The premiere of MBC’s new survival show “Under 19” gave viewers their first look at its talented contestants!

“Under 19” is a survival show in which teenage contestants battle for spots in a brand-new idol group. The 57 contestants are divided into vocal, dance, and rap teams, and they compete against one another within their respective divisions.

The program also features celebrity directors who will serve as mentors for each team. The directors are EXID’s Solji and Crush for the vocal team, Super Junior’s Eunhyuk and Hwang Sang Hoon for the dance team, and Dynamic Duo for the rap team. Actress Kim So Hyun is the show’s MC.

On the November 3 premiere of the show, the celebrity directors and Kim So Hyun spoke about the importance of the number 19 in their lives and expressed pride in each of their teams.

Kim So Hyun also explained the program’s voting system, announcing, “Viewers can vote for the idol candidates that they support on the show’s official website. You can vote for a total of nine idol candidates, regardless of their teams, once a day. Starting today, voting will be open every day until the announcement of the first rankings, which will determine which idol candidates survive and which are eliminated.”

All 57 contestants and the directors then gathered at the studio for the first round of evaluations. Kim So Hyun announced, “After the contestants each show their individual performances within their vocal, rap, and dance positions, the idol candidates on each team will be ranked from first to 19th place, based 50 percent on the score they receive from their team directors and 25 percent on each of the scores they receive from the other teams’ directors.”

The first contestant was Kim Youngwon, a vocal candidate from Virginia who performed Zion.T’s “No Makeup.” Crush and Solji praised him for his voice, mentioning that he probably wouldn’t be nervous because he had experience busking. After seeing his performance, Dynamic Duo commented, “The other contestants must be nervous.” Kim Youngwon received a high score of 88, and as the first candidate, he automatically took first place.

The second contestant to perform was Kim Youngseok, the youngest member of the vocal team at 14 years old (by Korean reckoning). After saying, “I like [the singers] Cho Yong Pil and Yoo Jae Ha,” he sang Cho Yong Pil’s “I Wish It Could Be That Way Now” (literal title).

Kim Youngseok then went on to sing Yoo Jae Ha’s “You in My Arms” (literal title). Before his performance, he revealed, “Last year, a close friend of mine from childhood passed away in an accident. The song we enjoyed listening to together every day was Yoo Jae Ha’s ‘You In My Arms’ (literal title). I chose this song because I wanted to sing while thinking of him.” He received a score of 88.75, beating Kim Youngwon to take first place.

Kim Taewoo, a contestant who described himself as a Park Seo Joon look-alike when he smiles, ended up crying after the directors criticized him for not staying on pitch and for making mistakes with the song’s rhythm and lyrics.

A talented contestant from New York named Jay Chang made a strong impression on the directors, with Crush and Solji commenting, “It feels like we gained a thousand troops. As long as he doesn’t make a mistake, I think he may be able to change the ranking [to take first place]. He’s a talented person who has to stand at the forefront of our team.” Jay Chang then stole the directors’ hearts with his performance of Sam Kim’s “Seattle.”

Eunhyuk then introduced the dance team’s contestants, explaining, “The dance team has many international members, many talented members, and multiple contestants who will stand at the forefront of ‘Under 19’ and lead the show.”

Kosuke, an experienced contestant who has promoted in Japan and even performed at the Tokyo Dome, briefly claimed first place after impressing the directors with his powerful performance.

However, he was soon overtaken by Jeon Doyum, a contestant with a cute image who transformed the moment he began dancing.

Suren, a contestant from Hong Kong who is already famous for his dancing skills, received applause from all of the directors for his performance of SEVENTEEN’s “Clap.”

Other dance team contestants, however, received some criticism. Kim Junseo, a contestant who said that he wanted to be the visual center of the dance team, was told that his balance looked shaky, with Hwang Sang Hoon suggesting that he work on his pace.

Kim Shihyun told the directors before his performance, “I can’t do flashy things like the other contestants. I can only do cover dances and a little of urban dance.” Hwang Sang Hoon later commented, “That remark was very impolite, and it’s proof that you don’t trust yourself. You need to believe in yourself and practice harder.”

Last but not least was the rap team. Dynamic Duo described their first contestant Yoo Yongha by saying, “There are many handsome rappers nowadays, but I don’t think there are many rappers that are this handsome.”

Jeong Taekhyeon, a former host of the children’s television show “Tok! Tok! Boni Hani,” showed off his rapping skills after revealing, “I’m sincerely preparing to debut as an idol.”

The rap team’s youngest contestant, Bang Junhyuk, went straight to the top after showing a charismatic performance.

Jang Rui, a contestant from Hong Kong, introduced himself as someone who transforms into a “psycho” whenever he hears music. Despite forgetting the lyrics during his performance, he delivered a surprising twist by managing to take first place nonetheless.

Contestant Lee Minwoo revealed, “I’m the son of 015B vocalist Lee Jang Woo. My goal is to become more successful than my dad.” He went on to take third place with his performance.

Dynamic Duo introduced Park Jinoh as a contestant who studies hard enough to receive top grades at school and who also knows how to tell his own story through his rapping.

After explaining that he had written about something that he went through with his father when he was having a hard time getting along with his classmates, Park Jinoh performed an emotional self-written song about getting into a fight at school and bonding with his father afterwards. His moving performance earned him first place.

The rankings from the first round of evaluations will be announced on the next episode of “Under 19,” which airs on Saturdays at 6 p.m. KST.

Check out the first episode of the show below!

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