By Nadine Kam
2019 already got off to a good start with BTS Jimin’s release of his solo song “Promise” on New Year’s Eve in South Korea.
Given BTS’s success over the past year, the most awaited debut will be that of their parent company Big Hit Entertainment’s new boy group. Though Big Hit is not leaking any information about the group’s members, stalkers have kept an eye on the coming and going of potential members outside of the company’s headquarters and posted their videos to YouTube. The image at top allegedly shows some of the mystery members, said to have an average age of 17. The group is rumored to be debuting in March.
Also, with YG Entetainment’s broadcast of its “YG Treasure Box” series (10 p.m. Friday nights KST on Naver’s V Live, and again two hours later at midnight on YouTube) on the making of its next boy band from its “treasure box” of trainees, you can expect them to strike while interest is high and debut said band.
Along with debuts will come goodbyes in 2019.
Most prominent was the Dec. 31, 2018, disbandment of Wanna One, another group formed through a broadcast competition.
The group debuted in August 2017 following selection during the music survival show “Produce 101,” Season 2, reached the end of their contracts and although they were very popular and racked up 43 Korean and international awards and 49 Korean music program awards in its brief tenure, there was no plan by management company Swing Entertainment to renew their contract.
With awards season continuing through spring, however, Wanna One will attend the award shows and will stage finale concerts in Seoul Jan. 24 through 27.
Although the disbandment was sad, given that they ended their year’s run on top of charts, the future looks bright. Although fans will miss them as a unit, it’s hard to feel sad for the individual members who will reap a small fortune from their year’s work. In that time, the group generated nearly 80 billion won (USD $71 million) in revenue since debut, with 44 billion won net profit, according to Sports Seoul, and each group member will walk away with a share in the income.
Here’s a look at some of their current plans:
Yoon Ji-sung: The group’s oldest member is slated to release a solo album on Feb. 20 February. He will also be starring in the musical, “The Days,” before enlisting in the South Korean military this spring.
Kang Daniel: Signed to the same agency as Yoon Ji-sung, he is planning to release solo music, although no details are available. He recently opened his own Instagram account to keep fans updated and picked up 1 million followers within 12 hours.
Kim Jae-hwan: He is said to be writing his own music with a solo career in mind.
Hwang Min Hyun: The former NU’EST member will be rejoining his former group under the Pledis Entertainment banner.
Lee Dae Hwi and Park Woo Jin: Have been signed by Brand New Music and will be making their debut in a group alongside MXM’s Lim Young Min and Kim Dong Hyun. The group’s lineup is still being finalized, but an April or May debut is expected.
Ha Sung Woon: Signed with Star Crew Entertainment. It is unclear whether he will be going solo or returning to his former band HOTSHOT.
Ong Seong-wu: Is exploring a future in acting and is reported to be joining a JTBC drama series.
Lai Kuan-Lin: Will be filming another reality TV show, then taking a role in a Chinese TV drama series.
Park Ji-hoon: Has also been offered acting roles but is currently considering his options as he also plans to continue singing, according to Maroo Entertaintment.
Bae Jinyoung: Will focus on acting, as well as forming another music team.
Due to contracts coming to an end in 2019, some groups that may come to an end this year due to relations with their companies or loss of members include B.A.P., AOA, Mr Mr, Cross Gene, BIGSTAR and 24K.
Other contracts coming to an end include that of Vixx and NU’EST, but with Hwang Min Hyun rejoining his former band, they are likely to continue with renewed energy.