Produce 101 Season 2 Recap: Episode 1
The wait is over. Jang Moon-bok is here to slay Produce 101!
The opening scene is pretty artsy. Just like last season, there’s an old fashioned printing machine spitting out the 101 trainees’ resumes. Then, MC Boa narrates, “When we first met the 101 trainees, we asked them, what does being a trainee mean to you?” Some of the replies include
- It’s like a lone wave
- It’s like an elevator without a button
- An illusion just out of my reach
- Like walking on a tight rope
- A lonely time
- An uphill battle
- The first button on a white shirt
- A word in front of my name that will soon disappear
And that starts off season two of “Produce 101.”
Cut to a triangle shaped stage with blue lights because after all this is the boys’ version of the show. It’s the same set from M Countdown that we saw a few weeks back. Boa is in the middle of the stage and introduces the 101 trainees and briefly mentions the concept of the show where 11 trainees will eventually be picked for a boy group, and then the camera zooms out so that we can see all 101 trainees bowing to the cameras. The theme song “Me, It’s Me” begins playing.
Then there’s a clip explaining that fans can vote on the show’s website or through a mobile app. You can vote for 11 people per day up until April 29th at 11 AM. Are you ready? because voting starts right away (Only those with Korean phone numbers can register to vote though.) Don’t forget to vote for Jang Moon-bok!
There are 101 trainees from 52 different entertainment companies plus a few individuals without companies. The first group of trainees walk in to the Produce 101 set. It’s Lee Kwang-hyun and Jung Se-yoon from Starship Entertainment. They put on their tame tags, and are shocked to see the gigantic set piece, you know the one where they sit according to rank. It’s got star shaped seats for positions #1-#11. They note that it looks a lot bigger in real life than on TV. Both head towards the top of the big triangle set, but eventually decide to start out modestly and sit in seats #40 and #41.
Next are some Fantagio trainees. They note how fellow labelmates Kim Do-yeon and Choi Yoo-jung made it to the final girl group in season one, and wish they have the same luck. Fantagio’s Ong Sung-woo sits in seat #2.
There’s also a trio from Maroo Entertainment which is known for being Kim Jong-kook’s company. Their names are Kwon Hyub, Han Jong-yeong, and Park Ji-hoon. Park Ji-hoon has been one of the frontrunners ever since Produce 101 performed on M Countdown. He was the cute winking boy.
Then, Jung Se-yoon from Cre.ker Entertainment goes for seat #3. Not sure where his fellow trainee Joo Hak-nyeon sat. C9’s Bae Jin-young walks in next. Everyone’s just sitting wherever they want to sit, and also there’s a flashing screen that announces what each trainee wrote down as their expected rank before the show began filming. A bunch of trainees from smaller agencies also walk in.
Next, a few Brave Entertainment trainees walk in next. It seems like the other trainees are a bit intimidated by “Brave Sound~” especially Kim Samuel. There’s a clip of Brave Brother telling Kim Samuel to get first place. The MMO trainees comment on how small his face is and good looking he is. Kim Samuel heads right for seat #1, but then turns back to seat #59. That was where Jeon So-mi sat, so he thinks it’s a lucky seat.
There are four guys from Brand New Music, the hip hop label with SanE, MC Gree, etc. The other trainees are tilting their heads like, “What are hip hoppers doing at a Produce 101 competition?” Their names are Lee Dae-hwi, Park Woo-jin, Kim Dong-hyun, and Lim Young-min who’s been training for two years and four months. He says he’s young, but scary, so the viewers need to stay on their toes because he’ll be number one. Lee Dae-hwi really wants to sit in seat #1, but he doesn’t want to be criticized for being too arrogant. He’s got a lot of aegyo and is just 17 years old. He’s getting a lot of screen time already, and he was in the center during that M Countdown performance, so he must be really talented.
The #1 seat is still left open. No one wants to sit there. There’s a montage of the rest of the seats filling up. Speed through trainees from Hunus Entertainment, Jackie Chan’s boygroup JJCC, TOPPDOGG, HOTSHOT, etc.
