(Last updated July 2019)
Generally, I try not to get too emotional about K-pop groups… but Wanna One is one of my few exceptions. Back when I was recapping Produce 101 for this blog, I got really invested in the show – so much so that I actually had to take a break from K-pop after the last episode. As a result, I ended up not following Wanna One as closely during their debut. However, over time I came to appreciate Wanna One on a level outside of their Produce 101 origins. And after seeing them at KCON, I kind of wish that I had spent more time on them while they were active. They’re a strong boy group that has so much to offer, and I was definitely sad when their disbandment finally happened.
First member I recognized: Seongwu. I remember his audition from the very first episode of Produce 101, because both and my mother went, “Ooooohhh he’s so handsome.”
First bias: Seongwu. Fell for him the moment he started dancing to “That’s What I Like.”
Current bias and why: Seongwu (3/3). Honestly, it’s because I believe that he’s totally star material. He can sing well, and he can dance even better. And on top of that, he’s got celebrity looks and is a natural actor and comedian. I always crack up any time I watch him on variety shows.
Favorite song: “Boomerang.” While I enjoy Wanna One’s music, their songs don’t usually have a lasting effect on me – meaning that I don’t usually play their songs on repeat over and over. “Boomerang” is the exception, because it’s the Wanna One song that’s the closest fit to my own tastes. Whenever that song comes on, I pretty much drop everything and jam out. I’m seriously disappointed that they didn’t perform it at either KCON!
Favorite MV: “Spring Breeze.” It’s very beautiful and sentimental in an understated way.
Favorite era: I would say “Energetic” because they had a lot of great variety show appearances, and it was pretty cool to see their debut after being sooooo invested in Produce 101 (even if I was trying to be a little detached).
Favorite choreography: “Light.” I definitely enjoy the sexy feel.
Who I think is the best looking: Minhyun. I’m (obviously) pretty Seongwu-biased, but Minhyun’s looks are unreal. He also appears to be the kind of person who downplays his looks; that’s technically more of a personality thing, but I find that good-looking people who are low-key about it seem more attractive than the ones who act like they know it.
Who I think is the cutest: Jihoon. People who are closer to his age will probably argue that he’s more handsome than cute… but I’m nine years older than him, so I refuse to see him as anything BUT cute. But of course, we can all tell that he’ll be super good looking once he’s well into his twenties.
Favorite singer: Jaehwan. His voice is seriously so amazing. I know very little about vocal technique, but even I can tell that he’s good.
Favorite rapper: Woojin. All of Wanna One’s rappers are pretty good, but I just like his tone better.
Favorite dancer: Seongwu. This is purely personal preference, because Wanna One has a very strong dance line. But I also think that Seongwu is the best idol dancer, while the others are more skilled in other areas (Woojin/hip hop, Daniel/b-boying, Jihoon and Daehwi popping/whacking).
An unpopular opinion about the group or a member: I don’t know if this is “unpopular,” but I’m incredibly concerned about what will happen to most of the Wanna One members after they disband. There are some members who I think will do fine – namely Minhyun when he returns to NU’EST and the Brand New Music Boys – but everyone else either belongs to a very small agency or one whose management isn’t looking so great (side-eyeing Fantagio and Cube). Like what happened with I.O.I, I’m excited to follow all of the groups that are born out of this new era… but objectively, I think it will be difficult for the members to reach the level of mega popularity they have right now.
POST-DISBANDMENT UPDATE TO MY OPINION: My thoughts on the matter are still pretty relevant. Nearly all of the Wanna One members have had some solo or group activity at this point. While reactions to everything were positive, nothing so far has achieved that mega hit status they all had promoting as a group. I live in South Korea right now, and most references to Wanna One are still as a group. You hardly hear anything about their solo endeavors in the general public. That being said, everything they have done since disbandment has been positively received, just on a smaller level. I sincerely hope their agencies do their best to keep the momentum going so that the members can continue to succeed!