Produce 101 was a reality survival show that ended in 2016. The top 11 girls of the show formed IOI and was active for a little over a year. These are Somi, Sejeong, Yoojung, Chungha, Sohye, Kyulkyung, Chaeyeon, Doyeon, Mina, Nayoung and Yeonjung. As a group, IOI was pretty successful and can be considered as one of the most popular girl group at that time. They had a lot of collaborations and guesting in many variety shows that solidified their status as a top girl group.
Halfway through their promotion, some of the IOI members had returned or debuted with their own groups. IOI was only a temporary group so it made sense that the companies would capitalize on the members’ fame and promote their own groups with some IOI members. Chaeyeon promoted with DIA, Sejeong and Mina debuted with Gugudan and Yeonjung was added to WSJN. Somi, Doyeon and Yoojung where in a lot of variety shows and Sohye was starting to dabble on hosting and acting. Remember, these were all when they were still promoting as IOI.
Fast forward to 2017 and IOI had to disband. Now, the girls can focus on their own groups and their music. Chungha, IOI’s main dancer, was announced to debut as solo and many people were kinda iffy about it since she wasn’t exactly one of the most popular members but boy did she slay (Did someone say one of Korea’s top soloist?). Kyulkyung and Nayoung debuted with Pristin and Yoojung and Doyeon debuted with Weki-Meki. Sohye had focused more on hosting and acting.
As I mentioned before, IOI was a pretty popular group and with members active in many different places. You would think that each member would carry this popularity back to their group and boost their group’s status. That’s what I thought so especially when Pristin debuted.
THE DISBANDED GROUPS
Pristin’s debut was just amazing. More than half of their members appeared on Produce 101 and two of them were from IOI. From the beginning, they were already on the road to success. Their debut song Wee Woo was polished and their stage presence just oozed with charisma. They were doing girl crush without overdoing the concept. Their song Black Widow was probably one of my fave songs and listened to that for a whole month. Their last comeback was We Like which was also kinda popular but did not really chart that high up. But hey, Pristin had so much potential to be a top girl group as their performances were always topnotch. Then I forgot that this was Pledis we’re talking about, the exact same company that effed over After School. Well, with some mismanagement and unsure future, Pristin disbanded in 2019. I will never not be salty about this.
Gugudan debuted when IOI was still a thing with members including Sejeong and Mina. Sejeong had always been one of IOI’s most popular member so a lot of people were looking forward to this group. During their run, Gugudan was pretty okay. Their highest charting song was Wonderland which was at 35. Their song that I liked the best was Not That Type which was also their last single that was released. With no recent comebacks, Gugudan had slowly moved to the shadows. Mina and Sejeong had always been pushed to the front and they really are the most popular members. Sejeong had released many drama OSTs and both had been in many dramas as well.
CURRENTLY ACTIVE GROUPS
DIA had already debuted when Chaeyeon joined Produce 101. They have had some member changes throughout their run. “Mr. Potter” is probably my fave song out of all their releases. DIA had consistently released songs and had multiple comebacks but they still remain in the shadows. They don’t have that one song yet to give them an oomph to push them to higher heights.
Yeonjung was added to Cosmic Girls which had already debuted. Her vocals was already considered one of the best from Produce 101 so she became mostly the center and main vocal for the group. Cosmic Girls are actually pretty active at the moment. They had concerts, variety show appearances and comebacks. Two of their members were in Rocket Girls 101 (formed from China’s Produce 101) so that made them more famous in China (which we all know is a pretty good market for K-Pop). Really though, if they keep this momentum up, they could be one of the top girl groups for 2021.
Weki Meki debuted in 2017 with IOI members Yoojung and Doyeon. I actually liked their debut song “I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend” and played that for a whole week when it was released. So far, Yoojung and Doyeon had consistently been the most popular members out of all the members as they usually are guests in many variety shows. They have recently gained more following after releasing Oopsy (which is a bop ngl). Oopsy shows a more mature version of them and slightly deviates from the common genre right now of girl crush. They had consistently released songs and multiple comebacks which we know is how you keep a group afloat.
Sohye has been more involved in acting and hosting rather than in music. Makes sense though considering that she was training to be an actress and not as an idol when she joined Produce 101. She had been nominated and won some acting awards which includes Best New Actress (21st Busan Film Critics Awards) for Moonlit Winter.
Somi was the number 1 trainee and became the center for the IOI. She was probably the most popular even during the first episode since she competed on Sixteen (where the winners became the members of TWICE). I only stanned IOI when they were almost disbanding but before that, I’ve always seen Somi on the couple Korean shows that I followed. After IOI, we all thought she was finally be debuting on JYP’s new group but then she moved to YG and became a soloist. Her debut was good, but I thought that she does belong better in a group rather than a soloist. Her next single “What You Waiting For” gave us Somi that is now more confident as a soloist and her stages were more enjoyable to watch than that of “Birthday”.
Chungha. Undoubtedly currently the most successful member of IOI. When it was announced that she was gonna debut as a soloist, I know a lot of people were pretty doubtful about her success. Her dance skills had always been acknowledged even before Produce 101 but to be a soloist? She gave us “Why Don’t You Know” and we’ve been hooked ever since. All her songs so far had been bops with wicked choreography. The thing about Chungha is that she can also sing well while performing. She is tiny but her stage presence is enough to command everyone watching. She had always explored a lot of different sounds like Stay Tonight and Play.
It had been announced around 2019 that IOI was gonna have some sort of reunion. Everyone was excited but it was ultimately cancelled. The members just had too much conflicting schedules. Also, the whole Produce series had been in hot water due to the vote manipulation scandal so having a reunion may not have been a pretty good idea then.