Wanna One was an eleven-member South Korean boy band formed by CJ E&M through the second season of Produce 101. With genres spanning K-pop, EDM, Hip hop, and R&B, the group debuted on August 7, 2017, under Swing Entertainment and CJ E&M. They are the first male K-Pop group to debut with 11 members and in their logo, there are exactly eleven vertical strokes, each signifying one of the members. They were active for 2 years, from 2017 – 2019, and were managed by YMC Entertainment, Stone Music, and Swing. Their contract ended on the 31st of December, 2018, but their final activity as a group was their last concert on January 24 – 27, 2019.
Wanna One was formed through Mnet’s survival reality show Produce 101 Season 2. They were promoted together with a contract of two years. The show created a boy band formed from a pool of 101 trainees from 54 entertainment companies. The show premiered on the 7th of April, 2017 and its finale aired on the 16th of June, 2017, with the 11 winners forming Wanna One.
How Did Wanna One Become Successful?
Before appearing on Produce 101 Season 2, some Wanna One members had already been active in the entertainment industry. Park Ji-hoon was a child actor and had appeared on drama shows such as Kimchi Cheese Smile and The King & I. Hwang Min-hyun had already made his musical debut as a member of the group NU’EST while Kim Jae-hwan made his first appearance on season 2 of Korea’s Got Talent but was eliminated during the semi-final.
Wanna One was selected as the Best K-pop Artists of 2017. They were also ranked number two on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list for 2018, a list ranking South Korea’s most powerful and influential celebrities. Companies and broadcasters realized how effective Wanna One marketing strategies where when anything tied to them enjoyed high sales immediately it hit the market. Industry insiders say that compared with the earlier project K-pop girl group – I.O.I, created in the show’s first season, Wanna One wielded greater marketing power since their fans were mostly women in their 30s and 40s with high purchasing power. Fans in that age bracket amounted to 34 percent, surpassing teens with 24 percent and twentysomethings with 13 percent respectively.
Wanna One’s top songs included Energetic, I.P.U., Boomerang, and Spring Breeze. Their last concert took place from January 24 to 27 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. Their goodbye performance took place on a Sunday, the 27th of January, 2019 and was titled Therefore. Wannables, as their fans are called, who were in attendance witnessed an emotional farewell from all 11 members who said their individual goodbyes and left the stage one by one, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that these boys truly loved one another and did not want their time together to end.
Kuanlin, who was the first to leave the stage, said that as soon as he left, the eleven of them would not be able to appear as Wanna One again. Minhyun said that he loved all Wannables, and Woojin confessed that he didn’t really want to part ways because he was really happy with the Wannables.
The Real Reason Wanna One Disbanded
The official reason for the disbandment of Wanna One was given in a statement by their management company Swing Entertainment, which confirmed in a statement that Wanna One’s contract would expire on the 31st of December, 2018. Swing also stated that all agencies came to an agreement that would allow the members to attend scheduled year-end shows and award ceremonies throughout January 2019.
Wannables believed that it was an error in mismanagement that caused the issue. Apparently, when Wanna One was going on their world tour, management was hoping to emulate BTS success and how they had sold-out concerts, so they based their sales on that. Sadly, things didn’t work out and they got disbanded because there wasn’t enough money to justify a contract renewal. As a result, fans blamed it on management.
Following the disbandment of Wanna One, the members began gearing up to begin their next activities. As confirmed by Pledis Entertainment, Hwang Min Hyun will be joining NU’EST again. As was announced, Yoon Ji Sung ended up starring in the musical The Days and made his solo debut in February. Lee Dae Hwi and Park Woo Jin are making their debut as a group with MXM’s Lim Young Min and Kim Dong Hyun.
Lai Guan Lin went to China in February to film a drama and will also debut with Cube Entertainment’s upcoming boy group in Korea later on. Bae Jin Young was reportedly receiving several drama offers, but it appears that he will focus on music for now.