In the era of survival shows and success stories like Wanna One, JBJ and I.O.I, there is no doubt that project groups are an exciting prospect. These are groups created from a TV show or an event, bringing members together for a single promotional period. Because of the limited time nature of these groups, their debut is prone to create hysteria, and after their promotions fans are left yearning for their favorite group to last forever. Here are some of the greatest project groups in K-Pop.
The Color of Kpop
Starting strong with four different groups in one entry: the Color of Kpop was an event at SBS Gayo Daejeon 2012. This event brought together members of very popular groups at the time into four color-themed groups. Each of the groups reads like a vintage K-Pop all-star team: Dazzling Red – After School’s Nana, Secret’s Hyosung, Kara’s Nicole, 4Minute’s Hyuna and Sistar’s Hyorin; Mystic White – Sistar’s Bora, 4Minute’s Gayoon, Kara’s Jiyoung, After School’s Lizzy and Secret’s Sunhwa; Dynamic Black – Beast’s Gikwang, Infinite’s Hoya, 2AM’s Jinwoon, Teen Top’s L.Joe and MBLAQ’s Lee Joon; and finally Dramatic Blue – Teen Top’s Niel, Beast’s Yoseob, Infinite’s Woohyun, MBLAQ’s G.O and 2AM’s Jo Kwon.
There was quite an array of talent, especially considering these idols’ fame in 2012. These big names were anchored by the hottest producers of the day in Brave Sound, Sweetune, Shinsadong Tiger and Seo Young Bae.
It’s nothing short of incredible from a newer fan’s perspective that all these groups’ management companies allowed them to collaborate for singles which wouldn’t earn them money. In general, these kinds of things don’t happen anymore so the spectacle itself is worth it alone. Imagine a super group like these now having members of Twice, Red Velvet, GFriend, Mamamoo and Blackpink together – that would be insane! Likewise with a mix of Seventeen, Winner, Monsta X, BTS and Exo! Bring it back SBS!
Onto one of the most successful project groups: Trouble Maker. Cube’s genius idea of making a sexy co-ed duo bore fruit in a major way, with Hyuna and Hyunseung quickly becoming superstars with their smash hit self-titled debut “Trouble Maker” and later releasing chart-topping follow-up “Now (내일은 없어)”.
Trouble Maker’s success lies in their chemistry; Hyunseung and Hyuna were so convincing in risqué photoshoots and MVs that a lot of fans assumed they were together. The way they looked at each other, touched each other, and passionately kissed genuinely made them seem like lovers. Their vocals went further to push this idea, with Hyunseung’s passionate singing and Hyuna’s sexy rap conveying this love to the listener.
It also helps when you get good songs, and Trouble Maker’s two singles both go down as undeniable K-Pop classics.
At first you might assume this pairing of Shinee’s Key and Infinite’s Woohyun could be an SM Station song, but it’s actually a project group! Toheart came about long before Station even existed.
Toheart is the kind of unit fans would want to form if they were idols – Woohyun and Key both stated that it was their idea to promote together, since they’re good friends and have always been interested in working with each other.
However, the pair’s friendship is clear to see in their music video for the debut single “Delicious” and on live stages – their chemistry is great together and their voices provide a nice contrast since Woohyun’s is thick and breathy while Key’s is sharp and more nasal. Fans were thrilled to see these two make such a fantastic mini-album together and it’s a shame they haven’t promoted since.
Girls Next Door
Finally we jump three years forward in time to the TV show Idol Drama Operation Team. This show brought together a number of female idols to make their own drama about their experiences as trainees. The show oversaw the girls during the writing and acting stages and had them record the single “Deep Blue Eyes” which would be performed by the characters they played in their drama.
The members of the fantasy group Girls Next Door were Mamamoo’s Moonbyul, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, Oh My Girl’s YooA, Sonamoo’s D.Ana, I.O.I’s Somi, Lovelyz’ Sujeong, and C.I.V.A/I.B.I’s Sohee.
This group turned out perfect – the members’ characters balanced each other out. There was a good age spectrum between the members and there were members who could lead like Moonbyul and Somi as well as quieter members like D.Ana and Sujeong. Their vocals were supremely well balanced too, from the vibrant tones of Sujeong to Sohee’s high pitched clarity, and even their two rappers complimented each other well. “Deep Blue Eyes” was an absolute banger and showcased these girls’ talents brilliantly.
This post was written by our guest blogger, Ben Chuter.