[OSEN=김사라 기자] Mnet’s “MIX & MATCH”, a survival audition program for selecting the members of YG Entertainment’s new boy group iKON, has come to an end. The show was aired for only nine weeks, but past 180 days of their journey was more meaningful and precious than anything.
In MIX & MATCH’s last episode aired on the 6 in the evening, iKON’s final member was announced. Following B.I, BOBBY, and KIM JINHWAN whose debut had already been confirmed, KOO JUNHOE, SONG YUNHYEONG, and JUNG CHANWOO have been announced as members of iKON on YG’s official blog one by one, from the 4 this month. Finally, KIM DONGHYUK was announced as the last member.
For the contestants, it was a long and harsh survival. MIX & MATCH created sensation among fans, depicting the history of another trial by WIN Team B, who lost last year’s survival audition “WIN: WHO’S NEXT”. New-face trainees JUNG CHANWOO, JUNG JINHYEONG, and YANG HONGSEOK joined the show, giving birth to a harsh audition in which only seven out of nine can survive. By the beginning of the audition, many people speculated that six WIN Team B members plus one new face will form iKON, and that speculation has come true. Anyway, MIX & MATCH’s nine episodes fully demonstrated the tension of three big matches and each member’s colorful appeals.
Three “mixed matches” were surely fresh. Confirmed members B.I, BOBBY, and KIM JINHWAN boasted undeniable talent, leading each team. The members showed remarkable growth in every one of three matches. Notably, in the mission of collaboration with YG female vocalists, they proved full talent and skills not like that of a trainee and was extolled by judges including TABLO, San-E, Simon D, and GRAY.
KOO JUNHOE, SONG YUNHYEONG, and KIM DONGHYUK, three other iKON candidates from WIN Team B also surprised YG producers by demonstrating remarkablly evolved talent compared with that in “WIN” last year. The three have built fandom from the time of “WIN”, so they took high places in MIX & MATCH’s global vote in Korea, China, and Japan, as well as in viewers’ vote. Notably, their perfect performance shown in the final match depicted in episode 8 was extolled. YG’s BIGBANG and 2NE1 spared no praise for KIM DONGHYUK who joined iKON as the last member, saying, “You’re the best today”.
Meanwhile, new-face member JUNG CHANWOO, JUNG JINHYEONG, and YANG HONGSEOK drew much attention by achieving remarkable growth in a short period of time. In MIX & MATCH survival that began in April this year, the three were just young trainees who had been trained only for a short period of time. They had much lacking talent and skills compared to “WIN” Team B members and did not fit into the others. However, they evolved into well-prepared new faces after the three matches and 180-day-long camp training. JUNG CHANWOO has realized his dream to join iKON, and he seems to be the one who is making debut after the shortest period of training among YG singers.
Of course, the most important legacy of MIX & MATCH is iKON, YG’s “monster” rookie. WINNER made debut through “WIN” last year in August this year, releasing debut album “2014 S/S”. Since then, they have set remarkably exceptional records as a rookie, sweeping music charts, album charts, and broadcasting charts. So, people are paying keen attention to the future of iKON, WINNER’s brother and rival, after their debut next year.
If you ask the two trainees who failed to be selected in MIX & MATCH are losers, that is not true. In the last episode of MIX & MATCH, members had honest conversation one day before the “final match”. KIM JINHWAN made a meaningful remark, saying, “I hope all of you think of this survival as a good opportunity. No matter who the iKON member will be, let’s not forget this time”.
MIX & MATCH’s survival was harsh “just as necessary”, in some sense. In the production press meeting held before the beginning of the show, YG’s head producer YANG HYUN SUK said, “This may feel harsh for them, but I’m not sorry to them because they will grow through this program”. As members themselves said in the show, MIX & MATCH “is not the end” and even if they failed to be selected this time, they “will meet each other again” someday. Hope JUNG JINHYEONG and YANG HONGSEOK can make their dream come true someday, as “WIN” Team B achieved it this year, after the bitter failure last year.
Source: YG LIFE