A first win in the Kpop community refers to a Kpop artist's first time winning on a weekly music show such as Inkigayo, Show Champion, or M Countdown. During an artist's promotions, they perform their new music on these music shows in attempts to further advertise their songs and to be crowned the winner of the show by the end of the week. The winner is determined on a variety of things, with each weekly show holding slightly different requirements. Some of those requirements are live voting, pre-voting, digital sales, physical sales, mv views, social media, and expert score. It's a pretty big deal being able to win one of these music shows, which is why fans work so hard to make sure their artist's numbers are good.
In this article, we will compare various kpop groups' first win to what I believe their first win should have been. While this is an opinionated post, I have tried to choose songs that were fan favorites. Songs that ranked high on various music charts and accumulated a lot of attention yet still failed to secure a win on a music show. The reason for this post isn't to say that I think one song is more deserving than another but rather that there are songs just as deserving as the ones that achieved wins. I hope you enjoy and feel free to comment on which songs you believe should have been a kpop group's first win.
First Win: Daisy
Four years after their debut (2016), Pentagon was able to win their first weekly music show on The Show. The group had been up against Weeekly's "Zig Zag" and Weki Meki's "Cool." "Daisy" is a song about the hurt feeling leftover from a heartbreak containing love that never felt genuine. The music video for the song accumulated 3 million views within a 24-hour time span, setting a new personal record for the group. The mv currently has 31 million views on their personal Youtube channel. The song debuted at #15 on the Genius chart, later going on to peak at #9 the following day. The song also peaked at #111 on the Gaon charts. The album We:th became their best selling album 110,479 copies (numbers based off of Gaon Monthly Album Chart), doubling their previous best sales. The album peaked at #4 on the Gaon Album Chart. Their most-viewed live stage for this comeback is their M Countdown stage which has 1.3 million views. The group only obtained 1 win for "Daisy."
What it should have been: Shine
"Shine" was released on April 2nd of 2018. Originally their scheduled promotions had been short, but due to the sudden influx in population, they received their company allowed them to extend their promotions by 2 weeks. I believe that the group promoted the song throughout the entire month. "Shine" is their first song to accumulate over 200 million views on YouTube. Currently, the MV has 222 million views on their personal YouTube account, with the dance practice having 35 million views. The song peaked at #27 on the Gaon chart, at #10 on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales Chart, and at #6 on the Billboard World Chart. The album peaked at #6 on the Gaon Album Chart and #9 on the Billboard World Chart. Before their release of We:th, the album for "Shine," Positive, was their best-selling album, selling 52,488 copies according to Gaon Album Chart. Their most-viewed live stage for this comeback is their M Countdown stage which has 9.5 million views.
With such a popular release, then why did they fail to achieve their first win with it? In my personal opinion, I believe it is due to their competition during the time and the group's overall small fandom. Before this sudden increase in popularity, Pentagon did not have a big fandom. During their promotions for this song they'd been up against Twice's "What is Love?", EXO-CBX "Blooming Days," Mamamoo's "Starry Night," Winner's "Everyday," Momoland's "Boom Boom," Wanna One's "Boomerang," and Gfriend's "Time for the Moon Night." This was very hard competition for the boys to face, which is why I believe that they did not receive their first win. It is a shame, though, because "Shine" is a very notable kpop song, one of the best songs of its year.
First Win: So What
Released on February 5th, 2020, the girls were able to achieve their first win less than 2 years after debuting. On March 12th of 2020, the girls achieved their first win on M Countdown, beating out MCND "Ice Age." The album for the song # debuted at #2 on the Gaon Album Chart, #4 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, and sold 79,797 copies in the month of its release. The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard World Digital Song chart and #68 on the Gaon Download chart. The mv for the song currently has about 34.5 million views (26 million on their personal YouTube channel and 8.5 on 1TheK), with the dance practice having 4 million views and their most-viewed live stage being the M Countdown stage with 1.7 million views. They only accumulated 1 music show win for the song.
