I.O.I which stands for Ideal of Idol is a Korean-Pop girl group formed with the eleven finalists from the reality TV competition franchise, Produce 101 in 2016. The members of the girl band are Lim Na-Young, Kim Chung-ha, Kim Se-Jeong, Kim Do-Yeon, Yoo Yeon-Jung, Jung Chae-Yeon, Kang Mi-na, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim So-Hye, Choi Yoo-Jung, and Jeon So-mi. They released extended plays ‘Chrysalis’ and ‘Miss Me?’, in the same year and actively promoted their songs for ten months before getting disbanded. Prior to their disbandment, I.O.I nabbed several awards which include the Mnet Asian Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards and Seoul Music Awards. Scroll further to discover why the girl band got disbanded as well as the whereabouts of the I.O.I members.
I.O.I Members: Why Did They Get Disbanded?
Since the formation of the girl group in January 2016, YMC Entertainment clearly stated that I.O.I will only be active for one year. With that, the I.O.I members were only given a year’s contract which ended in January 2017 thereby leading to the girl group getting disbanded. Although many thought that the agency would have given the members a contract renewal, that didn’t happen as the members had initially come from different other talent agencies.
Even while still performing as a group, some of the members of the girl group were also active in their individual agencies, performing promotions, joining previously created groups and equally making a solo debut. In June 2016, YMC created an I.O.I subunit with only six members namely; Lim Na-Young, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim Chung-ha, Choi Yoo-Jung, Kim Do-Yeon, and Jeon So-mi, while the rest of the members got busy with promotions in their individual agencies. With no contract extension deal for the I.O.I members, the group got disbanded in January 2017.
Where Are They Now?
After I.O.I got disbanded, the members went back to their different agencies and focused on their individual careers. Some joined other bands while others began a solo music career or went into acting. Here are the details on what they are up to now.
1. Kang Mi-na and Kim Se-Jeong Joined Gugudan
Kang Mi-na and Kim Se-Jeong who are with the Jellyfish Entertainment became members of Gugudan after the disbandment of I.O.I. Gugudan which is a South Korean girl group was formed by the talent agency Jellyfish Entertainment in 2016 and they debuted on June 28th, 2016 with the extended play, ‘Act.1 The Little Mermaid’. The pair are also among a Gugudan subgroup called Gugudan Semina formed in June 2018. They also have solo careers as actresses.
2. Na-Young and Jieqiong are Joined Pristin
When I.O.I disbanded, Lim Na-Young and Zhou Jieqiong, known professionally as Kyulkyung returned to Pledis Entertainment in 2017 and debuted as members of Pristin, a South Korean girl group. However, in May 2019, Pristin officially disbanded leading to Na-Young parting ways with the agency. She later joined Sublime Artist Agency in August 2019 for her solo activities while Jieqiong is still with Pledis Entertainment.
3. Do-Yeon and Yoo-Jung Joined Weki Meki
Kim Do-Yeon and Choi Yoo-Jung who are signed under Fantagio were unveiled as members of an octet girl group, Weki Meki formed by the entertainment company in 2017. The pair are also among a four-member special project unit group between Cosmic Girls and Weki Meki called WJMK which was formed in 2018 by Starship Entertainment and Fantagio.
4. Chae-yeon is a Member of DIA
Jung Chae-yeon who is a singer and actress was debuted in 2015 as a member of a K-Pop girl group, DIA shortened from DIAMOND and an acronym for Do It Amazing, by MBK Entertainment. After I.O.I got disbanded, she returned to MBK and joined her band with their promotions although she had been active in DIA while her time with I.O.I lasted.
5. So-mi Began a Solo Career
Jeon So-mi is a singer and songwriter who is best known for finishing first in Produce 101. After the disbandment of I.O.I, she made her debut as a soloist on 13th June 2019. She joined JYP Entertainment in 2014 and terminated her contract with the company in 2018. She later signed an exclusive contract with The Black Label, a subsidiary label of YG Entertainment through which she released her single titled, ‘Birthday’ in 2019.
6. Yeon-Jung is a Member of Cosmic Girls
Yoo Yeon-jung who is signed under Starship Entertainment was debuted as a member of Cosmic Girls also known as WJSN in July 2016 while she was still an active member of I.O.I. She is the main vocalist of the Cosmic Girls’ subunit called Natural Unit.
7. Kim So-Hye is Focusing on Acting
Kim So-Hye is an actress and singer signed under S&P Entertainment. Following the disbandment of I.O.I, So-Hye went back to her acting training. So far, she has had roles in series such as Best Chicken and Poetry Story. She made her cinematic debut in the 2019 Film, Full Moon.
8. Chung-ha is on a Solo Career
Kim Chung-ha was among the I.O.I subunit revealed by YMC Entertainment in June 2016. After the group was disbanded, she returned to MNH Entertainment where she put her solo career to a start. She released her first extended play, ‘Hands on Me’ in June 2017 and moved on to release a second extended play titled, ‘Offset’ in January 2018. Then in February 2019, she released her fourth extended play, ‘Flourishing’.