's teen web-drama Twenty-Twenty, created by the production team of A-TEEN. Recently, he wrote and performed the digital single Memories with his X1 bandmate Eun Sang.

Han Seung Woo – Victon, Solo Debut

Sacrifice MV

Before debuting in X1, Han Seung Woo was already the leader and rapper of boy group Victon, which is under the same label as Apink. Produce X 101 was a rediscovery of Han Seung Woo, as it provided the chance for him to shine with his powerful high notes, leadership qualities and mysteriously chic and sexy vibe that was rarely seen among Produce trainees. After parting ways with X1, he returned to Victon and made group comebacks with the mini-album Continuous and single Mayday. In August, he became the first member of Victon to go solo with Fame, featuring six tracks written by himself.

Song Hyeong Jun & Kang Min Hee – Cravity

Break All The Rules MV

Among the five Starship trainees who took part in Produce X 101, Song Hyeong Jun and Kang Min Hee successfully entered the top 10 to debut as X1. They later joined Cravity, Starship's first boy group in five years, along with seven other members and debuted with the first mini-album Hideout: Remember Who We Are. Cravity's debut was a great success as they were the first newcomer in 2020 to record over 100,000 album sales. From Break All The Rules to Cloud 9, Cravity isn't restricted to just a single concept – they have both charismatic and adorable sides. Apart from getting their first win on The Show with their second EP Hideout: The New Day We Step Into, the boys were presented rookie awards at the 4th Soribada Best K-Music Awards and the Brand of the Year Awards.

Cho Seung Youn – WOODZ Comeback

Love Me Harder MV

UNIQ's Cho Seung Youn first gained recognition on Produce X 101 because of his "beagle idol" presence, and then continuously received love from viewers because of his boundless talents that had been hidden for years. Through the program, Seung Youn flexed his singing, dancing and rapping skills, easily earning him the title of "all-rounder" and fifth-place ranking in the finale. As the UNIQ members are all doing their own things, Seung Youn has been promoting with his solo artist stage name WOODZ after X1's disbandment. WOODZ's first official mini-album Equal mirrors the duality of the singer – the quiet and emotional songwriter behind the scenes, and the fun and energetic idol on stage. Beside writing the catchy title single "Love Me Harder" and other side tracks, he also acted as the main producer and took charge of the album production like concept and visual design. From UNIQ, M.O.L.A, rapper Luizy, WOODZ, X1, to WOODZ again, Seung Youn has come a long way to find success. Now, he is finally able to shine brightly on stage with his own distinctive, stylish music.

Son Dong Pyo – DSP N, Online Fan Meeting

DSP N – "HIT" Dance Cover

While other X1 members have already started on new paths, DSP Media seems yet to have any plans for Son Dong Pyo, who was the center of Produce X 101 theme song X1-MA. Ranked sixth in the finale, Dong Pyo is known for his smooth dancing and frank personality behind his cute baby face. He and other DSP trainees have continued to exhibit their talents through covers of K-pop hits like BTS's I Need You, GOT7's Hard Carry, Seventeen's "Clap" and Stray Kids' Get Cool. Though he hasn't had many chances to meet audiences on stage so far, Dong Pyo often updates fans about himself through vlogs and live streaming, and recently joined his senior labelmates, including April and KARD, as guests on a radio program. More than half a year after X1's disbandment, Dong Pyo finally holds his first online fan meeting The Beginning in early November.

Lee Han Gyul & Nam Do Hyon – H&D, BAE173

Good Night MV

Having gone through IM66, The Unit, Produce X 101 and its ensuing controversies, Han Gyul has not had it easy on the road to stardom. And so it was for Do Hyon, who tasted failure on Under Nineteen at the young age of 14. Shortly after X1's disbandment, the PocketDol Studio (MBK Entertainment) artists made a new start as H&D with the single Toward Tomorrow and mini-album Soulmate. Han Gyul and Do Hyon injected their different styles and personalities into their music, showcasing both the mature and lovable sides of the duo. Five months after Soulmate, they made a sentimental comeback with the special album Umbrella, bringing soft and rhythmical R&B songs that reveal deeper emotions. Now, Han Gyul and Do Hyon are ready to officially debut together for the third time in the new nine-member group BAE173, whose name is derived from "Before Anyone Else," the perfect number "1" and lucky number "73."

Cha Jun Ho – DRIPPIN

Nostalgia MV

Last year, Woollim Entertainment sent six trainees to Produce X 101, and Cha Jun Ho was the only one who made it to the debut lineup. As calm and quiet as he looks, Jun Ho has a goofy personality and is known for speaking "goblin language" sometimes. After X1, Jun Ho returned to Woollim to prepare for a group debut with other Woollim Rookies, and teased fans with his cover of One More Chance's "I Think You." Along with other Produce X 101 contestants and a new member, Jun Ho has begun a new voyage as DRIPPIN's center and sub-vocalist. After revealing their pre-debut journey through the reality show We Are Drippin, the boys officially made their debut in late October with their first mini-album Boyager and lead single Nostalgia.

Lee Eun Sang – Solo Debut, Collab with Woo Seok

Beautiful Scar MV

As the one and only "X" finalist who got into X1 because of his high accumulated votes, Brand New Music's Lee Eun Sang was one of the most popular trainees and rarely ranked outside of the top 10 during the show. Eun Sang may not be the type of power vocalist who hits high notes effortlessly, but he has a soft and recognizable vocal color that sounds perfect for R&B and ballads. During X1 promotions, Eun Sang's acoustic cover of Anne-Marie's 2002 went viral and even got noticed by the original singer. A year after X1's debut, Eun Sang officially went solo with his first single Beautiful Scar featuring AB6IX's Woo Jin. He also collaborated with Woo Seok for the ballad Memories, warming ONEIT's hearts with their heartfelt self-written lyrics. Recently, Eun Sang featured in Go Get Her with his labelmates in BDC, who performed the song with him on their Produce X 101 audition stage.

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Published October 28, 2020

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