2021 has been exciting for K-Pop fans, with new group announcements coming in from left and right. From super rookies like STAYC to highly-anticipated debuts like JYPn, girl groups are taking over, and well, we’re so not ready for all the talent. 2022 is about to get fiercely competitive, as these up-and-coming girl groups are set to lead not only the fourth generation of K-Pop but also the industry in general!
As SM Entertainment‘s first artificial intelligence concept girl group from the SM Culture Universe (SMCU), aespa debuted in November of 2020. Though still rookies, aespa members are already largely successful. K-Pop fans agree that aespa will definitely lead the fourth generation of K-Pop.
Produced by the duo Black Eyed Pilseung, Highup Entertainment‘s STAYC members have been stealing the spotlight since their debut in November 2020. From vocals to visuals, STAYC is the “Whole Package” with so much to offer. Will 2022 become the beginning of STAYC’s era? Likely.
Kep1er hails from a grueling competition on Mnet‘s audition program Girl Planet 999. Only the finest nine out of 99 contestants from Korea, China, and Japan became selected to debut—so expectations are high. Set to become official sometime in December 2021, Kep1er will reign together for two years and six months (as of now).
STARSHIP Entertainment‘s new girl group, IVE, is not an average rookie. With two former IZ*ONE members, Yujin and Wonyoung, bringing all the know-how to the team, IVE is probably going to take off as soon as the group debuts in December 2021. K-Pop fans can’t wait for this well-balanced team to spearhead 2022!
In July 2021, JYP Entertainment—affectionately referred to as the Girl Group Powerhouse by Korean fans—announced the plans to launch JYPn: the agency’s fifth addition to the lineup of generational success. With each member being revealed, the anticipation for JYPn’s debut in February 2022 builds.
6. Source Music
According to an exclusive report from Star News in August 2021, former IZ*ONE members Kim Chaewon and Sakura Miyawaki have been “recruited” by HYBE to become a part of its subsidiary Source Music’s new girl group. While no statement has come from any of the parties involved, avid K-Pop fans suspect this completely veiled five-member girl group is debuting 2022 to change the scene for once and for all.
7. Baby Monster
Also in August 2021, Noh Hee Young (CEO of YG Foods) graced a YouTube channel and dropped huge spoilers about YG Entertainment‘s upcoming girl group Baby Monster. According to this insider scoop, members are “no joke, they’re like 10 Jennies.” Knowing how awesome K-Pop has been with one Jennie, fans look forward to having this hoobae group to BLACKPINK lead the next generation!
On November 12, the Korean news outlet Sports Kyunghang revealed HYBE is launching an independent label, ADOR (short for All Doors One Room), with the current Chief Brand Officer Min Hee Jin as the CEO. This newly-established label will primarily focus on producing the members auditioned back in 2019—two who have already been revealed. As Min Hee Jin is one of the most highly respected names in the industry, this group-in-the-making is already on the fast track to stardom.
9. HYBE x GEFFEN
Lenzo Yoon, CEO of HYBE America, announced that the top officials from both HYBE and HYBE America have been working together in Los Angeles on a project that will surprise the whole world — a global girl group that will be active not only in the United States, but the whole world. They have been setting up a localized training system that will harness the full capabilities of both UMG and HYBE, leaving K-Pop fans beyond excited for the monster rookie that the collaborative effort will birth!
10. I-LAND 2
From the show that brought ENHYPEN to K-Pop, another girl group will come to life! According to a press release shared by CJ ENM, I-LAND 2 has officially started production and is set to air sometime in 2022. Just like the first season, I-LAND 2 will take K-Pop fans on another emotional rollercoaster—forming a strong fandom even before the group is finalized. One thing’s for sure: Whoever ends up on the show (and on the team), they are most definitely going to be the next leaders.