Mnet’s ultimate girl group survival program, “Produce 101,” continues to garner high ratings and high number of online fan votes on their website despite failing to land trainees from major entertainment companies such as SM, YG, and FNC Entertainment. However, the show continues to face criticism over its massive lineup and its harsh treatment of the girls, many of whom are very young.
Like any other survival program, stars have been born through the show. Strong contenders for the final crown include JYP’s Jun Somi, Jellyfish Entertainment’s Kim Sejung, and Fantagio’s Choi Yoo Jung. As many male fans are interested in the show, popularity counts for much on scores for trainees such as Kim Sohye.
Recently, a Korean media outlet speculated on why the trainees from Jellyfish Entertainment and Pledis Entertainment were performing so well on “Produce 101.” At the end of the fourth episode, following the team missions, Jellyfish trainee Kim Sejung had risen to first place. The other Jellyfish girls, Kim Na Young and Kang Mina, have also shown a strong performance.
Meanwhile, After School’s agency Pledis has sent five girls (Im Na Young, Kim Min Kyung, Park Si Yeon, Joo Kyul Kyung, and Kang Ye Bin) to the Top 11. If the top ranks remain the same until the end, there is no doubt that the project girl group would be heavily weighted in Pledis’ favor.
The media outlet speculates that the reason is because Pledis and Jellyfish only sent out the trainees that were fully prepared for the show. One industry representative said, “Because some major agencies have chosen not to appear, the relative sizes of Jellyfish, Pledis, and Fantagio have increased. Plus, they only sent the trainees with the talent to represent them.”
In order to get the 101 trainees required for the show, many agencies sent trainees that were only a few months into their training. The Top 11, by contrast, have often been training for as much as two or three years.
Another representative said, “If someone is trained at Jellyfish or Pledis, you can be confident that their skills are pretty stable. Because the success of the program is not guaranteed, many agencies might choose not to send their best trainees. For example, Starship Entertainment is currently preparing their new girl group Cosmic Girls, so they would not be sending their aces to ‘Produce 101.’”
Have you been keeping up with the show? Who do you hope will make it into the final roster?