Somi’s Struggle with Survival Shows
With her solo debut just right around the corner, it would only be fitting to talk about Somi’s remarkable journey through SIXTEEN and Produce 101—both of which helped to shape the Somi we know today!
Somi’s adventure with reality shows started all the way back in the summer of 2015, where she was selected as one of 16 contestants for the survival show SIXTEEN. The winning nine went on to form one of the nation’s most beloved girl groups, TWICE! These contestants were divided into two groups, named Major and Minor, where the Major group (the top seven) would be treated as if they were celebrities, with significant advantages in the competitions that would take place on each episode, and the Minor group would continue to experience life as trainees. Somi’s track record on this show is outstanding, having been in the Major group for almost the entire show. It’s not difficult to see why, with her upbeat personality and stunning performances consistently leaving everyone in awe as she raced to the top, only to be eliminated in the final episode alongside Natty and Minyoung. She placed at No.11 overall, despite being the third youngest contestant, but was pushed on by the “star quality” that Park Jinyoung said she possessed, adding fuel to the flame that was her dream to debut.
Somi’s dream finally materialized when she represented JYP Entertainment on Produce 101 (2016), where she competed against 100 other trainees from 46 different companies for a spot in the girl group that would come to be known as I.O.I. The rankings of this survival show work very much like a school; everyone is graded from A to F and sorted into classes based on their ranking. Somi landed herself within class A in the very first episode with her performance of “Lips are Movin” by Meghan Trainor, showcasing her charms with a simple yet effective choreography alongside her well-known vocals. At the end of this episode, she was shown to have ranked No.1 among the popularity votings! Throughout the rest of the show, she falls and flies between ranks, never landing below the top 20, all while performing various hits such as “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, alongside Girls’ Generation’s famous debut “Into the New World.”
The end of the reality show, however, brought Somi the chance she had been dreaming of for years. She finished in first place with 858,333 votes, finally debuting alongside 10 other contestants and deserving of every moment spent with them. Their group became extremely popular upon their debut in May of 2016 with their EP Chrysalis. Fellow I.O.I member Chungha actually choreographed their next comeback, “Whatta Man,” while Park Jinyoung himself wrote, composed, and arranged their hit song “Very Very Very.”
This success was short-lived, however, as the group disbanded with “Downpour” in January of 2017, each member returning to their original companies and debuting in various groups such as PRISTIN and gugudan, or even debuting solo as was the case with Chungha. Now Somi is the last to debut among them. There have been talks of I.O.I reuniting sometime within the next year or so, but until then, let’s support each member as they blossom into success—especially Somi, as her solo debut with her new agency, The Black Label, is going to be sooner than you think!