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Girls Planet 999: Who Debuted and the Trials Along the Way

To be honest, originally I wasn’t going to watch the K-pop idol survival show Girls Planet 999, since I had heard there was a lot of controversy surrounding Mnet’s Produce series, which had a similar premise. However, after watching a small handful of videos recapping the first two episodes (here’s the channel, I highly recommend giving it a watch if you want a quick recap of the season), I knew that I was hooked and had to watch for myself. And, because I am horrible with remembering names and faces of just my classmates, let alone 99 contestants, I put together a spreadsheet for myself to track ranks, songs, eliminations and my own thoughts on performances.

For the most part, I had a great time watching the contestants through the weeks, but I did have some issues along the way that I’ve noted other people online shared. Trust me, you’ll know more about this show than you probably wanted to by the time I’m done writing.

Background

So Girls Planet 999, as I said, is a K-pop idol survival show produced by South Korean station Mnet. It started airing on Aug. 6 with its finale on Oct. 22, a much-anticipated episode for fans like me who knew they were going to follow the debut group afterward. I literally woke up at 6:45 a.m. to watch the livestream at 7:00 instead of waiting for the episode to be posted later in the day. The 99 contestants—33 each from Korea, Japan and China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan)—were chosen from over 13,000 applicants, so you know they’re already very talented. The goal, as with other idol survival shows, is to last long enough to debut with the final group—I.O.I and IZ*ONE are examples of such temporary groups from Mnet’s Produce series.

Of all the trainees (as they’re called), I find it good to note that 25 of them to my count had already debuted with a group of some kind, such as May, Huh Jiwon and Kim Bora from the K-pop group Cherry Bullet and Okazaki Momoko, a former member of the J-pop band Sakura Gakuin. It was even in a discussion on Girls Planet 999 that CLC member Choi Yujin revealed that CLC had been dismissed by Cube Entertainment, meaning that they would not be active until their contract expired. This was very much a surprise to fans, who from then on began cheering even harder for Yujin to make it to the end.

While most of the show depended on audience voting—votes from Korea would comprise half of the total counted with the other half from every other country that participated in voting—there were also judges known as the masters. Each specialized in some aspect of what the trainees would be working on, and there were some big names among them. The masters were Yeo Jin-goo, an actor and the emcee of the show known as the Planet Master; Lee Sun-mi, a K-pop master and former member of the group Wonder Girls; Tiffany Young, a K-pop master and member of the hit group Girls’ Generation; dance masters Baek Koo-young and Jang Juhee; vocal masters Lim Han-byul and Jo Ayoung; and, for the Combination Mission, rap star Woo Won-jae.

How Girls Planet 999 Worked: A (Somewhat) Brief Summary

Strap in, because this is where it gets a little complicated.

To begin with, as previously mentioned, the show started with 99 trainees, 33 in each group (K, C, J). In episode one, one trainee from each group was put into a three-person group known as a cell based on something they had in common with each other. This ranged from having the potential to be the main vocal in the debut group to liking mint chocolate. Then, completely separate from the cells, came the demo stages.

Members from the same group were put together in any number from solos to groups of six to perform a song that, originally, fans thought they chose—I’ll talk more about that later. Before their demo stage performances, each trainee revealed the ranking they’d been given by the masters based on their performance of the signal song “O.O.O (Over&Over&Over).” Like the songs, I’ll talk about the rankings again later. After their performances, the masters gave feedback and chose trainees that were contenders for the first Top Nine.

I should explain the concept of the Top Nine next: regardless of each trainee’s rank, the Top Nine were chosen by the masters in the first round, then voters—known as Planet Guardians—from around the world for the remainder of the show. The Top Nine symbolized the final debut group, so it’s both a prideful thing and a stressful one to be placed in the Top Nine. I’ll discuss the Top Nine arrangements and the debut group later on. At the end of the demo stages, the Top Nine trainees were given the chance to rearrange their cells, keeping the K/C/J ratio, so many cells were completely rearranged.

After the demo stages, which were a mixed bag, different “missions” were given every few episodes.

