We’re barely a month into 2019 and there’s already a new crop of rookie groups set to take the K-pop industry by storm. From rising powerhouses like Stray Kids and (G)I-DLE to the highly-anticipated debuts of TXT and ITZY, it’s only a matter of time before these bands hit it big this year.

Stray Kids

Mention JYP and you would think of their flagship boy groups like 2PM and GOT7, but it looks like we’ve got a new power newbie in our midst. Since making their debut on March 2017, these multi-talented boys are already gaining recognition from fans all over the world thanks to their powerful stage charisma, knife-like choreography and diverse charms. One thing’s for sure: these new kids definitely aren’t messing around.

Fun fact: Leader Bang Chan is good friends with Bam Bam and Yugyeom from GOT7. How lit would a collab between the JYP sunbaes and hoobaes be?

The Boyz

If you’re an ardent viewer of Produce 101 Season 2, chances are you might be familiar with Ju Haknyeon, who was unfortunately eliminated from the rankings. Although he didn’t make it to the final lineup of Wanna One, the Cre.ker Entertainment trainee is now part of a 12-member boy group that debuted in August 2017. The rapidly-rising outfit has since scooped up a number of rookie awards, including the most recent Best New Male Artist Award at the 2018 Melon Music Awards.

Fun fact: A quarter of the members actually have ties to USA and Canada – Eric, Kevin and Jacob. If all goes well, we’re guessing plans to enter the US market wouldn’t be too out of the question!


A.C.E – short for Adventure Calling Emotions – definitely lives up to their abbreviation. Fans starting noticing these lads during their busking days on the streets of Hongdae, where they slowly gained popularity for their flawless dance covers (check out their killer rendition of BTS’ ‘I Need You’ and ‘Dope’ here). A year later, A.C.E made their debut with their addictive single ‘Cactus’ and recently won themselves their first ever Best Newcomer Award at StarHub Night of Stars.

Fun fact: Most of the members went through survival shows – Jun and Chan on The Unit; Donghun, Wow, and Kim Byeongkwan on MIXNINE – before regrouping as A.C.E, stronger and better than before!


Monster rookies are in the making at WM Entertainment! Also known as the WM Boys, what makes ONF so special is that the seven-member group is separated into two units: ‘On’ and ‘Off’, with Hyunjin and J-us leading both teams respectively. After making their domestic debut with ‘ON/OFF’, the band has also started to advance to Japan and had a recent comeback with their second single album Complete.

Fun fact: The boys of ONF were once backup dancers for B1A4 during their performance at the 2016 Dream Concert. More notably, member Laun even trained together with BTS at Big Hit Entertainment prior to joining WM!


Not many girl groups are able to drum up this much of an anticipation upon their debut; their captivating lead single ‘Latata’ has already chalked up close to 100 million views since its release last May, and their follow-up for ‘Hann’ trails close behind with an impressive view count of 42 million. It’s not hard to see why – with their infectious tunes, charismatic stage presence and girl crush vibes, who can resist the charms of these talented ladies?

Fun fact: Did you know that leader Soyeon was the mastermind behind both ‘Latata’ and ‘Hann’? She may be only 20, but her composing chops are certainly not to be denied.


The next big global group to follow in the footsteps of I.O.I and Wanna One, IZ*ONE is made up of Korean and Japanese members who came out tops in Produce 48. Despite making their debut a mere three months ago, there’s no doubting their booming popularity – their debut showcase at the Olympic Hall sold out in a minute, while their MV for ‘La Vie en Rose’ broke the million mark within 24 hours of its release and has since racked up a whopping 56 million views to date. To add on, they were even crowned Best New Female Artist at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Looks like 2019 is going to be IZ*ONE’s year! 

Fun fact: IZ*ONE is co-managed by AKS, the company in charge of the hugely popular Japanese idol group AKB48.


If there’s one company that knows how to hype things up, it’s got to be Blockberry Creative. Since October of 2016, the company had pulled out all the stops by giving all 12 members an individual promotional single/album. After 18 long months, it was then revealed that the girls will be coming together to form LOONA. And in less than six months of their debut, they even had three sub-units that successfully showcased their respective talents. Impressive or what?

Fun fact: Each member puts in utmost dedication for their solos. Choerry’s MV apparently took three whole days to film and if that doesn’t scream effort, we don’t know what does!

Weki Meki

Missing I.O.I? With the members going their separate ways post-disbandment, Yoojung and Doyeon went on to debut with the rest of the i-Teen girls (for the uninitiated, it’s a rookie talent development program under Fantagio Entertainment) as Weki Meki. While they’ve debuted with a teen crush concept for ‘I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend’, their latest music video for ‘Crush’ took on a fiercer vibe as they appeared clad in leather ensembles and blazing guns in hand – truly proving their versatility as a group. 

