The K-pop industry works very differently than its Western counterpart in that some new acts are guaranteed at least a baseline of popularity and interest thanks to being in the "idol" category of pop music; the same one international phenoms like Girls' Generation, BIGBANG, 2NE1, EXO and Wonder Girls all live within.
Every year a slew of new acts, affectionately known as "rookies," debut to huge interest and fanfare. This year has proven to bring one of the most exciting classes in recent history, but who's really proven they've worth the hype? Let's analyze 2015's K-pop rookies and decide who's been working it and, frankly, who needs some work before they can join their seniors at the top of the K-pops.
It was likely no easy task to debut a 13-member boy band—essentially the largest in K-pop today—but Seventeen proved that more really is more. The dudes released some of the catchiest boy-band gems this year, but more importantly, they were self-sufficient creators. For example, member Woozi wrote and produced their addictive debut single "Adore U," while Hoshi created the choreography in the video. Furthermore, this band looks like they could be the next to find a strong following in the U.S. a la BIGBANG, EXO and BTS after their debut 17 Carat EP became this year's longest-charting K-pop album stateside.
What's Next?: The band needs to keep the momentum it has created high by remaining visible on the K-pop scene.