For every girl group that's fortunate enough to come from a well-funded, recognizable company and step into the spotlight, there are dozens more waiting in the shadows for their chance to shine. This is a primer (of sorts) on ten
of the more recently active nugu girl groups that you might want to check out. This may be the first in a neverending series, as new girl groups continue to pop up out of nowhere every week.
Group Name: BaBa
Debut Date: March 2015
Label: PR Entertainment
Members: Pureum (formerly of Leader'S), Loha, Somi, Seungha, Byeolbit, Maum
It's common for nugu groups to try different styles and concepts until they find one that sticks, but BaBa in particular have had some pretty wild changes. They debuted with a techno cover
of "Sergeant Kim's Return from Vietnam," a Shin Jun Hyun song from 1969, then went from cute to ~mature-sexy~ and then back to cute with their latest release, "Oh! My God!" At least there's a throughline of general quirkiness, but I prefer their previous song, "Funky Music
". They even got some buzz after they performed it on Sketchbook
, shooting to the top
of Naver's realtime search. The group's survived over three years and plenty of lineup changes (they've had three different members who used the stage name Somi for some reason?) which is pretty impressive for their budget.
Group Name: Holics
Debut Date: March 2016
Label: LPA Entertainment
Members: Yulim, Yeonjeong, Yunseong, Mina
Despite an obviously low budget, Holics have served up a pretty danceable bop with their latest single, "Hey Leader". They started out as a five-member group with unremarkable dance-pop tracks "U.lie
" and "Our Story
", along with "Funky Dunky
" (at least the name isn't forgettable?) Member Yunju seems to be either on hiatus or left the group as of this comeback. Holics keep their fans well-fed with plenty of dance covers on their YouTube
channel and frequent Facebook
posts in Korean, English, and Portuguese.
Group Name: LipBubble
Debut Date: March 2017
Label: Zenith Media
Members: Winy, Lia, Seoryn, Mirae, Ella, Haea, Eunbyeol, Hanbi
Despite the name, LipBubble has nothing to do with blisters or cold sores. This is a group that built up some anticipation before debut due to their impressively synchronized dance videos; their cover of Rihanna's "BBHM"
has almost 200,000 views as of this post. Eunbyeol and Hanbi also appeared on KBS' The Unit,
but neither made it past the first elimination. Although they're only on their first comeback, they've already lost 2 members and added 3, with one member (Haea) currently on hiatus. Their debut "Popcorn
" was controversial due to the MV's perceived similarity to Red Velvet's "Russian Roulette" and Twice's "Cheer Up", albeit on a much, much lower budget. However, their comeback with "Yellow Pink" is an upgrade in aesthetic, musical quality, and originality. They're still fairly active posting dance covers on their YouTube channel
, and their debut lineup appeared on Pops in Seoul,
which is how I learned that Seoryn once won an invention contest
with a design for a Braille plate for door locks. She is more talented than all our faves.
Group Name: S.I.S ("Serendipity in Stars")
Debut Date: August 2017
Label: Double X Entertainment
Members: J-Sun, Dal, Minzy, Gaeul, Anne, Sebin
You might recognize Gaeul, Anne, and Sebin of S.I.S from their appearance on KBS' The Unit.
While none of them won on that show, hopefully it brought a bit of attention to the group. Their two singles "I've Got a Feeling
" and "Say Yes" are both worth listening to, with a sort of GFriend/Lovelyz-ish vibe respectively. They have some nice B-sides, too, such as the ballad "Pink Flowers
". They've also appeared on Pops in Seoul
several times, most recently in January for a Pick & Talk
. S.I.S' music and production quality are pretty good for a nugu group; let's see if their next comeback takes less than a year!
Group Name: Yellow Bee
Debut Date: November 2017
Label: Addiction Entertainment
Members: Rozy (formerly of Dorothy), Boyeon, Seona, Somee, Berry
This group debuted with the cutesy "Hiccup
" in November 2017, and just had their first comeback in July with the equally cutesy (but better-produced) "If You Love Me". It's nothing you'd mistake for a major company's release, but it can definitely get stuck in your head. Indeed, everything about this group is cute, from the name to the members. Their self-intro on Pops in Seoul
is actually pretty entertaining if you have 17 minutes to spare (or you can just skip to 15:28 to see Seona's aegyo.) Here's hoping these talented girls get a budget!
