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Kingdom: Battle of the K-Pop Boy Bands

Written by Violet Tell a Friend

A year after the competition program Road to Kingdom, Mnet is back with its sequel, Kingdom: Legendary War, bringing together six of the hottest K-pop boy groups to compete for the crown. Among the six teams, who will win the title of the new K-pop king of this generation?

Before Kingdom premieres on April 1, let's have a quick introduction to the six groups – BTOB, iKON, SF9, The Boyz, Stray Kids and ATEEZ!

BTOB – "Born to Beat!"

Missing You MV

Dreamers don't die – and that explains why BTOB is taking part in Kingdom, despite being a more well-known and senior name among the contenders. BTOB's music journey began in 2012 with Insane. Though they had hits like "The Second Confession" and "Beep Beep," the group didn't achieve wide mainstream appeal in Korea until the healing ballad "It's Okay" in 2015. Since then, they've been recognized as talented singers and songwriters known for strong live vocals – not to mention their "beagle idol" characters! BTOB delivers a hit every time they release an album. You can easily name their bops over the past years, like "Missing You," "Only One For Me," "Beautiful Pain" and Movie – all of which have solidified their position in the K-pop world. With some members currently serving in the military, Eun Kwang, Min Hyuk, Chang Sub and Peniel recently promoted as the subunit BTOB 4U with the album Inside, and they now join Kingdom as BTOB. Prepare to be dazzled by their detailed vocal skills and harmonization!

iKON – "Get Ready? Show Time!"

Love Scenario MV

iKON is coming to town! When it comes to Korea's digital charts, very few boy groups have charted as well as iKON in the past five years. Following their participation in the survival programs WIN and MIX & MATCH, the members of iKON took their first step to stardom in 2015 with the hits "My Type," Rhythm Ta and "Apology" from their debut album Welcome Back. Dubbed "monster rookies," they garnered rookie awards from all year-end ceremonies, and made a successful debut in Japan. In 2018, the group swept music charts and won Song of the Year at various award ceremonies with the mega pop hit Love Scenario from their second full-length album Return. After member and producer B.I's departure in 2019, iKON continued to promote as a six-member group with their third mini-album i DECIDE and title track "Dive." Jin Hwan, Yun Hyeong, Bobby, Dong Hyuk, Ju-ne and Chan Woo now determinedly aspire to reach the top again on Kingdom with their distinctive music and laid-back performances.

SF9 – "To Be Sensation!"

Good Guy MV

Ready to have nine Good Guys dive into your heart? SF9, the winning team of Mnet and FNC's debut survival show D.O.B, officially kicked off group promotions in late 2016 with the powerful trap hip-hop plug Fanfare and K.O. Before finding their signature "men in suits" style, the group went through different concepts to go with different music genres: they became the Knights of the Sun for the Latin-pop O Sole Mio, they were dynamic teens longing for love in the refreshing Mamma Mia, they grew up into "sensuous sexy" fellas in dreamy progressive pop tracks "Now or Never" and "Enough," and finally, they suited up as nine gentlemen for the Brit-style Good Guy from their first full-length album First Collection. Along with Chani and Ro Woon's rising popularity in K-Dramas, SF9 began to gain greater notice in 2019. Last year, they won their first music show award for Good Guy, and followed with the seasonal jam "Summer Breeze." Look out for SF9's upgraded stages on Kingdom!

The Boyz – "Best We the BOYZ!"

The Stealer MV

Welcome to The Boyz's Kingdom! After triumphing on Road to Kingdom, The Boyz now chases after the final crown on Kingdom. The bright and youthful boys of Bloom Bloom and D.D.D have grown up and started to pursue a more mature concept since their first full-length album released early last year. Their breakthrough definitely came in the Road to Kingdom era. From their first "Sword of Victory" introduction stage, The Boyz kept surprising audiences with creative concepts – the spy and thief concept in their cover of Tae Min's Danger, the medieval-themed Reveal, their ethereal take on VIXX's "Shangri-La" and the chess-themed final song Checkmate – along with grand props, stunts and acrobatics that require a lot of effort and teamwork from all 11 members. Crowned champion on Road to Kingdom, they've gained a bigger fandom and broken several personal records with their latest mini-album Chase. It'll be exciting to see what they surprise us with on Kingdom!

Stray Kids – "Step Out!"

God's Menu MV

Stray Kids attack the palate with the rich and spicy flavors of their "mala taste" music! Debuting through the survival reality program Stray Kids, the JYP boy group is well-known for being "self-producing idols." They first showcased their work with the digital single Hellevator in 2017. In just three short years, Stray Kids have already released nine Korean albums, all of which sold over 100,000 copies. The group's tracks are mainly created by their song-producing subunit 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Chang Bin, HAN). The rest of the members are divided into VocalRACHA and DanceRACHA units according to their positions. Though well-received by international fans since debut, Stray Kids lagged behind in local recognition in comparison. From 2020 onwards, the group has been gaining more mainstream attention with their one-of-a-kind "mala taste" genre of music. From God's Menu to Back Door, the fresh and fiery hip-hop sounds of their first full-length album GO Live and repackage album IN Life left strong impressions with their memorable melodies and memeable choreographies. As Bang Chan chanted on Stray Kids' MAMA stage, just listen to their Victory Song and prepare for glory!

ATEEZ – "8 Makes 1 Team!"

Inception MV

8 not only makes 1 team, but also 1 king. After going on a long journey in search of treasure, the eight Pirate Kings of ATEEZ now change directions and battle for the throne on Kingdom. Prior to debut, the ATEEZ members made appearances on MIXNINE and released choreography videos and web series as KQ Fellaz. This attracted the group a fairly sizable global fandom even before their official debut in late 2018 with TREASURE EP.1: All To Zero. Working with music producer EDEN since their first music release, ATEEZ has successfully created a signature style of hip-hop EDM through seven Korean albums in less than three years. Say My Name, Wave, Illusion, Wonderland and Answer are some of the notable tracks from their TREASURE music series, but ZERO: FEVER Part.1 was the album that led them to a stronger fanbase, both locally and internationally. The fierce, catchy beats and the powerful dancing and stage presence of each member, as well as their striking fashion and makeup, made their performances so enthralling to watch! Though they've had the shortest promotion time among the Kingdom groups, ATEEZ showed that they were up to the challenge on their MAMA stage – they'll show the world what they've got and why they're already the kings.

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Published March 25, 2021

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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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