8:06 am - 09/25/2018

✨ An Incomplete Guide to Nugu Girl Groups (Part 1) ✨

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?

Yellow Bee
Sha Sha
Cherry on Top
goshipgurl 25th-Sep-2018 01:17 pm (UTC)
over half of these groups have innocent and cute concepts, meh. the saturday song would be a bop without the childish lyrics and voices.

but i was just thinking about this while watching the jackson documentary. many idols leave everything behind and audition/start training without proper education or a degree, and only a few of them succeed. the rest spent many years and $$$$ on... nothing.
theweebdream 25th-Sep-2018 06:20 pm (UTC)
When you say money do you mean what they spend on their own training before they audition and get into an agency? I always assume even if the company disbanded the group due to no success they didn’t have pay back the money but I don’t know.

I always think that if I was an idol, I would get a college education just in case my idol life didn’t work out. The ironic thing is, it seems to be only the idols who hit it big who have the time to pursue a college education while the nugus are having to always work overtime just to get noticed.
goshipgurl 25th-Sep-2018 06:39 pm (UTC)
I always assume even if the company disbanded the group due to no success they didn’t have pay back the money but I don’t know.
only the big 3. the others debut with trainee debt and it takes sometimes years for groups to pay it back.

the thing is, so many idols get into university with special treatment but the majority choose an acting major, which is... questionable.
theweebdream 25th-Sep-2018 06:58 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I know of the big three idols making money instantly vs nugu groups having to break even before seeing any money. But wouldn’t even agencies of nugu groups just write off the debt as a loss in terms of investment and move on if they had to disband their group due to no foreseeable success?

I’ve never understood idols getting into college for an acting degree either. I would assume that top idols have access to acting resources within their agency, why not just take lessons that way instead of taking someone else’s spot? Anyways, you think they would go for a business degree or something since a lot of them seem to invest in buildings or businesses one way or another but who knows.
goshipgurl 25th-Sep-2018 10:03 pm (UTC)
But wouldn’t even agencies of nugu groups just write off the debt as a loss in terms of investment and move on if they had to disband their group due to no foreseeable success?

idols are the people that get the least amount of money, if they get anything at all. if the company makes a loss it gets added to the idols debt so even if they graduate they have to pay it back.
they're called slave contracts for a reason.
vintage_boom 25th-Sep-2018 07:10 pm (UTC)
that's why so many of the international trainees come from wealthy families. they're the only ones who can front sending their kids off for long periods to see if they can debut.

if it were my kid and none of them got into the top 10 agencies I'd make them come home. Anything less is way too risky for them to never make it and honestly they're all so young might as well come home and send them to school/training locally on their own.
goshipgurl 25th-Sep-2018 10:07 pm (UTC)
i know. not only foreign trainees but korean ones as well. just look at siwon, sooyoung, suho or umji.

i'd never let my kid become an idol. that industry is full of shit, sexist people and not healthy.
topismine 25th-Oct-2018 09:40 pm (UTC)
I love a good cute song as long as it's good. There's no shame in my Kidz Bop game.

That being said none of these are really hitting me though.
benihime99 25th-Sep-2018 02:12 pm (UTC)
I checked out debut track for all of these when they came out and NeonPunch is the only one who caught my eyes
dior_chic 25th-Sep-2018 02:34 pm (UTC)
I appreciate the hard work you post into this post OP!

Speaking of nugus, I’m guessing it’s over for Good Day. they’re a nugu group that really impressed me with their choreography videos and fun debut (plus a solid mini). It’s over a year now since their debut and I feel like I have heard any news of a comeback :(
a_suitcase 25th-Sep-2018 02:38 pm (UTC)
I really like them, and their members did so good on The Unit! I was hoping they would comeback soon after the show finished :/.
dior_chic 25th-Sep-2018 02:39 pm (UTC)
Same :(((( it’s most likely a financial issue, but I’m sure they gained enough attention if they wanted to do a makestar campaign or something similar? Idk I just miss them and their potential
yxerin 25th-Sep-2018 03:39 pm (UTC)
great initiative op! there are some here that i haven’t heard of that i will check out. i wish berry good would’ve gotten a mention tho
myrrhcat 25th-Sep-2018 03:48 pm (UTC)
there were a lot of groups I wanted to include but I had to limit myself to 10 for the first part lol! also I think their nugu status is arguable, but I might do an edition on not-quite-nugu groups later
spainawards2008 25th-Sep-2018 05:56 pm (UTC)
literally got excited to read this to see if Saturday and Sha Sha were here. I've been listening to them all week. SIS, also good.

Honestly, after falling in love with Stellar (queens of the nugu scene) I love me a nugu girl group.
Please make more editions of this (Highteen and Marmello are casual suggestions)
theweebdream 25th-Sep-2018 06:12 pm (UTC)
Neon Punch’s debut song was so catchy! I hope their future releases are just as good.
volume1995 25th-Sep-2018 06:42 pm (UTC)
my fav nugu solo!! shes been mia for a while now but she'd fit right into loona / neonpunch
[Unknown LJ tag]
vintage_boom 25th-Sep-2018 07:12 pm (UTC)
Neon Punch are the only ones out of this list that really caught my attention!
921227 25th-Sep-2018 08:17 pm (UTC)
Saturday & neonpunch are the only ones im familiar with & i hope to see/hear more
pikapika217 25th-Sep-2018 10:23 pm (UTC)
ran into Neon punch's song recently and liked it a lot. Wishing them luck!
calzonazos 26th-Sep-2018 04:03 am (UTC)
So many new bops! thank you so much!!!! can't wait for Part 2 of this post
senshicalico 26th-Sep-2018 07:22 am (UTC)
Man, I tend to keep u pwith nugus, and I have listened to all of these at least once before but... god, it's tragic out there, lol.

Neon Punch seems like the only one of this batch that seem to have real potential. If it's not a clear lack of budget, going hard on the yaawwwwncute concept or just dated (and not in a good way) music... sigh. Best of luck to them all tbh.
kyokomurasaki 26th-Sep-2018 08:30 pm (UTC)
I liked You & Me, Moonlight and I actually quite liked On Air if it weren't for that awkward beat drop.

This post just reminded me of how good Bambino's Moonlight Shower is, ugh a classic
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