Finally, Pledis Entertainment’s NU’EST walks out. The other trainees are excited to see some real celebrities. There’s Hwang Min-hyun, Kim Jong-hyun (JR), Choi Min-ki (Ren), and Kang Dong-ho (Baekho) walking in all confident while wearing black suits. They look cool, but then someone whispers they must be sad because they debuted first but were surpassed by their labelmate juniors Seventeen. Ouch! Even though they’re six year veteran idols, Hwang Min-hyun whispers to his group member that they need to always stay humble.
There are also five trainees from Rainbow Bridge World, famous for MAMAMOO.
Jellyfish Entertainment sends a trainee that looks like a member from VIXX.
Enter CUBE. It’s the biggest label so far. The trainees are Lai Guan Lin and Yoon Seon-ho. Both look pretty young.
More trainees from GTL, Banana, Kim, and Yue Hwa Entertainment. The Yue Hwa Entertainment guys are so good looking, that they make the other trainees nervous especially Brand New’s Lee Dae-hwi who pouts at how much more handsome they are than he is.
Then the board flashes YG. Everyone’s shocked that such a major label is participating. Oh it’s actually just YGKPlus, the model subsidiary. LOL at the epic troll move by Mnet. Then, music from the “Lonely Shining Goblin” plays as four tall models walk in.
The Produce 101 set piece is almost completely filled now, but no one’s been brave enough yet to sit it seat #1.
Just then, Gon Entertainment’s Hong Eun-ki goes for it. Everyone claps as they watch him sit.
Next up is FNC Entertainment. Another big name. There aren’t many seats left, so FNC’s Yoo Hwa-seung heads for the top and kicks out the guy in the #1 seat who just gives it up to him without a fight. The trainees are allowed to battle over seats, and are told to come up with their own way to decide the winner . . .
Now, it’s time for trainees without labels. Five of them walk in. Lee In-soo wants to sit at the top. Yoo Hwa-seung isn’t going to give it up easily though. They decide to arm wrestle for the seat. Yoo Hwa-seung wins fairly easily.
Finally, the Hip Hop President, Jang Moon-bok walks onto the set with as much swagger as you’d expect, with his long hair majestically swinging side to side. All the trainees get up to clap and cheer. I’m glad to see Jang Moon-bok smiling so brightly. He truly is the icon of positivity.
There aren’t many seats left on the stage, so Jang Moon-bok considers the #1 seat and goes for it. Jang Moon-bok suggests to Yoo Hwa-seung they do a children’s word play game. They have to say “Tang-soo-yook” which means sweet and sour pork in Korean. The two will say one syllable at a time, and the first to mess up loses. Of course rapper Jang Moon-bok wins.
That’s it for our trainees, so now MC Boa walks onto the set and introduces herself to the 101 trainees. It’s been 18 years since Boa debuted and she talks a bit about her trainee days and encourages the boys to work hard because she understands what they’re going to. Aw Boa is so nice.
Jang Moon-bok fanboys over Boa and I’m glad Mnet is giving him a lot of screen time.
Boa explains the rules of the show. There will be 5 evaluations where the trainees are voted for and sorted according to rank. There will be eliminations each time for who don’t make the cut. The number of seats will slowly disappear until 11 survivors will be put into an idol group, and the one with the most votes will be the center of the group.
Boa then introduces the Produce 101 training team.
The vocal trainers
- SG Wannabe’s Lee Seok-hoon
- YG’s Shin Yoo-mi
- Park Kahi
- Kwon Jae-seung
- Don Mills
It’s time to start the first round of evaluations so that the trainees can get rated from A-F, and placed in proper classes for training. Everyone’s worried about making the right first impression.
Boa asks who wants to go first. The five guys from Yue Hwa Entertainment bravely raise their hands. There’s Ahn Hyung-seop, Justin Huang, Lee Ui-woon, Jung Jung, and Choi Seung-hyuk. They’re going for the cutesy angle, but once they’re in front of the cameras, they start clamming up.