Fun fact: Weki Meki’s Suyeon and Elly both lent their voices for the soundtrack of popular K-drama My ID Is Gangnam Beauty, which starred labelmate Cha Eun Woo from Astro as the leading man!



Following the stratospheric success of BTS, Big Hit Entertainment is ready to break the K-pop industry once more with their new boy group TXT (short for Tomorrow X Together). Only time will tell if they’ll be able to live up to expectations, but from what we’re seeing right now, these guys are pretty much set for stardom. Who’s ready for TXT?


Four years after the global domination of TWICE, JYP has finally unveiled their newest gems to the fam: ITZY. On 20 January, the five-member girl group is introduced via a minute-long prologue clip and the girls are already capturing hearts left and right with their badass attitude. It’s a stark contrast to the bubbly, girl-next-door concept we’re used to seeing from TWICE, but we sure are loving it!

Final Treasure (YG Treasure Box)

It seems like Papa YG is on a roll! Fresh off their latest survival programme YG Treasure Box, five out of seven members have been revealed to be part of their upcoming boy group, including Bang Ye Dam of K-pop Star Season 2 fame. The final lineup will be announced on 25 January and we can already tell that this group’s gonna be huge. In the meantime, check out their diary cam above to know them better!

Which rookie group do you think will be slaying 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

More related stories: 5 Up-And-Coming Local Acts To Put On Your Radar In 201914 Upcoming Blockbuster Korean Dramas To Watch In 2019

Filled with explosive dance numbers, dreamy solo stages and a whole lot of swoon-worthy moments, one night was all it took for us to be fully convinced that BTS deserves their swelling popularity.

Barely four years ago, they were playing at a much smaller venue with a mere 5,000 capacity as part of their The Red Bullet Tour. Fast forward to now, they became the first ever Korean act to perform at the National Stadium for their Love Yourself Tour – to a 55,000-strong sold-out crowd, at that.

And it is only rightfully so that they’ve earned this record-breaking accolade, on top of already being a global K-pop sensation. Despite sweating buckets right from the get-go, their blistering performances throughout the jam-packed show were executed in near perfection and never once dwindled in energy – a testament to just how hard the boys of BTS worked in order to put up a memorable show for their beloved ARMY, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are just a few of the reasons why the septet made it a night to remember.

#1 Their unwavering professionalism despite stage slip-ups

If you’ve seen fancams floating around, you’d have probably seen the incident that happened during their performance of ‘DNA’. After a series of water effects that was part of the show, the stage was left dangerously wet which caused Jimin to slip and fall on his back. Despite it looking like a pretty hard fall, the lad laughed it off and powered through the rest of the song as if nothing had happened. Although we are proud of his work ethic, we sure hope his back feels better now!

#2 How the members took care of one another

Right after Jimin’s fall, fans noted that the members began communicating mid-performance and ended up switching up the routine for ‘DNA’ to prevent any more accidents. V also took matters into his own hands by wiping down the stage on his own, while the rest of the boys followed suit (not to worry, staff got the stage cleaned up after!).

These are the little acts that might elude your vision when you see them through the screen, but at a concert where there’s no hindered view, we were given an opportunity to witness the genuine reactions of the boys which makes us love them a whole lot more.

#3 Can we just talk about their solo stages?

On top of performing their insane synchronised choreography as a group, the boys also had their own time in the spotlight to showcase the immense talent every member possessed. Each of them played to their individual strengths in dance, rap and vocals as they singlehandedly got the crowd grooving to solo tracks off their latest album.

#4 Shout-out to the BTS ARMY!

Part of the fun at a BTS concert is the ability to show the boys just how much the fans appreciate their music. Aside from the roaring fan chants and the sea of ARMY bombs that lit up the stadium, fans were no strangers to making the group feel loved, especially when it came down to singing along with them. Just check out this goosebumps-inducing clip of the crowd belting out to Jin’s ‘Epiphany’ in perfect harmony!

#5 Their adorable antics that left us tickled pink

Two hours of high-energy performances flew by in a flash, and it was soon time for the encore stage. Trading their glitzy outfits for simple white tees, the boys were back out again with the same amount of enthusiasm as they goofed around with each other – all while flawlessly hitting the notes for ‘So What’ and ‘Anpanman’. Though most of us were pretty tuckered out by then, their infectious energy had us all recharged in an instant. Besides, who could resist not dancing along with these adorable dorks?

#6 There’s no doubting their fan service game

What’s a BTS concert without some mandatory fan service, right? While the boys were up to their usual shenanigans, the lovable maknae was spotted leaping down to the moshpit area to get upclose and personal with the front rows. Just when he was about to head up, Jungkook noticed that a fan had dropped her phone onto the other side of the barricade and went over to pick it up for her. What a gentleman!

