Wonder Girls was a South Korean girl group formed by JYP Entertainment. The group debuted in February 2007 with the single "Irony". The group officially disbanded on January 26, 2017, after unsuccessful contract renewal negotiation with some of its members.
2006–2007: MTV Wonder Girls, debut and line-up changes
After Park Jin-young revealed the name of his first girl group Wonder Girls in May 2006, the Wonder Girls were introduced through a TV show titled MTV Wonder Girls.
Shortly after selecting Yeeun as the fifth member, the Wonder Girls held their first showcase in the MTV Studio. The group was made up of the members: Sunye, Sohee, Hyuna, Yeeun, and Sunmi.
The Wonder Girls officially debuted in early 2007 on MBC's Show! Music Core, performing "Irony", the hip-hop single from their first album, The Wonder Begins. The album sold 11,454 physical copies in 2007.
Shortly after, "Wonderfuls", the official Wonder Girls fanclub, was established.
The group held several showcases in China after receiving Chinese lessons.
In mid-2007, however, members of the Wonder Girls were beset by various injuries and health problems. On June 25, Sohee was sidelined for a month after tearing a knee ligament in a fall from a running motorcycle during the filming a movie.
The remaining four members continued performing until late July, when Hyuna was withdrawn from the group by her parents due to their concern over her problems with chronic gastroenteritis and fainting spells.
In autumn 2007, the talent agency Good Entertainment sent their trainee Yubin to JYP Entertainment as a replacement for Hyuna. She made her debut three days later in the group's live performance of "Tell Me" on Music Bank.
Their first full-length album, The Wonder Years, was released the following week with "Tell Me" as the lead single. Due to the last-minute addition of Yubin, the album version does not contain her part. However, the performance version of the song was reworked to include a bridge with rapping by Yubin.
The single was a hit and reached number one on various Korean television and internet music charts, including KBS's Music Bank. The song also became a number one hit in Thailand. The choreography for the song was simple and widely imitated: by October, many fan performances of the dance circulated on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Daum, including one by a group of policemen who were eventually profiled on SBS's Star King.
The dance's popularity it received became widely known as the "Tell Me Virus".
The Wonder Girls had an extensive promotional schedule for their album, and in late 2007 they began performing their second single, "이 바보" ("This Fool"). MTV also began broadcasting The Wonder Life, a reality TV series starring the girls.
In February 2008, the Wonder Girls joined their producer Park Jin-young for his month-long concert tour through Korea and the United States as special guests, where they filmed the music video for "Wishing on a Star" while in New York.
"So Hot" was released on May 22, 2008. The song topped online charts soon after. In mid-2008, they performed on MBC's Show! Music Core, performing "So Hot" and "This Time". Due to a vocal cord injury, Yubin temporarily lip-synced her parts under doctor's orders.
After a very short break, the Wonder Girls made a comeback in early fall 2008. The music video for "Nobody" was revealed, and the single was released simultaneously. They performed the following weekend on Show! Music Core, Music Bank and Inkigayo. The song went to No. 1 on KBS' Music Bank, staying there for four consecutive weeks, and also won Cyworld's "Song of the Month" award in September and October 2008. Like "Tell Me", "Nobody" also sparked a dance craze.
At the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival Awards, the Wonder Girls received three awards: the "Song of the Year" award, "Best Music Video" for "Nobody" and "Best Female Group". The group also won an award at the 2008 Golden Disk Awards for high digital sales. At the 18th Seoul Music Awards, the Wonder Girls won the Daesang ("Artist of the Year" award), the highest award offered, for "Nobody", in addition to two other awards.
In October 2008, the Wonder Girls were signed by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). By the end of 2008, they had earned ₩12 billion ($9 million US) as a group.
2009–2010: Focus on international activities, touring and line-up changes
The Wonder Girls tour began on February 28, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. Along with their mentor, JYP, they held concerts throughout the United States. The group then returned to South Korea, holding concerts in late March in Seoul and Busan. This tour was documented in the M.net reality show Welcome to Wonderland.
Following the tour, the Wonder Girls debuted a music video for "Now", a cover of the Fin.K.L single.
In March 2009, the Wonder Girls confirmed that the group would launch in an English-language music career in the United States with the official release of an English version of "Nobody" in summer 2009. It was later announced that the release would be followed by and English version of "Tell Me", and that an English album would be forthcoming.
