Favorite 2016 Debut Artists

Holy crap is it really the end of 2016!  It feels like just yesterday I was making my 2015 list.  We Guru’s hope you like the 2016 debuts just as much as we did.


This year was a lot harder to pic 10 new artists that really stood out to me.  Unfortunately most debuts left feeling a little “meh” about them.  This list is in no particular order

1. KNK

Main Bias: Youjin

Favorite Song(s): I Remember, Knock, Back Again

KNK is one of though groups that really stood out with their debut song, then kinda fell to the way side, then they came back and I was feeling them again, then again.  There are definitely waves where I obsess over them, and then don’t.

KNK's "Remain" promotional picture.

2. I.O.I

Main Bias: Somi

Favorite Song(s): Pick Me, Very Very Very, Dream Girls

I hate that I love this group.  I have serious regrets about watching Produce 101 because I became unhealthily obsessed with the group.  I even voted for the final line-up.  I don’t really care that Pick Me was not I.O.I’s song but actually the programs song, I love it.  I love it so much that I made it my ringtone.

IOI's "Miss Me" promotional picture.

3. NCT U / NCT 127

Main Bias: Ten, Taeil, Taeyong, Jaehyun

Favorite Song(s): Without U, 7 Senses

Sorry NCT Dream fans, I can’t bring myself to like a group that young.  I know I usually like young but I have to draw the line somewhere.  That and Chewing Gum made 0 impact on me.  On the other hand NCT U and NCT 127 restored a small small small amount of faith back into SM.  Fire Truck was also a disappointing song, but the rest of the NCT 127 album really impressed me, but the NCT U songs blew me away

NCT 127's "Firetruck" promotional picture.NCT U's "7th Sense" promotional picture.NCT U's "Without You" promotional picture.

4. Bulldok

Main Bias: N/A

Favorite Song(s): Why Not? (어때요)

Another group that came about because of Produce 101.  Yes they were a group before the program, then went on the show to basically promote the group and then finally debuted.  I was really impressed with them on the show and it doesn’t hurt that P-Goon is Say’s brother.  (That is one talented family)

Bulldok's "Why Not" promotional picture.

5.BolBbagan4 / Blushing Youth

Main Bias: N/a

Favorite Song(s): Let the Universe (우주를 줄게)

There is a reason that this group has reached a crazy level of popularity in Korea.  “Let the Universe” has been ranked super high on the melon charts since it was released, and I hear the song everywhere.  BolBbagan4 has a really special sound and has really impressed not only me but Korea.  They are definitely going to be around for a while.

BolBBang4's "Red Planet" promotional picture.


Main Bias: Jisoo

Favorite Song(s): Stay, Whistle, Playing With Fire

2016 was a good year for female debut artists apparently.  Almost half of my list is girls, I thought that would never happen.  Leave it to YG to debut an amazing group.  I love their songs, though I do think they are going a little too sexy for their age and level of talent.  I really loved their debut but Stay really helped them find a spot to Stay on this list.

Blackpink's "Square Two" promotional picture.

7. SF9

Main Bias: Zuho

Favorite Song(s): Fanfare, K.O, So Beautiful

I did not watch D.O.B so I was not prepared to love this group as much as I did.  I am a big fan of FNC artists and SF9 is no exception.  Fanfare really stood out, and the choreography for K.O is super memorable.  I am really looking forward to their next release.  Plus the MV for So Beautiful is so adorable, totally different thatn Fanfare and K.O but still really feels like them.  Love it!

SF9's "Feeling Sensational" promotional picture.

8. INX

Main Bias: N/A

Favorite Song(s): Alright (오나)

Yay for 1 song groups who capture my attention.  I must say at first I was a bit disappointed because the group had a complete line-up change pre-debut and I was so excited to see the members that were originally going to be in the group, that their absence made me not so excited for the debut, the song definitely turned it around and I got over that.

INX, group


Main Bias: Jeup

Favorite Song(s): Lollipop

IMFACT had me with Lollipop.  I love that song, it is so wonderful, I though for sure IMFACT was going to be one of my top groups for 2016.  Then they released “Feel So Good”.  That song pretty much took them out of the running for this list, but like I said this year didn’t really slap me in the face like last year so IMFACT managed to hold on.

Imfact's 'Lollipop" promotional picture.

10. MASC

Main Bias: 26

Favorite Song(s): Strange (낯설어)

I really liked this song when it was released, but now when it came to making this list I had forgotten about them, and I couldn’t let that happen.  I am really looking forward to their next release, I hope it comes soon.