#7 BTS never forgets about their ARMY

Before the last song of the night, the members each took some time to thank local ARMYs for the love and support they’ve received. From thankful speeches made by Jimin, Suga and Jungkook, to heartfelt thoughts shared by V, J-Hope and RM as well as Jin’s loud exclamation of delight, it was impossible not to feel the boys’ utmost sincerity and gratitude that night.

As soon as the concert drew to a close, they took their final bow where leader RM left us with the most heartwarming declaration: “It was the happiest day of our lives.”

So was ours, RM.

Featured image credit: Big Hit Entertainment

ARMYs, what was your favourite moment of the night? Share it with us in the comments below!

More related stories: BTS Is Getting Their Own Line Of Mattel Dolls And We’re Not Sure How To FeelBTS Just Teased A Possible Collaboration With Ed Sheeran And We’re Losing It

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5 Up-And-Coming Local Acts To Put On Your Radar In 2019

17 Jan 2019 by Chew Hui Ling

2018 has been a stellar year for local music. While we’ve got a fair share of established acts making a name for themselves, they’ve also paved the way for a new crop of young, promising talents to enter the scene. Meet these new kids on the musical block who are poised to shake up your playlists – you can thank us later when you’re able to say you’ve heard of ’em first.



J.M3, otherwise known as Jamie Lau, is not your typical rapper. A rebel at heart, the rap diva infuses an enthralling blend of rhythmic grooves and lyrical poetry into her discography. Have a listen to her newest earworm ‘TRY’ – a self-empowerment anthem that we never knew we needed – and let her music speak for itself.

Fariz Jabba

Fariz Jabba

The 22-year-old bilingual rap prodigy is undoubtedly the next big artiste to watch. With his penchant for fusing elements of hip-hop and R&B, Fariz Jabba has been making waves in the scene with his distinctive, genre-defying sound. His latest music video for ‘Ape Sia’ is testament to his rising popularity, chalking up over a million views since its release last August.



Some of you might be familiar with the homegrown songbird, who has been steadily earworming her way onto the top of the charts with her addictive tunes. But it wasn’t only until recent years that she really took charge of her own music, trading her indie roots for a more stylistic approach to contemporary pop – and the formula works like a charm. Just take her latest bop ‘Talking Insane’ for instance, which easily chalked up half a million streams on Spotify within the first three months of its release. Look out for her upcoming debut EP slated to drop in March!

Yung Raja

Yung Raja

No stranger to the hip-hop circuit, the ‘Mustafa’ rapper shot to fame with his hugely popular remixes of Gucci Gang’ and ‘Bartier Cardi’. Despite finding viral success, the self-made star has been hard at work honing his songwriting chops and even recently dabbled in acting (you might recognise him from local zombie flick Zombiepura). A rapper, songwriter and now a budding actor – what else can the man not do?

Ysa Yaneza

Ysa Yaneza

If you have yet to check out Ysa Yaneza, drop everything and hit her up stat. Not only does the millennial pop powerhouse serve up some of the most thought-provoking tracks we’ve heard in today’s digital age (her sizzling singles ‘Tea’ and ‘IRL (If You Really See Me)’ are proof), she also doesn’t shy away from lyrical themes such as social media, online dating culture, as well as LGBTQ. Oh, and did we mention she’s got a nod of approval from Troye Sivan? Homegirl’s definitely going places.

More related stories: Why Local Singer-Songwriter Bittymacbeth Is The Girl Power Icon We NeedLocal Production Studio Reveals What Really Goes On Behind The Scenes In The Music Industry 

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After the brief preview of Avengers: Endgame in December, Marvel Studios has impressed once more with the debut teaser for yet another eagerly anticipated hit, Spider-Man: Far From Home. As with most Marvel Cinematic Universe trailers, Easter eggs and subtle references are a given – so here’s our breakdown of some nitty-gritty details you might have missed. Ready to get your spidey senses tingling?

#1 Aunt May is super chill about Spider-Man

Credit: giphy

Based off the ending of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we all know Aunt May is aware that Peter is the web-slinging superhero. Unlike most aunts who’d start fretting about the dangers the job entails, she’s the complete opposite. Not only does she embraces her nephew’s alter-ego, but also partners up with him for a fundraiser. Where else can you find a cooler aunt than this?

#2 Wherefore art thou, Tony Stark?

Credit: captainsamerica.tumblr.com

Blink, and you might just miss it. Instead of a signed cheque from Tony Stark, we see Pepper Potts’ signature. Now, we are unclear if this happens before or after Infinity War so it could mean two things: either Tony is no longer with us, or this is just part of Pepper’s duty as Stark Industry’s CEO. We hope it’s the latter.

#3 I remember you, Spider-Man

Credit: Marvel Studios

Peter is back at his favourite Delmar’s Deli which, if you remember, got accidentally blown up in the first film. We particularly liked how they paid homage to the prequel with the newspaper clippings detailing the events along with a framed photo of Delmar with Spider-Man.

