I.O.I (also known as IOI or Ideal of Idol) was a South Korean girl group formed by CJ E&M through the 2016 reality show Produce 101 on Mnet. The group was composed of eleven members from various entertainment companies: Lim Na-young, Kim Chung-ha, Kim Se-jeong, Jung Chae-yeon, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim So-hye, Yoo Yeon-jung, Choi Yoo-jung, Kang Mi-na, Kim Do-yeon and Jeon So-mi. They debuted on May 4, 2016.
They officially disbanded at the end of January 2017 and returned to their respective agencies.
Pre-debut: Produce 101 and "Crush"
In November 2015, Mnet announced their new survival show that would bring together 101 trainees from 46 entertainment companies to form a unit girl group with eleven members chosen by the viewers. The show premiered on January 21, 2016 and ended on April 1, 2016.
Prior to Produce 101, some of the members of I.O.I gained recognition after appearing on other television shows: Kim Se-jeong was a contestant on competition show K-pop Star 2 in 2012, Jeon Somi was a member of the 2015 reality survival show Sixteen, and Choi Yoojung appeared in the web drama To Be Continued.
In September 2015, Jung Chaeyeon debuted as a member of DIA but temporarily withdrew from the group to join Produce 101. She also had a cameo appearance in the 2015 web drama Sweet Temptation.
"Pick Me" is a song by contestants of Produce 101. It was released online as a digital single on December 17, 2015 by CJ E&M, along with a music video. The group was presented by Jang Keun-suk, and 98 out of 101 members showcased their talents through the song.
"Pick Me" debuted at number 45 on the Gaon Digital Chart, on the chart issue dated February 2-13, 2016, as a hot track. In its second week, the song climbed to number 24. In its third week, the song peaked at number 9. The song placed at number 53 for the 2016 year-end chart, with 893,723 downloads sold and 38,956,800 streams.
On April 1, 2016, the name of the group, I.O.I, and their final rankings were announced:
It was initially planned for the group to debut on April 1, 2016 with the song "Crush," which they performed as part of the finale of the show, but YMC Entertainment and Mnet decided to postpone the debut to better prepare the group's concept and choreography with a new song as I.O.I's debut single.
On April 3, 2016, a representative gave details of the plans for the debut of the group. Instead of releasing a digital single as initially planned, I.O.I would be releasing an EP with various songs. It was also reported that the group would have their own reality show on Mnet. On the same day, the members greeted the fans for the first time as I.O.I via their official Naver V app channel.
Debut with Chrysalis
I.O.I officially debuted on May 4, 2016 through the release of their first album, "Chrysalis", accompanied with a music video for the title track "Dream Girls". The song is a trap pop dance track co-written by Eru and Paul with rap lyrics written by members Lim Na-young and Choi Yoo-jung. On May 5, the group held their debut stage on Mnet's M Countdown, performing the title track and "Knock Knock Knock". On the same day, the group held their debut showcase and fan meeting at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul.
On May 10, they appeared on The Show performing both "When the Cherry Blossoms Fade" and "Dream Girls".
Due to conflict of interest, the group did not perform on the music shows of the three major Korean networks KBS, MBC, and SBS.
On May 20, the group made their first appearance on a non-cable television music show Music Bank. Its producer, Won Seung Yeon, stated that the group "is always a hot topic and does well in whatever they do" and that "there was no real reason to exclude them". Previously, the girls had also been excluded from being nominated on the three channels' music shows.
Chrysalis debuted at number 4 on the Gaon Album Chart while the title track "Dream Girls" debuted at number eight on the Gaon Digital Chart and rose to number 7 a week later. All the other tracks from the album also charted.
"Dream Girls" became the 7th most viewed K-Pop video in America and 4th worldwide in May.
The EP placed at number 38 on the Gaon Album Chart for the year-end 2016 with 74,554 physical copies sold.
"Whatta Man" and "Hand in Hand"
On June 10, 2016, YMC Entertainment revealed Lim Nayoung, Chungha, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim Sohye, Choi Yoojung, Kim Doyeon and Jeon So-mi as members of I.O.I's unit group, slated to promote the group's second album during the summer of 2016.
