Mnet’s upcoming survival program Queendom Puzzle has courted controversy by unveiling a tiered ranking system for female idols.
On the 6th, an exclusive preview of Queendom Puzzle was released. The host, Taeyeon, shared with the participants that “there is a hierarchy in the music industry.” She further explained, “This hierarchy is the report card of your activities in the K-pop scene. We’ve decided to divide you in rankings based on Queendom Puzzle’s unique standards.”
The standards for Queendom Puzzle‘s hierarchy from 1 to 4 were based on the total number of times topping music shows and the first week sales of released albums, which were converted into points and added together.
Ranked in Tier 1 were Jooe, Chaeyeon, Yeoreum, Dohwa, and Kei. Tier 2 included Jihan, Zoa, Soeun, Soojin, Yeeun, Haein, and Yuki; Tier 3 Seoyeon, Jiwoo, Yeonhee, Suyun, Juri, Chaerin, Bora, and Jiwon; and finally, Tier 4 Elly, Sangah, Sangah, Fye, Riina, Hwiseo, Nana, and Wooyeon.
The participants reacted in shock, commenting, “What tier are we in?” and “This is too harsh.” Bora from Cherry Bullet expressed, “I knew that we were evaluated and divided into tiers, but to see it like that… I thought we should at least be higher than Tier 3.” The girls whose names were spotted in Tier 4 could not hide their discomfort.
Some viewers expressed negative reactions, questioning the use of internet slang on a broadcast, criticizing the show, and showing sympathy for host Taeyeon.
Meanwhile, Queendom Puzzle is an “evolved” version of the Queendom series, a project that mixes and matches current and former girl group members, like pieces of a puzzle, to create a new global girl group.