#4 A nod to Spider-Man’s first appearance in a comic book

Credit: giphy

What caught our attention here is not just Tom Holland’s adorable puzzled expression in his passport photo, but also the reveal of Peter Parker’s date of birth. Not surprisingly, this date holds great significance as it is Marvel Studios’ subtle way of acknowledging the day that Spider-Man made his debut appearance in the pages of a comic book.

#5 Paying tribute to Uncle Ben

Credit: nochillrogers.tumblr.com

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice that the suitcase Peter uses for his trip bears the embossed initials ‘BFP’ in-between the handle. Similar to the idea behind the old suit Peter wore in Homecoming, this is yet another clever homage to his late Uncle Ben.

#6 The new building

Credit: theavengers.tumblr.com

Does that building behind Spidey look familiar? Previously owned by Tony Stark before being sold off to an unknown buyer in the first film, we see the former Avengers Tower currently being remodeled, which has us thinking that this might be a foreshadow to the immersion of two possible stand-ins: Norman Osborn’s OsCorp, or the Fantastic Fours’ Baxter building. As there had been mention of plans to integrate Fantastic Four in the MCU, perhaps this might be how they get re-introduced to Marvel fans?

#7 Mysterio who?

Credit: Comic Book Movie

For the uninitiated, Mysterio is one of the oldest and most iconic arch-enemies in the Spider-verse who was formerly known as Quentin Beck, a movie special effects technician. His appearance in the sequel not only means a highly-anticipated showdown, but it may also follow a theme first introduced by the Vulture who sought justice and reprieve for regular working folks amidst the rise of superheroes.

#8 Is that Maria Hill?

Credit: giphy

Despite the ambiguous timeline and how Avengers: Infinity War left off, it was quite a surprise when we saw the appearance of Nick Fury. While we cannot confirm or deny if the person fighting alongside him in the trailer is Maria Hill, actress Cobie Smulders (who portrays the former Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.) did assure fans that she will appear in the film sans exact details.

Rewatch the trailer again to see if you can spot these details! Spider-Man: Far From Home is slated for US release on 15 July 2019.

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For K-pop star Alexander Lee (or better known as Xander), Singapore is essentially his second home. A scroll through his Instagram would reveal several photos of the former U-KISS member’s recent trip to our sunny shores for tvN Asia’s original production Wok The World, where he can be seen indulging in Singaporean delights only a true foodie will know – laksa, hotpot, durian… you name it.

And if that’s not enough to prove exactly how Singaporean the chap is, he even went ahead to describe himself as our very own ice kachang (think Korean bingsu with a local twist) when we posed the question, explaining that he’s very much like “a mix of ingredients” because he “grew up in a multicultural household”. With his love for Singaporean cuisine, flair for languages (don’t even get us started on his accent – he speaks Singlish better than most of us!) and easygoing personality, we can definitely see why he was chosen to be the show host of Wok The World.

Sitting down with us for a quick interview before the Wok The World cooking competition held on 5 January at Adventure Cove Waterpark, we had Xander talk about all things food – favourite local dishes, ultimate guilty pleasure and more.


“Whenever I come to Singapore, I’d always have to have bak ku teh, chicken rice… and durian (laughs). It’s either you love it or hate it, but I love durian!”

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“We [Nichkhun and ASTRO’s Jin Jin] didn’t really work together this time round as we went to different countries, but we did chat about it. With Nichkhun, we were together on One Night Food Trip as well. I think tvN really knows how to choose people who are easy to work with (laughs).”

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“I learned how to use the terms correctly. Chef Alvin does a lot of shows so he would point out my mistakes in situations whenever I misuse a certain word. For instance, I would accidentally comment that the sauce is so ‘tasteless’, and he’d be like, just use the word ‘subtle’!”


“I have a sweet tooth so I like to eat a lot of desserts. My ultimate guilty pleasure would have to be ice cream. I can finish a tub of rocky road ice cream in one setting, while watching Netflix!”

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“I would say, balut. It’s a Filipino dish that contains a duck embryo inside an egg. I get goosebumps every time I see it. It’s yummy, but wait till you see the duck feathers. I cannot. Maybe I’ll eat it if I’m blind…”


“I would usually say I’m a bibimbap or an ice kachang. I’m pretty much a mix of everything because I grew up in a multicultural household. [Teenage: Why didn’t you mention Hong Kong food since you’re born in Hong Kong?] Well, because HK food isn’t exactly multicultural (laughs). I like dimsum, but it’d sound so weird if I said I’m like a dimsum or char siew fan!”

Can’t get enough of Xander? Check out part 2 of our interview below, where we got him to try out Singapore childhood snacks!

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