YG Entertainment is unveiling its first boy group in 8 years since BIGBANG’s debut. Just like BIGBANG was formed on a television program, the newest boy group will be determined on a reality program. Yang was present to reveal every tiny details of the process.
On August 20, the Production Sneak Preview of ‘Who Is Next:WIN’, which will be aired on cable channels tvN and Mnet was held at Conrad Hotel in Seoul Yeouido. Yang Hyun Suk, the founder of YG Entertainment, personally attended the Preview to introduce the program. The 11 trainees at YG who will be appearing on ‘WIN’ were also present. This included KANG SEUNG YOON and LEE SEUNG HOON, the ex-contestants of Superstar K2 and K-Pop Star. The 11 trainees will be divided into Teams A and B to compete. The final winning team would seize the name WINNER to make a debut as YG’s newest boy group. The losing team gets nothing. They might break up, while their debut date postponed indefinitely. A trainee who was in the same boat yesterday would suddenly become an enemy the next day.
○ Would ‘WIN’ become BIGBANG’s alternative
YG’s main content is undoubtedly BIGBANG. The group stands at the top among all South Korean boy bands and is one of the largest contributors to Korean Wave craze. But many were worried that YG has no capacity to produce a group like BIGBANG anymore, because YG has not announced anything related to producing a new boy group for the last 2 years.
Thus the Production Sneak Preview attracted much attention because YG was to announce the fist boy group in 8 long years. YG was unable to produce a boy group since BIGBANG. It’s been 4 long years since the debut of their last girl group, 2NE1. They hold back in discovering new talents. It shows that when YG does it, they do it properly. It only makes sense, because if they hastily produced a new boy group, they would run the risk of being labeled ‘fake BIGBANG’ or a ‘BIGBANG copy.’
CEO Yang agreed, “that was my biggest worry. If the public thinks it’s another BIGBANG, then no matter which team wins, the group would be a failure even if they gain huge popularity. But YG never made a group that overlapped with one another for the last 15 years. That’s just my taste and YG’s way of doing things.” In fact, many artists including Gummy, BIGBANG, Jinu Sean, 1tyme, Big Mama, Wheesung, and 2NE1 were produced at the same entertainment agency, but apart from them being under the general category of ‘black music’, they are completely different to each other.
He added, “I am confident about the new boy group. I helped YG artists make a debut but I never ‘made’ them. I am not going to ‘make’ WINNER, I’m simply going to watch. BIGBANG was not so popular in 2006 when they released their first album. It was after about 2 years since their debut, when they released the song by G-DRAGON ‘LIE’. The moment I tell them what to do, then they become just another BIGBANG. I am not ‘making’ WINNER, I am just implementing a system for them. That’s the competitiveness of YG.”
○WIN, a new face that will succeed BIGBANG
The highlight of the Production Sneak Preview was the revelation of the 11 members of WIN, who could be the next boy group succeeding BIGBANG. And this included the ex-contestant of Superstar K2 KANG SEUNG YOON and MC Mong’s Indian Boy’s rapper B.I. They will be divided into Teams A and B. WINNER is a competition between Team A with the average age of 20 (SONG MIN HO, KIM JIN WOO, LEE SEUNG HOON, NAM TAE HYUN and KANG SEUNG YOON) and Team B with the average age of 17 (KIM JIN HWAN, BOBBY, B.I., SONG YUN HYUNG, KOO JUN HOE, and KIM DONG HYUK). Team A does hip-hop too, but Team B has a stronger hip-hop color. Their debut is dependent on the viewers. WIN, unlike other audition program, does not take in to account the judges’ decision. The result is completely dependent on the viewers.
Yang looked relieved that he didn’t have to make the decision. “It could be quite harsh and cold to give the opportunity to only one team, but the professional world is just like this. It’s something everyone has to go through. Team A, on the surface looks like they are in a more advantageous position because of two of the members who are already well-known to the public through Superstar K and K-Pop Star, but Team B is more competitive at this point.” He feels closer to those trainees who joined YG the earliest, and they include Team A’s KANG SEUNG YOON, SONG MIN HO, and Team B’s B.I. and BOBBY. But he pays more attention to those who work harder than others.
The 10-episode WIN will be aired for the first time on Mnet and tvN on August 23. He initially planned to show it on national television, but because of the regulations that followed, he decided to go with cable channels. WIN will be broadcasted on portal sites simultaneously, and in 10 South East Asian countries.