YG Treasure Box ratings are proving to be a success that YG Entertainment has already made the announcement for a season 2 to begin sometime later in January or February 2019 to create YG’s next girl group. YG Entertainment shares similarities to Regina George from the movie Mean Girls. Some fans will blindly follow YG no matter what, while others will continue to enjoy hating the entertainment company. Either way, YG remains at the forefront. As the saying goes, “Any news is good news”.

It’s starting to make me realize: YG’s approach of brushing things over and not talking about their issues actually might be their marketing ploy all along. Look at the dating news of Exo’s Kai and Black Pink’s Jennie, SM Entertainment responded immediately but it’s been a few days and the K-pop world is still at the edge of their seats waiting for a response for YG. They might not give one at all, and just move onto the very next thing.

And that’s what we see happening in YG Treasure Box, there are so many talented trainees waiting for their chance to debut but it seem Papa YG is ready to pass them over and focus on the next thing. It doesn’t matter how much training or skill a trainee may have, if you didn’t capture Yang Hyun-suk’s attention from day one you may be already old news.  

Let’s dive right in…

Episode Five: Making and Breaking Treasure 7 Part 2

Episode five continues with the trainees being called out by the Black Pink members out to challenge the remaining Treasure 7 members. The first two challenges were with well-known Treasure A members Choi Hyunsuk and Kim Seunghun fighting for another chance to be recognized by the main producer. Hyunsuk danced against So Junghwan with the cover of “Lie” by Jimin of BTS and Seunghun sang against Mashiho in an amazing cover of the song “D” by Dean.

In both cases Yang Hyun-suk’s card was chosen and he voted in favor of the original Treasure 7 members stating the Treasure A members has skills and excellent in technique; however, they are too much.

When you pour water into a glass, you shouldn’t let it overflow…

This proves frustrating as the treasure maker’s vote favored the Treasure A members, more so frustrating for the Treasure A members themselves who are frequently seeking Yang Hyun-suk’s approval. They receive bad reviews or are overlooked month after month during their monthly assessments, and as the older trainees, they feel like they are running out of time.

This starts to become a recognizable theme occurring throughout the survival show and as how YG functions as a company. Hyunsuk and Seunghun show years of skills and experience but by now Yang Hyun-suk has seen them over and over. The fair elements are the treasure makers but that is only if they are chosen.

The remaining challenges are between Treasure J member Yoshinori vs. Ha Yoonbin and Treasure B member Yang Jyunhao vs. Bang Yedam. Yang Hyun-suk chooses Yoonbin, who should be noted only trained approximately 5 months before this competition. Between Jyunhao and Yedam, Yang Hyun-suk obviously chooses Yedam. It may be favoritism, but Yedam has proven himself to have a refreshing skill over the years.

Jyunhao is a formidable trainee to take note of though, from an earlier episode Jyunhao shows he isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. He is almost fearless. As the original leader of the Treasure B group, Jyunhao wanted his teammates to take on a more challenging song, stating they need to confident to be seen as leveled competitors. At the same time, Jyunhao chooses the scariest trainee to battle, Yedam, and even if he didn’t succeed he is able to leave with a smile knowing he at least tried.

As this being the end of the first competition, this episode was overall frustrating. Yang Hyun-suk was the fate deciding factor for all the trainees making the outcomes seems suspiciously in his favor.

Episode Six: Let’s Date!

What is a show without cliffhangers? The 2 remaining Treasure 7 members believe they have gone unscratched until Yang Hyun-suk reveals his pick of trainees to compete. Papa YG likes to keep his trainees on their toes. Treasure B Jang Yunseo sings against Kim Junkyu with “Beautiful” by Crush and Treasure J member Keita raps against Haruto. My suspicions from the previous episode were tossed away as the treasure makers were chosen both times.

Yunseo was a very shocking choice but even in his fear against Junkyu, I was also very impressed with his singing. He showed a lot of future potential. In the battle against Haruto and Keita, the treasure makers surprised Yang Hyun-suk and even themselves with the result of Keita winning. Haruto returns as a trainee and there is now a new Treasure 7 lineup.

We are now entering a process of elimination in one of the most awkward selection processes known to mankind. The Treasure 7 members go on a dates with each other to pair off into teams resulting in 1 returning as a trainee. Yoonbin is mean, not only on his date with Yeongue does he fool him by talking about Junghwan, he passes Yeongue making him believe he’s been rejected by all 3 deciding members. Even though Junghwan was not chosen by anyone, we end up feeling sorrier for Yeongue and the prank pulled on his heart.

