A few short months ago, many people (myself included) were a little skeptical of this new season of Produce 101. But now the male version is popular beyond a doubt: 24,690,000 votes were counted for this first round of eliminations! You know it’s trendy when the votes total half the population of South Korea. Now I imagine a lot of those are the same people voting at every interval they can, but that’s still a very impressive number. I thought that the results were going to be pretty predictable – after all, a 3,000 vote benefit is a significant difference. But the rankings aren’t as easy to guess as you’d think!
*WARNING! This recap contains spoilers for Episode 5!* To be honest, I’ve seen all of the episodes at this point. But I’m working hard to write as if I don’t know what will happen!
THE TOP 60
(I’m just going to start with the eliminations. I imagine this is what most people are interested in anyway. I’ll write about all the filler segments after.)
The results are determined by: on-site voting, the 3,000 vote benefit for the winning teams, and the online voting that has been open since the start of the show. They reveal places 1-59, saving the less predictable 60th for last. Unfortunately, sixty people is not much easier to remember than one hundred people. I toyed with the idea of trying to identify everyone, but I couldn’t find an easy way to recognize every single trainee. Instead, I have listed their teams and whether that team won or lost – though I’ll give my opinions on the Top 11.
59. Yoon Jaechan, The Vibe Label – “10 out of 10,” losing team
58. Lee Kiwon, 2Y – “Shock,” winning team
57. Lee Insoo, individual trainee – “Boy in Luv,” losing team
56. Yoo Hoeseung, FNC – “Be Mine,” losing team
55. Park Woodam, HF Music Company – “Mansae,” winning team
54. Kim Namhyung, S.How – “Sorry Sorry,” losing team
53. Kim Yongjin, Wings – “Mansae,” losing team
52. Byun Hyunmin, K-Tigers – “10 out of 10,” winning team
51. Seo Seonghyuk, WH Creative – “Shock” – losing team
50. Jung Jung, Yuehua – “Replay,” winning team
49. Yeo Hwanwoong, RBW – “Replay,” winning team
48. Lee Yoojin, Namoo Actors – “Be Mine,” winning team
47. Ha Minho, The Vibe Label – “Sorry Sorry,” losing team
46. Kim Seonglee, C2K – “Call Me Baby,” winning team
45. Joo Jinwoo, MMO – “Call Me Baby,” losing team
44. Lee Gwanghyun, Starship – “Replay,” winning team
43. Kim Sanggyun, HUNUS – “Replay,” losing team
42. Woo Jinyoung, HF Music Company – “Mansae,” winning team
41. Lee Junwoo, FENT – “Replay,” losing team
40. Kim Yehyun, Widmay – “Be Mine,” losing team
39. Brand New Music, Kim Donghyun – “Be Mine,” winning team
38. Kim Taewoo, Narda – “10 out of 10,” losing team
37. Kim Donghan, OUI – “Call Me Baby,” winning team
36. Hong Eunki, GON – “10 out of 10,” winning team
35. Jung Dongsu, S.How – “Shock,” winning team
34. Kim Yongguk, Chun – “Boy in Luv,” losing team
33. Kim Dongbin, Kiwi Media Group – “Call Me Baby,” losing team
32. Kim Taemin, Han Areum – “10 out of 10,” losing team
31. Justin, Yuehua – “Replay,” winning team
RANKS 21 – 30
30. Yoon Heeseok, Jellyfish – “Call Me Baby,” winning team
29. Lee Gunhee, RBW – “Replay,” winning team
28. Takada Kenta, Star Road – “Be Mine,” winning team
27. Im Youngmin, Brand New Music – “Be Mine,” winning team
26. Noh Taehyun, Ardor & Able – “10 out of 10,” winning team
25. Kim Taedong, The Vibe Label – “Mansae,” winning team
24. Park Woojin, Brand New Music – “10 out of 10,” winning team
23. Kwon Hyunbin, YGK+ – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team
22. Park Sungwoo, HIM – “Be Mine,” winning team
21. Ha Sungwoon, Ardor & Able – “Boy in Luv,” winning team
20. Kang Dongho, Pledis – “Boy in Luv,” losing team
19. Choi Minki, Pledis – “Replay,” winning team
18. Lee Woojin, Media Line – “Be Mine,” winning team
17. Lee Euiwoong, Yuehua – “Boy in Luv,” winning team
16. Kim Jaehwan, independent trainee – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team
15. Yoo Seonho, Cube – “Sorry Sorry,” losing team
14. Jang Moonbok, ONO – “Call Me Baby,” winning team
13. Jung Sewoon, Starship – “Be Mine,” winning team
12. Bae Jinyoung, C9 – “Boy in Luv,” winning team
Some interesting observations before we proceed to the Top 11:
*This episode has several contestants from last season providing commentary: I.O.I.’s Choi Yoojung and Kim Sohye, plus Kim Sohee (who is probably the most famous trainee not in I.O.I.) They’re adorable as always, but I don’t think they really add much to the episode. However, we do learn that Sohye favors Park Woojin (the dancer, not the maknae). I totally would not have guessed he was her type.