First was the Connect Mission, where cells would join with two other cells to perform a girl group song from a preset list. The list was as follows: “Yes or Yes” by Twice; “The Fifth Season (SSFWL)” by Oh My Girl (who, if you didn’t know by now, is my favorite group); “How You Like That” by Blackpink; “Fiesta” by IZ*ONE; “The Eve” by EXO; “MIC Drop” by BTS; and “Pretty U” by Seventeen. Two groups would choose the girl group songs and one team would choose each boy group song. The songs would then be pitted against each other—”Yes or Yes” versus “Yes or Yes,” “Fiesta” versus “Fiesta” and, in the case of the boy group songs, “The Eve” versus “Mic Drop” versus “Pretty U.”

Each mission had a benefit attached to it as well. For this mission, the masters would choose the best performance of the two or three, who would then be given the benefit of having their votes double (or triple, if the team chose a boy group song) in the last 24 hours of voting for the following elimination.

After the Connect Mission was the first round of voting, in which only the top 18 cells would survive; 45 trainees would be cut. So using the Universe app, you voted for the trainee cell you liked, so the three trainees survived elimination together. But fear not! There was a chance for one trainee from the K, C and J-groups to be saved by unanimous vote from the Planet Masters, known as the Planet Pass. All hope was not lost for trainees who were on the brink of elimination.

Oh, and did I mention that the best performance overall during the mission was given the chance to perform their song on Mnet’s Countdown? Many K-pop groups dream of being on that show. The winning team was Team One for “Yes or Yes,” though I have to say that the Connect Mission performance was better than the actual stage, likely because of nerves.

Next came the Combination Mission, which was the first mission after the cells were dissolved. That’s right; from that point on, it was every trainee for herself. Kind of makes you wonder why they used cells to begin with if they were going to abandon the concept so quickly, doesn’t it? Groups of three, six and nine were formed (still keeping the K/C/J ratio) to perform a song that focused either on vocals, rap or dance. The song choices here were: “We Are” by Woo Won-jae (three); “Ice Cream” by Blackpink and Selena Gomez (nine); “Missing You” by BTOB (six); “No Excuses” by Meghan Trainor (three); “All About You” by Taeyeon (three); “VVS” from Show Me the Money (three); “In the morning” by ITZY (three); “My House” by 2PM (three); “My Sea” by IU (six); “Salute” by Little Mix (nine); and “Fate” by Lee Sun-hee (six).

What was most interesting about this mission was that the trainees would be arranging the music, writing the raps and creating the choreography themselves. The masters would once more choose who won among the three- six- and nine-member groups, who would then have 270,000 votes split among the members as a benefit. The winning teams this time around were the teams performing “In the morning,” “Fate” and “Salute.”

After this mission, only the top eight trainees by vote from each group would survive, meaning that thirty would be eliminated. Once more the masters would vote for a Planet Pass for one member from each group, but this would be the last time that both the ratio of K/C/J trainees and three Planet Passes would be reserved.

The third mission was known as the Creation Mission. Prior to the mission, new songs were created and parts were released so the Planet Guardians could vote on which trainees would perform which song. The trainees were revealed for each song before the eliminations and began putting in training time together. The benefit would once more be votes doubling in the last 24 hours for the winning group, chosen by the masters and given in the end to the “U+Me=Love” team. I highly recommend watching the videos for these performances (linked next), both for the new songs and the talents of all the trainees.

In the eliminations the following week, the bottom ten trainees would be eliminated and only one Planet Pass would be given, leaving eighteen trainees total. But first, another mission was revealed: the O.O.O Mission, in which teams of nine (and one team of eight) were formed by Planet Guardian votes and agreement from the masters to perform the signal song like the debut group eventually will, complete with a dance break each team choreographs. Mnet posted videos of these performances on YouTube ahead of episode 11, and I personally was very impressed with every trainee’s performance. It was easy to tell that all of the trainees had come a long way since the start.

