The phenomenon known as the “Korean Wave” has seen Korean popular music, or K-pop, explode in popularity in the past two decades, both domestically and internationally. Today, it seems that nowhere in the world remains untouched by this cultural behemoth, with numerous K-pop groups becoming household names.
The increased accessibility of K-pop through social networking, music streaming services and television has helped carve a path for the broader category of Asian pop music to access an increasingly global audience, thereby creating some of the biggest names in global music today.
Since 2016, the reality survival competition Produce 101 has formed K-pop groups with the assistance of the viewing public via live and online voting. The TV show, produced by Mnet, has garnered a wide following throughout Asia with the equivalent of an impressive one-fifth of South Korea’s population voting for the winners during the Season 2 finale.
The Produce 101 franchise has, to date, created three acts that have proven popular throughout Asia: Wanna One, I.O.I, and IZ*One. The show has been so popular in Asia that it has been expanded to include both Chinese and Japanese versions.
JOOX is the official live-streaming platform for Produce 101 fans in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. This partnership with JOOX will allow fans in these Southeast Asian markets to watch the show live as it is being broadcast simultaneously on Mnet’s channel and watch the playback with subtitles afterwards.
As was the case with Season 2, this newest cycle, the fourth, aims to create a K-pop boy band. The 101 “trainees” find themselves having to navigate through multiple elimination rounds by being graded and ranked into groups such as A, B, C, and D (A being the highest).
Season 4 has been packed with twists and turns from the beginning, including the introduction of the new — and dreaded — group “X” ranking. Those who find themselves in this, the lowest grouping, are instantly exposed to the greatest risk of being eliminated.
Also new this season, the 11th member of the group will not necessarily be the trainee who comes in 11th place during the season finale but will be determined by the total number of votes each trainee garners throughout the entire season. This means that every vote cast weekly has the potential of ensuring a fan’s favorite snags that coveted final spot in the band.
Taking on hosting and mentoring duties this year is actor and model Lee Dong-wook. Lee will serve as the conduit between the contestants and the audience watching at home. Also featured on the show are South Korean rapper Cheetah, songstress Soyou, and singer-songwriter Jooheon.
The season’s new crop of talent includes some very exciting trainees from 47 of the biggest entertainment companies in South Korea. Some of this year’s most popular trainees are: Cha Jun Ho, Nam Donghyun — the brother of former winning trainee Nam Tae Hyun — and Lee Yoo Jin from the TV show “Sky Castle.”
JOOX is thrilled to be the medium that brings this exhilarating show live to fans throughout Asia. Poshu Yeung, vice president of Tencent International Business Group, shared to Billboard Radio China: “We are excited to partner with Mnet, as the official live streaming provider for Produce X 101, and to deliver high-quality music performances to K-pop lovers. K-pop culture is taking audiences by storm the world over, and we are proud to be offering this special entertainment experience to JOOX users and K-pop lovers.”
An exciting feature of the JOOX user experience will be the ability to vote for your favorite trainees and with it, the opportunity to win exclusive Produce X 101 official merchandise. The most supportive fans will win a set of ticket to watch the finale show on July 19 from Mnet’s studio in Seoul, South Korea.
In addition to live-streaming the show, a free download of the JOOX App will also give users access to a host of other content, including video-on-demand playback, regularly updating K-pop playlists, one-on-one interviews, live performances, and other exclusive JOOX content, such as the recently revamped Yo!MTV Raps.
Watch Produce X 101 every Friday night at 10 p.m. in Hong Kong and Malaysia; 9 p.m. in Indonesia and Thailand; and 8:30 p.m. in Myanmar. Episode 11 will air Friday (July 12). Users who need to catch up on any missed episodes can do so by downloading the JOOX app.