Produce 48 is about a month away from airing on Korea’s Mnet, but the show bringing K-pop and J-pop together to form a new group is already making a big push. Last week, the biggie-sized group debuted this season’s theme song, and now they are rolling out introduction videos from the participants. It’s a lot to take in.
As they’ve done on previous seasons, each person in the show gets to make a short intro video, allowing them to showcase their talents and creativity. Ideally, they leave some sort of imprint on viewers, who will be the ones deciding who features in the group down the line.
Many of these clips follow a similar formula — a greeting, a display of taken (more often than not singing, dancing or rapping), and an appeal to the watcher to remember them. However, in that brief space, there’s a chance to really do something memorable.
To help clear through the brush that is all these intro videos, we’ve compiled our top five Produce 48 videos so far. Our criteria prioritises creativity above all else: we want to celebrate those really standing out from the crowd, thanks to a special talent or how they turn the whole self-intro concept on its head. Let’s zoom in on the folks really making the most of that brief window.
Sports-themed intros always charm this writer, so shout outs to the contestant displaying badminton skills and folks showing off their pitching form. Dressing vaguely like Charlie Chaplin and dancing to Cardi B — strong look. Not a lot of dabbing in these intros, so thanks to Alex Christine for delivering. It’s a little skimpy on content, but showing how to make your favorite juice is charming, as is showing pictures of all the fish you’ve caught. A lot of participants display their calligraphy skills, but only Ayana Shinozaki does so while covered in stuffed dogs. And finishing just outside of our top five is Jurina Matsui’s dance, which features a nice wardrobe reveal halfway through.
5. Kim Sohee
When you come out the gate swinging a sword at the camera, you have our attention. Kim Sohee spends the first 20 seconds showing swordplay, capping it off by returning the blade to its sheath. After that, it’s boilerplate talk from Sohee, but everything she says gains in intensity because she has a sword on her side while she says it.
4. Mako Kojima
The risk of wearing a silly costume for your introduction is that said garb will overshadow everything else about you. Mako Kojima avoids this fate. She grabs our attention right away, as she’s dressed in what appears to be an inflatable tanuki costume, throwing idol flyers in the air and then busting a move.
Critically, though, she takes the mask off and, while looking visibly tired, notes how she often gets compared to the fuzzy creature. It pushes it past novelty into something more. Also, mad respect for anyone dancing in one of those costumes.
3. Jang Gyuri
This is the best example from the Produce 48 clips so far of someone taking the cliche intro and putting their own weird stamp on it. Jang Gyuri compares herself to a smirking dog (which, worth noting, number-one vote getter Kang Daniel from the last season of Produce 101 also compared himself to), sings a little and then dances.
But she does it while dressed as some sort of woodland creature, holding bamboo, and even singing into a vine. This is seemingly never explained, and it makes an otherwise straightforward intro all the more interesting.
2. Lee Sian
Being an idol doesn’t mean nailing all the notes and choreography, but rather that you get better over time and show supporters your improvement in due time. Lee Sian captures this essential element of idol music, but by trying to put fire out with her hands.
Her intro highlights perseverance in the face of challenges — mainly by a middle candle that won’t go out, a nail that won’t go in straight, and an orange Sian tries to eat whole that... doesn’t go down well (so gross it had to be censored?). Yet despite almost chucking up a fruit, she still signs off in a chipper way with a mouth full of citrus. That’s being an idol!
1. Chiyori Nakanishi
THOSE FACES! Beyond that, Chiyori Nakanishi wastes no second of her intro, going from impersonating inanimate objects to dancing to showing off human emotions. The pacing and creativity push this one right to the top. Here’s hoping her ability to look like a rubber chicken serve her well on the show.
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