3 Successful Boy Groups Formed From KPOP Trainee Survival Shows

3 Successful Boy Groups Formed From KPOP Trainee Survival Shows

Looking back on the second era of KPOP, around the years 2008 to 2012, it is not hard to recognize idol groups and members. It is because there are only a few of them. But as the KPOP industry started to gain international audiences, idol groups keep on debuting here and there. With that said, competition among them grew stronger every time a new one is introduced.

Entertainment companies were pressured to produce a group that would stand out, the best of the best, as they say. This was probably the reason why survival shows became a trend. First, they can get public attention even before debuting. And another thing, they can judge the best trainees that would form the group. Here are some of the survival show-produced boy groups who made it successfully into the KPOP industry:


Mnet's No Mercy is a survival show about thirteen Starship Entertainment trainees. They were pitted against each other to form a 7-member idol group called MONSTA X. And they debuted in 2015.

Four years into their debut, the group gained popularity overseas, even better than what they have in their home country. They got the attention of foreign media like Forbes and Billboard, collaborated with global artists like Steve Aoki, and successfully finished a global tour.


WANNA ONE was formed from Mnet's Produce 101 Season 2 in 2017. The show's premise was how the viewer will vote from 101 trainees down to the final 11 members of the group. This is why they are called the "nation's pick."

Because of the participation of the general audiences, South Korea wholeheartedly supported WANNA ONE. They broke records as they sold a million copies of their debut album and continually surpass it throughout their 2-year contract. During their first year, they even achieved a "Rookie Grand Slam" as they received rookie awards from 5 major award shows. Not only that, they also proved their power in marketing and brand recognition as they were featured in 16 endorsement in 2017 alone.


Another survival show that gained the attention of the KPOP community was I-LAND. The involvement of some of the best BigHit Entertainment trainees and producer Bang Shi Hyuk, BTS' management company, made the viewers curious. After the intense competition, 7 trainees were chosen to be part of the ENHYPEN that debuted in 2020.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, ENHYPEN made promising results in their first year in the industry. Their debut album, Border: Day One, sold 318,528 copies in one day which made it the highest-selling album by a KPOP group that debuted the same year.

KPOP fans have different opinions about these survival shows. Truly, the pressure of being in a competition adds stress to the trainees. But it could also bring out the best of their talents and skills. Exposures like this are both beneficial to the winners and the eliminated trainees. And lastly, you may also realize that your connection to some of your favorite idols rooted from watching their journey through these shows. 

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