Ex-SM Trainee on An Idol Rebooting Show?
As most know, SM Entertainment is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Koream entertainment talent agencies in the business right now. Their attention to detail when it comes to groups that have promoted, is promoting, or will promote in the coming few months is unrivaled by the other agencies out there. So it was to no one’s surprise that when SM announced their SM Rookies project back in 2016, with members already waiting to be introduced to the public and a high possibility of debuting under a group, that SM had already prepared for the fans.
One of those trainees under SM Rookies happened to be Ji Han-sol, a trainee who charmed his way into his fans hearts with smooth, yet crisp, dancing. When it was time for SM Rookies trainees to debut in 2016, he suddenly disappeared from the line-up and reappeared through the idol rebooting show, The Unit, airing on KBS. So, what exactly happened to him? How did he fare against other competitors on the show? Stay tuned for more information regarding Ji Han-sol and his time on The Unit!
Ji Han-sol’s Participation News
In October 2017, it was reported that ex-SM trainee, Ji Han-sol was confirmed to be one of the stars on KBS’s Idol Rebooting Show, “The Unit.” The show, in itself ,came into fruition after some veteran idols went on another survival show and hit big despite competing against rookies and trainees that are way younger than them. KBS solely focused the show on idols and trainees that already had a fanbase but wanted to reenergize their presence in the industry.
Meanwhile, Ji Han-sol shared the news through his new agency, J-FLO entertainment, and stated, “I am thankful to fans that have waited, and I want to make it up to them. I will try my hardest.” His participation, and under a new agency, at that, came as a surprise after months of inactivity following his fellow SM Rookies trainees debut in the group NCT. Not only that, he was also previously spotted by fans as a backup dancer for Taemin’s solo concert in Japan, sparking hopes that he might have remained in SM despite not making it to the debut with NCT. During his time as an SM Entertainment trainee, he gained attention for his excellent dance skills and handsome visuals.
Ji Han-sol’s appearance on The Unit was definitely preceeded with a lot of hype before the first episode was due to air, but it definitely came as a surprise to the panelists and live audience present during the filming. His whereabouts had been unknown, with complete radio silence, after he ended his activities with SM Rookies a few months prior, thus for him to finally come out on a survival show was his much anticipated comeback.
Walking onto the stage, Ji Han-sol performed panelist Taemin’s Japanese single, titled “Goodbye”. The performance seems to have been an homage to the time he spent as Taemin’s backup dancer on his Japanese tour, something that Taemin acknowledged, himself, after Ji Han-sol finished his performance. He also commented on how nice it was to see another familiar face amongst the contestants. Ji Han-sol received a super boot, or a stamp of approval, from all six judges, meaning that he would pass into the next round without having to consider audience votes.
We first saw Ji Han-sol’s rise towards the higher rankings through The Unit’s first mission, in which the contestants were asked to form a nine-member group and perform the show’s titular song, My Turn. There were particular conditions that needed to be met when forming the group, which created chaos from the moment the mission was announced. Ji Han-sol luckily connected with other contestants that also received high booting evaluation marks, such as Kim Timoteo and Feeldog, and they bonded over the fact that they have known each other before and could rely on each other due to their high evaluation scores. This led to their group receiving the best possible evaluation for the mission and they were rewarded with the center group position for the My Turn MV.
We continued to see Ji Han-sol’s progress in the next team performance mission, in which the contestants were asked to perform one of the few songs already preselected by the show. Ji Han-sol chose to enter and perform EXO’s Monster, with a few familiar faces from the previously-awarded Red group from the previous mission. As they were marked individually, too, for this mission, it was delightful to see that Ji Han-sol placed fourth within the group, in a tie along with his fellow group member, Madtown’s Lee Gun.
The next mission was position evaluation, in which the contestants were divided into groups based on their interests or skills within the group, and were meant to perform a piece relating to them. Ji Han-sol, known for his fluid moves and sharp lines ever since his booting evaluation, chose to perform in the dancer position team. His team, in particular, had chosen to perform a mash-up of Zedd’s Stay and VIXX’s Chained Up, with choreography that the team made themselves.
For the digital single mission, Ji Han-sol, along with the yellow team, chose to perform the song All Day. The group was composed of Ji Han-sol and several other high-ranking contestants, with a concept that was a combination of a dark and sexy, yet sleek, concept. As expected, the song ranked first out of all the other male units for this mission, earning them a music video release, unlike the other songs. Another fun fact about this mission is that they were supposed to direct and produce their own teasers, thus it shows that Ji Han-sol and the other contestants were talented in more than just performing on stage.
During the final mission, Ji Han-sol had chosen to be part of the team that would perform Dancing with The Devil, a song written by fellow contestant Feeldog and ____. The song perfectly showcases his talents as a dancer. His skills, popularity, and performance landed him in 6th place overall, setting into motion his debut with the male group of The Unit.
After the show’s end, the male group from The Unit finally debuted under the name UNB. The group officially released their debut mini album Boyhood on the 7th of April, 2018. They kicked off their debut with the music video for their first title track, Feeling, the day after they dropped their mini album. The song tells a story of two lovers who cannot suppress their feelings for one another any longer. They followed up with their second title track music video, titled Only One, on April 11th. The song expresses the yearning and pining that a pair of lovers experience in time for their goodbyes.
UNB recently ended their activities together on January 27th, with a final concert in Japan. The concert titled ‘THANKS UNME’ was a heartfelt event in which the members said their final goodbyes to the project group and their fans, to meet in the future with their own respective groups. Ji Han-sol posted a very heartwarming post on his personal Instagram following the end of the concert and his activities with UNB.
The caption reads, “Thank you to UNME who have stuck with us until the very end, and sincerely thank you too to those who have loved and supported UNB after all this time! I will find you in the future with a better version of myself.”
For the time being, Ji Han-sol will be returning to his agency, J-FLO Entertainment, in order to prepare for his debut with the group, NewKidd. While he was promoting with UNB, the group promoted some promotional singles and preview albums before in the project group’s downtime, in order to hype up their actual debut. As of now, they seem to still be preparing the perfect concept and album to debut with. In July of last year, NewKidd released their second preview album Boy, Boy, Boy, and released their latest track Shooting Star. They are currently busy preparing their debut album, which is slated for release in 2019.
So what do you think of Ji Han-sol and his attempts to revive the hype surrounding him as a former SM trainee? Comment your thoughts and opinions below!