‘Produce’ winners X1 kick off with a ‘Flash’: Despite some controversy, 11-member group debuted in front of an entire stadium

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‘Produce’ winners X1 kick off with a ‘Flash’: Despite some controversy, 11-member group debuted in front of an entire stadium


The members of X1 meet with local press prior to their debut “showcon” - showcase and concert - on Tuesday at the Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul. From left are members Nam Do-hyon, Lee Han-gyul, Han Seung-woo, Cho Seung-youn, Kim Woo-seok, Kim Yo-han, Kang Min-hee, Song Hyeong-jun, Son Dong-pyo, Cha Jun-ho and Lee Eun-sang. [YONHAP]

It may have been a bumpy road to get there, but project boy band X1 officially performed in front of fans for the first time as a group at their debut “showcon” event on Tuesday evening at the Gocheok Sky Dome in western Seoul.

The group’s 11 members expressed their hopes and goals for their future to the local press at a conference held prior to the concert, revealing their excitement to embark on a new journey.

“It didn’t really feel real,” said Cho Seung-youn. “But today, when we came here for our rehearsal, we saw the stage for the first time and we realized how big it is. To feel that we will be performing on such a big stage made me feel so good. We’re all excited and promise to show you our best.”

X1 made their official debut on Tuesday with their first EP “Flight: Quantum Leap,” after each member won their way into the 11-member group during the fourth season of Mnet’s “Produce” audition program, this time titled “Produce X 101.” Yet again with 101 hopeful trainees from various entertainment agencies across K-pop, the show closed with a 3.9 percent viewership rating for its final episode that aired on July 19, after competing for 12 weeks.

Just as Wanna One, the winner’s of the second season of “Produce,” did in 2017, X1 made their debut at a venue larger than any other rookie stars in K-pop.

The road that led to the group’s debut was unquestionably the toughest for any winners of the show. While many people wondered whether “Produce” would be able to entertain audiences with the same format even before the program began, its final days were tainted with accusations from fans claiming that the producers of the program had manipulated fan vote results for the finale.

Under suspicions that the producers’ favorites got to debut instead of the actual, voted-upon favorites, fans formed a “Truth Commission” and reported the show’s producers to prosecution. According to a police investigation, it’s possible that producers actually did forge the results.

“Rather than feeling pressured about the situation, we want to pay back the fans who love us,” said Cho. “The reason we prepared so much was entirely because of those who love us. We hope that with this album, we can wash away everything [that people are suspicious about].”

The seven-track EP “Flight: Quantum Leap” comes in two versions: “Flight” and “Quantum Leap.” Each will highlight different sides of the group, according to member Kim Woo-seok.

“If ‘Flight’ is about the 11 of us flying high, ‘Quantum Leap’ is about making a big leap,” he said.

The lead track “Flash” is a powerful dance pop that shows the energy that the members are ready to show, with powerful bass that highlights their passion and an exciting EDM beat that amplifies the members’ dance skills. Also included in the EP are “Stand Up,” “U Got It” and “Move,” as well as X1’s special version of the “Produce X 101” theme song, “X1-MA.” The music video for “Flash” is filled with symbols related to the group’s future songs and concept, according to the agency.

“There are a variety of genres included in the album, which will be fun for the listeners. The lead track also has a performance that’s worth watching. We hope you love it,” said Kim Woo-seok.

Of the 11 members of X1, three have actually debuted with other groups in the past. Kim Woo-seok debuted in 2015 with the group boy band UP10TION and Han Seung-woo debuted with the boy band Victon in 2016. Cho debuted in 2014 as a part of boy band Uniq and also competed in season 5 of Mnet’s hip-hop survival program “Show Me the Money” in 2016. Cho also released solo music last year under the stage name Woodz.

“I got to debut with such nice guys through ‘Produce,’” said Cho. “It was just so fun training together. It reminded me of when I trained to become an idol for the first time, and I’m glad that I get to show off good songs and performances.”

Han added, “I was in a group called Victon. I’m sad in a way, but I felt happy training with the members of X1. I hope that both groups get to do well and meet in a good place.”

Tuesday’s debut marks the beginning of a long journey that’s set out in front of the stars - they will first spend two and a half years together as X1, then return to their own agencies and meet for scheduled X1 performances for two and a half years after that. It’s the beginning and the members are determined to show their best to their fans.

“We want to show the fans what X1 is like together - what X1 is like as one,” said Lee Eun-sang.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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