The Rookie Spotlight is not just to bring light to new artists making their first steps; it is also to open the gateway for groups that may be considered as lesser known to the legion of fans in Korea and worldwide. After the success of the first female lead season, the Queendom series intends to do just that before entering its second competition with the spin-off show, Road To Kingdom.
Starting back in April, the show features seven boy groups who have just started their journey or may have slipped under the radars in terms of large domestic success. Each group will take part in a competition to show off their charms and talents, with the winner earning a priority ticket to the official Kingdom competition. Speculation may be rife for which group will be joining the major leagues but for now, we have seven groups on the road to the crown.
TOO (Ten Oriented Orchestra)
First up is the “youngest” group in the roster, TOO, who debuted in March 2020 after initial delays. Despite some pre-debut troubles and line up changes, the group made a strong debut with the song, “Magnolia” and a group concept of two members sharing an element of either Fire, Metal, Water, Wood & Earth. Despite being the rookie addition to the roster, the group already has shown their skills as trainees but now, they are stepping up to prove their worth in both their mini-performance challenge and their cover of TVXQ’s “Rising Sun”.
Controversy certainly does bring The Boyz out! Girls Generation jokes aside, the addition of this group into the show came with backlash from fans. The initial plan for the show was to include groups that have not gotten their first music show win. However, The Boyz is one of TWO groups that miss this criteria but were included anyway. The Cre.Ker Entertainment representative actually got their first trophy on SBS MTV’s The Show on May 7th 2019 with their song, “Bloom Bloom”, beating out N.Flying and Queendom alum, Park Bom. There hasn’t been much official comment to find through researching the show but it is possible that despite the first win to their name, The Boyz may be another group that needs a gentle nudge into the mainstream spotlight and Road To Kingdom may be the platform to do it. After their FIRST Sword of Victory performance, they may be a group to watch out for.
After their senior group’s appearance in the first season, Golden Child is looking to follow in Lovelyz’ footsteps and claim the crown for Woollim. Alongside The Boyz, their addition to the cast has caused some uproar as they obtained their first win at the end of 2019. It may be possible that production began on the show before that accolade – which still wouldn’t explain The Boyz’ appearance. However, they have vowed to show different styles and qualities through their singing and choreography in order to win the crown. That promise may be a guarantee in the competition especial with impeccable talent running through their label and their blood – as member Daeyeol is the brother of INFINITE’s Sungyeol.
With their label housing the winners of the first season; this boy group has a lot to prove. Originally being part of a trainee collective with the idol band, ONEWE; the six members form the dance group and made their debut in January 2019. “Valkyrie” gained attention from both domestic and international fans and has racked up a total of over 21 million views on Youtube. With knowledge gained overseas through Japanese promotions, they are at home on the stage and they have spoken about their aim to carve a space in Korea after one year as a group. Following the success of MAMAMOO in the show, it may be possible for ONEUS to ascend the ranks.
ONEUS may have some natural competition as Jellyfish’s junior boy group debuted alongside them; with “Ring Ring Ring” being release on the exact same day as “Valkyrie”. In comparison to their senior group, VIXX; the youthful concepts are a slight step away from the theatrics and effects that Jellyfish tend to showcase but that is not discouraging VERIVERY from proving themselves. During promotion for the show, the group have admitted that they still have a lot to prove and are eager to show the true power and passion of the rookie group.
ONF is another Queendom alumni’s junior group, coming from WM Entertainment which manages B1A4 and OHMYGIRL Stepping away from the quirky, fun styles of their label-mates’ usual concepts, ONF has steered towards aesthetic and power in their performance as they are eager to show their “story charm” through Road To Kingdom. Could this be fleshing out their group concept, continuing from the meteoric story in their latest single? Could we see both ON and OFF sub-units come into play during the competition? If their SHINee cover in episode two is anything to go by, ONF may just surprise fans and domestic audiences alike.
Possibly the most surprising addition to the roster, PENTAGON debuted back in 2016 and had a promising start with their past work in projects such as YG’s Mix and Match and SM The Ballad. Their “Gorilla” debut was strong and they had united together through their own evaluation show on MNET. Yet somehow, music show wins just slipped from their fingers every time. The group may have just been on the road to recognition with Triple H but relationship scandal may have clouded that chance, especially as member, Dawn (formerly known as E’Dawn) left the group and the label along with his girlfriend, Hyuna. There will still be some changes ahead with Yanan recovering from health issues and Jinho enlisting in the military during the show’s recording. Despite that and more, PENTAGON are still a strong group and CUBE has already gained success through Queendom with G-IDLE being hot favourites so all eyes are on.
Who do you think is on the Road To Kingdom and which “major” groups could the winner be up against in their fight for the crown? Let us know in comments and on social media.