It has been a year since my last “Rookie Watch” post. There have been many notable debuts since then. Many of these groups have made a big impact on me, while some have yet to capture my interest. See what I have to say about some of KPOP’s newest boy and girl groups below!
BLACKPINK is finally in our area! I am starting off with one of the biggest rookie groups of the year. BLACKPINK is the long-awaited 4-member girl group from YG Entertainment. They had a strong debut with “Whistle” and “Boombayah” that captured fans hearts from the beginning. They have a very YG-esque persona about them. Their image is strong, confident, and eccentric. Not to mention both songs consist of hip-hop elements. They do not fit into conventional girl-group”. That is the true YG-style.
It was truly worth the wait. I confess that I was one of those fans that tuned into the debut showcase and had the videos on repeat when they were released. I waited so long for YG Entertainment to debut this group. Now that it has finally happened I was not missing a minute of their debut!
I already love Lisa. Her charisma shines the brightest. I always lean towards the rappers of a group, and Lisa’s dance skills are a bonus!
I really like Rosé. Does anyone else think that she sounds a lot like Park Bom? When I listened to “Whistle” for the first time, I was taken aback. I had to check to make sure that Papa YG didn’t pull a fast one on us and debuted Bom into a new group!
They started off strong and I hope they continue down this road. They are allegedly scheduled for a comeback next month. I cannot wait to see what they bring to the table!
This group was formed through the popular idol survival series, “Produce 101”. The group is housed under YMC Entertainment and with “Dream Girls” earlier this year. The song was not really my cup of tea. It was overly cutesy and the transition from the verses into the chorus did not bode well for me. Not to mention, I found the choreography really cringe-worthy. What really ticked me off about “Dream Girls” that Somi was selected to be the center of the group, yet there was a greater focus on Chaeyeon than any other member of the group.
According to MNET, I.O.I is supposed to promote as a group for one year before disbanding. After April 2017, the group will be no more and all the members will go their separate ways. The original contract also stated that companies are supposed to hand over all management and promotion rights of the girls to YMC Entertainment. Now, here is the point of confusion for me. Sojung and Mina recently debuted with Gugudan under Jellyfish Entertainment. Chaeyeon is currently promoting with DIA under MBK Entertainment, and Yeonjung debuted under Cosmic Girls in Star Ship Entertainment. The remaining members of I.O.I were forced to comeback as a “subunit” for their “Whatta Man” promotions. So what was the point of having the contract and the show if they were not always going to promote as the full I.O.I? I just feel a little ticked about that since they have such a short time together and comebacks take months to prepare for. I feel like I will only see the full line-up at least once or twice. Luckily, the full group is currently teasing for their comeback this month.
“Whatta Man” was a really controversial comeback for them because of the sexy concept, which was unsuccessfully passed off as a “girl crush” theme by the company. The oldest member of this group is twenty-one years old, so there are many underage members in the group. Many people (including me) thought that this concept was a bit too mature for them. However, I really loved the song. It is a catchy cover of SaltnPepa’s original song. It was ten thousand times better than Dream Girls. Somi and Chungah really slayed this comeback, and I was proud of Sohye’s improvements. I am excited to see what concept they come with this time around!
I believe that Gugudan is Jellyfish Entertainment’s first girl group. As I previously mentioned, this group contains I.O.I members Sojung and Mina. Their debut song is “Wonderland”. It follows a fairy tale concept. It is a very cutesy song, which is appropriate for their age. However, the song did not make that much impact on me. I admit that the chorus is really catchy, though.
Sojung and Mina are the only ones I really paid attention to while watching the music video. I guess that is because they were the only familiar faces.
I barely noticed Nayoung, who also participated in “Produce 101”.
While watching the live performances another member, Sally, caught my attention with her unique beauty.
Unfortunately, I do not think that I will be paying any more attention to them in the future.
WJSN Cosmic Girls
This is Star Ship Entertainment’s newest and largest girl group. I.O.I member, Yeonjung, is the latest addition to this group. I know that I listen to large groups like Morning Musume and Super Junior, but there are WAY too many girls in this group to keep track of! There are thirteen of them in total, which was the same size of Morning Musume during the Colorful Era, but that is beside the point. Everyone knows that I have devoted my life to Hello Project, so I am pretty accepting of large groups in H!P. However, in Cosmic Girls’ case, there is no incentive to learn about all the members. The only two members that I am able to recognize are Exy and Yeonjung, and this because they both participated in MNET survival shows. Did all the members really have to debut within one group?
