The Future of the Trainees (Part 3)
These are just some opinions about the trainees whose position evaluation stages were already aired, their skills and their chances of passing the elimination/making it into the final group.
Joo Haknyeon (Rank 10 -> Rank 9)
Chances – It really seems like Mnet doesn’t want him to debut in the final group. They saw how high his ranking was (#4 in the first episode) and made sure to give him no screentime in the subsequent episodes. Now they noticed that he’s pretty consistently ranking in the Top 11 despite not appearing on the screen for more than a second so they decided to give him an evil edit. Honestly speaking with edits like Haknyeon’s and Hyunbin’s it’s hard to deny that they did at some point make practice harder for the whole team. The problem is that it could’ve been something that lasted for less than an hour before they got their mind back on track or it could’ve been a nuisance for the whole time they had to prepare the stage and Mnet would’ve edited it the same way. My opinion on both of those instances is that tensions are high, everyone’s stressed and they are only human. They get into bad moods; they become uncooperative, bratty, act immature. None of these things are good things, they shouldn’t be encouraged and it’s good that both Haknyeon and Hyunbin got lectured for it. But there’s a difference between bad behavior and a bad person. No one is perfect, I’m sure everyone at some point in their life let their mood affect their work and others and I’m sure everyone hates looking back on those moments. So what Hyunbin and Haknyeon did wasn’t good by any means but it also doesn’t make them monsters that deserve all the backlash in the world. It’s okay if these actioned turned you off from these trainees (although remember that Mnet edits how they please) but there is really no need to spam anyone’s Instagram with hate comments. This probably applies more to Hyunbin’s situation though, because I am not sure how people are going to react to Haknyeon’s incident. I’ve seen some positive comments, I’ve seen some negative comments, but it hasn’t seemed to reach Hyunbin levels yet. Which is good, at this point I will take any number of trainees whose will wasn’t broken by this program. As for the actual incident, I cannot say that I don’t understand where Haknyeon is coming from. He is in the Top 11, sure, but he’s also noticed that he has slipped quite a bit since the first episode. He comes to the correct conclusion that it’s because he hasn’t gotten much screentime and he didn’t really get to shine in the group performance of “Boy in Luv’. He decides to rectify the situation by becoming the center but nothing goes according to plan as the other trainees choose another boy for the position. Haknyeon is 19, worried about his rank and probably (just like everyone else) very stressed. And it shows in his attitude. However, by trying to save his rank, Haknyeon actually gave Mnet the footage they probably needed to make him go down in ranks. On one hand, I cannot believe that he was this careless when he knows that they’re being filmed, on the other hand I cannot imagine how tiring it is to be careful about every move because you know you’re being watched all the time. He’s definitely making it into the Top 22 but I am not so sure about the Top 11 anymore. He got screentime but it wasn’t favorable but people haven’t shunned him yet. It really could go either way. But Mnet does not want him to debut in the final group and I think they will try anything to knock him out of the Top 11. And although I agree with that (explanation will be below), I do feel kind of bad because he does seem like a nice boy. In one fancam of the fanmeeting before or after their ‘Nayana’ performance Haknyeon was the only trainee to thank the staff for clearing out the area. However, I did hear rumors that Cre.Ker will debut a boy group so I’m sure that we’ll be able to see Haknyeon performing in the future.
Skills – I did say he was a sweet boy but I personally don’t think he’s at the skill level where I will be okay with him debuting in the final group. I honestly thought his rank evaluation performance was the worst one (although that’s partially due to his terrible choice of song – I love 1D but ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ isn’t a song for showcasing your b-boying skills). He’s a pretty good dancer and he’s good at his specialty – b-boying, although he hasn’t yet blown me away with it. But I honestly have no idea about his rapping/singing skills. He sounded pretty bad during the rank evaluation, got barely any likes during the group evaluation and is dancing for the position evaluation. I would’ve been able to overlook it if Haknyeon was an absolutely phenomenal dance but as it is I kinda feel like he needs a little more training. Maybe the concept evaluation will show a little more of his skills.