Mask's full line-up.



So…I feel the same way James does – this year many of the debuts left me feeling just so-so…it was actually too hard to find 10 groups that I actually can say are favorites, so my list is only 8 ~

1. INX

INX, group

Main Bias: Win

Favorite Song(s): Alright (오나)

Ok, INX just won me over so quickly.  I adore them and I am sooooooo excited to see what this group comes out with next!  And for being a group that doesn’t come from a big company their debut MV was produced really well and I loved their song ~ now I just need some new music from them!

2. NCT

NCT Dreams' "Chewing Gum" promotional picture.NCT 127's "Firetruck" promotional picture.

NCT U's "7th Sense" promotional picture.

NCT U's "Without You" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Taeil, Taeyong

Favorite Song(s): Without U, 7 Senses

Damn you SM Entertainment!  Must you debut a group that is so amazing?!?! Must you debut a group that will have a million different sub-units that are different groups?!?!?!  Must you make the music for each of these sub-units amazing?!?! Can you just debut a group that I don’t want to through my money at?  That would be great…
I really love all the sub-units so far – but NCT U is my favorite thus far – but that has a lot to do with loving Without U – that song just….it is perfection!

3. KNK

KNK's "Remain" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Seungjun

Favorite Song(s): Knock, Back Again

I have totally enjoyed KNK – this group debuted and really hit me with their debut.  Talented artists ~ these guys always make me look forward to what they will come out with next!

4. Astro

Astro's "Autumn Story" promotional picture.

Main Bias: MJ

Favorite Song(s): have you seen their adorable MV?

Astro has come out with some of my favorite MVs of all time – they are creative and adorable and all around feel good vibes.  I also love their concept releasing an album for every season ~ add to amazingly cute concepts some amazingly talented performers and I am going to be on board!  I am all for Astro.

5. SF9

SF9's "Feeling Sensational" promotional picture.

Main Bias: In Seong, Young Bin

Favorite Song(s): Fanfare (팡파레), So Beautful (너와 함께라면)

So there was a little contest happening for me between SF9 and Pentagon – and Pentagon lost…SF9 released a debut song that just sticks with me and I find myself humming it all the time ~ and their newest release is just adorable!  I adore them ~ SF9 are my boys!

6. Bulldok

Bulldok's "Why Not" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Hyung Eun

Favorite Song(s): Why Not (어때요)

Badass female groups are not gone yet ~ with 2NE1 leaving the kpop scene Bulldok will be my new go to group for that rough, genuine feeling that I love to see in girl groups!  I was super impressed with their debut, and I am super excited to see what they come out with next!

7. Imfact

Imfact's "Rebellion" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Jeup

Favorite Song(s): Lollipop

Ok – so we are getting in to the territory of debut that made me feel so-so.  I LOVE the song Lollipop – that song was amazing, and I find myself constantly singing it.  Their debut was great!  I was not feeling their newest song though – so this is a group that I will have to wait and see if their next comeback goes the Lollipop route or the Feel So Good route.


Blackpink's "Square Two" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Lisa

Favorite Song(s): Whistle, Stay

So, unpopular opinion time, BLACKPINK makes me go “meh” – now that’s not to say that I don’t think that they aren’t talented, these girls are super talented!  I also really enjoy their songs ~
What makes me feel “meh” about them is they just feel like they are being marketed as a second 2NE1, and I don’t like that.  With how original, and flavorful YG usually is with his groups I expected more from him than just re-creating a group he already debuted.  So my problem is with YG and not so much with BLACKPINK.  They did make my list because I do like them!


Unfortunately I have to agree with my fellow Gurus as I also feel that this year wasn’t as great as I hoped it to be. Even the groups whose debut I anticipeted the most had a debut the left really mixed feelings in my heart and some couldn’t even managed to get on my list (like Gugudan and Vromance). I also debated with myself if I should include project groups or not but in the end I decided to leave them out since they are either already disbanded or about to disband in a few weeks.


Imfact's 'Lollipop" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Taeho

Favorite Song(s): Lollipop

Curse you Kim Taeho for looking like an insanely handsome mix of BTS Jimin, Beast’s Yoseob and Infinite’s Hoya!!!!!!
Because of him IMFACT had me at Taeho’s first teaser image and I hopelessly fall far them when I heard Lollipop which is so insanely catchy that I couldn’t stop listening to it through January.

