Article: Top 10 Idol Groups That Were Formed In A Survival Show

Survival shows. Love them, or heat them hate them, but can’t miss out on them. Ever since their inception, survival shows have always been a point of debate.  Some critics feel the shows put extreme pressure on aspirants and exploit them for TRP’s while others are apprehensive of the ‘evil editing'.

On the other hand, such shows offer trainees exposure pre-debut and allow them to develop a fanbase. Even if they cannot make the final cut, contestants can still get their name out there in public. In the highly competitive K-pop industry, such shows can hence also be a blessing.

Ultimately, survival shows remain popular and have given us countless successful groups. We have put together a list of 10 iconic idol teams who competed on a survival show.

1. I.O.I

IOI is arguably the best group to be formed out of a survival show. ‘The audience votes created IOI after trainees from several entertainment companies competed on the first season of the survival show Produce 101. The show received high public interest and ratings. Contestants regularly went viral for various reasons throughout the show’s runtime.

Their 2016 debut, ‘Dream Girls,’ was extremely well received and was on every K-pop fan’s radar. They also branched out into other genres with the subunits and even released an official cover of Salt N Peppa’s ‘Whatta Man.’ ‘

Despite the high public interest, the group officially disbanded in early 2017 due to contractual obligations. On the bright side, the girls remain close friends and speak fondly of one another.


2. Wanna One

Wanna One is often called the male counterpart of IOI. The group competed in the second season of Produce 101. The group officially debuted on August 7th, 2017, with 11 members who received the highest public votes throughout the show.

Wanna One was frequently called monster rookies due to their insane fan following and high streaming numbers. They were so monumental that they were being compared to big, established groups like BTS and EXO just a year into their debut. They disbanded the following year with a mellow track, ‘Spring Breeze’.


3. Twice

The multi-national group Twice was formed through the show SIXTEEN. Unlike most other survival shows, SIXTEEN only featured trainees already present in JYPE. Controversy arose as audience members claimed the showrunners were inflicting emotional abuse on the contestants during the show. Although the show only aimed to debut seven members, JYP decided to add Tzuyu and Momo for their public popularity and dance skills, respectively. Their October 2015 debut received positive responses. Many people have christened Twice as the ‘Nation’s Girl Group'.


4. Seventeen

The reality show SEVENTEEN Project: Debut Big Plan took the same route as SIXTEEN. It solely showcased the trainees existing in the company, Pledis Entertainment. The makers even described the show as ‘trainees versus Pledis’. In the end, the group debuted with 13 members. The group also features three subunits with different specializations, namely Hip-Hop, Vocal, and Performance.


5. Momoland

MLD Entertainment (formerly Double Kick Entertainment) formed Momoland through their reality show, ‘Finding Momoland.’ Momoland debuted in November 2017 with seven members.

The group had their break-out hit in 2018 with ‘Boom Boom’ that went viral on social media. The group currently promotes as a team of six.


6. Monsta X

Starship Entertainment and Mnet produced the show NO.MERCY with twelve trainees competing to debut. In the middle of filming, the company added another member, I.M., to great displeasure from both the viewers and other contestants. However, they were quick to warm up to him and his skills. He even managed to debut at the end of the show as a part of Monsta X.


7. Iz* One

The third season of the Produce series formed IZ* ONE. The program worked with AKB48 from Japan and ended up debuting members from both countries. In its short run time, the group managed to find love in both Korea and Japan.

They were so popular that their debut showcase sold out in one minute!


8. Sf9

SF9 was the first dance boy band from an agency known for its instrumental bands. The program was called DOB (Dance or Band). Two groups, namely ‘dance’ and ‘band’, competed against each other to make the final line-up. In the end, the nine-member boy band emerged victoriously and debuted as SF9. The band group also managed to debut eight months later as HONEYST.


9. Enhypen

ENHYPHEN was created from the survival show I-LAND under a joint label created by BigHit Entertainment and CJ E&M Entertainment. Due to their connection with world stars BTS, there was tremendous hype around the group.

In the end, seven members made it into the finals. The group debuted with the EP Given-Taken on November 30th, 2020.


10. Treasure

The Treasure had a complicated route to debut. The group competed on the program ‘YG Treasure Box, which showcased all the current male trainees in YG entertainment. The company separated the trainees into Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group J. Later in the show, YGE revealed that only seven members would be debuting. However, towards the show’s end, the company stated that the second group of trainees would also be debuting. Sometime later, they announced that the trainees would debut as one group, Treasure 13. When the company finally made up its mind, it refused to put out a date and kept pushing its debut forward to the fans’ frustration.

The group finally made its debut in 2020.