Do you know why Haknyeon is so popular? not to hate just surprise
From what I gather, he’s just really smiley, cheerful, and cute which attracted a lot of kfans before the season even started airing. He had a couple of fancams during the guerrilla meet-the-national-producers event the trainees did before the season started airing that were shared a lot on SNS.
It was very easy for some people to become biased to him when all they had was his personality and visuals to judge him on. This is actually a cognitive bias that every human has- we tend to equate good looks with being a good person. It’s called the physical attractiveness stereotype.
Fittingly, the researchers that studied this found that this is most likely to happen in less individualistic cultures AND one pair of researchers even conducted a study with Korean university students. They found that Korean university students were more likely than North American university students to exhibit this bias.
So the phenomenon that is Joo Haknyeon and Park Jihoon and all the other “visual” trainees is very rooted in culture. (The study is here but you need to be part of a university to access it so send me a message if you’re really interested)
Anyway, remember that this all happened BEFORE the season started airing. He already had fans that were ride or die so when the season actually started airing and we saw that he wasn’t ready, those fans were already so in love with him that they disregarded any objection to him. In their eyes, he’s the best, no matter what skills he has or doesn’t have.
It’s interesting to note, though, that his demographic skews young- people in their teens for the most part (based on the demographics on his fancams). This demographic is the most vocal and arguably, the most rabid when it comes to voting and defending him. It also happens that many get a little touchy about him (because, remember, even if it’s misguided, they do love him).
This is actually a very complex happening- but in the end it boils down to: some people like him, so they’re willing to overlook the flaws.