I always say that I hate these survival competition shows and I always end up getting hooked on them.
My latest obsession is MNET’s show, “Produce 101”. This show aims at creating the nation’s girl-group unit. About 101 trainees from various entertainment companies have been chosen to partake in this show. Only 11 of these girls will make it in the final line-up for the unit.
The “Asian Prince”, Jang Geun Suk” is the host of the show. The girls are being mentored by former After School leader, Kahi, Brown Eyed Girls leader Jea, choreographer Bae Yoon Jung, vocal trainer Kim Sung Eun, and rapper Cheetah.
The show is already five episodes in and I am already hooked. It is a large-scale production. There are over 101 participants and viewers are able to vote for their top 11 favourites each week. Voters purely determine the winners of the show. Even international viewers are able to vote for their favourites.
The concept of the show drew me in. I was excited for the show since they began releasing teasers late last year. Already, there seems to be some well known and favourites among the trainees even before the show began.
There is Dani who was supposed to debut with T-ara many moons ago.
Former 5Dolls member, Chanmi, is also a participant of the show.
Two members of DIA are also on the show.
And let’s not forget, Jeon Somi, my personal favourite from JYP’s Sixteen.
The great marketing by MNET with the various teaser videos and photos, and the popularity of some of the trainees increased the hype for the show even before it started.
In the first episode, the trainees from each company were introduced. There were some big name companies such as Pledis, Cube, Star Empire, MBK and Starship. There were also some companies I have never heard of such as Redline, Tipping, M2 and Astory.
We were also introduced to the eccentric host, Jang Geun Suk and the mentors. The trainees from each company performed in front of the mentors and other participants. The mentors then ranked each trainee based on their performance. The ranks were A, B, C, D and F.
As cruel as I thought this tactic was, it was interesting to watch. There were many great performances. I particularly enjoyed the performances from Cube, Star Empire, Pledis, and Music K.
There were also so mediocre performances from many trainees. Some of the memorable ones came from individual trainees that came from small companies, such as Redline and &August.
Throughout the next few episodes, the girls learnt and performed the theme song of the show, “Pick Me”, and were re-ranked. “Pick Me” is an extremely cutesy, high-pitched and annoying song, but it has been stuck in my head since I heard it. I guess that was the true intention of the song.
The girls also had to group up and perform popular girl-group debut songs in front of a live audience. Those girls who got the lowest votes were eliminated.
Each week, at the end of the episode, the ranking of all the girls are shown as voted by the “nation’s producers” (online voters). Jeon Somi has topped this list over the past few weeks, but Jellyfish’s Kim Sejeong currently holds the top spot.
There are a lot of talented girls on this show. Some of my personal favourites include Jeon Somi (JYP), Cathy (MBK), Chanmi (Duble Kick), Dani (MBK), Shin (Chorokbaem Juna), Juna (Music K), Park Soyeon (Loen), Jeon Soyeon (Cube), Sejeong (Jellyfish), and Yoojung (Fantagio). All these trainees are very talented and stood out among the rest.
What really surprised me that a trainee that lacks a lot also made it onto my favourites. Kim Sohye from Redline Entertainment is training to be an actress. When she initially joined the show, she was not aware that this was a show for a girl group. However, she decided to give the show a try and challenge herself. Her first performance was hilarious to watch. Her singing was off-key and her dancing was nothing special to look at. However, as the show progresses she continues to work hard and has improved.
She reminds me of a Hello Project idol. They join the company with little to no skill and experience. However, they are bursting with potential. They train and practice until they improve. This aspect is what made me fall for Kim Sohye. I am rooting for her!
We are almost halfway through the series. There is still a lot to be shown. I am anxiously waiting to see who will be in the final line-up. The final unit is set to debut under YMC Entertainment in April.