Now Reading: Meet the “Monster Rookies” that Took the Kpop World by Storm in 2017


Meet the “Monster Rookies” that Took the Kpop World by Storm in 2017

December 31, 201714 min read

If you’re an avid follower of the Kpop community, you have probably heard of a supergroup by the name of Wanna One. Despite debuting less than 5 months ago, Wanna One is undoubtedly one of the hottest groups in South Korea right now–and their fame is well-deserved after their hard work in Season 2 of the show “Produce 101.” But, in case you didn’t know: they were formed on this popular boyband survival show where 101 contestants from various music companies compete for a chance to accomplish their dreams.

The program was competitive and grueling, but all of the contestants entertained us with their humorous (and sometimes odd) personalities while simultaneously proving how talented they are. One of the reasons why Wanna One’s fanbase (known as “Wannables”) have such a close relationship to the boys is because we’ve watched them grow and improve throughout their time on this show.

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Their Accomplishments:

1. “Energetic” broke the record for the most viewed debut music video by a Kpop group

The well-anticipated debut song by Wanna One came out on August 7th and broke the record the next day by generating over 4 million views. The music video features impressive vocals, killer dance moves, a bathtub full of donuts and a cute puppy… what’s not to love about it? This electro-pop bop was also recently named as Billboard’s top Kpop song of 2017.

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2. Their large-scale debut show-con

Wanna One’s debut concert took place at Gocheok Sky Dome which is considered a “dream location” for aspiring artists. It’s truly amazing to see a rookie group debut on such a prestige stage, following the footsteps of worldwide stars like EXO and BTS. With the attendance of 20,000 people, the sold-out show marks an incredible start to their career as superstars.

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3. Brand deals

With their ever-growing popularity, it’s no surprise that companies would make Wanna One their brand ambassadors. From skincare, cosmetics, cookies, chicken, beer, perfume, and even to Samsung Pay, Wanna One has done it all.

Elder members of Wanna One for HITE beer (Courtesy of

Wanna One for Eider (Courtesy of

4. Album Sales

Their debut album 1×1=1 (TO BE ONE) reached 500,000 pre-orders in under a week and with their November-released follow-up album 1-1=0 (NOTHING WITHOUT YOU), they’ve sold over 1 million albums in total. Not so bad when you’ve only debuted for less than a year, huh?

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Cumulatively in both digital and pure album sales, Wanna One charts alongside other amazing Kpop groups.


11 people is a lot for a group but each member shines as bright as the next with their talent and personality which got them into Wanna One in the first place.

Kang Daniel

Ranked #1 on the show, Kang Daniel wowed us with his breakdancing skills and stage presence, along with his lovable personality and charming eye-smile. He is Wanna One’s center, taking the roles of the main dancer and the rapper. He has remained #1 for 4 consecutive months ever since his debut in terms of brand value.

Watch one of his performances on Produce 101 where the infamous “thigh sweep” move was born:

Park Ji Hoon

Jihoon was consistently ranked high on the show and ultimately ended up in 2nd place. His shocking visuals, catchphrases, and cuteness captured the nation’s heart. He was also named the “Wink Boy” on the show after gaining fame for his wink in the “Pick Me” performance.

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Lee Dae Hwi

Just like Jihoon, Daehwi never left the top 11 throughout rankings on the show and it’s no surprise as he has always proved himself to be a top competitor (even earning the center position for the “Pick Me” performance). He’s fluent in English after having spent time living L.A. and despite his young age of 16, he’s a skilled all-rounder who ended up in 3rd and now gets to show his talents to the world.

Kim Jae Hwan

Jaehwan was always one of the best vocalists on Produce 101. His voice – especially high notes – wowed the audience and judges with every performance. He deservingly got 4th place (his highest rank on the show) and is now Wanna One’s main vocalist. But he’s more than just a strong vocalist; he’s also super entertaining, with his hilarious laughter.

Watch some of his highlights from singing performances:

Ong Seong Woo

From day one, Seongwoo was seen as a strong contender with his good looks and powerful performance that earned him the A-rank. But as the show progressed, Seongwoo showed that his charm is not just his pretty face but also his incredibly goofy and fun personality. His expressions on stage and extra-ness throughout the show earned 5th place overall.

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Park Woo Jin

Woojin went from rank 72nd to rank 6th on the show: a well-deserved place for someone who has proven he can rap effortlessly and dance charismatically (all while showing off his cute snaggletooth). He also captured people’s hearts as an adorably awkward contestant that has now matured into a hyper and energetic kid on the reality TV show “Wanna One GO.” His deep rapping voice stands out in Wanna One and he’s also one of the group’s main dancers.

Watch as he shows off his amazing dancing skills:

Lai Guan Lin

The only foreigner in the group, Guan Lin who’s originally from Taiwan overall ranked 7th, overcoming the language barrier and simply wowing us with his performances. He can speak three languages and is also incredibly tall, despite being the youngest in the group.

Yoon Ji Sung

Jisung is the eldest member of Wanna One however he is just as lively and fun as the younger members. He’s been a trainee for five long years in total and finally debuted in Wanna One, even earning the respected position as their leader. He is an inspiration to those who want to fulfill their dreams as he exudes a bright and positive energy. He’s known for being funny and compassionate, as well as having amazing vocal abilities.

Here’s a gif of the actual sun:

Hwang Min Hyun

Minhyun’s journey to Produce 101 was different than the rest because he had previously debuted in a group called NU’EST (but they were nearing disbandment due to low album sales). Being a trainee all over again was definitely hard on Minhyun and the rest of NU’EST but he was able to rank 8th place overall by showing his heavenly vocals. He’s now shining bright on stage with Wanna One as the lead vocal and NU’EST is also gaining the recognition they deserve.

Watch his breathtaking visual and vocals:

Bae Jin Young

Jinyoung started Produce 101 as a shy and timid kid who always looked down at the ground when he was performing or talking. We’ve watched him grow into the confident guy that he is now who went from ranking F to getting 10th place overall. Those who watched the show can see his incredible journey and can cherish how confidently he shows off his vocals in Wanna One. He’s also famous for his small face.

Watch his adorable and confident performance on the show:

Ha Sung Woon

Sungwoon was also in the same situation as Minhyun having already debuted in a group by the name of HOTSHOT. He’s proven to us with his A-rank in the first episode that he’s one to look out for. With strong performances after the next, he completes Wanna One as the 11th member. His love for skincare and taking care of his appearance definitely paid off as he’s always looking flawless whether it’s on or off stage.

Watch as he shines as the center position of this performance:

Though Wanna One can’t last forever (they are only a project group with a contract of one and a half years and will have to go back to their companies after disbanding), the legacy they are making and have left behind is undoubtedly remarkable. Here’s to more amazing memories they’ll make together and to the content they’ll give us in 2018!

Stream their newest album, follow them on Twitter and on Instagram.


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