(Last updated May 2020)
Generally, I try not to get too emotional about K-pop groups… but Wanna One is one of my few exceptions. Back when I was recapping Produce 101 for this blog, I got really invested in the show – so much so that I actually had to take a break from K-pop after the last episode. As a result, I ended up not following Wanna One as closely during their debut, and I had to maintain a bit of a distance for a while. However, over time I came to appreciate Wanna One on a level outside of their Produce 101 origins. And after seeing them at KCON (twice!), I kind of wish that I had spent more time on them while they were active. They were a strong boy group that had so much to offer, and I was definitely sad at their disbandment.
First member I recognized: Seongwu. I remember his audition from the very first episode of Produce 101, because both and my mother went, “Ooooohhh he’s so handsome.”
First bias: Seongwu. Fell for him the moment he started dancing to “That’s What I Like.”
Current bias and why: Seongwu (3/3). Honestly, it’s because I believe that he’s totally star material. He can sing well, and he can dance even better. And on top of that, he’s got celebrity looks and is a natural actor and comedian. I always crack up any time I watch him on variety shows.
Favorite song: “Boomerang.” While I enjoy Wanna One’s music, their songs never really had a lasting effect on me – meaning that I don’t usually play their songs on repeat over and over. “Boomerang” is the exception, because it’s the Wanna One song that’s the closest fit to my own tastes. Whenever that song comes on, I pretty much drop everything and jam out. I’m seriously disappointed that they didn’t perform it at either KCON!
Favorite MV: “Spring Breeze.” It’s very beautiful and sentimental in an understated way, and the perfect finish to their too-short active period.
Favorite era: I would say “Energetic.” While I’m not the biggest fan of the song, they had a lot of great variety show appearances. And it was pretty cool to see their debut after being sooooo invested in Produce 101 (even if I was trying to be a little detached).
Favorite choreography: “Light.” I definitely enjoy the sexy feel.
Who I think is the best looking: Minhyun. I’m (obviously) pretty Seongwu-biased, but Minhyun’s looks are unreal. He also appears to be the kind of person who downplays his looks; that’s technically more of a personality thing, but I find that good-looking people who are low-key about it seem more attractive than the ones who act like they know it.
Who I think is the cutest: Jihoon. People who are closer to his age will probably argue that he’s more handsome than cute… but I’m nine years older than him, so I refuse to see him as anything BUT cute. But of course, we can all tell that he’ll be super good looking once he’s well into his twenties.
Favorite singer: Jaehwan. His voice is seriously so amazing. I know very little about vocal technique, but even I can tell that he’s good.
Favorite rapper: Woojin. All of Wanna One’s rappers were pretty good, but I just like his tone better.
Favorite dancer: Seongwu. This is purely personal preference, because Wanna One had a very strong dance line. But I also think that Seongwu was the best typical idol dancer, while the others were more skilled in other areas (Woojin/hip hop, Daniel/b-boying, Jihoon and Daehwi popping/whacking).
An unpopular opinion about the group or a member: (Written sometime in 2017 or 2018, I don’t remember) I don’t know if this is “unpopular,” but I’m incredibly concerned about what will happen to most of the Wanna One members after they disband. There are some members who I think will do fine – namely Minhyun when he returns to NU’EST and the Brand New Music Boys – but everyone else either belongs to a very small agency or one whose management isn’t looking so great (side-eyeing Fantagio and Cube). Like what happened with I.O.I, I’m excited to follow all of the groups that are born out of this new era… but objectively, I think it will be difficult for the members to reach the level of mega popularity they have right now.
POST-DISBANDMENT UPDATE TO MY OPINION IN 2020: Now that it’s been a good year (and a few months) since disbandment, I’m so happy to see that all of the former members are dong really well for themselves. I live in South Korea right now, and I arrived literally right after their disbandment. For about six months, most references to Wanna One were still as a group as the former members were making their solo debuts or debuting with their new groups. While nothing so far has achieved that mega hit status they all had promoting as a group, everything’s been so well-received. I went to a concert that had a lot of acts with former members (Ha Sungwoon, Kim Jaehwan, AB6IX, NU’EST), and there were SO many fans out supporting them all. So while I still don’t think they could ever be as popular as they were before – because it really was a level of popularity hard to obtain – I’m glad that they’re doing just fine.
NOTE: Cover Image is from Wanna One’s official Twitter (link)