In the cutthroat land of K-pop, it’s survival of the fittest. With new groups popping up every other day hoping for a shot at stardom, it can be tough for fresh faces to get their turn in the limelight – even if they have the makings of the perfect K-star. Which is why it’s inevitable that some of these underrated acts and yet-to-debut trainees would resort to participating in reality competition programmes in hopes of getting their names out there. 

Hot on the heels of post-Produce 101 hype, the month of October introduces a new crop of survival shows broadcasted by KBS, JTBC and Mnet – namely The Unit, YG Entertainment’s MIXNINE and JYP Entertainment’s Stray Kids. Ahead, we give you a rundown of everything you need to know about these upcoming survival programmes.

The Unit

What it’s about: KBS’ answer to Produce 101, this idol rebooting programme aims to give K-pop underdogs a second chance in the spotlight. If you thought Produce 101’s competition for the ‘centre’ position was hardcore (war flashbacks, anyone?), The Unit will see all 126 contestants vying for a spot in the ‘centre group’, with the top contender bagging the coveted ‘centre of the centre’ title. After 14 episodes, nine males and nine females will promote as separate unit groups for seven months.

Why you should watch it: Apart from boasting a solid panel of mentors – Rain, HyunA, SHINee’s Taemin etc. – we’re also looking forward to the performance of notable participants such as Boyfriend, HOTSHOT, DIA and former SM Rookies member Hansol. These folks have plenty of potential to make it big, but it’s a pity people tend to ignore that fact. Here’s hoping they’ll be able to get the recognition they deserve through The Unit!

When it’s airing: 28 October 2017


What it’s about: MIXNINE runs in an uncanny vein to The Unit, and understandably so as the upcoming JTBC audition programme is helmed by former Produce 101 and Show Me The Money producer Han Dong Chul. Joining forces with YG papa, MIXNINE follows Yang Hyun Suk as he searches for budding talents from various entertainment labels, which will lead up to the debut of an all-male or female lineup.

Why you should watch it: Although The Unit has been stirring up a fair amount of hype thanks to its established roster, MIXNINE’s ensemble isn’t one to be belittled either. Besides Produce 101 alums Heo Chan Mi, Park Woo Dam and Woo Jin Young, you can also anticipate the appearance of talented rookie acts such as KNK, LOONA, Dreamcatcher and more. 

When it’s airing: 29 October 2017

Stray Kids

What it’s about: After the success of Sixteen which birthed trending girl group TWICE, JYP goes full steam ahead with yet another survival programme for his upcoming boy band. But instead of pitting the members against each other, the goal is to work together as a team and eventually make their debut without leaving anyone behind. Is it too early for us to start rooting for OT9?

Why you should watch it: These boys may be young, but they’ve certainly got the chops to impress. One look at the hella addictive music video for ‘Hellevator’ – which chalked up a whopping four million views before the show even started airing – had us convinced this budding supergroup’s bound to go far.

When it’s airing: 17 October 2017

Which of these K-pop survival shows are you looking forward to the most? Comment down below!

Related stories: 101 Facts You Need To Know About Produce 101’s Wanna One13 Things That Only Happen At A Wanna One FanmeetingWanna One, NU’EST W & Other Hot K-pop Boys To Have On Your Radar

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