Paving a Kpop Career: Girls Planet 999

Is it fair?


Graphic by Megan Ingram

Gabriela Carvajal and Cariana Pou

   Calling all Kpop fans! After a crazy couple of months filled with comebacks coming from the likes of NCT and TWICE, the kpop realm hasn’t been short of any content. For new kpop stans a new reality TV show has arisen to fame featuring a new generation of potential artists. Girls Planet 999 is a survival reality TV show broadcasted in Korea’s MNET station and it has just concluded its season late October, building a new 9 member Kpop girl group: Kep1er formed with a number of international members. 

   Within a short span of 12 episodes, viewers were entertained to their content with constant drama and an inside look of what trainee life entails within the sets of the show. With sweet moments between roommates to competitive edges outshining others, the intensity yet rewarding features of Girls Planet is displayed throughout the airing of the show. 

   Girls Planet 999 encompassed 99 young girls ranging from 15-26 and highlighted different nationalities including 33 Korean, 33 Japanese, and 33  Chinese/Taiwanese/HongKongers. This is considered normal as most survival reality television shows within the Korean sector include other nationalities within their content (i.e. I-Land). In regards to the contestants, applicants from across the globe could have auditioned for the competition within the January-February window earlier this year (confirmation of participation was released in May). In fact many of the contestants happened to be seasoned, coming from other companies as a former trainee, as well as having been in other competitive shows in the past. 

   What made this show extra captivating was the special guest judges. Given the fact that this show was based on a futuristic concept, judges were given special labels. This judging group was considered as the “Master Council” to the three “Planets” (contestant groups), made of two ‘K-pop Masters” (mentors) – Girls Generation American member Tiffany Young and South-Korean soloist Sunmi, four “Vocal/Dance Masters” who trained the trainees, and the ‘Planet Master’ – Korean actor Yeo Jin Goo – who served as the MC. The best and cutest part of the show was the involvement of the audience/fans; viewers were incorporated as “Planet Guardians” who had the role of determining the ranks and ultimately the outcome of Girls Planet 999. (;

   While the bond between the girls was strong by the end of the show, there was one particular member who always shone the brightest: Huening Bahiyyih. Sister to Tommorow By Together’s (TXT) Huening Kai, her cute interactions with her brother was adorable to say the least and while many found it to be a contributing factor to her success she proved her haters (and ourselves!) wrong with her powerful stage presence. Her facial expressions (especially as the ending fairy), dance moves, and vocals were top quality compared to many of the others and survived to make it into the final lineup. 

   On October 22 with a live broadcasted finale, members for Kep1er were finalized. The 9 member unit included: Kim Chaehyun, Huening Bahiyyih, Choi Yujin, Kim Dayeon, Seo Youngeun, Kang Yeseo, Ezaki Hikaru, Sakamoto Mashiro, and Shen Xiaoting, amounting more than 700,000 points each to make it out successfully. 

   Interestingly, the first episode to Girls Planet 999 astonished viewers with a two hour long premiere, introducing all 99 contestants; however, what made it a great success was the reactionary and entertaining edits. While some of the performances throughout the show were replayed multiple times it was the different reactions that made each replay ever so enjoyable. Even the separation concepts of the contestants added a great twist to the performances since it added spice to each performance while showcasing different talents. Unfortunately, with the lack of experience with each other many of the performances lacked proper choreography to the featured songs; in fact the differences to the original song were noticeable! What’s more is that trainees trended multiple times on Twitter and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Mistreatment, fans jumping to the wrong conclusions, and upset results triggered these types of responses and for many of the claims we saw the claims as being logical enough to agree. However, it broke our hearts to know that these sort of comments do affect the contestants who were trying so hard to make it out victorious. Regardless of this backlash, Girls Planet 999 ended on decent enough ratings amidst the criticisms it faced. 

   When it came time to send our farewells to the remaining 18 competitors, we were definitely on the edge of our seats in awe of who was going to get the calling of their dreams.  We can definitely acknowledge the fact that Girls Planet 999 brought out different cultures to the mainstream American audience and succeeded in presenting it in an entertaining way.