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2022-10-05
K-pop Groups Formed Through Mnet's Survival Shows

In the Korean pop music industry, ‘survival shows’ are (usually single-season) reality talent shows in which the winning contestants form a new K-pop group. For the past few years, more and more survival shows have been aired to introduce fresh new faces to the market. Record labels use these shows to test the waters and see if an upcoming group is marketable or if a certain trainee is worth investing in. Survival shows have also created quite a following, with audiences directly involved in forming a new group. Despite the harsh competitive environment, there is still an abundance of aspiring idols who take part, seeing the show as a ticket to their eventual debut or at least a platform for self-promotion. 


One of the biggest music channels in Korea that air these types of shows is Mnet. In this article, we list 10 K-pop groups who were formed through some of Mnet’s survival shows.  

VIXX (빅스)

Show: myDOL

Debut date: May 24, 2012


Widely considered the ‘concept kings’ of K-pop, VIXX is a 5-member boy group under Jellyfish Entertainment. The group debuted in 2012 and is comprised of N, Leo, Ken, Ravi, and Hyuk. They are best known for their unique concepts like vampires, voodoo dolls, and time leaps. Prior to debuting, they were on the reality survival show MyDOL along with former member Hongbin and four other trainees under the same label.

Winner (위너)

Show: WIN: Who is Next 

Debut date: August 17, 2014 


YG Entertainment’s Winner consists of four members: Jinu, Hoony, Mino, and Seungyoon. They were in WIN: Who is Next, a unique survival program where two teams battle it out for the chance to debut. The four were under Team A (read on to find out what became of Team B) along with former member Taehyun.  


Winner officially debuted last 2014 with their album 2014 S/S. Their popularity rose instantly as, true to their name, they went on to win various other music show competitions, becoming the fastest boy group to do so at the time.

MONSTA X (몬스타엑스)

Show: No.Mercy 

Debut date: May 14, 2015 


MONSTA X is a 6-member boy group under Starship Entertainment from the survival show No.Mercy. They debuted with seven members: namely, Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, I.M., and former member Wonho. Since their debut EP, MONSTA X have been known as a group with an aggressive style.

iKon (아이콘)

Show: Mix & Match 

Debut date: September 15, 2015 

 

iKon is another boy group under YG Entertainment. They were once a 7-member boy group consisting of Jay, Song, Bobby, DK, Ju-ne, Chan, and former member B.I. In their earliest incarnation, they lost to Winner in WIN: Who is Next as Team B. But a year later, driven by public demand for them to continue as a group, another survival show called Mix & Match was formed to determine their final lineup.

TWICE (트와이스)

Show: Sixteen 

Debut date: October 20, 2015


Twice, current holders of the iconic ‘Nation’s Girl Group’ title, is a 9-piece girl group from JYP Entertainment. Members Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu first came together through the Mnet survival show Sixteen.   

 

Since then, they have released numerous hits like ‘What Is Love’ and ‘The Feels,’ to name just a few. They have also been recognized as the first female Korean act to top both Billboard’s World Albums and World Digital Song Sales charts at the same time.

PENTAGON (펜타곤)

Show: Pentagon Maker 

Debut date: October 10, 2016 

 

PENTAGON is a 9-member group under Cube Entertainment formed from the survival show Pentagon Maker. The group is comprised of Jinho, Hui, Hongseok, Shinwon, Yeo One, Yan An, Yuto, Kino, Wooseok, and former member E’Dawn.  

 

PENTAGON has also debuted in Japan with the mini album Gorilla. They are still actively promoting as they’ve just released the Japanese version of their song ‘Feelin’ Like.’

Momoland (모모랜드)

Show: Finding Momoland 

Debut date: November 10, 2016 

 

Formed through the survival show Finding Momoland, the eponymous girl group under MLD Entertainment debuted in 2016 with seven members: Ahin, Jane, JooE, Hyebin, Nayun, Yeonwoo, and Nancy. Two new members, Daisy and Taeha, joined in 2017 but eventually left the group, along with Yeonwoo. They gained recognition through their hit song ‘Bboom Bboom’ which received 578 million views and earned a platinum certification from Gaon Music Chart. 

fromis_9

Show: Idol School

Debut date: January 24, 2018

 

fromis_9 is a permanent (as opposed to project) girl group formed through the survival show Idol School. The group is currently managed by Pledis Entertainment despite debuting under Stone Music Entertainment. 

 

After the departure of member Jang Gyu-ri, fromis_9 is now an 8-member girl group comprised of Lee Sae-rom, Song Ha-young, Park Ji-won, Roh Ji-sun, Lee Seo-yeon, Lee Chae-young, Lee Na-gyung, and Baek Ji-Heon. Just this 2022, their song ‘Stay This Way’ charted at no. 12 on the Billboard South Korean song charts.

Stray Kids (스트레이 키즈)

Show: Stray Kids 

Debut date: March 25, 2018 

 

Stray Kids is a boy group that debuted in 2017 under JYP Entertainment. They were formed through a reality survival show with the same name and were supposed to debut as a 7-member group but ended with debuting all nine of the trainees. These are Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix. Seungmin, I.N., and former member Woojin. 

 

The group has built a solid lineup of songs, including their recent hit ‘Maniac.’ The magazine Tatler even called them the ‘most successful and prominent K-pop boy group of their generation.’

Kep1er

Show: Girls Planet 999 

Debut date: January 3, 2022 

 

Kep1er is a project girl group composed of members from different companies and nationalities. They were formed through Girls Planet 999, a show with the goal of debuting trainees from South Korea, Japan, and China. The final group has 9 members: Yujin, Xiaoting, Mashiro, Chaehyun, Dayeon, Hikaru, Huening Bahiyyih, Youngeun, and Yaseo. Their promotions are being managed by Swing Entertainment and Wake One Entertainment.  

 

Kep1er will be promoted as a group for two and a half years starting January 2022 with their extended play (EP), First Impact. They also had their Japanese debut with the single ‘Fly-Up.’

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