Yoo Hoeseung (Rank 56 -> Rank 36)
Chances – I was really happy to see the Hoeseung went up 20 ranks and was almost in the Top 35 until I realized that he wasn’t going to sing for the position evaluation and got no screentime in the episode. Honestly the first wouldn’t have been a big problem if Mnet had done for Hoeseung what they did for Woodam – shown that he was upset (I am sure he was), that maybe he was struggling but he turned it around for the performance. But as it is all we get is his lip swipe which I am thankful for. I honestly would’ve liked to see him practice for this round (more than the drama Mnet provided that for sure) because he is obviously not a skilled dance. If you pay attention to him, you see that he’s off-beat a couple times and looks stiff doing some moved. But what really impressed me were his expressions. For a person who probably had to really keep all the moved in his head not mess up – the expressions are on point. I am kinda excited for his fancam. I also get the feeling that he is a lot funnier than we got a chance to see and that probably could’ve come up during the concept evaluation episodes when the trainees are a little more laid-back but as it seems we are probably saying goodbye to Hoeseung after the next elimination. I am also not sure about his debuting prospects. FNC is debuting a new boy group this month and Hoeseung is obviously not part of it. Quite a bit time has to pass for the company to be ready to pop out another group so I am really not sure what their plans for Hoeseung are. I hope they don’t throw him to the kurb.
Skills – I mentioned that he is not really a strong dancer and he needs to train a bit more in that area but I would’ve forgiven him for that because boy can sing. I’m glad that they payed attention to it both during the ‘Nayana’ practice and the group battle but his skills were largely ignored by netizens. A real shame.
Hong Eunki (Rank 36 -> Rank 38)
Chances – He is consistent in ranks but also below the cut-off line. Before the first episode came out and I was busy watching the the introduction, eye-contact, meringue time and hidden box videos, I took notice of Eunki (8 minutes of not blinking!!!) but I kinda though that mnet wouldn’t give him much attention. But to my great surprise they actually showed Hongki quite a bit (partially thanks to the fact that he was the first to sit down on the #1 seat – that had to be aired and that probably got some people’s attention). They didn’t gloss over the fact that he was center for the group mission (they could’ve with the Taehyun-Woojin drama they were creating), they’ve shown that he’s a really good dancer and they aired his motional interview about his father and now they didn’t gloss over the fact that he’s the leader of his team (they could’ve). And the edit this episode was favorable to him. While I think it’s far from the ‘good leader’ edits that Jonghyun and Youngmin have received, mainly because the objective was to show Haknyeon in a bad light rather than Hongki in a good one, but it’s still something that allowed viewers to focus on Eungki. He’s so near the cut-off line that his chances of passing the elimination depend on how other trainees are edited. If he does pass I feel like it will be by the skin of his teeth and I don’t see him getting into the Top 22.
Skills – We’ve seen that he is great at his specialty – modern or contemporary (I can’t tell the difference – whatever it is, it’s beautiful) dance, he really shines through with it, him being Dancing King during the filler part of episode 5 was completely deserving. But I am also pleasantly surprised that Hongki seamlessly fits into other dance styles and concepts. He has good stage presence and from what I’ve heard his vocals while not spectacular and quite nice and also very stable.
Byun Hyunmin (Rank 52 -> Rank 44)
Chances – He got quite a bit attention with the ’10 out of 10’ performance because it was perfect for showing off his skills – flips and tumbling – which made him pass the elimination despite ranking in the 70’s in the second and third episodes. And he got to show off his flips again in this performance, and Mnet did show people’s reactions to it but I feel like due to the fact that we’ve already seen it the wow factor has worn off a bit as evidenced by the fact that he came in 4th in the performance. I also feel like the flips fit in a lot better in the ’10 out of 10’ performance. Here they threw so much at us that Hyunmin’s specialty got buried under it all. And it doesn’t help that all the screentime went to Hongki and Haknyeon’s conflict, leaving none for the other members of the group. It’s funny because in the video of the acrobatics class Hyunmin played the lead role, however not everyone is going to watch these videos. So while he did go up in ranking since the 5th episode, I don’t see him making the cut at the next elimination. I don’t know what plans K-Tigers have for this kid but I’m sure we’ll see him performing after the show.
Skills – He’s the best at what he does in the show. But also acrobatics, while a nice bonus for an idol, aren’t really a necessity. Otherwise Hyunmin’s a good dancer, sharp and powerful (probably not super versatile though) and a pretty stable singer. All in all quite well-rounded with a special trick up his sleeve.
