C-pop might’ve taken a backseat in recent years thanks to the emergence of Korean pop culture, but it seems like it’s about to make a comeback in a huge way. Leading the pack is NEX7 (乐华七子), a new seven-member group formed by music giant Yuehua Entertainment. Despite only making their debut yesterday (21 June), these talented lads are well on their way to superstardom over in China. Before they take over the world, here’s everything you need to know about this rising boy band.
#1 They already have a massive fanbase.
You might recognise them from Chinese survival reality show Idol Producer (think China’s answer to South Korea’s Produce 101). All seven boys participated in the programme, but only three of them – Fan Cheng Cheng, Justin Huang and Zhu Zheng Ting – snagged a spot in the Top 9 with a combined vote count of 42 million, promptly making their debut in the project group Nine Percent. Although the other Yuehua trainees didn’t make it into the final lineup, each of them garnered quite a following for their individual charms as well.
#2 Three of them are already part of a boy band.
As previously mentioned, Cheng Cheng, Justin Huang and Zheng Ting are part of the Idol Producer-formed Nine Percent and will be promoting for a total of 18 months before their disbandment in 2019. Unlike their K-pop counterparts Wanna One, whose contract prevents the members from participating in their respective company activities, Nine Percent’s terms seem a lot looser – which explains why the Yuehua trio is able to overlap promotions with NEX7’s. We hope the boys aren’t too exhausted from their hectic schedule though…
#3 Remember Justin and Jung Jung?
Avid fans of Produce 101 might also be familiar with Justin and Zheng Ting, who took part in season two of the South Korean talent competition in 2017. Although both were regrettably eliminated, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise – look where they are now! We’re glad they finally got the recognition they deserved (even though a part of us kinda miss their interaction with the other Yuehua sprouts).
#4 They come from prestigious backgrounds.
NEX7 is the newest boy group under Yuehua Entertainment, one of the biggest music companies in China with major artistes such as Han Geng, UNIQ and more under their wing. They’ve also expanded their Korean branch operations in 2016 and currently co-manages Cosmic Girls with Starship Entertainment. Fun fact: Cosmic Girls’ Cheng Xiao was NEX7’s dance mentor on Idol Producer!
Not only do they boast illustrious company backing, the boys come from relatively well-off families as well. Justin ain’t called “贾富贵” (Just Rich) for nothing, while Zheng Ting’s literally a walking Gucci ad. Then there’s Fan Cheng Cheng aka the younger brother of Fan Bing Bing, who is one of the highest-paid actresses in China. We’re a lil’ doubtful about a certain Ding Ze Ren though, who appears to only own that one (1) stripped shirt during their Idol Producer days…
#5 They received training in Korea.
As Yuehua Entertainment is based in both China and South Korea, it makes sense that the multinational company would send their trainees for formal training in the latter country. In fact, the boys are pretty proficient in Korean too. Prior to joining Yuehua, Ze Ren was a former trainee at SM Entertainment along with the NCT kids – and chances are, he’d probably have debuted with the K-group.
#6 They have a bond like no other.
It’s no secret that the NEX7 members are super tight-knit with one another, evidenced by their endless shenanigans on Idol Producer – and it’s certainly not for show. Who could ever forget the time when Zheng Ting and Justin casually rocked facial masks to dance practice, or that heartbreaking moment when Wen Jun broke down in the arms of the other members after the ranking announcement? Pass the tissues, please.
#7 Wait a minute, they debuted?!
NEX7 just dropped their debut album The First, led by the title track ‘Wait A Minute’ – and boy, is it a bop. A straight up hip-hop number, ‘Wait A Minute’ will get you hooked instantly on its bombastic beats and the not-so-occasional ‘woos’ and ‘skrrs skrrs’.
Check out their explosive music video below:
Decided to stan NEX7 yet? Drop ’em some love in the comments below!