Life is complicated.
I feel like that sentence is a whole post on its own, but let me dig in a little on why I say it now. There’s been a lot of media attention in the Korean Entertainment world about the ‘fixing’ of the winners of different survival shows – specifically, Produce 101, but really, in general, all of them. In many ways, the surprise with which this is being covered delights me. Of course it was all fixed. I don’t think anyone watching would have assumed otherwise – at least not anyone with any life experience at all. If it weren’t, Wanna One would have been made up of 4/5ths of the Nu’est members. And I’m not being biased here. They were just more prepared, better trained, had more experience, all of the things that made this type of show both humiliating and also kind of easier.
However, all of the drama and the heart-wrenching consequences of this finally being ‘discovered’ has led to a pretty predictable outcome. Those trainees that lost, actually won. Many of the 88 trainees that didn’t make X1 (I’m excluding from my numbers the poor JYP trainee that was let go early because of previous ‘scandal’) have seen a lovely boost to their fandoms, gotten the opportunity to shine solo of their original groups or role as a trainee, and have released some pretty solid tunes – all without being hurt by this news.
I hope the actual members of X1 aren’t irreconcilably damaged. None of this was their fault either. Remember, these are very young men who just want to make it in their chosen field. They didn’t do the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.
B.O.Y is a newly debuted Kpop duo made up of two members of the now disbanded group MYTEEN. MYTEEN was one of those insanely talented groups with an unfortunately dated name that just didn’t stick with the masses for some reason. They just couldn’t catch a break despite releasing some solid tunes and working pretty hard to keep producing content on all the platforms that all of the other groups use. They just didn’t have that one part luck that super successful artists seem to have.
That being said, I have some high hopes for B.O.Y (also a pretty crap name for two adult men who have lots of experience and oodles of sex appeal). Yuvin, a main vocalist through and through, was one of those victims of editing that we hear about when we read anything to do with survival shows. I knew with all of my heart that it was happening, but his seeming need for attention and drive to succeed turned me off during the show. He’s crazy talented, but they set him up early on as having multiple rivalries and a huge ego. In reality, he became very close friends with many of the trainees and within the industry, he’s continued to have an amazing reputation as going above and beyond and being easy to work with. I hated it when he was on the screen, but I couldn’t look away. I stared at him long enough that now I might be a tiny bit in love with him.
It happens more than you’d think – that hate to love scenario.
KookHeon, the former leader of MYTEEN and an oft highlighted dancer and vocalist, was someone I very much enjoyed on Produce. He was affable and supportive, talented and hardworking. His departure from the show was the exact moment I learned to appreciate Yuvin. KookHeon’s name wasn’t called for that last spot during eliminations and the camera swung to his group member sitting on one of the coveted chairs in the pyramid. Yuvin looked away from the camera, hiding his face, obviously crying. When given the opportunity, he ran to Kookheon and held him like having him leave was a worse fate than if he had been let go himself. It was raw and either entirely genuine or the most masterful editing I’ve seen in a long time.
When it was announced that MYTEEN was being disbanded in 2019 and that these two were going to go on as a duo, I was skeptical. We, as Kpop fans, are comfortable in the land of big groups and have been experiencing a mad rush of solo artists, but we haven’t had much experience with duos outside of the odd subunit. When the name was announced, I was doubly concerned. If they went in the direction this new moniker suggested, I would be completely out. I hate seeing an artist or artists go from a mature concept to schoolboy. It breaks my heart both for me and for them.
But they didn’t do that. They did this…They did wonderful and interesting and amazing. I was completely blown away by the title track, My Angel, to their EP Phase One: You and loved the other four tracks almost as much. I am insanely excited to see what they do moving forward.
Go! Go! Yuvin and KookHeon, I’m all here for you.
My Angel, B.O.Y