The rest of the trainees are to pair off as potential competitors and we’re introduced to Yoon Jaehyuk. In an earlier episode Yang Hyun-suk mentioned he is now concentrating on visuals, that comment makes you question, what exactly was your selection process before? Black Pink is an extremely visual group. But over the past few years he has amped up his trainees gathered through street casting, Jaehyuk being one of them. Jaehyuk is aware he is not as good, and no other trainee would want to team up with him. I wonder if his screen time is to foreshadow his improvement.

The challenging units are announced and have been selected by Winner. Winner is shown differently as judges than Black Pink with short amount of time of screen time, all the more serious, and a lot less annoying. There is more weight to Winner’s selection which I wonder if it is another reflection on YG Entertainment valuing their boy groups over their girl groups: boy groups are taken seriously and have potential to grow in their music, whereas Black Pink is struggling to be given an actual album.

Those not selected as challenging units are now forced to compete against each other in a process of elimination. Best friends Yoshinori and Mahiro have been training together since the beginning and are the first unit shown to compete against each other. The rest of the Treasure J members look on with tears with the reality of their original team members are now forced to leave.

Episode Seven: 2 vs. 2

We’re given a break from the heartbreaking elimination process and are given an episode full of awesome performances between the Treasure 6 and challenging units. The show opens with the new Treasure 6 performing “Going Crazy” by Future Bounce & Bigtone. It is a personal preference but I enjoyed the first arrangement; however, it is interesting to see how different a group dynamic change with one or two people can make.

First Challenge: Kim Seunghun and Lee Byounggon (SB) vs. Treasure 6 Unit: Yeongue and Yoonbin (YY)

I have mixed feeling about Seunghun and Byonggon picking Yeongue and Yoonbin to go up against. Seunghun originally wants to go up against Mashiho for a rematch, but the group ultimately decides on what they feel is the weakest of the three units. It feels like bullying but also, this is a game of survival and our SB couples have been burned too many times by the younger trainees.

The nervous YY unit delivered a formidable performance with “Woo Ah” by Crush. The younger trainees continue to impress as Yeongue delivers surprisingly sexy and smooth vocals and shows off his ability to play with notes.  The SB unit returns like flames with their performance of “I’m not sorry” by Dean. The treasure maker’s card is chosen and the SB unit finally has their chance at being Treasure 6. In the end though, Yang Hyun-suk praises the YY unit and overlooks SB once more.

Second Challenge: Kim Doyoung and Kil Dohwan (DD) vs. Treasure 6 Unit: Yedam & Keita (YK)

Even though the DD unit members are best friends, you can tell they are trying too hard and their rehearsals were met with many blunders. The YK unit is skilled and delivers very natural elements with blowing kisses and hip rolls to create laughs. Similar to Jyunhao, the DD knows they did their best to challenge the best and return as trainees with no regrets.

Third Challenge: Park Jeongwoo and Haruto (JH) vs. Treasure 6 Unit: Jyukyu and Mashiho (JM)

Winner was correct, “Selecting the right song is also a talent” and although the JM is a unit proven to be skilled singers the song “FUN” by Pitbull didn’t fit them. JM also started trying too hard wanting to incorporate a back flip for the correct impact. Mashiho was disappointed they lost because they didn’t do the back flip but ultimately I believe it was the song choice. I was surprised to see Jyukyu wasn’t taking the news of returning as a trainee badly. He is a veteran to survival shows however, and overcoming one has ultimately made him stronger.

There is something about the JH unit and the energy they embodied on the stage even made their competitors want to dance along. Similar to the YK unit, JH are very natural together and there is a difference from putting a smile on stage to show you are having fun versus actually enjoying yourself on stage.

The elimination unit performances return with Jyunhao and Park Jihoon performing “Ko Ko Bop” by Exo and we see Jyunhao going home with a smile. Jyunhao is an interesting character and I’m pretty sure with this guy’s determination we’ll be seeing him popping up very soon.

Love it or hate it, YG captures your attention. What originally felt like an attempt for Yang Hyun-suk to rebrand his company now feels like him saying, “This is what is it. Deal with it. I have the most talented trainees but there’s always more.”

Lastly, what is with the Adidas product placement?

(Youtube. Images via YG Entertainment.)