*I did some research to see how the live audience voting compared with the online voting
because I’m a nerd. “Replay” received the largest total of votes at the live show 858 with, while “Sorry Sorry” got the least at 730 (remember that audience members could abstain from voting). However, the final rankings show that “Sorry Sorry” and “Boy in Luv” – who got the least amount of votes – have since become the most popular performances. Nearly all four teams involved make the cut, and we’ll see most of them in the Top 11. “Shock” and “Mansae” seem to be the least popular performances, with only one third of the trainees from each match surviving.
*Park Woodam received the most live audience votes out of any trainee, so it’s surprising to see how low he’s ranked. He must really have sounded amazing live.
*Seo Seonghyuk was one of the lowest ranked trainees at 95th, so he’s absolutely stunned to get 51st place. Apparently, he was fully expecting to get eliminated this round and had already planned dinner with his family (so funny and so adorable!).
*A lot of trainees spend the eliminations trying to guess who will be called next (based on Episode 3 rankings and BoA‘s vague clues). Yoo Seonho, however, knows exactly when it’s his turn. BoA says the trainee in question is from Cube, and he figure his name will come up before Lai Guanlin‘s. So he gets all ready to walk onstage before his name is even called, causing some laughter.
*Hwang Minhyun shading Kwon Hyunbin is probably the only moment I laughed out loud during the actual elimination part. I imagine they’re good friends at this point and it’s all in good fun, but oh my lord I’m living for Minhyun’s savageness.
(In the subbed version I watched, Minhyun said “Put that effort into practicing.” I don’t know which is more accurate, but I’d like to think it’s this one because it’s so shady)
THE TOP 11:
(Most of these photos will be terrible, so I apologize in advance. Taking screenshots of people talking is hard!)
11. Hwang Minhyun, Pledis – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team.
It seems like he’s one of the more popular NU’EST members, but we haven’t actually seen much of him yet. From what I have noticed, he has a pleasant voice and nice moves. And yes, he’s pretty easy on the eyes. So I’m pretty neutral on him for now, but I happily look forward to learning more about him in future episodes.
10. Joo Haknyeon, Cre.ker – “Boy in Luv,” winning team.
I know even less about this guy, except that he’s from Jeju Island and he’s really popular – presumably because of his visuals. He had like one line in “Boy in Luv,” so again not enough for me to judge. I’ll have to see how he does in the next round.
9. Lai Guanlin, Cube – “Boy in Luv,” losing team.
The Cube boys are super popular! I’m assuming it’s a combination of their looks and their adorable “baby chick” reputation. But Guanlin definitely did well last week in the “Boy in Luv” challenge and looked super manly, so I’m not surprised he’s got a high rank.
8. Kim Jonghyun, Pledis – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team.
As you could probably tell by my gushing in last episode’s recap, Jonghyun is quickly becoming my new favorite. He didn’t have a lot of stage time in his performance compared to the other “Sorry Sorry” members, so I’m glad that voters were able to recognize his kindness and earnestness in his job as leader.
