Kaamaakshi Bhat, Zirakpur, Punjab
Road to Kingdom is a K-pop reality survival show by “Mnet” which was aired from April 30, 2020, to June 18, 2020, every Thursday at 20:00 pm KST. It is the prequel of the show “Kingdom” and sequel to “Queendom.“ Seven K-pop boy groups who were then unknown to many yet had the potential to shine, participated in the show. The teams that participated were The Boyz, ONF, Golden Child, Verivery, TOO (now rebranded as TO1), Pentagon, and Oneus. It was hosted by Lee Da-hee and Jang Sung-kyu. It had 4 contests with 2 groups being eliminated and one team emerging as the winner which would enter “Kingdom.” The winner was decided by the accumulated score of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds, and the final performance was broadcasted on Mnet’s YouTube channel. Let’s get to know these groups a bit more!
Oneus, pronounced as “ONE US”, is a six-member boy group that debuted on January 9, 2019, under RBW Entertainment with their debut mini-album, ‘Light Us’. The group consists of six members- Ravn, Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong, and Xion. Seoho, then known as Gunmin, Keonhee, and Hwanwoong participated in Produce 101: Season 2 during the first half of 2017, and Ravn and Seoho participated in the YG survival show Mix Nine. Leedo participated in Mix Nine but did not pass the first audition. The members actively participate in writing the lyrics of their songs. Their debut mini-album, ‘Light Us’ hit No.1 in the United States and Australia, and in Europe, the album charted in the top 10 K-Pop songs in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy. They have also won the “Next Artist Award” in Soribada Best K-Music Awards.
VERIVERY (베리베리) is a 7 member group consisting of Dongheon, Hoyoung, Minchan, Gyehyeon, Yeonho, Yonseung, and Kangmin. They debuted on January 9, 2019 (same day as Oneus), under Jellyfish Entertainment with 1st mini-album ‘Veri-Us’. They had also released a pre-debut song called ‘Super Special’, which is the OST of their first reality show. Their name comes from the Latin word “veri” meaning ‘truth’ and the English word “very”, so Verivery becomes ‘various’, ‘energetic’, ‘real’ and ‘innovation’. Their song ‘G.B.T.B’ debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales Chart.
ONF (온앤 오프), pronounced as ‘ON N OFF’, is a 6-member South Korean boy group under WM Entertainment. The group consists of Hyojin, J-US, E-Tion, Wyatt, MK, and U. Laun left the group in late August 2019. ONF has 2 leaders and is divided into 2 sub-units: ON Team and OFF Team. They debuted on August 3rd, 2017 with their first mini-album ‘ON/OFF’. U was a trainee at JYP Entertainment, while MK was a trainee at Starship Entertainment before joining WM Entertainment. In 2015, MK participated in Mnet and Starship Entertainment’s survival program No Mercy, but was eliminated in episode 7. Shortly after ONF’s debut, they joined YG’s survival show Mix Nine in November 2017. Hyojin became part of the top nine members to debut during the show, placed second while former member Laun placed seventh. The top nine boys of Mix Nine were set to debut, but due to the inability of the individual companies to form an agreement, the project was canceled. ‘New World’, their final track of Road to Kingdom, which was released on June 12, 2020, became their first track to appear on the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard’s K-pop Hot 100, peaking at 112 and 97 respectively. On March 2, they earned their first music show win with ‘Beautiful Beautiful’ on SBS MTV’s The Show. ‘Beautiful Beautiful’ peaked at 7 on the Gaon Digital Chart and topped the Gaon Download Chart. They have also won “K-Pop Artist Award” at the 27th Korea Culture & Entertainment Awards 2019.
