Produce 101 Boys and Its Unique Contestants
First, you should know that that “Produce 101” Season 2 is a South Korean reality boy-group survival show that aired on Mnet from April 7 to June 16, 2017. The show was a project that “produces” a unit boy-group by choosing members from a pool of 101 trainees from 54 entertainment companies. The final 11 trainees are put together to form a boy-group and perform under YMC Entertainment. The winning group may later disband and join their own boy-band, planned by their agencies, according to Kpop Wiki.
Because there are 101 contestants, there were only a relative few contestants who made a solid impression on the viewers. Consider which contestants are the most popular among the viewers. Kim Samuel was noticed for his charismatic stage presence, goofy personality and attractive features which captured the hearts of many fans. He was known as the first boy to get into the coveted “A” level group in Produce 101.
There was also Kim Jonghyun, who’s known as the leader of the boy-group NU’EST. He was noticed for being a good leader who created great synergy within his team and made legendary performances, besides, with his incredible talent.
Next, there was Ahn Hyeong-seop from Yue Hua Entertainment. He was noticed for being hardworking and working his way from the “D” level group into the coveted “A” level group.
Next, there was Kim Tae-min from the Hanahreum Company. He was noticed for his cute and hilarious attitude in his evaluation video while dancing to “Pick Me (나야나)”, which ended up being circulated widely on the internet. Unfortunately, he left “Produce 101” because of his health deteriorated, and he had to have bowel surgery.
Lai Guan-lin was from Cube Entertainment. He is Taiwanese and was noticed for working so hard to keep up with the others in his group. He stole viewers’ hearts with his talents, despite only having trained for 6 months.
Another of the contestants was Kang Daniel from MMO Entertainment. He gained attention from viewers because of his amazing talents, like his dancing and his deep, husky voice, also his visual.
Of course, we must include our wink prince, Park Ji-hoon, from Maroo Entertainment.
Based on a survey that was conducted of the 6,256 Korean viewers who voted to pick the top 11 Produce 101 Contestants, Park Ji-hoon was chosen as the #1 place. He stole the show after receiving 718 votes.
Maroo Entertainment’s Trainee, Park Ji-hoon
Park Ji-hoon was born on May 29, 1999, in Changwon City, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea. He has lived in Seoul since he was 7 years old. That was the age when he began working as a child actor and appeared in dramas, movies, commercials, and musicals.
He even appeared as a child in Mnet’s “SS501 SOS” variety show in 2006, even though the show blurred his face and he was called “Seung-woo” in that show.
He also appeared with the South Korean boy-group BIGBANG in KM TV’s “Idol World” in 2007, and had a crying competition with BIGBANG’s G-Dragon.
He has also appeared as the model in an English middle school textbook.
In his first year of high school, he participated in the dance battle preliminaries held by the School of Performing Arts Seoul (SOPA). The dance battle was always dominated by the Department of Practical Dance, but he showed his impressive popping skills even though he was from the Department of Broadcasting. The video went viral through the internet.
In his teen years, he was a trainee of SM Entertainment and Fantagio Entertainment and began training to become an idol singer.
He was supposed to debut with Fantagio Entertainment’s boy group ASTRO, but due to a knee injury, he was unable to make it. He subsequently transferred to Maroo Entertainment.
Park Ji-hoon’s Jeojang being Famous during the Airing of Produce 101 Season 2
After training for a year in Maroo Entertainment, Park Ji-hoon became a contestant on Mnet’s “Produce 101 Season 2” survival show. On his first admission, he was seated in the 38th position but then changed places with Han Jong-yeon, who is from the same agency, and was seated in the 37th position because Han Jong-yeon left the show after the bullying scandal before the 1st episode was aired on April 7, 2017. Park Ji-hoon, Han Jong-yeon, and Kwon-hyeop showcased Turbo’s “Choice” for their dance performance in front of the judges in the first episode of the show. At the end of the first episode and the opening of the second episode, Park Ji-hoon received the 1st place for who became popular after gif of his “wink” went viral.
On March 9, 2017, the contestants of Produce 101 Season 2, including Park Ji-hoon, performed “Pick Me (나야나)” in Mnet’s “M! Countdown” music show. The next day, the performance video of “Pick Me (나야나)” Ver. 2 was released.
When the song ended, Park Ji-hoon winked to the viewers as the camera shot to him. Because of his “wink”, netizens talked about this, and the topic of the wink became started trending in various communities on the internet. He won viewers’ hearts with a wink before the show even started airing, and he started to gain more fans.
As the backstory, it turned out that Park Ji-hoon tried to be captured by the camera director at least once on-screen as he constantly winked about 100 times because it was hard to show interest towards the center of Team B, where most of the interest goes towards Team A and even its center.
Park Ji-hoon’s wink seemed to have started a trend. Many artists started to wink to catch fans’ hearts, as the contestants of Produce 48 tried to catch viewers’ hearts with a wink.
In the 5th episode of “Produce 101 Season 2”, that aired on May 5, 2017, he used the catchphrase “Save you in my heart (내 마음 속에 저장 (Nae maeum seoge jeojang))” with a cute gesture to the viewers.
After Park Ji-hoon’s “jeojang” aired, this also immediately went viral, both on the internet and even in real life.
So many Korean artists like Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, EXO, BTS, and many more idols did “jeojang”. Not even just Korean stars, it spread to Hollywood! Hollywood actors like Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo used the “jeojang” gesture! Hollywood actress Mackenzie Foy willingly used the “jeojang” gesture, and they did “jeojang” that was asked by CGV Korea staff on the red carpet at “Thor: Ragnarok” world premiere event in Los Angeles on October 10, 2017.
Even some of the cast of the “Avengers”, like Tom Hiddleston, Tom Holland, and Benedict Cumberbatch used the gesture while in South Korea to promote “Avengers: Infinity War”.
On August 24, 2017, the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) revealed that Park Ji-hoon’s “Save you in my heart (내 마음 속에 저장 (Nae maeum seoge jeojang))” had been chosen as the first half of 2017’s trendiest catchphrase because it was getting popular among so many Korean artists and Blue House staff, including Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok’s office.
On August 10, 2017, through KBS2’s “Happy Together”, when he was asked “How would you come up with this?” Park Ji-hoon answered, “I thought of the word save and I thought of how I could use it. I came up with these hand gestures.”
Some said that the cute “jeojang” hand-sign was inspired by the anime “Shugo Chara!”‘s heart unlock transformation.
Everything that he does become a trend.
Kku Kku Kka Kka is Jihoon’s Trendmark Too
Not only is Park Ji-hoon’s “jeojang” a famous catchphrase, “Kku Kku Kka Kka (꾸꾸까까)”, which also went viral as many Korean stars are using the catchphrase on TV, is also Park Ji-hoon’s trendmark. In the 9th episode of “Produce 101 Season 2”, that aired on June 2, 2017, Park Ji-hoon was asked by the MC, BoA, if he was preparing another aegyo signature before his team, Slate, performed the song “Oh Little Girl”.
Park Ji-hoon said he did, and he asked his fans to count 1-2-3 before he did the “Kku Kku Kka Kka (꾸꾸까까)” aegyo catchphrase.
This aegyo catchphrase won fans’ hearts, too.
Again, many Korean stars started using Park Ji-hoon’s aegyo again, including MONSTA X’s Lee Joo-heon.