(Last updated December 2018)
I feel like I’m constantly saying that I’ll always have a soft spot for [insert group name here], but this is especially true for NU’EST. I’d heard of them before Produce 101, but I hadn’t listened to their music. In an effort to stay neutral while watching the show, I made a conscious decision not to check them out until it ended. So, my initial impressions of them were entirely based on how they behaved and performed on Produce 101. And as we all know, they really opened up and were honest about their struggles. Because of that, I feel like I know them more intimately than I do other groups. The connection is obviously still one-sided, but it feels much more personal.
First member I recognized: Baekho. I just remember that intense look on his face when he entered the room in the first episode of Produce 101, and how everyone was instantly intimidated.
First bias: JR.
Current bias and why: Still JR. You can read why I like him so much in any of my Produce 101 recaps, but the biggest reason why is that he seems genuinely kind. That’s super rare in the entertainment industry, especially since he’s gone through so much and been put through the wringer. All that disappointment and anger could crush a person or make them incredibly bitter going forward, but JR remains earnest and optimistic – and I find that very admirable.
Favorite song: “Dejavu.” I think it’s the catchiest of their most recent songs, and I like how it has a very unique and low-key sexy feel.
Favorite MV: “Help Me.” All of their music videos from the past couple of years have been gorgeous, but I’m really drawn to this one’s editing and cinematography.
Favorite era: “Where You At.” This era was such a triumph for them. This comeback brought them a lot of attention and their first music show win, which is amazing considering they were practically headed for disbandment earlier that year.
Favorite choreography: “Love Paint.” I like all of the little touches in the choreography.
(I know I didn’t pick any of their earlier songs – I swear I like them, but I just like their latest tracks more!)
Who I think is the best looking: Technically Minhyun, but since he’s promoting with Wanna One right now I’ll say Aron.
Who I think is the cutest: JR. He’s so precious, and that smile is literally like sunshine. It’s no wonder that he gets compared to cartoon characters like Agumon and Wartortle.
Favorite singer: Baekho. He has a very different vocal tone from the other members, and it stands out nicely – especially in “Where You At.”
Favorite dancer: Ren. He always surprises me with his dancing – not in terms of technique, but in stage presence. It’s like he transforms on stage, and his charisma is off the charts.
An unpopular opinion about the group or a member: This is terrible, but I can kind of see why NU’EST wasn’t so popular before they went on Produce 101. It has nothing to do with their skills and talents, though! A lot of their struggles did come from Pledis not promoting them properly and sending them off to China and Japan, but I think another reason is that their music is very low-key compared to what’s trendy for boy groups to these days. It’s kind of niche, even for K-pop. Their songs are beautiful, especially in 2016, but I don’t think they were the sound that most fans were looking for at the time.