In June 2009, JYP Entertainment announced that the Wonder Girls would be joining the Jonas Brothers on the North American leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009. In order to concentrate on their American debut, both Sohee and Sunmi had dropped out of high school.
The English version of "Nobody" was released on June 26, 2009, the day before the start of their tour with the Jonas Brothers. The Wonder Girls were initially signed on for 13 concert dates across the US, but they were eventually given the opportunity to join the Jonas Brothers for a total of 45 concert dates."Nobody" entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2009, making them the first Korean group to enter the chart. The song also topped the Taiwan and Hong Kong music charts.
On January 22, 2010, JYP announced that Sunmi would be postponing her musical career to pursue an academic career and that Hyerim, a JYP trainee, would take her place. Sunmi continued to work as a participating member of the Wonder Girls throughout February in order to complete scheduled events.
Sunmi's departure put many of group's American plans into disarray. The Wonder Girls had been preparing an English album, with six tracks to consist of English versions of Korean singles and the other half of brand new material, initially scheduled for release in February 2010. They were also planning to have a headlining tour in January 2010; however, due to the departure of Sunmi, plans for the tour were delayed and the album was eventually scrapped.
On April 5, 2010, the Wonder Girls announced a 20-show tour of the US and Canada, dubbed "The Wonder World Tour", which included fellow label mates 2PM for nine dates in conjunction with Live Nation.
The Wonder Girls followed up their tour announcement with the unveiling of their latest EP, titled "2 Different Tears". The title track was recorded in three different languages: Chinese, Korean and English.
Between May 15 and 31, 2010, the Wonder Girls returned to South Korea to promote the Korean version of "2 Different Tears". They appeared on M.Net's M! Countdown on May 22, 2010. On May 27, the Wonder Girls won their first No. 1 award for "2 Different Tears" on M! Countdown.
2011–2012: Wonder World and further international ventures
In January 2011, more information was released about the English-language album. JYP Entertainment's CEO Park Jin-young hinted on his Twitter account that he had written a new song for the group while recording in the drama Dream High and later tweeted that other producers were involved in producing the album. Rainstone of JYP Entertainment said that the album was expected to have six to seven tracks. Producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Claude Kelly were revealed to be participating in the album and that the album was to be released by one of the three major labels of America.
On October 23, JYP revealed a new poster, "R U Ready?", hanging over their company's building with a new version of the Wonder Girls' logo.
Wonder World was announced as the group's second full-length album and was released on November 7, 2011 along with the single "Be My Baby". The album featured more writing and production input from the group members. Promotions for Wonder World and a couple of its tracks began with a comeback stage on Music Bank on November 11 and continued through January 2012. The album placed at number 42 on the Gaon Album Chart for the year 2011 for 34,140 physical copies sold.
The group returned to American activities with their made-for-TV movie The Wonder Girls in early 2012.
"The DJ Is Mine" an English-language song featuring School Gyrls, was released as a promotional tie-in single for the movie on January 11. "The DJ Is Mine" reached number one on several Korean charts.
The movie premiered on February 2 on the TeenNick channel, and featured the then-unreleased English song "Like Money". Following the release of the movie, the group received proposals from major broadcasting companies in the United States, and were in talks concerning full U.S. promotions and activities for their debut English-language album. The twelve-track album was said to have been completed and was scheduled for a summer 2012 release.
In June 2012, the group made a Korean comeback. The group released their mini-album Wonder Party on June 3, 2012. The album's lead single, "Like This", premiered on the same day.
In mid-June, it was announced that the group would be making their debut in Japan under DefStar Records, with a release of a Japanese-language version of "Nobody". The single release was called "Nobody for Everybody" and was released on July 25.
On July 10, 2012, a new version of "Like Money" that featured Akon was released as a single in the United States, in what would become their last completely English-language release as a group. In early September 2012, the group performed three new songs from their then-upcoming English-language album at an iHeartRadio concert. On October 29, 2012, Wonder Girls participated in a joint-interview with Nick Cannon in which they discussed the release of their English-language album as well as a new show showcasing the Wonder Girls as a spin-off from their original movie. On November 14, Wonder Girls released the compilation album Wonder Best in Japan, which included a new song, updated versions of older hit songs, and Japanese versions of their songs.