They do a group cover of Got7’s “Just Right.” It’s pretty coordinated and clean, like an already established idol group. The trainers rank them
- Lee Ui-woong → C
- Justin Hwang → C
- Jung Jung → C
- Ahn Hyung-seop → D
- Choi Seung-hyuk → D
Holy Moly. Everyone’s shocked at how harsh the ratings are.
Next up is Park Sung-woo the manly man from HIM Entertainment. He’s 30 years old, making him even older than rap trainer Cheetah. Kahi notes that she debuted at 29, and tells him “fighting!” He dances to Rain’s “Love Song.” He’s good, but not as good as Rain and after the shock of Yue Hwa guys getting Cs and Ds, I’m not expecting him to do well.
Then, he pulls up his shirt up over his shoulders just like Rain to bear his abs. The female trainers like it, (Kahi’s like “Omo Omo~ What should I do?”) but I feel sad watching because I can feel his desperation through the screen.
- Park Sung-woo → F
Park Sung-woo is shocked at his rank, but tries to hold back his emotions. Trainer Kwon Jae-seung motivates him by saying he can improve.
Flashforward through a bunch of trainees getting poor ratings including Kim Ye-hyun, Lee Jun-woo, Kim Yeon-guk, Yoo Hyo-yeon, Lee Seo-gyun, and Choi Hee-soo. Kahi even asks someone why he’s here if that’s all he can do. Boa tells them she’ll help them though. Kahi and Boa and like the angel and devil.
I really like that Boa is this season’s MC. She’s much more qualified that Jang Geun-seuk who just picked the good looking girls. She has a lot of concrete feedback and really knows what she’s talking about. She’s not going to go too easy on them though and has some harsh words as well, but at least she says it in a softer tone than Kahi.
Oh wait I take that back. Boa’s pretty scary too. There’s a guy who’s been training for six years and she asks him why he even came out here if he’s going to do so poorly. She also says if a performance isn’t memorable, it’s an F.
Boa finally smiles when she sees the trainees without labels. They perform “Hey Mama!” Kim Jae-hwan was on the show “God’s Voice” and got his 15 minutes of fame there for his singing skills. He’s looking to be one of the top vocals of the bunch. The trainers ask him to sing another song. He sings “Skyfall” and does a dance too. He’s not a talented dancer, but does have his distinct color, and is a funny dancer. Reminds me of Kkap Kwon.
- Kim Jae-hwan → B
- Choi Dong-hwa → C
- Kim Chan → D
Maroo Entertainment is up. They of course perform to a Turbo song. They have good energy and clean dancing, but the vocals are a bit lacking.
- Park Ji-hoon → C
- Kwon Hyeop → D
- Han Jong-yeon → ?
So far, no one has gotten rank A.
Next up is Kim Samuel, the 5 year trainee from Brave Entertainment. The trainers are looking forward to him because he almost made it into Seventeen, but didn’t make the final cut because he was too young at the time. He sings Chris Brown’s “With You.” Super impressive dance skills. He brings the swagger. I can tell already he’s going to get a lot of comparisons to Jeon So-mi since they’re both biracial.
While the trainers are discussion what grade the give him, Kim Samuel asks if he can do another dance since he wasn’t happy with his original performance. Boa tells him only if he’s confident because his grade may go down. He freestyle dances. He’s really light on his feet and has good rhythm.
- Kim Samuel → A!
Kim Samuel says he’s glad about the A because he can make his mom proud and dreams of the day when he can proudly tell her that he’ll finally be debuting. He tears up at the thought of his mom.
There’s a 10 minute break. Boa spends it being a human jukebox. Looks like she’s having a lot of fun being part of this show. I never realized what a lovely voice she has.