Kim Namhyung (Rank 54 -> Rank 47)
Chances – He got no screentime and arguably the least focus during the performance. The latter is understandable as Namhyung’s specialty isn’t dance but I wish that the episode focused on that fact at least a little. They showed Woodam (the poor hamster) getting upset but completely ignored the fact that Namhyung and Hoeseung (and many other trainees but their performances haven’t aired yet) were in the same predicament. And while I think that Namhyung’s a pretty good dancer – especially when the dance required energy and feeling more than having sharp and clean moves as evidenced by the rank evaluation performance – this clearnly wasn’t his moment to shine. I never thought that he would get into the Top 11, I just hoped that he would get what he came for – a chance to get the public interested in Offroad. And while their ranking performance of a self-composed song (how could Mnet not highlight that!) was one of the best ones and Mnet did show it as such, neither member had much of a chance to showcase their abilities after that. Namhyung who’s a rapper wasn’t allowed to rap for ‘Sorry Sorry’ and Dongsu who’s a vocalist was put into the rapper position. In this evaluation Dongsu managed to snatch up a vocal position while Namhyung wasn’t as lucky. And considering, that Dongsu is currently 34th and might get some screentime in the next episode, it seems like the burden of introducing Offroad to the public on his shoulders. I do hope that apart from the experience and the attention from Korean viewers, Namhyung got something else out of the show – confidence in his looks. The blueish hair is such a fantastic look on him and I’m glad he finally ditched the beanie that I feel like represented his insecurities.
Skills – I don’t know much about rap and what makes someone a good rapper but the performance of ‘Goosebumps’ was so memorable to me that he is at the top of my list of rappers this seasons. It’s such a shame that that’s the only performance where we got to see that. I mentioned already that his dancing is perfectly fine and he knows how to put on a good performance. Also a decent vocalist even if he doesn’t need to be.
Yeo Hwangung (Rank 49 -> Rank 54)
Chances – It’s impossible not to be bitter when it comes to talking about Hwangung’s story on this show. He’s been slighted on literally every turn. At the rank evaluation he did a freestyle dance that impressed the trainers enough to give him a B but they only showed a fragment of it. He was one of the trainees (along with Youngmin) who helped the other guys learn the choreography of ‘Nayana’ but Mnet decided to focus on fan-favorite Daniel and we had to find that out from Junyoung (who was so fun and seemed like such a sweetheart). Hwangung was the leader for the group mission but you wouldn’t know that if you weren’t paying attention because he got no focus. Everyone always mentions him as a good dancer but he is mysteriously absent from all dance battles. And now he’s the center for the position evaluation and gets absolutely no screentime. That’s a lie though; he did get one scene – of him praising Noh Taehyun’s skills instead of showcasing his own. Bless Eunki, his heart was in a good place when he wanted to give a talented trainee a chance to shine but by doing that gave Mnet the footage they needed to completely ignore Hwangung. Also I am a bit upset that while Hwangung was in the center a bunch of times during the performance, it was Haknyeon who got a solo part where literally everyone other member was in the back and all eyes were on Haknyeon. No wonder he won first in that performance. And that fact that Hwangung’s rank keeps falling is the proof that viewers just don’t get a chance to see much of him. Is there a reason for this? I personally think that while Mnet allows viewers to see three trainees from companies like Brand New Music and Pledis and two from Cube, they’ve mentally put RBW as a company where only one trainee will get to shine. And they’ve picked Gunhee. In general I’d have to agree with that choice. There are enough well-rounded trainees and really good dancers with high ranks but not a great deal of good singers at the top. I just wish that it wasn’t all or nothing when it came to screentime – some trainees get all the time and all the good editing and others are stuck with nothing. The only silver lining is that RBW will probably debut a new boy group soon with Hwangung in it. Hopefully, they will follow the path of Mamamoo and not the path of the wonderful yet underrated Vromance, and Hwangung will get the spotlight he deserves. Because he’s probably not passing the next elimination.
Skills – Exceptional dancer although Mnet is trying to hide that fact. And just like everyone else from RBW he has good vocals that I would say are above average but not out of this world. Also he has amazing stage expressions.
PS. I already said that I feel like their performance threw too much at the viewers: acrobatics, b-boying, falling on your hands a couple times, a dragon made out of arms – it felt like a showcase more than a performance at times.I also wish that the stage didn’t have that many lights so I could see the dancing more clearly but it probably looked for the audience. It was still a very good performance but far from the ‘Bang Bang’ that Eunki hoped for.