The First Elimination Feels
Oh man. I figured this season of Produce 101 would be a complete roller coaster of emotions and it's not disappointing. The first round of eliminations is always super difficult, seeing such a huge group be almost cut in half in the span of two and a half hours. It's fast and it's ruthless, with lots of surprises and disappointment all mixed in.
I have a tendency to pick favorites that sit somewhere in the top 40 or so right off the bat, so this first round of eliminations wasn't too nerve wracking for me personally going into it. I was more intrigued, seeing how fans reacted (and how the trainees reacted) as each name got called.
Overall, I think the Top 11 is finally starting to clean up. It started off really rough, with lots of focus on visuals as opposed to which trainees really fit the WHOLE idol list of demands, but week-to-week shifts and adjustments kept it always a new set of people.
BELOW CONTAINS EPISODE 5 SPOILERS. READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK.
MNET really did it's best to fill in the results breaks with fun content to lighten up the mood. Between showing the dance battles to seeing everyone get woken up to It's Me, which they'd no doubt heard a million times, the segments really helped lift what is otherwise an extremely up and down episode.
Some of the most impressive movements I noticed for the top 60 were Woodam (up 13 spots to 55th), Sunghyuk (up 44 spots to 51st), Jinwoo (up 32 spots to 45th), and Park Woojin (up 14 spots to 24th). Moving up that many spots, especially with how many actual votes each trainee was pulling in, is extremely impressive and just goes to show that the ranks are so fluid, anyone can rise or fall.
It was disappointing to see Adore & Able's Taehyun drop two spots this week, but I guessed that could happen after he was shown as a "leading over the leader" type person in the preparation cut for his team. He's got talent, but with as little screen time as he gets, I don't think he'll be making it into the Top 11.
I don't mind seeing two of the Nu'est members moving up into the Top 11 this time around. I would have been upset if they were still acting like they did at the beginning, but it seems like all four of them have finally jumped into the game and, instead of being sad for themselves or overwhelmed, they're proving themselves. Jonghyun and Minhyun especially, which is why they both jumped up into the Top 11.
Daehwi really dropped further than I expected, even though I knew he would drop. A lot of controversies surrounded him after episode 4, mainly around how he was approaching the competition (making the Avengers team) and how he viewed the Leftovers Team. I personally didn't see anything wrong with it. However, a lot of people didn't like it and boy, did they show it. He dropped from second overall to seventh and just looked completely defeated. He knew it was coming, but it was still so devastating to see.
I'm happy about four of the top five, which I'd say is pretty good for the first round. Daniel finally broke into the Top 11, which we all knew was coming but was still a relief to see. Sungwoo stayed at fourth, making him one of only two people in the Top 11 to keep their rank from week 3 to week 4. I expect he'll stay right around there, but I hope he'll get into the top three by the end. He's got a lot of good qualities, he just needs to be sure they keep getting featured.
Jisung really jumped up, moving all the way to third. His energy is infectious, but I don't expect him to stay there. He's on the high end where age is concerned (28 in Korean age) and, while he's well-rounded, he's not necessarily great at any one thing other than comedy. I expect he'll stay in the Top 11 at least for another elimination but won't stay in the top 3.
Samuel's rise up to second was expected with the fall of Daehwi, but seeing him still around 120,000 votes behind Jihoon in first was disappointing. While I know that, in Korea especially, Jihoon's "wink effect" can't be beat right now, I was hoping someone would at least come close to him. No such luck this time.
You can see the full top 60 rankings, including individual vote counts, here. Next week begins the selections for the Position Stages. There's multiple options for rap, dance and vocal, so hopefully there will be plenty of smart decisions and good skill features.