2013–2014: Group hiatus, Sunye and Sohee's departure
Sunye announced in November 2012 that she would get married in January 2013; JYP announced that the group would go on hiatus. The Wonder Girls performed for the last time before their hiatus at the Winter Special Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea on February 5, 2013.
Sunye gave birth to a daughter in October 2013. JYP Entertainment denied Sunye's retirement from the group and stated that she would still remain as a member regardless of her inactive status.
In December 2013, Sohee left JYP Entertainment and signed with KeyEast Entertainment to focus on an acting career. In December 2014, Sunye officially retired from entertaining, shifting her focus to her family and missionary work in Haiti with her husband. Due to the departures, plans for the English-language album, an English television series, as well as any future promotions in the United States were entirely scrapped.
2015: Line-up changes and comeback with Reboot
On June 24, 2015, JYP Entertainment announced that the Wonder Girls would be making a comeback after a three-year hiatus. A representative of the agency confirmed that former member Sunmi would re-join the group for the first time since withdrawing in 2010. Rather than a dance group, the Wonder Girls returned as a four-member band with each member playing an instrument: Yubin (drums), Yeeun (keyboard), Hyerim (guitar), and Sunmi (bass). Their comeback featured a retro, 1980s sound resonant throughout the album, similar to some of their past releases.
On August 2, "I Feel You", the lead single from album, was released. The group released the album, titled Reboot on August 3. The album was a commercial success, charting number five on Gaon Albums Chart and number two on Billboard World Albums. Each member participated in the composition and production of the album. Reboot was ranked No. 1 on The 10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2015 by Billboard, and also No. 18 on The 20 Best Albums of 2015 by FuseTV.
2016–2017: Why So Lonely and disbandment
In mid-2016, the group started promoting their upcoming single. On June 18, they released one of its B-sides, titled "To the Beautiful You".
On July 5, the Wonder Girls released the song "Why So Lonely", with "To the Beautiful You" and "Sweet & Easy" serving as B-sides, as a CD and as a digital single. The single was commercially successful in South Korea—the digital download topped the Gaon Digital Chart.
On July 12, the group performed the dance version of Why So Lonely for the first time on SBS MTV's The Show, winning the trophy for that week. This was their first win on a music program since the release of "Like This" in 2012.
On January 26, 2017, JYP Entertainment announced that Wonder Girls were disbanding, with only Yubin and Hyerim renewing their contracts while Yeeun and Sunmi decided to leave the company.
The group released their final single "Draw Me" on February 10; it also serves as a celebration for their 10th anniversary since debut.
Sunye: Sunye gave birth to her third daughter early 2019 and is still married to James Park.
Yubin: In February 2020, Yubin founded her own music label, RRR Entertainment.
In May 2020, Yubin released her single "Yaya (Me Time)", her first released under her own music label "RRR Entertainment".
Ye-eun: In April of 2020, she released her first full-length album, 1719, along with music videos for the three leading singles ("Life Sucks," "Sweet Sensation," and "Satellite").
Sunmi: Her single "Pporappippam" was released on June 29.
Sohee: Sohee will star in OCN’s upcoming weekend drama "Missing: The Other Side" and is expected to air august 2020.
Hyuna: On January 27, 2019, she signed with P-Nation (after leaving Cube Entertainment), a new agency founded by Psy. On November 5, 2019, she released a single titled "Flower Shower", her first release under P-Nation.
Hyerim: On March 10, 2020, Hyerim signed with RRR Entertainment, a new agency founded by fellow Wonder Girls member Yubin since she left JYP Entertainment. She recently got married.
Sources: Wonder girls wikipedia, Soompi, wattpad, MBC Kpop, Jenirus, KOCOWA TV, wondergirls ♪
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I'm a little early this week because i'm excited to share my 15th installment with you~ 😊
Let me know down below your most wonderful moment, memory, song, concept, styling, member, line-up! Personally, I still love listening to them or watching some of their old live performances. So many of their songs are so timeless!
I'm so pleased they are active as solo artists and doing so well for themselves. But mostly, i'm really happy they still get along so well, not just with each other but also with JYP himself. It really warms my heart and it was fantastic to see their interactions recently surrounding Hyerim's wedding. I really wanted to make this post to celebrate it 💕 (even if it's a little on the late side). I had to cut out parts because there was too much to go through (that's why i only included their most recent solo work!) so if you miss something that you would love to share with everybody, feel free to leave it down below or send me a request.
Have fun everybody and thanks, as always, for stopping by! 💕