7. Lee Daehwi, Brand New Music – “Boy in Luv,” winning team.
When Daehwi’s spot is announced, eyes widen and mouths drop across the room. Everyone seems absolutely shocked that he fell so many spots – that is, everyone except Daehwi himself. Based on the comments he makes, I think he realized MNET giving him the evil edit. Like I’ve said before, he seems like a very astute young man. We actually didn’t see much of him during the “Boy in Luv” performance, so I look forward to his next stage.
6. Ahn Hyeongseob, Yuehua – “10 out of 10,” winning team.
I think Hyeongseob has definitely made his mark so far. His “Pick Me” dance was so cute, and he had a lot of memorable moments in Episode 3. But at the same time, a bunch of other boys are quickly rising to the top. So I think he needs to do something during the next evaluation to stand out and maintain his ranking.
5. Kang Daniel, MMO – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team.
(The only one who smiled long enough for a decent screenshot) Apparently, Daniel is a favorite among noonas in their twenties and thirties. (Side note: I’m really happy to know that there are people my age – and older! – watching this show!) I’m a noona in her twenties, so I can vouch for this. He’s not my absolute favorite, because I’m already having trouble choosing between Sungwoo and Jonghyun. But I can certainly see his appeal. He’s a smooth singer and dancer, and he is definitely handsome.
4. Ong Sungwoo, Fantagio – “Sorry Sorry,” winning team.
My OG favorite continues to slay, no further commentary needed.
3. Yoon Jisung, MMO – “10 out of 10,” losing team.
(Sorry Jisung…I don’t want to show you crying, but I’ve taken too many screenshots to go back now!) Like him or not, it’s shocking that Jisung was able to jump all the way up from #9. Especially since he’s one of the few Top 11 trainees who didn’t receive the 3,000 vote benefit! I’m still not sure how I feel about him. I don’t think he’s as talented as some of the others, but I do find him pretty funny and endearing. So for now, I don’t mind his high placement.
This leaves Brave’s Kim Samuel and Maroo’s Park Jihoon battling for number one. Both were on the same “Boy in Luv” team, and both have a 3,000 vote benefit. Much like last year’s Somi and Sejeong, it’s the well-known trainee versus the fresh faced ingenue. Samuel is known for almost debuting with Seventeen, while Jihoon is riding on a massive popularity wave from one well-timed wink (among other things). MNET tries to build drama, but only one trainee has been #1 this whole time. Jihoon predictably keeps his crown – and he’s the only one who received over a million votes, to boot! I’m still happy that Samuel took second place, though. It seems like he’s been having some self-confidence issues, so hopefully this will give him a nice boost.
After BoA reveals first place, she announces the last trainee to survive this round. The four candidates are: individual trainee Choi Dongha (“Sorry Sorry,” losing team), 2able’s Joo Wontak (“Mansae,” winning team), individual trainee Kim Sangbin (“Boy in Luv,” losing team), and The Vibe Label’s Sung Hyunwoo (“Call Me Baby,” winning team). Ultimately, Sangbin grabs the spot and the trainees must bid farewell to their eliminated friends. This kind of stuff is always hard to watch, but the most heartbreaking moment by far is when Moonbok runs over to his friend Hyunwoo. Hyunwoo places 61st, which means he just missed getting to stay. His labelmate Ha Minho (who did survive) will get kicked off the show for super problematic. So it’s even worse because it’s basically like that jerk took Hyunwoo’s spot.
All in all, the results are very interesting. They’re so different from the way the live audience voted. Honestly, I was actually pretty surprised with how the on-site voting went. A lot of trainees looked really great in the broadcast didn’t get as many votes as people we barely saw on-camera. Now I know that watching a show live is very different from watching an edited broadcast, and I obviously wasn’t there. But looking at how things turned out, I’m guessing a lot of the audience just voted for the more attractive members. Which is a pity, because a lot of good trainees felt pretty down looking at their results. Thankfully, I think the final rankings reflect the bigger picture.