Next up is Cube Entertainment. Season One’s Jeon So-min makes a brief experience to cheer on her label mates. There’s Lai Guan Lin and Yoo Seon-ho who’s only been with Cube for 6 months. They do some pretty basic dance moves. Yoo Seon-ho then does a rap. The trainers ask if he wrote it himself, and he admits his coach helped him. Yoo Seon-ho sings a bit too, but he’s not great. They’re pretty good-natured about their poor rankings though since they weren’t expecting A’s right off the bat.
- Lai Guan Lin → D
- Yoo Seon-ho → F
Then it’s four NU’EST members from Pleidis. They debuted in 2012, and Kahi tears up as she trained with them back in the day. She’s not happy about having to see them start up from the bottom again. In backstage interviews, the NU’EST members talk about how at this rate, it’s not long until they’ll end up disbanding, and they wish to be like I.O.I. or Seventeen.
Kahi keeps crying a lot. They perform, “Because of You,” and it’s just sad how average these guys are. Kahi has to coldly reveal their grade and adds that she knows how hard it must be for them to start over again. She knows how hard the last five years must have been without being able to stand on stage, so she’ll help them learn. She tries to encourage them in the limited time she has, but there’s really not much she can say to take away the sting of their poor evaluation scores.
- Choi Min-ki (Ren) → D
- Kang Dong-ho (Baekho) → D
- Kim Jong-hyun (JR) → D
- Hwang Min-hyun → C
Produce 101 then quickly flashes through a montage of other groups like JJCC and Hotshot. They’re asked why they didn’t give up. A bunch of them say the same thing which is pretty much that they didn’t want to give up because this is their dream.
The next trainee is Ong Sung-woo of Fantagio. There are a lot of Hongs in Korea but no Ongs, so everyone thinks his surname is odd, but at least it’s memorable. During break time, he raised his hand saying he’s confident he can get an A.
Ong Sung-woo dances to “That’s What I Like.” He’s a great dancer and of course has looks good enough to be an actor since Fantagio is a label for actors. He also does some freestyle dancing. Definitely a good dancer. The trainers are super impressed. Even the male judge Lee Seok-hoon, says he’s falling for him.
- Ong Sung-woo → A
Check! It’s finally time for the Hip Hop President. Everyone’s curious to see how much he’s improved since his SuperstarK days seven years ago. Jang Moon-bok introduces himself as the trainee with the flutteringest hair. Boa asks about how he spent the last seven years.
He says he was hurt a lot by SuperstarKand missed being on the stage. During an interview Jang Moon-bok says he wished the judges at SuperstarK had just told him he was a bad rapper and left it at that, but the criticism was overwhelming and he cried alone by himself and felt sorry to this mother for creating so much controversy. He thought about doing something else, but since this is what he likes, he wanted to keep at it, especially since he doesn’t have much to lose, after all, how much more of a laughing stock could he be.
Jang Moon-bok begins dancing to “Boy in Luv,” but of course Mnet cuts of his performance and pushes it back to next week’s episode.
That’s it for today’s evaluations.
Cut to Boa in a hallway practicing her version of “It’s showtime~” How cute. She then walks out to the set and we see the full performance of “Me, It’s Me” that aired on M Countdown a few weeks back.
The episode raps up with a few self introductions clips.
We see clips from the Brand New Music trainees Lee Dae-hwi, Lim Young-min, and Park Woo-jin. I wonder who decided which self intro clips to air because this is a pretty unfair advantage.
The episode ends with the current rankings which of course are going to change.
