List of Idol Survival Shows: ‘Produce 101’, ‘Boys24’, ‘Idol School’, etc. | | |

Idol Survival Shows: How Many Are There?

Do you know the idol group TWICE? WINNER? or Momoland? They are considered as popular groups in South Korea for the time being. Do you know that they all came from idol survival shows? For the last few years, the Mnet Produce Series has become the hottest topic of idol survival shows. Not only because of the huge amount of contestants (up to 101), but the show even includes some already-debuted idols. The project group at the end of the show also becomes the most anticipated thing to happen, for example, I.O.I or Wanna One. However, there are actually many other idol survival shows which have also given birth to some popular groups like the one we already mentioned in the very first sentence. What are those? What kind of shows are they? Which idol survival show produced which idol group? Let’s find out below!

Produce 101 Series

For starter, let’s check out the most popular and frequent idol survival show, the Produce Series from Mnet station! The show began in 2016 and was created by South Korean entertainment conglomerate CJ E&M. It was originally named Produce 101 because of the large number of contestants, which reached 101. During the show, contestants would be trained as idols, taking lessons in dancing, singing, rapping, etc. and make performances. There were no panel judges, instead, there was a voting system made from the audience to keep the contestants from being eliminated. The number of contestants would be narrowed down to 11 and they would debut in a project group for a period of time. The show seems likely to have become an annual show that is being held every year.

Produce 101

The first show aired from January 22nd to April 1st, 2016. It was originally created as a girl group survival show. There were 101 female contestants from 46 entertainment companies that had joined the show. There were a total of 11 episodes including the final. The contestants performed many songs from various artists like Wonder Girls, f(x), 2NE1, BIGBANG, EXO, iKON, Verbal Jint, Huh Gak, and more.

The show recruited several artists such as actor-singer Jang Geun-suk as MC, Brown Eyed Girls’ vocalist JeA and Kim Sung-eun as vocal trainers, solo artist Kahi and choreographer Bae Yoon-jung as dance trainers, rapper Cheetah as rap trainer, and trainer Ray Yang as the girls’ fitness trainer. In the final episode, the top 11 were chosen and they would make their debut in a group called I.O.I. Here are the top 11!

Rank Name Company Votes
1 Jeon So-mi JYP 858,333
2 Kim Se-jong Jellyfish 525,352
3 Choi Yoo-jung Fantagio 438,778
4 Kim Chung-ha MNH 403,663
5 Kim So-hye RedLine 229,732
6 Zhou Jie-qiong Pledis 218,338
7 Jung Chae-yeon MBK 215,338
8 Kim Do-yeon Fantagio 200,069
9 Kang Mi-na Jellyfish 173,762
10 Im Na-young Pledis 138,726
11 Yoo Yeon-jung Starship 136,780

I.O.I officially debuted on May 4th, 2016, under YMC Entertainment and released their debut EP Chrysalis with the title track “Dream Girls.” They held their first and last concert on January 20-22, 2017, before officially disbanding on January 29th, 2017.

Recently, on July 1st, 2019, Studio Blu confirmed that I.O.I would have a comeback in October with nine members, excluding Jeon So-mi and Yoo Yeon-jung. But on September  6th, they postponed the comeback to December 2019.

Produce 101 Season 2

In this season, it’s the male version of the show. The show aired from April 7th to June 16th, 2017. There were a total of 11 episodes including the final. There were 101 contestants from 56 entertainment companies that had joined the show. Many already-debuted and well-known contestants joined the show like NU’EST members, JJCC, HOTSHOT, and Topp Dogg. The show recruited several artists for the boys’ training such as singers Lee Seok-hoon and Shin Yoo-mi as vocal trainers, Kahi and Kwon Jae-seung as dance trainers, and rapper Cheetah along with Don Mills as rap trainers. Meanwhile, BoA took part as an MC replacing Jang Geun-suk. The contestants performed songs from various artists like Super Junior, 2PM, SHINee, Infinite, Seventeen, BTS, Triple H, and more.

In addition, more than 16 million people voted during the final, which was equivalent to approximately 30% of South Korea’s population. In the final episode, the top 11 would have their debut in a group called Wanna One. Here are the top 11!

Rank Name Company Votes
1 Kang Daniel MMO 1,578,837
2 Park Ji-hoon Maroo 1,136,014
3 Lee Dae-hwi Brand New Music 1,102,005
4 Kim Jae-hwan individual trainee 1,051,735
5 Ong Seong-woo Fantagio 984,756
6 Park Woo-jin Brand New Music 937,379
7 Lai Guan-lin Cube 905,875
8 Yoon Ji-sung MMO 902,098
9 Hwang Min-hyun Pledis 862,719
10 Bae Jin-young C9 807,749
11 Ha Sung-woon Ardor & Able 790,302

Wanna One debuted on August 7th, 2017, under YMC Entertainment and released their debut album 1X1=1 (To Be One) with the title track “Energetic.”