FUN FILLER MOMENTS
1) Dancing King: Sometime during the “Pick Me” center tryouts, I.O.I. members Yoojung and Doyeon appear to raucous applause (obviously). They’re there to host my favorite segment – DANCE BATTLE!!!! The trainee who is crowned “Dancing King” will earn a prize for all of the trainees in his rank (nice sneakers for dancing). There are definitely a lot of memorable moments, from funny (Moonbok wriggling to “What Does the Fox Say”) to impressive (Daniel’s B-boying) to beautiful (Eunki and Jung Jung’s spontaneous and moving modern dance collaboration). Since I’m unabashedly biased, I thinks that Sungwoo should have won with his intense popping. But the prize ultimately goes to Eunki – who shakes it better than a girl group member but also shows a very vulnerable side. This is pretty touching, especially because he mentions his father is ashamed of his love for dancing.
2) Fitness Test: One morning, the boys are randomly woken up by their theme song and told they have ten minutes to run to the steps (Jonghyun gets there first!). There, they meet their fitness trainer Kim Seunghyun, who is this huge man that is probably at least twice my size. He seems pretty intimidating, at least until he has to move Moonbok’s hair out of the way to measure his shoulders. Then he shows a more gentle side.
They start out by doing increasingly hard planks. Baby Woojin has a lot of trouble with this. Eventually, they start having plank wrestling matches where they try to pull their opponent off balance. Seo Seonghyuk proves to be the strongest, even if it looks like Jihoon might beat him for (literally) a fraction of a second. The teams are pitted against each other in arm wrestling challenges. We see a lot of flexing and ab reveals, and plenty of cringeworthy moments as the trainees fail to intimidate each other. The main highlight, however, is Dongho. He makes quick work of the entire opposing “Boy in Luv” team, and takes some revenge on Haknyeon for picking on Guanlin. Bromance!
Bonus GIF: Minki pretending that he has broad shoulders.
3) Visual Rankings: According to the trainees, the top 11 visuals are – Lee Yoojin, Ong Sungwoo, Kwon Hyunbin, Park Sungwoo, Choi Minki, Ahn Hyeongseob, Yoo Seonho, Hwang Minhyun, Lai Guanlin, Bae Jinyoung, and Park Jihoon. I’m not surprised at all that Jihoon is first in visuals too. Personally, I’m not attracted to him because he’s like a decade younger than me. But I acknowledge that he’s good looking. He reminds me of a lot of handsome idols. He looks like Pentagon’s E’Dawn, he smiles like BTS’s Jungkook, and he’s charming like NCT’s Yuta.
4) Hidden Camera Prank: The trainees think they’re having a chat with themselves about the journey on their show. Of course, the mirror they’re talking to is actually two-way. In the midst of their genuine refelction, they find themselves face to face with a bloodied ghost grabbing at their ankles. It’s worth watching the whole thing because all of the reactions are priceless, but my man Seungwoo takes the prize for best horrified face.
The Pledis guys decide to show each other some love as Jonghyun asks the ghost to give Minki a good scare. Meanwhile, Dongho actually thinks that Minki is posing as the ghost. The only one who isn’t scared is Moonbok, who takes the fake exercise so seriously that he’s actually crying when the ghost shows up.
5) Setting the Record Straight: This is an “explanation time” corner for various trainees to clear up some rumors about them. The Pledis trainees continue to troll each other as they tease Dongho for not properly shaving and giggle at Jonghyun apparently losing his hair. (He’d like everyone to know no male in his family is bald, thank you very much) The MMO guys laugh about how their agency name apparently stands for “talk a lot.” Plus everyone hates on Jihoon for his unique fashion sense.
The episode ends with an introduction to the concept mission that will come into play several episodes from now. There are five original songs, and each one has a different genres. We hear a sample of each, and interested “national producers” can vote for which concept is best for their favorite trainee. Since this isn’t for several weeks, I won’t go into it any further. Instead, I’ll look forward to the next episode’s position battles. This is my favorite part of the show, and I honestly can’t wait!
NOTE: All GIFs and links are from MNET’s Produce 101 (Season 2 Episode 5)