2. Cosmic Girls (WJSN)

Cosmic Girl's "The Secret" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Cheng Xiao

Favorite Song(s): Catch Me

I don’t know why but Cosmic Girls feels like a guilty pleasure for me. My love for them is also thanks to Cheng Xiao’s doll-like visuals (I have a feeling that as I grow older I start to have a severe sister-complex :D)
From their double debut tracks Catch Me is a bit closer to my heart that’s one of the reason I’m not all that happy that the compay decided to add Yeonjung to the group. They sure gained a powerful vocalist with her but I’m a bit afraid that this powerful voice may also throws them off-balance and they will end up somewhere too far from their original plans. But I hope it’s just my worry and all in all I look forward to see what they has in store for their next comeback 🙂

3. SF9

SF9's "Feeling Sensational" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Zuho

Favorite Song(s): Fanfare, So Beautiful

Their debut was one of that I anticipated the most eventhough I didn’t watched D.O.B. They didn’t K.O-ed me as much as I thought they will but somehow I still can’t bring myself to leave them out of this list. And while Fanfare and K.O left me with a bit disappointment they gift us with their best in their new song So Beautiful.

4. Bulldok

Bulldok's "Why Not" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Hyung Eun

Favorite Song(s): Why Not

One of the most anticipated girl group debut for me was certainly Bulldok’s debut. I was really curious what kind of song they will release and whether their “Tough hip-hop girl group” concept will work or not……and it seems it’s working though I have to say it was a wise decision from K-conic to send them to Produce 101: Their debut song is solid, but the MV is kinda low-budget so without their Produce 101 fame I might have overlooked their debut and consider them as a nugu group.


Astro's "Summer Vibe" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Still torn between Jinjin and Moonbin

Favorite Song(s): Hide & Seek, Breathless, Confession

A true “Happy Virus” boy group!!!!! They are so cute and every song they released is so bright and positive that it makes me hard not to smile whenever I see or hear them.

6. Matilda

Matilda's "Macarena" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Semmi

Favorite Song(s): Macarena, Summer Again, You Bad! Don’t Make Me Cry

Talk about Happy Virus group Matilda is certainly the girl group version. I was mainly curious about them because of Haena’s redebut then I found myself to fall for Semmi’s voice instead. And while the group is definetly nowhere near to Kiss & Cry they managed to prove their talent through a wide range of concepts: After the rather ridiculous Macarena and the mellow Summer Again they droped a huge bomb with You Bad! Don’t Make Me Cry which was able to win me over dispite not being a big EDM fan.

7. KNK

KNK's "Remain" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Youjin

Favorite Song(s): Knock, Back Again, U

For me this year was certainly about redebuts or former trainees popping up from unexpected places and KNK was no exception from this as I never knew that Inseong and Heejun left FNC for YNB Entertainment. I was especially surprised how much Heejun grow since his time on Cheongdam-dong 111 where he was so shy that he could barely sing in front of Yonghwa. But YNB really did a wonder with them and put 5 awesome (and literally huge) guy together.

8. Black Pink

Blackpink's "Square Two" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Rosé

Favorite Song(s): BOOMBAYA, Playing With Fire, Stay

Dispite my love-hate relationship with YG even I have to admit that their debut was the most successful this year. I’m still not sure how much I will love them but I will certainly keep my eyes on them

9. Voisper

Voisper's "Voice & Whisper" promotional picture.

Main Bias: No solid bias yet

Favorite Song(s): In Your Voice, Summer Cold, Heart, Learn To Love

But Voisper did it…..They gave me goosebumps with their very first song and they still continue to amaze me with every song they release. Their harmony is no joke and you can simply feel that they are not just 4 guys who were randomly thrown together by their company but real friends who had the same dream and worked extremly hard to achive it together.

10. K.A.R.D

Kard's "Ohnana" promotional picture.

Main Bias: Somin

Favorite Song(s): Oh NaNa

K.A.R.D’s debut song is insanely popular among the international fans and you can bet that your resident Central-European Guru is no exception from this craze…..and finally the mystery around Somin’s sudden departure from April seems to be resolved. I have to admit that my love for April actually grew bigger after her departure because while her visuals fitted the concept she always looked a bit forced during her April days. But now she is drop-dead gorgeous and seems to do the music and concept that she truely enjoys.
Some are still sceptical about a chances of a co-ed group, but I think K.A.R.D really has a potential to survive for a long time on the music scene (well at least as long as DSP can keep hidden cards up in their sleeves :D)