I am also annoyed that they added Yeonjung to the group after the fact. Although I prefer to see her as a soloist, I believe adding her to this large group was a big mistake. If you watched “Produce 101”, you know that she is a heavenly vocalist. Since her debut into the group with “Secret”, so has been pushed as the main vocalist. Many of the other members barely get a line in the song. This is always an issue with such a large group of vocalists. I may not really care about the other members, but I would like to hear their voices at least once in the song.
Focusing more on the group’s debut, they released their first song, “Momomo”, earlier this year. This song is ridiculously addictive. At first, I didn’t like it, but it eventually caught onto me, as most songs do. This group is a collaboration between Star Ship Entertainment and Yuehua Entertainment, so there is a mix of Korean and Chinese members. They released a Chinese version of “Momomo”, which I really like as well.
To me, this group is SM Entertainment’s way of covering their behinds to avoid the whole EXO-catastrophe again. NCT (Neo Culture Technology) is a unique shuffle group where male vocalists are placed into temporary units. Members may leave and return in future units. So far, there have been three units, NCT U, NCT 127, and NCT Dream.
This group blew my MIND more than Super Junior in “Mr. Simple”.
Anyway, their debut song, “The 7th Sense”, was dark, alluring and captivating. The song starts off with low tones then builds up to Taeyong’s deep voice. For once, I actually enjoyed a rap from SM Entertainment. Taeyong and Mark are actually good rappers and surpass the level of SM Entertainment’s rap god. The combination of the steady raps, falsetto ad-libs and low verses made me entranced with the song. The choreography also made me hooked. The sharp chain-reaction and step-wise choreography is a typical theme of SM Entertainment dances, but they worked really well with this song.
Unfortunately, “Without You” was not as memorable as “The 7th Sense”.
If it was not obvious by now, Mark and Taeyong are my favourites of NCT U. I also had a semi-growing interest in Jaehyun as well.
My interest in Ten came after the fact while he participated in “Hit the Stage”.
The name of the second unit is derived from Seoul’s coordinates. This group had a completely different feel than NCT U. While NCT U followed a darker hip-hop theme, NCT 127’s music had a more upbeat dance feel. Their debut song “Fire Truck” also captured my heart from the first play. The beat is addictive and you cannot help but to get up and dance as the chorus plays. The siren sounds integrated into the song rings the dancing bones in my body. The choreography was pretty amazing as well, but the choreography from “The 7th Sense” is still my favourite.
I was really impressed with the music video. It was very symbolic. A lot of people interpreted incorrectly, which caused much controversy. The video had combined the strong choreography while a wordless storyline that had a guardian angel kind of concept. Unfortunately, a lot of fans called out the video stating that it had pedophilia themes. I wonder where the minds of these netizens were when watching the music video?
My favourites for this unit are still Mark and Taeyong, with my interest in Jaehyun still growing. Yuta has also captured my attention as well.
This unit had a more childish and cute concept. This was probably due to the fact that all the members were pretty young. Is it okay to like them when the average age of this group is 15.6 years? While watching the teasers for their debut song, “Chewing Gum”, I didn’t think I would like the song. As most cutesy songs are, the chorus is very repetitive and it eventually got stuck in my head.
The music video really grossed me out with all the used chewing gum all over the place. I know it wasn’t actually chewing gum, but it was still gross. The choreography was not really memorable to me, with the exception of the parts where they used the Hoverboard. Whoever thought of using Hoverboards in the dance is a genius! It is completely innovative and creative! The group recently released a Hoverboard performance video, which you can see below:
Mark has participated in all three units so far, so he has been consistent as being a favourite. Does he even have any time to rest?
Help, I have fallen for this group and I can’t get up!
This group reminds me of B1A4 during their earlier days, which explains why I like them so much. ASTRO debuted under Fantagio Entertainment with “Hide and Seek”.
They later made a comeback with “Breathless”. Their image is pretty much the mirrored image of the “girl crush” concept. It is cute, but not childish and overly annoying. Their songs are mostly upbeat and fun. They are like a younger version of B1A4.
Moonbin caught my attention even before the debut of ASTRO. His sister, Sua, participated in Unpretty Rapstar 2. During one of the last live competitions, the camera panned to him for a few seconds as he stood in the crowd. In those few seconds, his beautiful face enraptured my heart. I instantly fell for him. When I realized he debuted under this group, I was so shocked at his age. He looks so much older than 18 years old! A part of me died on the inside. I am starting to realize that I am getting a bit too old for these new KPOP groups.