Produce 101 Episode 1 Rankings
- Park Ji-hoon (Maroo)
- Jang Moon-bok (ONO)
- Lee Dae-whi (Brand New Music)
- Joo Hak-nyeon (Cre.Ker)
- Bae Jin-young (C9)
- Kim Samuel (Brave)
- Ahn Hyeong-seop (Yuehua)
- Ong Seong-woo (Fantagio)
- Lee Eui-woong (Yuehua)
- Lai Guan Lin (CUBE)
- Hwang Min-hyun (Pledis)
- Park Sung-woo (HIM)
- Jung Se-woon (Starship)
- Choi Min-ki (Pledis)
- Kim Jong-hyun (Pledis)
- Kwon Hyun-bin (YGKplus)
- Lee Keon-hee (RBW)
- Justin (Yuehua)
- Kang Dong-ho (Pledis)
- Lee Woo-jin (Media Line)
- Takada Kenta (Star Road)
- Yoo Seon-ho (CUBE)
- Kang Daniel (MMO)
- Im Young-min (Brand New Music)
- Yun Hee-seok (Jellyfish)
- Kim Tae-min (Hanahreum)
- Kim Jae-hwan (-)
- Kim Tae-woo (Narda)
- Hong Eun-ki (GON)
- Lee Jun-woo (F ENT)
- Zhu Zheng Ting (Yuehua)
- Yeo Hwan-ung (RBW)
- Lee In-soo (-)
- Ha Sung-woon (Ardor & Able)
- Yoon Ji-seong (MMO)
- Jung Hyo-joon (YGKplus)
- Kim Tae-woong (The VIBE)
- Choi Dong-ha (-)
- Kim Chan (-)
- Kim Dong-bin (Kiwi Media)
- Kwon Hyeop (Maroo)
- Kim Dong-hyun (Brand New Music)
- Yoo Hoe-seung (FNC)
- Jin Long guo (Chun)
- Lee Gwang-hyun (Starship)
- Kim Sang-been (-)
- Kim Sang-kyun (Hunus)
- Jung Si-hyun (GNi)
- Im Woo-hyuk (Blessing)
- Ha Min-ho (The VIBE)
- Jang Dae-hyeon (Oui)
- Byun Hyun-min (K-Tigers)
- Son Dong-myeong (RBW)
- Seong Hyun-woo (The VIBE)
- Woo Jin-young (HF Music)
- Lee Gun-min (RBW)
- Kim Donghan (Oui)
- Lee You-jin (Namoo Actors)
- Park Woo-dam (HF Music)
- Jung Dong-su (SHOW)
- Roh Tae-hyun (Ardor & Able)
- Lee Hoo-lim (YGKplus)
- Lee Ki-won (2Y)
- Jung Joong-ji (WAYZ)
- Jo Yong-geun (HF Music)
- Kim Hyeon-woo (YGKplus)
- Yoon Jae-chan (The VIBE)
- Choi Hee-soo (I.ONE)
- Kim Seong-lee (C2K)
- Choi Seung-hyeok (Yuehua)
- Kim Ye-hyeon (Widmay)
- Park Woo-jin (Brand New Music)
- Choi Ha-don (Jackie Chan Group Korea)
- Choi Jae-woo (RBW)
- Kim Nam-hyung (SHOW)
- Choi Tae-woong (MMO)
- Joo Jin-woo (MMO)
- Yoo Kyoung-mok (Total Set)
- Yoo Jin-won (Blessing)
- Yoon Yong-bin (Banana)
- Jeong Won-cheol (HF Music)
- Choi Jun-young (STL)
- Kim Jae-han (MMO)
- Han Min-ho (IT)
- Jo Jin-hyung (CS)
- Kim Do-hyun (Gini Stars)
- Jo Sung-wook (Oui)
- Kim Yong-jin (Wings)
- Park Hee-seok (Gini Stars)
- Lee Ji-han (Pan)
- Lee Seo-kyu (IT)
- Ju Won-tak (2Able)
- Kim Chan-yul (Jackie Chan Group Korea)
- Jo Kyu-min (IMX)
- Seo Sung-hyuk (WH Creative)
- Ryu Ho-yeon (I.ONE)
- Kim Yeon-guk (I.ONE)
- Wang Min-hyeok (Gini Stars)
OUT. Nam Yoon-sung (I.ONE) (left the show for health reasons)
OUT. Kim Si-hyun (Choon) (left the show for health reasons)
OUT. Han Jong-yeon (Maroo) (left the show due to a bullying scandal)
Next Week: Jang Moon-bok’s performance, Brand New Music, and the first round of rehearsals for “Me, It’s Me.”