Suhasini Singh, Pune, Maharashtra
I-LAND was a survival show where 23 trainees from HYBE Corporation were contesting to debut as a group of 7 members. It was held by BE:LIFT Lab which is a collaboration between BigHit and CJ E&M. The show was aired weekly from 26 June to 18 September 2020. There were worldwide auditions in March 2019, where males born between 1997 and 2008 could participate. This show was produced by: Bang Si-hyuk– The CEO of BigHit Entertainment, ZICO– Member of BLOCK B, and Rain– South Korean Singer, Songwriter, Actor and Music Producer.
Concept of the Show
The show was divided into two parts; the first part allowed all 23 participants to show their passion for music, the second part concentrated on the debuting team. In episode one, the participants performed a song they had prepared and were judged by other participants if they deserve to be an ‘I-LANDER’.
I-LAND was a place with every facility a trainee would look for with living space, gym, personal training room, etc. Only 12 contestants could live in I-land. The rest were sent to the ground which was just a practice studio where the grounders could practice. 12 members were chosen as I-LANDERS and the rest 13 were sent to the ground.
Part 1 was a competition between the I-LANDERS and the Grounders. They were assessed individually and as a group as well. Their first song was titled ‘Into the I-LAND’ which was a signal song with deep meaning of meeting new people with the same goal.
Both the I-LANDERS and Grounders were given one week to practice as a team and were finally judged by Bang Si-hyuk, Zico and Rain. The individual scores add up and the percentage decides how many I-LANDERS have to go to the ground. The I-LANDERS choose the member they thought should improve and should be sent to the ground. The Grounders on the other hand, had a chance to show their best and come to I-LAND. The Grounders were directly selected by the judges.
Part 1 of I-LAND had 4 tasks where the I-LANDERS and Grounders competed against each other and where sent in and out of I-LAND based on their performance if they needed further improvement.
The last task for Part 1 was a performance on a song called ‘i&credible’ which portrayed an “awakening” theme. While Part 1 was focusing on judge voting and self-evaluation by the trainees, the last task allowed the audience to vote. The final 12 trainees were to compete against each other to make to the debut group and the rest of the Grounders were eliminated.
Being together for a long time, the I-LANDERS and grounders had grown an affection towards each other and it was really hard saying a bye to the members with whom they had spent their days and nights practicing for the same goal. But only 12 of the trainees stepped into the next chapter of I-LAND.
Part 2 was based on global voting and expert’s evaluation. There were many surprises awaiting for the 12. Their first task was a BTS test where they had to perform on a song by BTS, and to guide the I-LANDERS, BTS members themselves went to I-LAND and motivated the trainees. It was the most memorable moment for trainees as BTS inspired many to follow their dreams.
Formation of ENHYPEN
As each task got over, the global audience decided the future of the I-LANDERS. The I-LANDERS with the least votes was eliminated after the task, leaving only nine I-LANDERS to contest for the finals. Those who made it to the finals were K, Daniel, Jungwon, Heeseung, Niki, Jake, Jay, Sunghoon and Sunoo. Out of this, the six members were chosen by global ranking and one member was directly chosen by the PD. The final 7 trainees debuted as ENHYPEN that we all know today.
ENHYPEN stands for connection, discovery and growth. The core story of ENHYPEN centers around how they discovered each other, grew together, and transcended each other’s limits to form a united whole. They debuted on 30 November 2020, with their first mini-album, Border: Day One.
The journey through I-LAND had given the audience all kind of emotions. The happiness of debut as well as the sadness of them being eliminated had taken over. Through this survival show, we actually saw the journey of the members from being a trainee to becoming an idol. Seeing that made me feel more connected to ENHYPEN as a band. If you haven’t seen I-LAND, we would highly recommend to watch!