Produce 101 marked a revolution in the K-pop scene popularizing the survival show format as a venue to showcase talents and to build pre-debut exposure. Since then, there have been countless survival programs with the same concept or idea—to create or form a debut group from several trainees/contestants determined by popularity.
Though we may say we’re tired of them now, it’s undeniable that these survival shows, or much more appropriately, the trainees of these shows definitely produced quality performances that left a mark onto the minds of many. Let’s look at The SLY Choice for the legendary vocal performances by female trainees from K-pop survival shows! Please be noted that only one performance per show will be included.
Yanghwa BRDG | Produce 101 (2016)
Let’s start with this amazing performance by the talented trainees of Produce 101! During the show’s position evaluations, Yoon Chaekyung, Kim Sejeong, Kim Nayoung, and Oh Seojung teamed up to perform Zion.T’s “Yanghwa BRDG”. The group performed the song with much talent that it became the most popular and most viewed performance of the show’s position evaluations. In the end, the group’s center, Kim Sejeong, emerged to be the most voted trainee during the said portion of Produce 101.
Other great vocal performances of Produce 101 includes the trainees’ rendition of John Park and Huh Gak’s “My Best” and Jellyfish Entertainment trainees’ audition stage of Nikki Yasofsky’s “Something New”.
Decalcomanie | My Teenage Girl (2022)
The most recent inclusion in this list is the winning vocal performance of My Teenage Girl contestants. My Teenage Girl adapts a unique school concept where the girls are age-divided by grades as they all fight for their debut spots. In the show’s “Grade Union Battles”, 1st grader Park Boeun joins 2nd graders Won Jimin, Kim Riwon, and Lee Youngchae in performing Mamamoo’s “Decalcomanie”. Despite the girls being comparatively young in age with their ages spanning from 13-15 years old, they showcased their masterful vocals and emerged victorious by a huge margin garnering 830 points against the 3rd-4th graders’ 170 points.
My Teenage Girl is still airing and will hold its final episode on February 27. You can also check out the opposing team’s performance of Taeyeon’s “I” and the 2nd graders’ performance of “Twinkle” by Girls’ Generation-TTS!
The Truth Untold | Produce 48 (2018)
In 2017, Mnet surprised everyone when they announced that the third installment of the Produce series would be in collaboration with the popular J-pop idol group AKB48 and its sister groups. Compared to its predecessors, Produce 48 faced some criticism because of the trainees’ lack of skills, specially since even though the Japanese trainees have already debuted in Japan, they haven’t done any proper training to hone their talents as compared to the Korean trainees; that is why this performance of “The Truth Untold” by BTS was a game-changer. The brilliant four-piece who rearranged the original song for this vocal performance version includes three Japanese trainees Iwatate Saho, Miyazaki Miho, and Takeuchi Miyu and one Korean trainee Jang Gyuri. This performance is lauded because of the piercing emotions every trainee poured into their singing.
Jackpot | The Unit (2017)
Unlike other survival shows’ contestants being mostly trainees of entertainment companies, The Unit is primarily composed of idols that have already debuted and are still relatively unknown or are looking for a change in pace. I often regard The Unit as one of, if not, the best survival shows ever, and to this day, I still stand by my opinion.
It goes without saying that with their years of training and experience, the winning vocal position performance of The Unit is referred to as being “legendary” because the quality speaks for itself. BESTie’s Hyeyeon, then Good Day’s Heejin, Melody Day’s Yeoeun, Dal Shabet’s Woohee, and soloist Shin Jihoon performed a show-stopping vocal rendition of the original rap-centric song by Block B and defeated the opposing team’s rendition of “Last Dance” by Big Bang.
We may be tired of these survival shows but can’t help to admit we have the tiniest bit of interest in them. Do you know any other iconic performances from survival shows? Drop them down in the comments below!