International

X1 Disbands Amid 'Produce 101' Vote-Fixing Controversy

X1
Courtesy of HNS HQ

X1

Boy band X1 was revealed today (Jan. 6) to have disbanded following controversy over the way it, as well as other K-pop acts, were formed through the South Korean television Produce competition series. 

Representatives of the act’s 11 members issued a joint press release today stating, “The X1 members and each of the agencies negotiated under the condition of unanimous agreement, but we could not come to an agreement, so we have decided on their disbandment.”

Featured on Korean cable channel Mnet, which is operated by CJ ENM, the Produce series aired four seasons between 2016 and 2019, and featured hundreds of young talent competing to debut in the resulting K-pop groups: I.O.I, Wanna One, IZ*ONE, and X1.

After the formation of X1 last year, it came to light that the competition had been fixed, and that votes had been erroneously applied to different competitors, despite Mnet charging South Korean audiences to vote for their personal favorite talent. Additionally, it was later reported that certain competitors had been given advantages based on behind-the-scenes deals made between Mnet staff and entertainment companies. Following further investigation, it was revealed that other Produce-formed groups had also been similarly affected and investigation is ongoing regarding the extent, with several individuals involved in the show's production reportedly charged on allegations relating to recieving bribes and rigging Produce seasons, and investigations are ongoing; I.O.I has been inactive since 2017 and Wanna One since 2018. 

X1 released their first album Quantum Leap fronted by the single “Flash” in August; the album debuted on the World Albums chart at No. 9. 

The statement announcing X1’s end was jointly released by Play M Entertainment, Yuehua Entertainment, TOP Media, OUI Entertainment, MBK Entertainment, Woollim Entertainment, DSP Media, Starship Entertainment, and Brand New Music, each of which represented one or more members of the short-lived team. It came just a few days after CJ ENM ended 2019 with a vow to "take necessary steps" to "compensate" those affected, and saw the company allege that X1 and IZ*ONE's futures would see the two acts remain whole.

“Although we [CJ ENM] did our best to continue X1, we honor the decision of each individual label/agency that came to a conclusion to disband the group,” a CJ representative tells Billboard via written statement.

IZ*ONE, which is currently on hiatus amid the controversy, is still in what appear to be “positive” discussions regarding that act’s continued future together. 

Following the news of X1’s end, several former members left video messages for fans. Fans of the act trended multiple hashtags on Twitter, including “We trust X1.”