Golden Child, abbreviated as GNCD or Golcha, currently consists of 10 members: Daeyeol, Y, Jangjun, Tag, Seungmin, Jaehyun, Jibeom, Donghyun, Joochan, and Bomin. Golden Child debuted on August 28, 2017, with ‘DamDaDi’, under Woollim Entertainment. Former member Jaeseok officially left the group due to health issues in early 2018. Golden Child won their first-ever music program win on December 26, 2019, for ‘Wanna Be’ on M Countdown. They won the “K-Pop Artist Award” at the 27th Korea Culture & Entertainment Awards 2018.
TO1 (TOgether as 1) formerly known as TOO (Ten Oriented Orchestra) is a 10-member boy group under WAKE ONE Entertainment. They debuted from Mnet survival show WORLD KLASS where 20 global trainees competed to be the final ten members. The group consists of Jaeyun, Chihoon, Donggeon, Chan, Jisu, Minsu, J.You, Kyungho, Jerome, and Woonggi. They debuted under n.CH Entertainment and Stone Music Entertainment on April 1st, 2020 with the 1st mini-album REASON FOR BEING: Benevolence with the title track “Magnolia. They later changed their name to TO1. They won the “New Artist Award”, on Soribada Award 2020. It was their first rookie award since their debut.
Pentagon, abbreviated as PTG, is a boy group formed by Cube Entertainment that had its debut on October 10, 2016. The group consists of nine members: Jinho, Hui, Hongseok, Shinwon, Yeo One, Yan An, Yuto, Kino, and Wooseok. Originally composed of ten members, E’Dawn left the group in November, 2018. They were introduced through the Mnet survival show, Pentagon Maker. The group name “Pentagon” means the shape of a pentagon that contains the meaning of becoming a perfect group by completing the five elements that an idol must have: vocal/rap, dance, teamwork, talent, and mind. They won their first-ever music show win 4 years after debut on October 20, 2020 for their comeback ‘Daisy’. In 2010, Hui won first place on Best Male Vocal at JYP 7th Audition Final Round and became a trainee at JYP entertainment. Hongseok participated in Mnet and YG Entertainment’s reality survival show Mix and Match. However, he failed to become a member of the winning boy group, iKon. He and Jinho then joined Cube in 2015. Yan An and Yuto passed “Cube Star World Audition” overseas selection and became Cube trainees in 2014. Pentagon won the Soribada New Artist of the Year award in 2017.
The Boyz, formerly known as Cre.kerz, currently is an 11-member boy group under IST Entertainment. The group consists Sangyeon, Jacob, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New Q, Juhaknyeon, Sunwoo, and Eric. Hwall departed from the group on October 22nd, 2019. The Boyz debuted on December 6th 2017, with their first mini-album ‘The First.’ In 2016 and early 2017, various members appeared in different artists’ music videos, as cameos or lead roles. Kevin was first introduced to the public as a contestant on K-pop Star 6, where he was eliminated early in the competition. Sunwoo became a contestant on High School Rapper in January 2017, where he was also eliminated early in the competition. In March 2017, Juhaknyeon participated in Produce 101 and reached 19th place during the final episode. On May 7,2019, The Boyz received their first-ever music show win on SBS MTV’s The Show for their song ‘Bloom Bloom’.
The last round of Road to Kingdom was live on CJ ENM studio where the 5 groups performed their comeback songs with different concepts and each concept was eye-catching and thoughtful. After the performances, PENTAGON’s Hui, ONF’s Hyojin, THE BOYZ’s Hyunjae, ONEUS’s Seoho, and VERIVERY’s Yeonho covered BTOB‘s ‘It’s Okay’. While there was a possibility that two groups would go on to join “Kingdom”, it was announced that only one group would be doing so. THE BOYZ and ONF were announced as candidates for the top spot, and it was then revealed that THE BOYZ won. They received a trophy and a pass to go on to “Kingdom.”
Road to Kingdom was a great reality show as it allowed underrated K-pop groups to shine and show their talent to the public. It was really nice seeing all the groups interact with each other. The groups formed friendships and the fans got legendary performances that they can never forget. You should also consider it watching if you are an avid K-Pop listener.
Let us know your favourite group and performance from Road to Kingdom, in the comments.