Unlike previous missions, the O.O.O Mission’s benefit of 90,000 points (or 80,000 for someone from the eight-member team) was given out to individual trainees rather than the entire team. In fact, that was why Mnet posted the videos: the benefit would be given to one member from each team whose individual performance video gained the most likes within the first 24 hours it was posted. The individual winners were Seo Youngeun, Choi Yujin and Huening Bahiyyih; all three of them survived the subsequent eliminations along with fifteen other trainees.

The finale episode—and let me tell you, I was not at all emotionally or mentally ready—included the final mission stage, known as the Completion Mission. Before this, it was revealed early on in the episode that the live voting that would be a part of the episode would be doubled, which could drastically change the lineup depending as well on the first round of voting for the finale. For this mission, two teams of nine will perform the same song, another new one called “Shine,” in a special way: one team will get the first verse, then the other will get the second and the masters choose which team will perform at the front of the group during the ending of the song. Additionally, like most of the other missions, the trainees chose which team they wanted to be on. I was so incredibly impressed with this performance!

A bit of a surprise, the remaining trainees also performed a new ballad called “Another Dream.” A while after that were the eliminations, which will be talked about later. And that, dear readers who have gotten this far, is the end of Girls Planet 999.

Top Nine: A (Much Briefer) Summary

As previously stated, the demo stage Top Nine were chosen by the masters, whereas all the Top Nine following were based on the amount of votes gained from the Planet Guardians. There was no set K/C/J ratio for the Top Nine, so any number of trainees from any group could’ve been chosen.

The Top Nine of each mission were as follows, from ninth rank to first:

Demo Stage – Kuwahara Ayana (J), Cai Bing (C), Choi Yujin (K), Seo Youngeun (K), Jeong Jiyoon (K), Su Ruiqi (C), Shen Xiaoting (C), Kang Yeseo (K) and Ezaki Hikaru (J).

Connect Mission – Kim Chaehyun (K), Kang Yeseo, Cai Bing, Su Ruiqi, Sakamoto Mashiro (J), Choi Yujin, Ezaki Hikaru, Shen Xiaoting, Kawaguchi Yurina (J)

Combination Mission – Kim Chaehyun, Cai Bing, Huang Xianqiao (C), Su Ruiqi, Choi Yujin, Ezaki Hikaru, Sakamoto Mashiro, Kawaguchi Yurina, Shen Xiaoting

Creation Mission/O.O.O Mission – Seo Youngeun, Fu Yaning (C), Nonaka Shana (J), Kawaguchi Yurina, Choi Yujin, Ezaki Hikaru, Sakamoto Mashiro, Kim Dayeon (K), Shen Xiaoting

Evil Editing and Other Controversies

Reminder: this is all alleged. I don’t need Mnet coming after me.

Let me explain first what evil editing is. I couldn’t find an official definition of it, but it’s widely agreed upon that evil editing is when a production company cuts together an episode and crafts storylines in a way that makes certain people within the show look bad in some way. An example of evil editing from another K-pop survival show (that trainee Kim Bora was also a part of) can be found here.

Girls Planet 999 had an opportunity for evil editing in the first episode, because Chinese trainee Chen Hsinwei accidentally said in Korean—a language she’s not fluent in—that Yeo Jin-goo was “ugly” instead of handsome. It’s important to note that she also did get a chance to apologize for the accidental confusion during the first elimination ceremony and that the whole situation was played off for laughs. I saw this and originally thought, “Wow, they totally could’ve evil edited her. Maybe they won’t do that at all!” And now here we are.

Unsurprisingly, there were trainees who were evil edited in the first episode of the show. Specifically, trainees Liang Qiao and Fu Yaning. Yaning is a special case, because she had received criticism from fans for performing a song without omitting racial slurs (and apologized sincerely), but episode one’s first impression of her made the hate so much worse. Her demo stage group was set to perform CLC’s song “Helicopter,” and indeed Choi Yujin was in the audience. This is where it got a little messy. Actually, it might be better if you see for yourself to get the full picture.

