After a whirlwind year, the 11-member temporary Korean girl group I.O.I came to an end with the release of “Downpour” on Tuesday (Jan. 17). The single is the act’s final project together after rising to fame in 2016 and becoming one of Korea’s most popular acts of the year.
The song’s sweet melody and romantic lyrics represent the 11 members’ feelings toward the people that have supported them throughout their fast-paced career. After a year that brought the 11 women from obscurity to fame, the single is a gentle finale that expresses I.O.I’s hope to meet their fans again in the future.
The ballad was co-written by Seventeen’s Woozi, a labelmate of I.O.I’s Lim Na Young and Zhou Jieqiong.
The song’s accompanying music video featured documentary-style footage of the I.O.I members throughout their year together. The group was formed through the Korean television program Produce 101 in 2016, and the 11 women were picked from over 100 hopefuls aiming to be K-pop stars. The group’s name I.O.I is an acronym for “Ideal of Idol,” which emphasizes the member’s expertise and potential as some of the top K-pop idol trainees of 2016.
A sibling show to Produce 101 is in production this year and will feature a similar competition focused on male K-pop trainees.
I.O.I released several hit songs in South Korea since last April when they released their first EP, Chrysalis. They have since released several other EPs and singles and performed Stateside at KCON LA last summer. Their final release of 2016, “Very Very Very,” was an energetic electro-pop song that went viral in South Korea and topped Korean music charts. “Downpour” also swiftly rose up Korean music charts following its release.
Although I.O.I proved to be very popular and gained traction in the K-pop industry, the group was created as a temporary act that would only last through 2016. Beginning last year, even while they were in the middle of I.O.I promotions, members began to disentangle themselves from the team’s name. Several members already have become part of rookie K-pop girl groups including DIA, Gugudan and Cosmic Girls, and at least two will debut as members of a new group, Pristin, later this year. Other former I.O.I-ers are pursuing solo careers, while some members are branching out among other areas of the Korean entertainment industry.