On June 4th, they released the special album 1÷x=1 (Undivided) for which they collaborated with several other artists like Dynamic Duo, Zico, Neil, and Heize. They held a world tour in 13 different cities around the world in June. At the same time, their contract with YMC had expired and from then on they would be managed by Swing Entertainment. They released their first studio album 111=1 (Power of Destiny) on November 19th, 2018, before their contract expired on December 31st. Even though their contract expired, they were allowed to continue their activities in January 2019 including holding their final concert titled Therefore on January 27-31, 2019.

Produce 48

Different from before, this time, Mnet collaborated with J-Pop idol girl group AKB48 which also marked its name of the show to Produce 48. The show aired from June 15th to August 31st, 2018, for a total of 12 episodes. There were 96 contestants: 57 from South Korean idol groups and companies and 39 from Japanese idol groups including AKB48 and their sister groups’ members.

The show recruited many artists to be their trainers such as FT Island’s Hongki and Sistar’s Soyou as vocal trainers, choreographer May J Lee, Bae Yoon-jeong, and Choi Young-jun as dance trainers, and Cheetah as a rap trainer. Lee Seung-gi presented the show as well as Jeon So-mi, Kang Daniel, Kim Chung-ha, and Sistar’s Bora who became special MCs in particular episodes. The contestants performed songs from various artists like Red Velvet, AKB48, I.O.I, TWICE, KARA, and more. In the final episode, the top 12, regardless of their nationality, would debut as a group called Iz*One and promote for two and a half years. Here are the top 12!

Rank Name Company Votes
1 Jang Won-young Starship 338,366
2 Sakura Miyawaki HKT48 316,105
3 Jo Yu-ri Stone Music 294,734
4 Choi Ye-na Yuehua 285,385
5 Ahn Yu-jin Starship 280,487
6 Nako Yabuki HKT48 261,788
7 Kwon Eun-bi Woolim 250,212
8 Kang Hye-won 8D 248,432
9 Hitomi Honda AKB48 240,418
10 Kim Chae-won Woolim 238,192
11 Kim Min-joo Urban Works 227,061
12 Lee Chae-yeon WM 221,273

Iz*One debuted on October 29th, 2018, under Off the Record Entertainment and released their first EP Color*Iz with the title track “La Vie en Rose.”

The group made their Japanese debut show-con on January 20th, 2019, and officially released their first Japanese song “Suki to Iwasetai” on February 6th. They held their first solo concert Eyes On Me on June 7-9 in Seoul. Recently, they are preparing their third Japanese single “Vampire” that is set to be released on September 25th.

Produce X 101

This is the most recent show that just wrapped up their final episode on July 19th, 2019, after starting on May 3rd (for a total of 12 episodes). Just like the original concept, there were 101 contestants from 47 entertainment companies and independent trainees. What’s new in this season is the X rank or the lowest rank where they could be eliminated. Moreover, the 11th member was decided by accumulating votes throughout the season, not simply being the 11th place at the final like the previous seasons.

The show recruited several artists such as Lee Seok-hoon and Shin Yu-mi as vocal trainers, Bae Yoon-jeong, Kwon Jae-seung, and Choi Yong-jun as dance trainers, and Cheetah as a rap trainer. The final top 10 plus member ‘X’ would debut in a group called X1. The group will last for five years: 2,5 years of exclusive contract and 2,5 years of a non-exclusive contract, meaning, the members can go back to their company and promote with their original group after the first half of the contract has finished. Here are the final results!

Rank Name Company Votes Accumulated Votes
1 Kim Yo-han OUI 1,334,011 4,468,996
2 Kim Woo-seok Top Media 1,304,033 4,424,309
3 Han Seung-woo Plan A 1,079,200 2,869,629
4 Song Hyeong-jun Starship 1,049,222 3,735,217
5 Cho Seung-youn Yuehua 929,311 2,200,382
6 Son Dong-pyo DSP Media 824,389 2,762,824
7 Lee Han-gyul MBK 794,411 2,221,045
8 Nam Do-hyun MBK 764,433 3,147,303
9 Cha Jun-ho Woolim 756,939 2,449,408
10 Kang Min-hee Starship 749,444 1,798,609
X Lee Eun-sang Brand New Music 689,489 3,164,535


The result received many controversies regarding the voting system. More than 200 viewers filed a lawsuit against Mnet, accusing them of electoral fraud. In response, Mnet admitted that there were errors in calculating but claimed that the final rankings were correct. In the meantime, police started to investigate all Produce 101 series and Idol School as well. Meanwhile, X1 continues with its planned schedule.

X1 officially debuted on August 27th, 2019, under Swing Entertainment and released their debut album Emergency: Quantum Leap with the title track “Flash.” They are currently still promoting in music shows.