By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) — From its record-breaking debut in August, the unprecedented breakout success of rookie band Wanna One, formed by 11 survivors of the TV audition show “Produce 101,” has proven to be a classic K-pop Cinderella story. But what happens to those who narrowly missed the final cut?
Former contenders who fell short of making it into the final round, many by painfully slim margins, have wiped away their tears and banded together to launch their own projects — the first of which is RAINZ, who came out with their debut album “Sunshine” on Thursday.
“We were able to debut through a cool name, thanks to our fans,” RAINZ member Lee Ki-won said during a media showcase held at Yes24 Live Hall in eastern Seoul.
The band’s debut album was produced by Ryan Jhun, who was responsible for writing “Pick Me,” the main theme music of the second season of “Produce 101.” Lead track “Juliet” is a nu-disco dance number, heavy in synth arrangements, which tells of love from the perspective of Romeo in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
“Similar to how ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is beloved to this day, we want ‘Juliet’ to be cherished by fans constantly,” member Hong Eun-ki said.
The band’s name derived from the fact that whenever the seven members got together to practice or hang out, it always rained. “The fans started calling us RAINZ,” explained Lee.
The seven-member band is not the only new act associated with “Produce 101.” NU’EST W, a boy band whose members all competed in the TV show, also dropped a new record Tuesday, while JBJ, another idol band formed of ex-contestants, is scheduled to debut next week.
“We’re quite close with members of other groups. We’ve become unintentional rivals but promised each other to win-win. I believe we will compete in good faith,” Jang Dae-hyun said.
Member Kim Sung-ri was confident and ambitious when asked about the band’s goals. “Our goal obviously is to reach No. 1. If we reach No. 1, we want to go abroad and present a stage for the fans who love us,” said Kim.
Bandmate Seo Song-hyuk, however, had more managed expectations. “It’d be truly great for us to reach first place, but practically speaking, I’d like for us to enter just the top 10,” Seo said.