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‘Queendom Puzzle’ will show true charms of K-pop girl group idols, producer says

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Host Taeyeon and the 24 contestants of Mnet's girl group competition show ″Queendom Puzzle″ poses for a photo during a press conference on Tuesday in Seoul. [MNET]
Host Taeyeon and the 24 contestants of Mnet’s girl group competition show ″Queendom Puzzle″ poses for a photo during a press conference on Tuesday in Seoul. [MNET]

With a plethora of K-pop girl groups currently active in the industry, participants and the producers of cable channel Mnet’s newest competition show, “Queendom Puzzle,” are confident that they can present what K-pop fans have been dreaming of seeing: different girl group members and solo artists teaming up to perform together.

“There are so many girl groups nowadays, and they all present themselves based on the individual group’s concepts and their promotion plans,” the show’s chief producer Yoon Shin-hye said during a press conference on Tuesday at the HW Convention Center in Jongno District, central Seoul, for “Queendom Puzzle.”

“We plan on showcasing the other side of the participants, one that they could not show in their original groups, so that their true potentials and charms can be presented.

“Queendom Puzzle” features 26 girl group members and solo artists — ranging from veteran artists Yeoreum from WJSN and Yeeun, formerly a member of CLC, to rookies Jiwoo from tripleS and Riina from H1-KEY — who form different subunits “like a puzzle” throughout the show, and then finally compete for a spot in a seven-member project girl group that will be active after the final episode.

While the planned project girl group will not sign an exclusive contract with Mnet or “debut” in the conventional sense, the producers said the group will be active even after the show ends, without specifying until when.

Details about the project girl group will be revealed later, according to the producers.

“For the fans of K-pop, different group members coming together for a stage is something they could only dream of, something only seen in end-of-year special shows. We wanted to make that dream come true,” Yoon said.

Some of the contestants at the press conferences shared their goals and excitement for the show.

“I’m appearing in ‘Queendom’ again after a year,” Yeoreum of WJSN said.

The group came victorious in the second season of “Queendom” in 2022.

“Because I came in at first place [in the last season], I feel pressured [to perform well]. But [WJSN] members supported and cheered me … so I hope I meet that expectation,” she added.

There are also newcomers to K-pop, including members from H1-KEY and tripleS, making their first appearance in a survival slash competition program.

“I’ve been a trainee for a long time, but I always had the eager to participate in a survival program,” Hwiseo of H1-Key said.

“You can perform a lot of stages in varying genres in a short amount of time, and it’s an opportunity for me to try new concepts that I haven’t tried before. I think it’s a great opportunity, and I took it as soon as I got the offer.”

Riina and Hiwsseo of girl group H1-KEY [MNET]
Riina and Hiwsseo of girl group H1-KEY [MNET]

Groups like Weeekly, Rocket Punch and woo!ah! that did not release a new album for a while will also be on the show .

Jihan, Soeun, Soojin and Zoa of Weeekly [MNET]
Jihan, Soeun, Soojin and Zoa of Weeekly [MNET]

“Fans have been anticipating our group comeback, and I do feel sorry to the fans for not making it happen,” Weeekly’s Soeun said.

Four out of the six members of Weeekly — Soojin, Soeun, Jihan and Zoa — are starring in the show. Weeekly’s last album was released in March of last year.

“But we joined the show because we thought we would be able to showcase a new side of us that the fans have been looking forward to. I hope our fans follow our journey in the show and resolve their thirst [for a new album].”

Jury, Yeonhee and Suyun of Rocket Punch [MNET]
Jury, Yeonhee and Suyun of Rocket Punch [MNET]

“We hope fans enjoy our journey in the show and look forward to our future group activities after the program ends,” Yeonhee from Rocket Punch said.

Producers of “Queendom Puzzle” also shared that the member composition of the final project group will be done 100 percent based on the fans’ votes and ensured a “completely fair result” achieved through many of Mnet’s voting know-how and systems.

Fye and Miru could not attend the press conference due to scheduling issues.

“Queendom Puzzle” airs on the cable network Mnet every Tuesday at 10 p.m., starting Tuesday.

BY YONG-JUN CHO [cho.yongjun1@joongang.co.kr]

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