Forty contestants will participate in Mnet’s upcoming survival show, Build Up. Among them are current and former idols, idol trainees, and some musical actors. They’re all competing for a spot in a vocals-focused boy group. Build Up, set to premiere this Friday, is Mnet’s first survival show of 2024. Its goal is to form a quartet whose main strength is their combined vocal ability.

The show features a distinguished panel of judges, including Baekho, BTOB’s Seo Eun-kwang, Kim Jae-hwan, MAMAMOO’s Solar, Red Velvet’s Wendy, and vocal group SG Wannabe’s Lee Seok-hoon, with model and actress Lee Da-hee hosting.

“There are countless K-pop survival programs, so the show has differentiated itself by focusing on vocals,” said producer Ma Doo-sik. “Build Up is different in that we focus 100 percent on the vocal abilities of the contestants.”


The host and judges speak

Wendy shared her thoughts on the show’s focus: “A group focused on the vocal aspect needs members who cannot only sing well on their own but also harmonize well with others and know how to work as a group. I felt that each performance by the contestants was different with each stage, so I am a bit worried about how my judging skills will appear to viewers.”

Seo Eun-kwang, known for giving tough critiques, said this of his approach to judging: “I think I became more sensitive, and my standards were higher because a lot of the contestants I was judging were colleagues I’ve performed on stage with. Some contestants lacked vocal skills when we began shooting Build Up, but as we continued filming, there were so many cases where I got goosebumps from the singing.”

Survival show veterans Baekho and Kim Jae-hwan agreed that stern feedback is necessary to help all the contestants grow. Baekho reflected on his own experience, stating, “I understand what the contestants are going through. That makes me more sincere and leaves me giving harsher pointers, because I want them to do well in the end.”

Lee Da-hee, the host, highlighted the allure of survival programs.  She teased the exceptional talent pool that Build Up has, sparking curiosity about the hidden gems among the contestants. “You get immersed in the show when the contestants are very talented.”

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The ‘Build Up’ contestants

The 40 contestants, announced on Monday, boast a mix of impressive backgrounds. This includes Boys Planet alums Jay Chang from boy band ONEPACT, Lee Hwan-hee from UP10TION, and Wumuti. Joining them are Woong from AB6IX, Seunghun from CIX, Kang Seok-hwa from WEi, Lee Dong-hun from A.C.E, and Bain from JUST B

Also participating is soloist Choi Su-hwan, known for his appearance on Produce X 101 in 2019. Additionally, Taehwan from VANNER, the winner of JTBC’s Peak Time, is a contestant. The show also features musical actors Jo Hwan-ji, Kim Seo-hyung, and Choi Ha-ram, alongside non-celebrity contestants.

In a preview for the first episode, Lee Da-hee talked about the show’s format. She explained that each of the 40 contestants assigned his own voice to one of four categories. There’s “Allround” with 12 contestants, “Soul” with 10, “Power” with 7, and “Unique” with 11. This categorization highlights the diverse styles present in the competition, setting the stage for a dynamic and varied showcase of skills.

Mnet’s Build Up is poised to be a groundbreaking addition to the K-Pop survival show genre. Its premiere is set for January 26 at 10:00 PM KST. – K-Pop News Writer

Featured Image: This show is set to be a singing showdown for the ages! Source: YouTube/@Mnet.