Before the performance, she does say (according to English subtitles) that her group can “do better than the original” and goes on to use some lyrics from “Helicopter” to seemingly diss Yujin. Some people wondered if there was a mistranslation—I thought I saw someone point out that a more literal translation would be her group would “show a different side than the original”—and after comments made by Liang Qiao after her elimination, some were left wondering if the entire interaction was manufactured for drama. I’ll discuss that later on, but that’s an example of the alleged evil editing of Yaning, because other people have pointed out how different she acted during Girls Planet 999 than on another survival show.

Liang Jiao was edited in the first episode as well. There was a bit of a storyline crafted about her and her twin sister’s demo stage and how she couldn’t get the timing right on one of the dance moves. That can be seen here, though for some reason the video does not have English closed captioning like the show itself and just about all of the other Girls Planet 999 videos. I went to the first episode on IQIYI and watched that part again to get some of the transcript:

Lim Han-byeol: Qiao, you cried while you were practicing?

Liang Qiao: When we practiced our dance, I cried because [Jiao] couldn’t stay on beat. [In an aside] Jiao was really worried about the beat. She was always a beat ahead of me. We couldn’t turn our heads in sync. She kept getting it wrong, so I cried.

With that being said, Qiao, who was eliminated in the first round of eliminations, went live on social media and talked about her experience on the show. This does have closed captioning and can be found here. I will say first and foremost that she did not mean her video to be an exposé—rather, she just started talking about her experience for fun. One of the things she talked about was that she wasn’t crying because of her sister; she was crying because she’d found out that she was ranked number 32 out of 33 Chinese trainees when she’d been expecting to rank in the 20s. Of course, Girls Planet 999 shows the trainees “revealing” their ranks before their demo stage performances, but according to Liang Qiao, that was not when they were originally revealed to the trainees themselves. I’ll talk a bit more in-depth about what else she revealed later.

Some other evil editing moments appear to include Kim Sein in episode three; Cai Bing, Liang Jiao and Wang Yale throughout the Combination Mission; You Dayeon in episode four; and Su Ruiqi in episode ten. I’m only glossing over these quickly because I’m not the most well-versed in how these shows usually go or whether these were actually examples of evil editing or just storylines made for drama and views. Regardless, there was a specific point I wanted to make: the majority of trainees seemingly evil edited were Chinese trainees. I’m not here to make accusations; that’s simply an observation, just like the observation that the Japanese trainees were painted as the least experienced of all the trainees.

Some people in YouTube comments argued that evil editing was, in effect, a form of vote manipulation, since making some trainees seem like the “hero” or the “villain” of a specific episode may influence how the audience views her and therefore how many votes she received during the voting period. There’s no way to say for sure whether or not this is true, but it’s not the only possible way votes could have been manipulated.

It all had to do with timing, really. The Connect Mission, the first before an elimination, had only a few performances on the episode before voting closed. That, more simply, means that some of the performances were shown on the show itself after voting had already closed. While Mnet did upload individual shots of each trainee’s performance, the group performances were only uploaded to the official YouTube channel after the next episode had aired. And because the voting had closed before that, many voters did not get to see the full picture of the remaining performances. Similar things occurred with the Combination Mission, but that time not even a full video of each trainee’s performances were uploaded; there was only roughly a minute of content for each trainee who hadn’t been shown in the episode before voting was closed.

Oh, yeah, and that final Top Nine from the Creation/O.O.O Missions? There was a live video I didn’t watch that featured everyone’s interim rankings before the final episode and get this—there was only one member in the interim Top Nine who was not from K-group. I get that Korean fans are likely going to vote only for Korean trainees, and those count as half the votes, but really? That seems both not fair and not realistic towards how many fans the Chinese and Japanese trainees have. I went through the tumblr tag after learning about these and I cannot tell you how many people on there were unhappy with the interim rankings for that reason.

