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8 Music-Themed Korean Variety Shows You Will Surely Enjoy

You’ll be joining many other fandoms by the time you finish these shows.
Music-themed Korean variety shows
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) YOUTUBE/KBS WORLD, YOUTUBE/MNET K-POP
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If you love K-pop, you’re probably already familiar with survival shows like Produce 101 and I-Land. The good news is, there are plenty more shows where that came from, and you can take your pick of genres and artists, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Check out this list, and get your fill of all things musical, from game shows to live music shows, all available for streaming on Viu.

Music-themed Korean Variety Shows You Will Definitely Enjoy

1. Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook (2009-present)

This classic show is a talk show mixed with live music performances. Around four different artists get featured every ep. The performances are done live (with a live band), making Sketchbook a great opportunity for musicians to showcase their vocal chops and their versatility. Artists from all genres appear on the show, among them K-pop idols like TXT, (G)I-DLE, and TREASURE; solo artists like Sung Si Kyung, Gummy, and Ailee; rappers like Cheetah, Lil Boi, and DinDin; and bands like Hyukoh, 10cm, and Boohwal.

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2. Immortal Songs: Singing The Legend (2012-present)

Different guest singers perform the songs of a legendary singer every episode, and the audience votes for a winner per round. At the end of the show, only one of them gets crowned the ultimate winner. You’ll see plenty of your fave singers performing here, including idols like Ateez and IZ*ONE. Among legendary singers they’ve featured are Kim Wan Sun, Rain, and BoA. They do songwriter/producer, drama, and genre specials as well, like a BTS x Pdogg special and an entire episode featuring the talented cast of Zombie Detective.

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3. Hidden Singer (2013-2020)

Established singers are in for the challenge of their lives as they compete against a group of great impersonators. In each round, the original artist gets mixed in with the impersonators. Based on just their singing voices, the audience must select which person they feel isn’t the real singer. The one with the most votes gets eliminated. The final round then has the audience voting for who they think is the original singer—assuming, of course, that the original is still in the final round! We know our ears were definitely confused. Catch Rain, Hwasa (MAMAMOO), and Kim Jong Kook as guest singers in the most recent season.

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4. I Can See Your Voice (2015-2021)

This popular singing game show has spawned franchised versions worldwide, including one in the Philippines. In each ep, a different guest singer is tasked to find the real singers hidden among tone-deaf participants. If the guest succeeds at the end of three rounds, the winning contestant gets a chance to record and release a song. All sorts of people have joined the show as contestants, including idols and actors. The original Korean show has launched careers, most notably that of solo artist Hwang Chi Yeul, a former vocal trainer who became a hit in both South Korea and China. 

5. King Of Mask Singer (2015-present)

This award-winning show features contestants competing in knockout rounds while wearing elaborate masks. The final winner then has to compete against the current “King.” Whoever wins becomes King and stays on to compete again until they’re defeated. In between performances, a guest judging panel makes comments and tries to guess the singers’ identities. All sorts of celebrities have joined the show from comedians to idol group members. Among the idols who’ve won, HIGHLIGHT’s Yang Yo Seob currently holds the record for most wins at eight (we won’t reveal his stage name on the show, so you can have fun guessing while watching).

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6. Queendom (2019)

Six girl group acts compete for a chance to win a comeback show at the finals. Each week, the girls perform based on a given theme, and viewers get to follow their journey from rehearsal to stage. There’s a fun round that has the girls from different groups interacting for unit performances, too. Among the acts to participate are MAMAMOO, Park Bom (2NE1), Oh My Girl, (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, and AOA. The show was a hit with Korean audiences when it was airing, and each act got to release their comeback single in the finale.

7. Kingdom: Legendary War (2021)

After the success of Queendom, a version geared towards boy groups was also created. It started with Road to Kingdom in 2020, whose final winner earned the right to compete in Kingdom: Legendary War, along with five other groups. Like the female version, each team would produce new songs in the final round. This time around, the winner gets to have their own reality show. The groups competing include Ateez, BtoB, SF9, Stray Kids, The Boyz, and iKon. The show featured out-of-this-world performances with superb production value that had fans worldwide paying attention while it was airing.

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8. Loud (2021)

In this ongoing survival show, head honchos Park Jin Young of JYP Entertainment and PSY of P Nation come together to pick contestants to be part of two separate boy groups. Newbies, former trainees, and actual trainees from P Nation and JYPE all vie for a spot on the show. In the first round of screening where the boys showcase their charm and talent, both JYP and Psy have to hit their buttons and reach level 3 for contestants to pass. The boys then go through rounds of performance with contestants getting eliminated from each round.

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