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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

SM Entertainment to debut two boy bands, one girl group this year

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SM Entertainment will debut three new bands this year, one of which will include Sungchan and Shotaro of NCT.

Two boy bands will be rolled out — an entirely new band including the two NCT members and a new NCT sub-unit based in Japan. Preparations are also underway for a girl group.

“NCT’s new group is the last chapter of NCT’s limitless expansion, and we aim to create a team that is distinct yet fits NCT’s region-based identity,” Jang Cheol-hyuk, CEO of SM Entertainment announced through a YouTube video introducing the company’s future plans on Wednesday.

Boy band NCT currently is separated into multiple sub-groups, including NCT 127, a Seoul-based sub-group, WayV, a sub-group targeting the Chinese regions and NCT Dream, consisting of younger members of NCT.

The new NCT band will shift its focus to Japan as the last sub-unit of NCT with more Japanese members than other existing bands within SM Entertainment. The agency will also collaborate with a Japanese media company to disclose the selection and debut process of the group for the first time in the K-pop company’s history.

“We will soon announce the two new SM Rookies of Korean and Japanese nationalities, who will become members of ‘NCT’s New Team,’” Jang said, adding that a pre-debut reality program is being prepared to select the remaining members of the boy band.

Jang Cheol-hyuk, CEO of SM Entertainment, announces the agency's plans to roll out three new acts this year in a video uploaded on YouTube on Wednesday. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]
Jang Cheol-hyuk, CEO of SM Entertainment, announces the agency’s plans to roll out three new acts this year in a video uploaded on YouTube on Wednesday. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

SM Rookies is the term used for the agency’s trainees.

“Shohei, who has been announced as an SM Rookie, will unfortunately not be joining […] due to health reasons. SM will do its best to support Shohei’s solo activities in the future,” said Jang.

The CEO extended an apology to the fans of NCT, explaining that the decision to take Sungchan and Shotaro out of the group and put them in the new one came after sincere talks with members. The two members of NCT have not been added to either NCT 127 or WayV yet.

“We extend our sincere apologies and gratitude to the two artists who have patiently waited for a long time for their team to be formed.”

Alongside Sungchan and Shotaro, SM Rookies’ Eunseok and Seunghan will be joining the group in addition to “members of Korean and American nationalities” that have not been revealed yet.

The girl group will debut in the fourth quarter of this year. No details were shared about the girl group except for that the members were revealed through an open showcase last March and that the group will have “multiple” members.

“Some of the plans have been pushed further back than the date we initially shared through the ‘SM 3.0’ plan we announced last February, but we ask for your understanding that this was to show you the best outcome,” CEO Jang said.

SM Entertainment promised a multi-label system, new bands, more albums and increased revenue as a part of its “SM 3.0” blueprint.

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