The final lineup of iKon was announced on November 6, and while not everyone is happy with the four guys chosen to debut alongside Kim Jin-hwan, Bobby, and BI, the excitement surrounding this group is definitely high. Before we all get swept up in the anticipation surrounding YG Entertainment‘s shiny new boy group, though, there is one lingering problem to discuss — what happens to the two guys who weren’t lucky enough to secure themselves a spot in iKon?
The three newbies pit against the three experienced competitors from YG WIN already had a tough enough battle to fight. Many fans of YG WIN wanted to see Team B reunited, which meant that rookies Jung Jin-hyeong, Yang Hong-seok, and Jung Chan-woo were effectively competing for one spot. Chan-woo ultimately came out on top, leaving Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok with crushed dreams and a legion of angry fans. As said before, seeing the losers of survival shows like this simply seems unfair. Preparing to debut is hard enough without the added stress of engaging in a televised competition, and it is extremely frustrating that all the hard work of Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok has resulted in, well, nothing.
Unfortunately, this situation isn’t something new to K-pop. Shows like MyDOL, YG WIN, and Mix & Match put on display a reality that we already knew existed behind the scenes. Companies reserve the right to cut people from a group at any time, but doing this to a trainee just before his or her debut is especially cruel. Without name recognition or a supportive fanbase, these poor would-be idols have to find themselves a fresh start and begin the process of training all over again.
Idols like Hyunseung and Mino managed to make the best of this stumbling block. After being cut from Big Bang, Hyunseung debuted with the now popular group BEAST. He later joined with Hyuna to break new ground in the sexy co-ed group Trouble Maker, certifying himself as a success despite his earlier troubles. Mino’s path to success was a little bumpier; he had to recover from losing his spot in Block B and seeing his ballad group BoM break up before finally securing his spot in WINNER. Even so, success seems to comfortably within his grasp these days.
Not everyone gets such a happy ending, though. Of the four people cut from VIXX during MyDOL, only Shin Yoon-cheol (now known as Nakta) managed to join a group with a moderate degree of notoriety. His group, Topp Dogg, hasn’t achieved anything near the popularity of VIXX, but compared to the relatively no-name groups that his peers Ro Nak-hun and Daewon debuted in, Nakta seems to have found the best spot out of his peers. Fellow MyDOL participant Lee Byoung-jun almost had a shot at finding fame when he joined YG, but he dropped out after a year to produce his own music under the name of Teddie Lee.
These MyDOL rejects represent the worst case scenario for losers of survival shows. Fans of Team B feared a similar fate for the members when they lost YG WIN, especially when considering YG CEO Yang Hyun-suk‘s promise to dismantle the losing team. The group’s future has turned pretty bright, however, and the guys have been permanently reunited as iKon. Despite all the scary language used to increase suspense and garner interest in the show, the warnings haven’t seemed to come true, and the example of Team B suggests that Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok don’t have too much to fear.
Both guys have signed on to stay with YG, which was probably a smart decision. YG has already paraded Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok in front of the public, earning them fans that surely will not let their company forget about them any time soon. The most uncertain thing about their future is really just time. Let’s not forgot that YG took seven years to debut a new boy band after Big Bang. The chances of a third group being formed right after the introduction of two new bands seem pretty slim. However, YG has been full of surprises lately, making it hard to tell just where Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok might ultimately end up.
So, those of you who rooted for Jin-hyeong or Hong-seok during Mix & Match, don’t worry too much. If their decision to stay with their company is any indication, there is something in store for them. The conversation around survival shows won’t be ending any time soon, though – Starship Entertainment recently announced their own survival show, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see more in the future. Whether the losers of future survival shows will be as lucky as Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok remains to be seen.
Readers, do you think Jin-hyeong and Hong-seok made the right choice in staying with YG? What do you think about the use of survival shows to form new groups? Leave your opinions in the comments!