Their upbeat summer style captured my interest. I am curious to know if they will pursue any other styles, so I will be keeping a close eye on them.
This is not really a new group, but I realized I have included them in a “Rookie Watch” segment as yet. This group is also a product of a reality survival competition series called “Sixteen”. This show and group were created under JYP Entertainment. As usual, all my favourites did not make the final cut. Some of them were successful otherwise, for example, Somi, who is now the center of I.O.I.
TWICE debuted with “Like Ooh Ahh” last year. The music video had a zombie concept. The song and video were both well received. I really loved the choreography, especially during the chorus with the butt swaying, and during the dance break where Momo was the center.
Their second single, “Cheer Up”, is what really put them on the map. That song blew up so quickly because of its, well, cheerful nature and Sana’s iconic “shy shy shy”. The choreography is also simple and fun to follow. I do not like the song more than “Like Ooh Ahh”, but I often find myself dancing to it every time it comes on.
This group is pretty famous and they come from one of the “Big 3” companies, so I expect a lot more from them in the future. They are currently releasing teasers for their comeback.
My current biases of this group are Jihyo and Jungyeon. I am a strong advocate of the “Give Jungyeon more lines” guild.
I had no idea who these guys were when they starting popping up in forums and posts. Everyone seemed to be going crazy about this group. They debuted under Star Empire Entertainment with “Lollipop”. I watched their music video and I understand the hype for the group. They are similar to ASTRO in style, but they have not fully grasped my attention yet. “Lollipop” is a likeable song. I just have to listen to it a bit more.
This is a group that debuted under T.O.P Media. They are the brother group to Teen Top. In my notes for this post, I wrote that they are the probable replacement for 100%, who has been missing in action for quite some time now. However, their comeback was recently announced so my point became invalid.
I am not too familiar with the members, but I really like their music. On an even more positive note, their music videos do not bore me, so that is a good sign. They debuted with “So Dangerous”, which I really liked. They made several other songs such as “Attention” and “Catch Me”. For some reason, they remind me of Boys Republic. I would not fangirl over them, but I will nod along to their music once in a while.
This male rookie group debuted under WidMay Entertainment. To be honest, I did not care about this group until I heard “Platonic Love”. The song is so ridiculously terrible, but I really love it. I cry with tears every time I hear the chorus. The “platonic love love love” just made me fall for the song. I often annoy my friends just by singing that line over and over.
My interest for the group is because of that one song. It isn’t even their debut song, which I have yet to listen to.
April debuted under DSP Entertainment. I have not really followed their debut. I know that one of the members, Chae Won, was a participant of “The Kara Project”. Somin was also a participant of “Baby Kara”. She was a member of April at debut but she left the group to pursue solo activities. Their main concept seems to be the typical feminine cute concepts that irk me so much, so I have almost no interest in them or their music.
I will admit that Jinsol came up on my radar while watching “Girl Spirit”. She was not one of my favourite contestants on the show, but she was definitely adorable.
This is another popular rookie group. KNK debuted under YNB Entertainment with “Knock”. Their debut was a huge hit, and just like Imfact, KNK was seen all over social media sites and forums. Personally, I did not really like them at their debut. They were just another new boy group trying to make it to the top at that time. “Back Again” was the song that initiated my interest in them. For some reason, that song made me reminiscent of U-KISS, 2PM and Teen Top during their rookie days. I plan to keep a closer eye on them in the future.
This is MBK Entertainment’s latest girl group. I completely missed their debut. I did not know about this group until “Produce 101”. I remember hearing rumours about their debut a few years ago, but I was unaware that this debut actually happened late last year.
I do not have any interest in their music. I listened to their debut songs and comebacks but I was not impressed in any way. Their music is not memorable to me.
The only member that I have an interest in is Ki Hee Hyun. My interest in her started with “Produce 101”. Her rap skills and charisma drew me in. She briefly participated in “Unpretty Rapstar 3” during the “Additional Match” contest to add a surprise contestant to the show. Unfortunately, she was not selected but my respect for her skills has increased.
Chaeyeon is a member of I.O.I. She is very popular in both groups and I cannot understand why. Yes, she is pretty, but her vocal skills do not appeal to me in any way. That is just my opinion.
That is it for this “Rookie Watch” segment! Which rookie group is your favourite?