In 2020, Mnet and HYBE aired a new reality survival show called I-LAND, with the aim to debut a new boy group under the company’s subsidiary label BE:LIFT LAB.
The result of the show was the debut of BE:LIFT LAB’s first group ENHYPEN. Since debuting, ENHYPEN has gained popularity worldwide, wowing netizens with their talent, visuals, and charisma.
On July 10 (KST), netizens couldn’t hide their shock when Mnet revealed the trailer for the next series of I-Land to look for the next girl group.
The information released announced that the application period would be between July 10 and August 6, with any girl born before January 1, 2011, allowed to apply.
READY TO BE
THE BIGGEST K-POP GIRL GROUP OF 2024?
JOIN US NOW
– Online apprication period : JUL 10th – AUG 6th 2023(KST)
– Qualifications : Girls all over the world born before JAN 1st 2011
Apply on https://t.co/7kHEmtS8dB
— Mnet (@MnetKR) July 10, 2023
The announcement was seemingly met with a lot of negative reactions. In particular, a report from Korean news outlets revealed that rather than debuting under HYBE’s label BE:LIFT LAB like the first series, the new girl group would be managed by WAKEONE.
WAKEONE is known for managing groups like TO1, Kep1er, and ZEROBASEONE (ZB1), with the last two being created through Girls Planet 999 and Boys Planet.
The reason for the anger comes from WAKEONE’s past history of treatment of their groups.
When it came to TO1, the group debuted as TOO in 2109 and seemed to be picking up momentum, especially after their early participation in Road To Kingdom. Yet, netizens pointed out a lot of mistreatment throughout the years, especially after rebranding as TO1 and losing members.
TO1’s full history or as full as I can get it as someone who has been in this fandom a long time. This is for y’all who act like their mistreatment doesn’t exist.
This is NOT meant to make it seem like they have it worse than other groups but to educate people who want to know. pic.twitter.com/pZNKqGmDOa
— GB₁ 🧸❤️🦁 (@gwiyunmi) June 2, 2023
In particular, after the huge popularity of Kep1er following the end of Girls Planet 999, fans have continued to raise anger at the group’s poor treatment, including the lack of proper promotions for the members and not allowing them to live up to their potential.
While the group is “temporary” at 2.5 years, many hoped the members would still thrive and become one of the top girl groups.
Kep1er mistreatment by wakeone entertainment
— 지 (@jixixips04_) May 29, 2023
When the information about WAKEONE was released, netizens couldn’t hide their negative feelings about the decision. In particular, by looking at the company’s competence with their other groups, many felt sorry for any idol having to debut under the company.
Being trapped under WakeOne for seven years. I would rather 💀 https://t.co/7yHQzvyLD5
— 💤💤💤 (@hiyyihi7) July 10, 2023
wait is this real??? then I don't want to watch I-land 2 anymore since they'll be managed under wakeone, I was so looking forward to I-land 2 after enhypen was formed but now I don't want it, not when I know how that company treats my baby girl pic.twitter.com/DogyqQBSaE
— 𓃬 (@BARBIEHlYYlH) July 10, 2023
by u/whatsa1pick from discussion Mnet I-LAND 2 – Global Audition (Announcement Video)
by u/imasunnycupcake from discussion Mnet I-LAND 2 – Global Audition (Announcement Video)
While ZEROBASEONE has been promoting actively ahead of their debut, many are worried that it is only brief. In particular, fans shared anger that the announcement was made on the same day as ZB1’s debut. For many, it just showed that the company seemingly moves on very quickly from their last group to a new project.
wakeone announcing their new girl group survival show on the day of zb1’s debut… can this company be serious for ONCE?
— RU rune? (@rrunext) July 10, 2023
While there are speculations surrounding why HYBE is not working with Mnet on the new show, including why the girl group survival show R U Next? is given to JTBC, many have shared worries about the current HYBE groups, especially ENHYPEN. In particular, news articles are still using the comparison to ENHYPEN, even without any link to HYBE.
you know whats funny 😭 mnet fckng deleted this specific promotional video now for supposed to be ‘iland 2’ posted in 2021. something is telling me that the initial plan was to really debut these trainees under belift (hybe & cj) but yes something shifted and it’s affecting enha. pic.twitter.com/ztVtjVtHON
— yaj 🧛🏻♀️ (@02Z0NE) July 10, 2023
i-land 2 girl group is going to debut under wakeone that has no connection to hybe, and yet, they're using enhypen's name to benefit off it? the boys won't even share company with that new group. cj barely lifts a finger for enha but uses their name for clout, ridiculous https://t.co/YZIEfE2Oej
— Ava (@PDJONGSEONG) July 10, 2023
While there is no exact date for the show’s premiere, netizens are sharing their concerns before the applications even close.