Going back to the demo stages, in Liang Qiao’s live social media video, she mentioned that the demo stages—or, at the very least, her and her sister’s stage—was chosen by the producers, not the trainees themselves. This has a couple implications along with it. One is that for the Liang sisters especially, they’re both very talented dancers but were assigned to a vocals-heavy song, which could be taken as them being set up to fail. Not to mention, Qiao also mentioned that she’d practiced so hard for the high note that her voice continued to crack, and the broadcasted result was not something she’d anticipated. That performance, though, was later played for laughs. The other implication is about the Fu Yaning versus Choi Yujin storyline from the first episode. If the demo stages were selected for one of the groups, there’s a great chance they were selected for all of the groups, which could mean that the entire “Yaning dissing Yujin” storyline could have been manufactured for the drama. Looking back and seeing Yaning’s facial expressions before her and Yujin’s interaction and everything between the two that came after, it does seem like some parts of it might have been scripted. Then, during the fan meeting, Yaning said (according to the English translation on the show), “Yujin, you’re the best!” The video on YouTube does not have English subtitles, but it’s clear that there’s no animosity between the two. There’s no evidence to prove that the original drama was scripted, of course; that is just a theory of mine.

Moving on to other issues, there’s also the language barrier to consider, as only some of the trainees not from Korea knew enough Korean to get by. That was abundantly clear during the first episode, since everyone has to find incredibly roundabout ways of communicating with the other members of the cells. Qiao even said during her live social media video that she realized quickly that her English was much better than her Korean. On the first day, she recounted, her sister Jiao had the dictionary the two had brought, so she’d gone outside and asked the cameramen if they could help with translating, to which they replied, no, it was better to see how everyone could communicate without outside help. Clearly this could and would cause some issues when training for the different missions, and Kim Dayeon mentioned during the Creation Mission that Cai Bing would’ve been a good leader for the “Snake” group because most of the group was Chinese. Because of that, she reasoned, Cai Bing would be able to speak in Chinese to them and the process of training would go quicker.

What’s more, Qiao also revealed that the shooting for the demo stages was done in one go that lasted forty hours. Forty hours! That’s nearly two full days! Another one of the trainees, Kim Sein, was receiving backlash for “falling asleep” during Yujin’s demo stage, but knowing how long shooting took and the fact that Sein is one of the youngest trainees at only 16, I think it’s more than excusable for her to be exhausted. And Qiao also noted that the shooting for the theme song lasted three days, during which the trainees only slept one hour each day. Do I even need to say more?

Apart from all of this—yes, there’s still more—I found a video discussing what multiple YouTube comments had already brought up: the prospect of autotune used to make certain trainees look better. I’ve seen a few videos actually, showing the differences in some songs between the in-episode performance and the full version released afterward, and I literally cannot tell which is the performance that was edited. I can’t tell myself, since I’m not trained to be able to tell when autotune is being used, so I’ll drop a link to the video here and you can decide for yourself whether or not Mnet used autotune.

Who Debuted

In the end, only nine of the trainees debuted with Kep1er, the name chosen for the debut group and revealed during the finale episode. Honestly, I have to say I love the name, since it still keeps the naming theme of outer space and is more unique than other names that could have been chosen.

From ninth place to first:

Shen Xiaoting (C) – I was so worried she wouldn’t debut, the announcement of ninth place was so stressful. She has quite the voice and an amazing stage presence, and has been shown to be an amazing dancer as well. I’ve been one of her casual fans—she made my personal Top Nine twice and has been in the Top Nine every single time—and I’m so glad to see her go on to debut. I think she would make a great main vocalist and main dancer for Kep1er, and I really hope she gets so many opportunities after this debut to further her dream!

Sakamoto Mashiro (J) – I am so glad she gets to debut, she’s one of the only two trainees who has been in my personal Top Nine three times throughout the competition. She has so much to offer to the debut group, so I’m very excited and can’t wait to see where she goes! I’m also excited for her, since she’s one of the remaining trainees who has never debuted with a group before.

Ezaki Hikaru (J) – From the beginning, Hikaru had had a very strong presence on the show. She’s incredibly talented, as can be seen from all of her appearances in the Top Nine. Even with that strong presence, she can fit cuter concepts as well, which very much bodes well for Kep1er. We’ll have to see what kind of concept Kep1er favors the most! She’ll definitely be a great lead (main?) vocalist and dancer.

