As this year marks the project group I.O.I’s 7th anniversary, the changes in the members’ lives are attracting netizens’ attention.
I.O.I (Jeon Somi, Kim Sejeong, Choi Yoojung, Kim Chungha, Kim Sohye, Kyulkyung, Jung Chaeyeon, Kim Doyeon, Kang Mina, Lim Nayoung, Yoo Yeonjung) is a group created through Mnet’s survival audition program “Produce 101” season 1 (2016). They officially debuted in May of the same year.
They gained syndrome-level popularity both in Korea and abroad at that time. After disbanding the following year, the members returned to their original agencies and re-debuted as soloists or groups.
Now, 7 years later, things have changed a lot.
Somi left JYP Entertainment in August 2018. At that time, JYP said, “We agreed to terminate the exclusive contract after consultation.” Afterwards, Jeon Somi attracted public attention by building a new nest at The Black Label under YG Entertainment.
Somi’s solo career gained grounds in the music industry with “Dumb Dumb,” “XOXO” and “Birthday.” However, the artist is working on more commercial deals rather than music acitivities. Fans are showing their regret when she is presumably “wasting her talent.”
Chungha also left MNH Entertainment, which was with her throughout the discovery and development process. After I.O.I, she became a solo singer and went on a roll, but announced her departure from MNH at the same time as the 7-year exclusive contract expired. Chungha has not decided on a new agency yet.
Kim Sohye, who appeared on “Produce 101” as a member of Red Line Entertainment, parted ways with the company after the show ended. She established the one-man agency S&P Entertainment to become independent. Currently, she is still active under this company.
Chaeyeon who appeared on the show as a member of MBK Entertainment and joined the group DIA after I.O.I, moved to BH Entertainment after the expiration of her exclusive contract last year. She declared that she would pursue both singing and acting careers, but now she is putting more weight on acting.
Nayoung also parted ways with the company when her group Pristin (under Pledis Entertainment) disbanded after 2 years of debut. She had since been with Sublime Artist Agency for nearly 4 years, but the contract ended last month. She is currently working on her own.
Mina will leave the company at the end of this month when her contract with Jellyfish expires. After the end of I.O.I’s activities, she continued to work with the group Gugudan under Jellyfish, but Gugudan was also officially disbanded in December 2020. Kang Mina chose Story J Company, which includes Kim Tae Hee and Oh Yeon Seo, as her next agency. It seems that she will focus on acting.
Some members are continuing their relationships with the same agencies. Kim Sejeong renewed her contract with Jellyfish in 2021. At that time, the agency promised “full investment and support”, and Kim Sejeong is simultaneously carrying out music and acting activities under this company.
Yoo Yeonjung also renewed her contract with Starship Entertainment last January. With the decision based on affection for WJSN’s activities and trust in the company, Yoo Yeonjung is expected to continue her career as a member of WJSN, which was reorganized into an 8-member group.
Choi Yoojung and Kim Doyeon are still members of Fantagio. These two Weki Meki members signed official contracts with Fantagio in 2017 and their contracts are about to expire next year.
Kyulkyung is still a member of Pledis, but she is currently active in China after unilaterally notifying Pledis of the termination of the contract in September 2019. According to the agency, Kyulkyung established a personal studio under an agreement with Pledis, and is currently carrying out entertainment activities independently through this studio.