The first season of Produce 101 was a huge success, instantly capturing the eyes and hearts of viewers around Korea and also the world. The trainees that emerged victorious from Produce 101 went on to form I.O.I whose brief time promotion time would go on to shape the state of girl group’s in Korea for years to come.
Many members of the eleven-person group pursued different paths, so just over two years after I.O.I’s disbandment in January 2017, but where did they all end up?
1. Yeonjung (Rank: 11)
Everybody in the audience bursts into a smile when Yeonjung sings. I.O.I’s main vocalist stunned many with her powerful vocals on Produce 101 and during her time promoting in I.O.I. After the group disbanded, Yeonjung returned to Yuehua Entertainment to join Cosmic Girls, taking up the positions of Main Vocalist, Center and Maknae.
2. Nayoung (Rank: 10)
The oldest member of I.O.I and consequently the leader, Nayoung mesmerised fans with her dancing ability and blew them away with her skilful rap. Many also praised her visuals, especially her long legs, during her time on Produce 101 and as a member of I.O.I.
After I.O.I disbanded, Nayoung returned to Pledis Entertainment and debuted as the leader of new girl group PRISTIN in 2017. Despite a very successful start, Pledis seems to have no plans for PRISTIN as the group has been on a long hiatus.
3. Mina (Rank: 9)
Mina was a strong candidate for first place throughout Produce 101 but she eventually finished ninth. She was a lead dancer, rapper and vocalist for I.O.I and she particularly excelled in various forms of dance, though, her rapping was nothing to be scoffed at either.
After I.O.I finished their promotions, Mina returned to her company Jellyfish Entertainment to debut in the company’s new girl group, Gugudan where she is the main rapper, main dancer, a vocalist and the maknae. The group had a rocky start but they seemed to have finally found their footing with their most recent comeback, “Not That Type” which was a success.
4. Doyeon (Rank: 8)
Doyeon was beloved by many during Produce 101 for her brave attitude and likeable personality. As a performer she is a well-balanced all-rounder, combining capability in dance, vocals and visuals. After I.O.I ended, Doyeon returned to Fantagio Entertainment and debuted in Weki Meki where she is a lead dancer, lead vocalist and the visual.
5. Chaeyeon (Rank: 7)
Chaeyeon was hailed as one of the great beauties of Korea during her time in Produce 101 and as a member of I.O.I, and even to this day. She had said that many male idols in the past have tried to date her so the title of the group’s visual is very fitting.
Chaeyeon returned to MBK Entertainment do debut as a member of DIA after I.O.I concluded their promotions. Chaeyeon continues to dazzle fans with her great beauty as DIA’s visual, and also shows off her skills in her roles as lead rapper and vocalist.
6. Zhou Jieqiong (Rank: 6)
Zhou also was known as Pinky or Kyulkyung in the past. The Chinese-born idol impressed everyone in Produce 101 with her adaptability and traditional musical talents. Not only does she have a keen sense of musicality but she is also an amazing dancer.
After I.O.I, Zhou returned to Pledis Entertainment and debuted in PRISTIN along with fellow I.O.I member Nayoung. As previously mentioned, PRISTIN seems to be on an extended hiatus but this hasn’t stopped Zhou promoting in her native country of China. Zhou is a big star in China, appearing on various variety and talent shows there.
7. Sohye (Rank: 5)
Sohye wasn’t considered the most talented contestant on Produce 101 but viewers loved her unbreakable spirit and her never-give-up attitude which is why she ended up finishing fifth in the show. During her time on I.O.I she was a vocalist and rapper.
The idol life never suited Sohye, though, and after I.O.I she decided to pursue an acting career. Since then she has appeared in four dramas and a ton of variety shows as a host or MC.
8. Chungha (Rank: 4)
Chungha was known as a “dancing queen” while on Produce 101 and she certainly lived up to that title during her time on I.O.I and during her career afterwards. As a member of I.O.I, she was obviously the group’s main dancer as well as a lead vocalist and rapper.
Many consider Chungha to be the full-package for an idol and her post-I.O.I career has been a huge success story. She debuted as a solo artist with “Why Don’t You Know” in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. She is currently one of the most popular solo acts in Korea.
9. Yoojung (Rank: 3)
Yoojung is a bonafide aegyo pill and she hasn’t changed since her Produce 101 days. Fans loved Yoojung’s bubbly personality and enthusiasm on the show and when combined with her well-balanced skills in dancing, singing and rapping she was an obvious choice to finish the show in a high position.
After I.O.I, Yoojung returned to Fantagio with fellow I.O.I member Doyeon where they both debuted in Weki Meki. Weki Meki embodies the concept of “teen crush” as they mix a loveable cute side with a sassier more rebellious side.
10. Sejeong (Rank: 2)
Sejeong’s vocal power was the envy of aspiring idols all over Korea during Produce 101. There wasn’t a song that she couldn’t master which more than made up for her sometimes shaky dancing. She lent her voice to I.O.I during their promotions before eventually returning to Jellyfish Entertainment with fellow I.O.I member Mina.
Both Mina and Sejeong debuted in Gugudan who had a lacklustre debut song but have now found success with their most recent comeback, “Not That Type”. Though Gugudan has yet to win a music show, Sejeong has won one for her solo song “Flower Road”. She is the fastest soloist to win a music show. As a member of Gugudan and as a soloist, Sejeong has a bright future.
11. Somi (Rank: 1)
The winner of Produce 101 was Somi who was already well-known from her time on SIXTEEN, the show which decided the final members of the girl group TWICE. After pleading with JYP to send her to Produce 101, Somi eventually was voted as the winner due to her spirit, humility and enthusiasm.
After I.O.I, Somi continued to appear on variety shows with the promise that she would be debuting soon under JYP Entertainment. However, she eventually left JYP Entertainment and joined THEBLACKLABEL, a subsidiary of YG Entertainment. Many suspected Somi was originally supposed to debut as a member of ITZY.
After a long wait, fans of Somi are finally getting rewarded as she is confirmed to be debuting in May as a soloist. The wait is finally over.