In Sept. 19, Yang Hyeon Suk, CEO of YG Entertainment, announced that he was partnering with renowned producer Han Dong Cheol for a new survival program to be aired on Oct. 29. According to Korea Times, the new program, named “Mixnine,” invites 400 trainees from over 100 different Korean talent agencies in order to choose nine boys and nine girls, all of whom would debut as two separate groups.
According to Korea Herald, while many are excited to see Han’s latest show, some viewers are anxious due to the controversy surrounding his previous works. Dubbed the “editing of the devils” by netizens, Han’s shows “Produce 101” and “Unpretty Rapstar” have been scrutinized for intentionally vilifying certain members to fuel drama within the show.
“As a fan of 24K, I worry that one of the members will be a target of this phenomenon,” said Sophia Song (12), a Kpop fan. “The producer’s previous shows have been known to intentionally edit video clips to create situations in which participants seem to be bullying or fighting against one another. Since rumors are rampant within the industry, all it takes is one rumor to circulate, and everything that a group might have worked for could go to waste.”
In addition, a common complaint among many viewers is Han’s decision to allow idols that have already debuted and acting trainees to compete. According to the Seoul Broadcasting System, opponents claim that since debuted idols may already have established fan-bases, which increase such competitors’ chances while decreasing opportunities for the more obscure trainees. Similarly, some state that acting trainees are using the survival program as a platform to debut as actors, which also diminishes the discovery of other singing trainees.
“In the case of the male version of Produce 101, there was a group called NU’EST that had debuted back in 2012, but decided to compete in the program,” said Annette Choi (10), a Kpop fan. “They already had many fans that consistently voted for them, whereas other trainees had to start from rock-bottom. I think the same phenomenon will be present in Mixnine, but I am not necessarily against this policy, as it allows the Korean public to discover previously unknown idol groups.”
Nonetheless, many existing idol groups see this as a prime opportunity become more recognized among the Korean public. According to the Joongang Daily, the fact that both genders compete against each other makes this program unique. By placing both genders in an atmosphere of competition, Han ultimately hopes to fuel an even more intense survival program than before.
“In the end, the program will air as intended, despite the backlash from the public,” said Ellie Cheong (11), a Kpop fan. “The concept of idol survival shows have been around for a long time, and it always follows the same pattern: people will at first criticize it, but the number of fans will overshadow the naysayers. People are still going watch the program, and revel in the drama knowing that it is fake.”