Kang Yeseo (K) – Yeseo had debuted before with the group Busters, and has done nothing but impress with her performances on Girls Planet 999. Honestly, go watch all of her individual performance videos on YouTube, I’m sure you’ll all fall in love with her stage presence and voice. I’m very excited to see her perform with Kep1er!

Seo Youngeun (K) – I cannot tell you how many times Youngeun dazzled everyone with her vocals, even way back during her demo stage performance. She works so well in concepts that I can really only describe as savory, such as with “U+Me=Love,” as well as more intense concepts. I very much can’t wait to see what role she’ll have in Kep1er!

Kim Dayeon (K) – Dayeon had been another one of my favorites for a while, so seeing her rank so high made me very happy. No doubt she’s going to be one of the main dancers of Kep1er, since she did choreograph her team’s performance of “Ice Cream” back in the Combination Mission. I’m so proud of her for making it to the debut group!

Choi Yujin (K) – I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone, haha. She’s been a fan-favorite since episode one! It’s very easy to see that she has the talent needed for the debut group, especially since she already had experience with being a member of CLC. With CLC’s (still technically alleged) dismissal, this means she gets to carry on her dream to new heights, and hopefully more beyond Kep1er!

Huening Bahiyyih (K) – While I’m a bit surprised (okay, a lot surprised) by how high she ranked, I do think that Bahiyyih has a great voice and can continue to grow while in Kep1er. …Though, honestly, she’s the one person in the debut group that I didn’t think would make it this far. Like I said, she is talented, but I do wonder how many of her votes are because fans like her brother (who’s a member of TXT). She herself never used that to her advantage—she improved a lot herself during the competition—but it’s hard to get fans to do the same. Still, I hope to see her do well with Kep1er!

Kim Chaehyun (K) – No surprise here! Chaehyun has been another trainee with an incredibly stable voice and stage presence, so she definitely deserves her spot in Kep1er. I hope she gets a main vocalist spot in the group, and congratulations to her especially since she had only been in the Top Nine twice, in ninth place both times. Quite the jump she made, and as I said, completely deserved!

Altogether, I think this is a solid lineup, but I am a bit disappointed in Planet Guardians. This is meant to be a global K-pop group, and that’s how it’s been described from the beginning, but how exactly is it global if there are only three members who aren’t from Korea? And only one of the Chinese members debuted with the group, even though I believe some of them very much deserved to. Even so, I’ll be watching Kep1er’s performances from now until they eventually disband! Even beyond that, I’ll be watching the careers of many of the trainees closely.

Who (In My Opinion) Should Have Debuted

This section essentially summarizes my different formations of the Top Nine, which I also chose after each mission. So many trainees had such great performances that sometimes it was very hard to choose, but I do think these trainees, in one mission or another, really showed that they had what it took to debut.

…By the second-to-last eliminations, I realized I had listed 29 of the trainees here, so I’ll try to keep this short by narrowing the 20 on my list who didn’t debut down to my ideal debut group. Which, let me tell you, was so. Hard.

Kubo Reina (main vocalist) – Look, Reina was literally paired with her original cell for her potential to be the main vocalist in the debut group. I was blown away by her performances during each and every mission, and was incredibly shocked when she was eliminated before the Creation Mission. She ended in tenth place in the J-group, which was unfortunately two places behind where she needed to be to stay in the competition. I also feel bad because even though I keep a spreadsheet, I didn’t realize she was eliminated until the week after eliminations! I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice, especially since she was one of my favorite trainees to watch. Actually, looking back now, I was also surprised she was never in the Top Nine. She has so much talent and I very much hope she can achieve her dreams in the idol world.

Kim Hyerim (main vocalist) – Hyerim absolutely knocked my socks off with her performance during the Connect Mission. She totally had the main vocalist part down, yet she was voted off after the Combination Mission! I was so disappointed because she really could’ve been a great main vocalist, or even lead vocalist, for the debut group. She was even in the original main vocalist cell! Ugh, I hope we get to see more of her in the future in some way, because this girl has talent.