Group Name: Sha Sha
Debut Date: February 2018
Label: Major Entertainment
Members: Gowoon, Aryeom, Seoyeon, Hakyung, Chaki, Wanlin
Since their debut with "You & Me
" earlier this year, Sha Sha have shown off a cute and feminine image with surprisingly nice songs and music videos. The chorus of their latest effort "What the Heck" is particularly catchy. They've already had a few members come and go, and most recently made the news when Wanlin fainted on stage
during their showcase. Hopefully, the company will learn from the incident and look out for the members' health more. Sadly there doesn't seem to be much material out there other than their music videos, but the old lineup did a self-introduction
on Pops in Seoul
Group Name: NeonPunch
Debut Date: June 2018
Label: A100 Entertainment
Members: Dayeon, Terry, Baekah (Mixnine), May, Iaan
With a trippy, aesthetically pleasing music video and a 90s-esque dance sound, NeonPunch have made a promising debut with "Moonlight". Their debut was teased for almost a year and a half via dance covers and member teasers on their company's YouTube channel
. Since the release of their single, A100 has continued to enthusiastically promote them with a Chinese version of the song, a showcase in Japan, and various English-subbed variety videos. More recently, their CEO told them on a hidden camera that they would have to disband, before revealing that it was just a cruel "prank"
. It's clear from the members' responses that they really want to succeed as a group, so hopefully, their dedication will pay off.
Group Name: Saturday
Debut Date: July 2018
Label: SD Entertainment
Members: Sion (formerly of Lipbubble), Sunha, Chaewon, Haneul, Chohee, Ayeon, Yuki
Saturday are a new group with a pretty catchy, saxophone-synthy gwiyomi-themed debut single, "MMook JJi BBa". (It's hard to describe, but worth checking out. The song's named after a Korean variant
of rock-paper-scissors.) The girls are cute and have lots of energy when performing, which goes a long way toward selling the concept. They have some impressive synchronization and formations as you can see in their dance practice
, or you can observe their various aegyo abilities in their Pops in Seoul self-introduction
Group Name: Cherry on Top
Debut Date: August 2018
Label: United Creative
Members: U, Ian, Yoonseul, Naye
Nugu companies have a bad habit of giving their groups un-Googleable names. Searching for "Cherry on Top kpop" will mostly give you results about the song of the same name from The Unit
, which is a shame, because these girls are cute and their debut song "Hi Five" isn't half bad. Featuring a comfortable, carefree girl-crush-esque concept, they've delivered a surprisingly well-produced music video. Other than the group name, their company is doing a great job promoting them on YouTube
so far: they've posted plenty of song and dance covers, as well as an English-subbed group introduction
and several self-filmed documentary clips
Group Name: WeGirls
Debut Date: August 2018
Label: Aftermoon Entertainment
Members: E.You, YeHana, Hyeni, JungA (formerly of ZZBest/Hotties/Badkiz), Euna, Ellie (formerly of Hotties), HaL, Nina
Prior to their debut, WeGirls ran a Makestar campaign
in which backers were given the chance to vote for the group's leader/center as well as its debut single's sound/concept (between two choices). Since the conclusion of that campaign, more than half the lineup has changed, YeHana (winner of the leader poll) is not the leader, and their debut single doesn't look or sound anything like what was promised. The good news is that it's still pretty good. Aftermoon Entertainment put that Makestar cash to good use with an aesthetically pleasing MV and a catchy song (unless you hate random beat drops.) The members have a refreshingly mature "grown woman" image compared to most new girl groups; they were all born between '90 and '97. As usual, Pops in Seoul
is here for us with an English-subbed self-intro
from the current lineup.
Which of these groups are you rooting for the most, Omonians?
YouTube: MUSIC&NEW 뮤직앤뉴
, LipBubble official
, Luminant Entertainment
, A100 Entertainment
, GENIE MUSIC
, SUPER SOUND Bugs!
, Soribada (소리바다)
, UNITED CREATIVE
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