Edited by Yoon
Translated Cho EK
Following the Produce 101 series and Idol School, Mnet launched a new survival show Girls Planet 999. Similar to Produce 48, it is a Korean-Chinese-Japanese joint girl group audition program aiming for global success. There are 33 participants per country, making a total of 99 participants. Among the large pool of candidates, nine finalists will make their debut. Plus, like Produce 101, trainees are allowed to make an entry even if they have previously debuted as a group.
Let’s take a look at the bright side and the dark side of Girls Planet 999 and the participants who are making headlines.
Changes in Voting System
It is difficult to avoid criticism for launching another audition program after all the scandal surrounding vote-rigging in Produce 101 and Idol School without fully reflecting on or compensating for their troubles. Although the showrunners have been arrested, neither Mnet nor CJ ENM can escape their responsibility. The boycott of the audience continued, saying, ‘I will not continue to watch such a show that only benefits large corporations like Mnet and CJ ENM.’ In response, this time, Mnet and CJ ENM have joined their hands with NCsoft. They ultimately got rid of the text voting system and announced to use a new app called UNIVERSE to count the votes. With this, they aimed to earn the viewers’ trust back and show that they strive for fairness. However, there are still criticisms on the new voting system that is too complicated and difficult to understand.
Judges Have More Discretion
The biggest selling point of this new show is the judges. Previously, the Produce 101 series was criticized for heavily depending on the text voting results when selecting the winner or survivor of each mission regardless of their individual talents. But this time, the discretion of the judges came in. Only the judges can evaluate the winning team in the CONNECT MISSION. Plus, the judges now have the power to revive one of the eliminated participants from each country during the ranking announcement ceremony. In other words, participants are evaluated with more objective indicators.
Predictable and Disappointing Directions
However, the general viewer response came out not much different from the previous Produce 101 series. The scene where the participants enter and find their seats, the system and process in the first mission reminds us of numerous audition shows. For instance, the editing method commonly referred to as ‘the devil’s editing’ is something that we’ve seen a lot in previous years. “Self-Introduction in 99-Seconds” is just a slight tweak of “1-Minute Self-Introduction” in Produce 101, and “Hidden Box Mission” is the exact copy of Produce 101.
In addition, they used the same old, predictable and regressive directions in Produce 101 in this new show. If this program aims to be the one that looks for the next idol group, it should focus on each participants’ charms, like her potential as a celebrity or a performer. Instead, it only focuses on drawing the viewer’s attention with its stimulating content. It is outdated to show the participants’ puffy faces in the morning or compare their faces before and after their makeup. It also seems a little inconsiderate and disrespectful to the participants.
The stage of Japanese participants who performed BLACKPINK’s “BOOMBAYAH” is making headlines. Ezaki Hikaru showed good choreography with confidence, and Nonaka Shana performed in a decent Korean accent and stable high notes. They both ranked high on the list.
The stage of participants with previous experience is also a hot topic. Choi Yu Jin from CLC showed off her pro stage manners as a 7th-year girl group singer by performing ‘”Bubble Pop!”
Cherry Bullet’s Kim Bo Ra was praised for the most outstanding vocal skills among her contestants.
Former Produce 48 contestant Kim Da Yeon’s “POP/STARS – K/DA” is recording high hits on various platforms due to her unique song selection, excellent live, and remarkable dance moves.
Some groups are getting good responses from CONNECT MISSION. ‘YES or YES Team 1’, who performed TWICE’s “YES or YES,” not only won the mission but also went on to the M COUNTDOWN stage after being selected by the judges. Heo Ji Won, Kim Hye Rim, and Kim Chae Hyun are now the highest-ranking contestants for being an eye-catching idol center from Cherry Bullet, effortlessly hitting high notes and being a former SM trainee.
So far, Girls Planet 999 is not as popular as Produce 101. No contestant has proved her potential yet like Jeon So Mi, Kim Se Jeong, Park Ji Hoon, Kang Daniel, Jang Won Young, and Sakura Miyawaki did before. There are not enough contestants who made headlines with their talents like Yoo Yeon Jung, Chung Ha, Kim Jae Hwan, and Lee Chae Yeon. However, we can’t simply attribute the outcome to the participants. This year, we had a huge event, the Tokyo Olympics. Plus, The Penthouse 3 airs on the same day that it airs. Moreover, a similar show like Street Woman Fighter is already enjoying its popularity in the same network. Still, there are many remaining episodes, and there are plenty of opportunities for a rebound for the program to gain more recognition. For instance, there are some incredibly talented Japanese participants, so I hope they can break away from the prejudices of Produce 48.
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.