Kamimoto Kotone (main rapper) – Kotone was one of the survivors from a Planet Pass in the second round of eliminations, but she was saved for very good reason! Believe me when I say she is one of the best rappers, if not the best rapper, in the competition. I literally went back and watched all of her solo performance cams from each mission and wow she’s even more talented in rapping than I had originally thought! I was so disappointed when she was voted off in the penultimate eliminations. She’s an individual trainee, as far as I know, so I’m not sure if she’ll have the chance to debut soon. She didn’t even get much airtime while on the show, unfortunately. Still, I think she would’ve made an incredible main rapper for the debut group had she made it to the end. I really wish her all the best, and I actually just followed her social media so I can stay up-to-date! (Which, side note, I’m loving the friendship trio of her, Ikema Ruan and Nagai Manami!)

Ikema Ruan (main dancer, lead vocalist) – While it’s true that I only started watching her more closely after her Combination Mission performance, there’s no doubt that she has stage presence. Especially the Combination and Creation Mission stages; she really wowed me with those! She definitely gives me the energy of a center, along with main dancer and lead vocalist. I really, really wish she had made it to the finale, but apparently as with most of my favorites to win, it just wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully there will be other opportunities on the horizon for her!

Fu Yaning (lead vocalist, lead dancer) – Alright, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Yaning at first, but I can’t deny that this girl has serious skills. She absolutely slayed every performance (yes, even “Snake”) and I think she would’ve blended well with any lineup for Kep1er. Her vocals are great to support any main vocalist, and her dance skills are amazing as well. She’s so charismatic and has such an impressive stage presence that I’m honestly surprised she didn’t debut before.

Nonaka Shana (lead vocalist, dancer) – Shana is one of those trainees who can fit into any concept, and she’s done nothing but dazzle me the entire competition. I’m so disappointed I didn’t get to see her debut, but I’m so excited for her future opportunities. In Kep1er, I think she would’ve made a great lead vocalist and dancer, so hopefully her dream to debut will be realized and I can see her on stage again.

Guinn Myah (lead dancer, vocalist) – Myah has continually been one of my favorites and I cannot believe she didn’t make the debut group. Her cute energy paired with her impressive vocals would’ve made her an amazing asset to Kep1er, but unfortunately, she didn’t make it to debut. Throughout her performances, I think it’s clear that she would be a great lead dancer and vocalist, perhaps even lead vocalist, so I hope she gets more chances to debut in the future. I’ll be watching her career carefully for sure!

Nagai Manami (rapper, vocalist) – Speaking of Manami! Her performance during the Combination Mission was one of my favorites. While I feel like Kotone would be a better choice for main rapper, Manami definitely would be a good choice for rapper and vocalist, maybe even lead rapper! She’s extremely talented, and I expected her to make it to the final episode; however, apparently it just wasn’t in the cards for her.

Lee Hyewon (dancer, vocalist) – Hyewon had been one of my personal Top Nine contenders for every performance she was in, and made the list after her amazing Combination Mission performance. Everyone in that group did a great job, but her vocals really stood out to me. Her voice blended so well with her groupmates that I think she would’ve had a great place in any final lineup. Unfortunately, she was eliminated after that mission. I really hope she gets to debut one day, I would love to see her perform more!

Conclusion

I’m not at all sorry for how long this ended up being. This has been my passion project for the last six-ish weeks. I had a lot of fun both watching Girls Planet 999 and working on this article along the way. I always looked forward to each new episode, and honestly, what am I going to do with my Fridays now?

This whole ride was so emotional, both through missions and personal moments with the trainees. The finale especially made me cry so many times before the debut group was even announced!

Seeing all of the trainees grow as performers was nothing short of amazing, and I think if Girls Planet 999 were to have a season two, I would be one of the first ones watching. As of now, I’m not sure if there are plans for that, but regardless I’ll be keeping my eye on Kep1er and all the past trainees. Chances are, I’ll soon write an article about Kep1er and their performances! I hope you enjoyed this (thorough) look at Girls Planet 999!

Nina Fichera

Geneseo '24

Nina Fichera is an avid writer and reader, and can often be found writing somewhere (usually in her room) with her trusty journal. She is working towards an English degree, with the hopes of becoming a Creative Writing professor.
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