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.
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?
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!
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!
YET TO DEBUT:
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!