MBC’s “Wild Idol” has made its premiere!

“Wild Idol” is an audition show that evaluates contestants based on physical stamina, skill level, and hidden potential as they take to the great outdoors and battle for the chance to debut.

There are 45 contestants, who are competing to make it into the top 14 and eventually the seven-member debut lineup. Kim Jong Kook is the host of the show, while Cha Tae Hyun, Lee Sun Bin, INFINITE’s Sunggyu, Brave Girls’ Yujeong, and Lee Hyun Yi are panelists. Tiger JK, Bizzy, Lia Kim, NELL’s Kim Jong Wan, Sunggyu, SHINee’s Minho, and Minzy will appear as trainers.

In the premiere episode, which aired on September 17, Brave Girls’ Yujeong shared some advice for the contestants. “It’s tough to survive as an idol, so I was ready to give up, when a miracle appeared,” she said, referring to Brave Girls’ sudden resurgence with “Rollin'” on the music charts that launched them into the spotlight. “It might be too much for me to say this, but I hope that everyone can hold on until the end.”

In this episode, the 45 contestants gathered outside the tower in the wild and were told about the rules. They weren’t allowed to ask each other’s names, each other’s ages, or about each other’s past. If the rules or the environment were too difficult to adjust to, the contestants were free to remove their numbers and quit. There would be seven missions, with stamina being evaluated for 300 points and dance, vocals, rap, visuals, and other skills at 600 points. Online popularity votes would be rated at 100 points, for a total of 1000 points.

After the show’s set-up was explained, Lee Hyun Yi asked Kim Jong Kook, “If there was a show like this at the time, would you have appeared on it?” Cha Tae Hyun, who is longtime friends with Kim Jong Kook, quipped, “If Kim Jong Kook was on this show, he’d place first in all the missions but get 15 points in terms of popularity votes.” Kim Jong Kook admitted, “I think that if I were to return to my 20s, I would have an advantage on this show.”

Sunggyu observed about the show’s wild environment, “I didn’t even know there was a setting like this in all of Korea.”

Following the explanation of the rules, the 45 contestants kicked things off with a warm-up mission, which was a race. No. 45 placed first, while No. 21 placed second and No. 22 placed third. First place was allowed to reveal their name, and so No. 45 was revealed to be Heo Seung Min. (The full list of contestants by number is here.)

The rest of the episode was devoted to stamina missions. The contestants were divided into three groups and Julien Kang appeared as a muscle training professional for Group A. He taught the contestants how to do stone pushups with a rock. Each contestant attempted to do as many pushups as they could, with No. 40 and No. 37 both surpassing 90 pushups. Eventually, No. 40 did 104 pushups to place first.

Despite the difficulty of this mission, Julien Kang moved right into stone squats, with most contestants giving up around Level 5, which was to do squats with a 50 kilogram (110 pound) rock. However, No. 14 succeeded at Level 6, to everyone’s awe. Kim Sunggyu said, “He basically lifted his own weight.” The third mission was stone shot-put, and No. 3 placed first by throwing his rock the furthest.

In Group A, the final winner was No. 37, who placed second in the pushup mission, third in the squat mission, and second in the shot-put mission. His name was revealed to be Jang Joo Na.

Meanwhile, Group B performed missions of flexibility, and No. 23 did well in all areas and got to reveal his name as Baek Joong Hoon. Group C tested their endurance by doing shuttle runs in the ocean. No. 30 and No. 33 were the only ones remaining after 16 rounds, but those two contestants showed a fierce competitiveness and an unwillingness to give up. Eventually, No. 33 took the win.

In Group C’s final mission, which was to roll a 40 kilogram (88 pound) log, No. 33 and No. 34 were the main competitors. However, No. 34 made a mistake and No. 33 took first place overall to reveal his name as Lee Chang Sun.

Lee Sun Bin observed that Lee Chang Sun (No. 33) looked a little like Sunggyu. Cha Tae Hyun joked, “Did you just come back from the mission?” but Sunggyu replied, “If it was me, I would’ve just given up.”

“Wild Idol” will be available on Viki.

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