Jung Chaeyeon joined her MBK Entertainment group DIA for a comeback, and Kim Sejeong and Kang Mina were preparing for their debut as members of Jellyfish Entertainment's girl group Gugudan at the time.
On August 9, 2016, the sub-unit released a single titled "Whatta Man (Good Man)". The song was inspired by Linda Lyndell's "What a Man" and was produced by Ryan S. Jhun who also composed I.O.I's song "Crush".
The choreography for "Whatta Man" was arranged by member Chungha.
The single album was a commercial success peaking at number 2 on the Gaon Digital Chart and on the Gaon Album Chart, for its digital (downloads and streaming) and physical sales respectively. It has sold over 64,922 physical copies and 368,469 digital downloads as of September 2016. The single album sold 69,076 physical copies in 2016.
On August 15, 2016, I.O.I released the digital single "Hand in Hand", a remake of the Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics theme song originally sung by Koreana.
On October 17, 2016, I.O.I released their extended play titled "Miss Me?". The title track, "Very Very Very", was written, composed and arranged by Park Jin-young, founder of Jeon So-mi's agency JYP Entertainment. With a rhythm of 206 bpm, the upbeat and energetic song is one of the fastest that Park has ever made. The group's special comeback show titled I Miss You Very Very Very Much Show was aired live through Mnet on October 16, 2016, followed by the release of Miss Me? and the title track's music video at midnight.
I.O.I received their first music program trophy as a whole group with "Very Very Very" on Show Champion on October 26.
The song was a commercial success topping the Gaon Digital Chart. It has sold over 423,491 downloads as of October 2016.
Last activities, final concert and disbandment
On November 5, 2016, YMC Entertainment confirmed that I.O.I would be disbanding on January 31, 2017. The group would still be actively promoting until the end of their contracts; including guest appearance on variety shows such as Immortal Songs: Singing the Legend, Yang and Nam Show and Knowing Bros.
From January 20 to 22, 2017, I.O.I held their final concert titled Time Slip – I.O.I. The three-day concert was held in Jangchung Gymnasium, where the group held their debut showcase.
I.O.I's unit group in December 2016
On January 10, 2017, it was revealed that I.O.I had received songs from various producers and songwriters as potential songs for their final release, including B1A4's Jinyoung. On January 17, YMC Entertainment announced that the group's final track before official disbandment would be "Downpour", written and co-produced by Seventeen's Woozi. The ballad was personally chosen and recorded by all eleven members of the group. The digital single and its music video was released the next day at midnight.
I.O.I's last schedule as a group was on January 25, 2017. They filmed a new CF for school uniform brand Elite along with boy group Pentagon.
The band officially disbanded on January 29, with the members' last television show appearance on MBC's Section TV and the fan cafe closing down on the 31st.
It was also announced on January 31 that I.O.I's song "Downpour" won Inkigayo's final January 2017 trophy with no live broadcast due to Lunar New Year's Day.
On July 1, 2019, Studio Blu confirmed that the group would return in October 2019 with nine members, excluding Yoo Yeon-jung and Jeon So-mi. On September 6, the planned comeback was postponed to December. On October 29, the comeback got cancelled due to scheduling conflicts between the members and the ongoing Mnet vote manipulation investigation.
Nine Muses, 4Minute, Girl's Day, Sistar, Secret, Orange Caramel, Rainbow, 2NE1, Dalshabet, Stellar, Miss A, After School, Spica, Hello Venus, Wonder Girls, f(x), Crayon Pop, WA$$UP, BESTie & GLAM.
Sources: Mnet K-POP, YMCent, UNCLASSIFIED, Stone Music Entertainment, 1theK, I.O.I Wikipedia, Pick Me Wikipedia, Chrysalis Wikipedia, Whatta Man (Good Man) Wikipedia, Aminoapps
Thank you so much for all the requests last week! ♥
Just a small one this time, but with this week and recent events taken into consideration, you can probably guess who are up next, right?
Let me know what you think of this week.. Do you think we'll ever get a reunion? Favorite member? Song?