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9 *Iconic* K-Pop Groups That Were Formed Through Survival Shows

K-pop groups who were formed through survival shows
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/real_2pmstagram, Instagram/twicetagram

Thanks to the Produce series, survival shows have become one of the trendy ways to form and debut groups. While the show spurs project groups such as I.O.I and Wanna One (both of which we miss dearly!), other survival shows have actually paved the way for iconic idols that are impressing us with their talent for years!

Can’t think of one? No worries, we got you! Here are 10 popular K-pop groups formed through survival shows:


TWICE was formed through SIXTEEN, a survival show organized by JYP Entertainment in partnership with Mnet. The show aired in 2015 and initially aimed to select seven members to debut in a new girl group. Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, and Chaeyoung were the ones who were chosen.

Park Jin Young, the founder of JYP Entertainment, chose to increase the group’s line-up from seven to nine in the finale. He added Tzuyu since she was the most popular contestant among viewers. He also included Momo in the line-up, as he believed the group needed someone with strong dancing skills. Today, TWICE is now known as the second “Nation’s Girl Group” and we have J.Y. Park to thank for this amazing nine-member line-up! 



The show BIGBANG Documentary showed how the boys strived to form the group and maintain their position. The series showed BIGBANG’s pre-debut line-up, which consisted of six members. Five of them are the BIGBANG we know now— Taeyang, G-Dragon, T.O.P., Daesung, and Seungri. The sixth member is Hyunseung, who was removed from the line-up in the final elimination. BIGBANG Documentary was such a huge hit that the internet broadcast of the documentary surpassed one million views!


In 2016, Double Kick Entertainment (now known as MLD Entertainment) organized a survival program with Mnet to form their next girl group. The show, titled Finding MOMOLAND, has ten trainees competing to debut in the company’s new girl group. The show gave us the first line-up of MOMOLAND: Hyebin, Ahin, Jane, JooE, Nancy, Nayun, and Yeonwoo.

MOMOLAND debuted on November 9, 2016, five months since the airing of Finding MOMOLAND. Currently, the group consists of Hyebin, Ahin, Jane, JooE, Jane, Nancy, and Nayun.

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MONSTA X was formed through the survival program NO.MERCY, which was organized by Starship Entertainment and Mnet. The show started airing in December 2014 and spanned 10 episodes. Originally, the program had twelve trainees competing to debut in a seven-member boy group. By episode eight, the number of contestants increased to thirteen, with I.M joining in the middle of filming. 

The finale consisted of nine hopefuls battling to debut in the final group. In the end, it was Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M who made it as the members of MONSTA X

5. iKON

iKON went through not one, but TWO survival programs before their debut! B.I, Bobby, Jinhwan, Junhoe, Donghyuk, and Yunhyeong competed in the Mnet survival show WIN: Who Is Next in 2013 as Team B. They competed against Team A but ultimately lost. [9]

In 2014, they all competed in Mix & Match, a follow-up to WIN: Who Is Next. While Bobby, B.I, and Jinhwan were confirmed to debut at the start, the other members of Team B competed against three other YG Entertainment trainees for the chance to debut. In the end, all members of Team B debuted, with the addition of Chanwoo



Since we talked about iKON, it only makes sense to mention WINNER! The group is the result of the survival program, WIN: Who Is Next. Team A, which consists of Jinwoo, Seunghoon, Mino, Seungyoon, and Taehyun, competed against Team B and were ultimately named the winner in the finale. That is how the group earned their name— because they're the WINNER!


SEVENTEEN was formed through the reality show SEVENTEEN Project: Debut Big Plan. Unlike other shows that where trainees competed against each other, this show was described as “trainees versus Pledis,” or the trainees versus their own company. The reality program showed SEVENTEEN fighting against the odds to make it to their live debut showcase. 

8. 2AM and 2PM

2AM and 2PM were put together as they were formed through the same show. Originally, the members of 2AM and 2PM were under a group named One Day. They appeared in the documentary series Hot Blood Men, which captured the group’s rigorous training program and featured eliminations of trainees from the group. 


By the end of the show, One Day had eleven members. The eleven were then split into two groups: 2PM consisted of Jay Park (who left the group in 2010), Jun.K, Nichkhun, Taecyeon, Wooyoung, Junho, and Chansung. The 2AM members are Jo Kwon, Lee Changmin, Lim Seulong, and Jeong Jinwon2PM was known as the hip-hop group, while 2AM was the ballad group.


This CUBE Entertainment boy group was also formed through a survival show. In 2016, the company’s trainees competed in the Mnet reality program Pentagon Maker. In the show, members were evaluated individually or in units and were judged on their talent and teamwork. Originally, contestants Shinwon, E.Dawn, and Yanan were eliminated on the show. But they ultimately debuted with the other members, Jinho, Hui, Hongseok, Yeo One, Yuro, Kino, and Wooseok

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