What it should have been: Butterfly
"Butterfly" was released on February 19th, 2019. The album x x peaked at #3 on the Gaon Album Charts, 4 on the Billboard World Albums chart and sold 45,782 copies (based on Gaon Album Chart). The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart. The mv currently has 42 million views (personal YouTube channel), 3.9 million views on their dance practice, and their most viewed stage is their M Countdown stage with 3.3 million views. I believe that they promoted for about a month (February 19th to March 21st).
While I do believe that "So What" did do better sales-wise and chart-wise than "Butterfly," I still believe that "Butterfly" should have been their first win because they still did very well, almost as well as "So What." The reason I believe that Loona did not receive a win with "Butterfly" is because of the competition they faced. I do believe that Loona had a stable, well-built fandom at the time, but the fandoms they were up against were bigger than them, which is why they failed to achieve a win. Their competition had been Mamamoo's "Gogobebe," TXT's "Crown," Park Bom's "Spring," Itzy "Dalla Dalla," and Monsta X "Alligator." "Butterfly" will always remain an iconic era, and although they did not receive a music show win for it, I know that it will not be forgotten.
First Win: Save Me Save You
"Save Me Save You" was released almost 3 years after their debut. The girls were able to accumulate 1 weekly music show win with this song on October 2nd of 2018, beating out GWSN "Puzzle Moon" and Dreamcatcher's "What." The album for the song, WJ Please?, peaked at #3 on the weekly Gaon SK Albums chart, #8 on the monthly Gaon SK Albums chart, and #14 on the Billboard US World Albums chart. According to the 2018 Gaon Album Chart, the album sold 61,952 according to the 2018 Gaon Album Chart. The song peaked at #21 on the Gaon Download chart and did not enter the Gaon Digital Sales chart. The mv currently has 18.1 million collective views (13 million on personal YouTube channel and 5.1 million on 1TheK). Their most-viewed live stage performance is their M Countdown stage with 1.6 million views.
What it should have been: Dreams Come True or Happy
"Dreams Come True" was released on February 27th, 2018. The album for the song, Dream Your Dream, peaked at #2 on the weekly Gaon SK Albums chart and #10 on the monthly Gaon SK Albums chart. The album sold 49,002 copies, according to the 2018 Gaon Album Chart. The title track peaked at #23 on the Gaon Download Chart and did not appear on the Gaon Digital Sales chart. The mv has 11 million views collectively (6.6 million on their personal YouTube channel and 4.4 million on 1TheK). Their most-viewed live stage is their M Countdown stage with 3 million views.
"Happy" was released on June 7th of 2017. The album for the song, Happy Moment, is the group's first and only studio album. The album peaked at #3 on the weekly Gaon Album chart and sold 38,368 copies, according to the 2017 Gaon Album chart. They set a new personal record as their first week sales tripled with the release of this album (10,300 copies sold within the first week). The song peaked at #77 on the Gaon Digital Chart and sold 45,435 copies, according to the Gaon Digital Sales chart.
While I do believe that "Save Me Save You" was bigger than both of these songs, I feel as though these other two songs did well enough to earn the group their first win. I am not saying that "Happy" or "Dreams Come True" are better than "Save Me Save You" but rather that their first win was long overdue. I included "Dreams Come True" because it did very well with album sales, digital song sales, and charting wise. I included "Happy" because it also did well but also because it is my favorite WJSN song. I did not include "I Wish" or "Secret" because while they charted well for the digital song alone album-wise, they did not do so great. The reason why I believe "Happy" and "Dreams Come True" did not get a win is because of the fierce competition that they faced during promotions for both songs. For "Happy," the girls had been up against NCT 127 "Cherry Bomb," Seventeen "Dont Wanna Cry," Red Velvet "Red Flavor," and Mamamoo "Yes I Am." For "Dreams Come True," the girls had been up against Momoland "Bboom Bboom," Ikon "Love Scenario," and Mamamoo "Starry Night." While WJSN is not completely underrated, they do not have a big enough fandom to win against such powerhouse kpop groups. Nevertheless, their songs were rightfully appreciated by a majority of the kpop community.
First Win: Bloom Bloom
"Bloom Bloom" was released on April 29th of 2019 as the group's second digital single album. The album accumulated 134,705 sold copies, according to the 2019 Gaon Album Chart. The song peaked at #2 on the Gaon Music Chart and #74 on the Kpop Hot 100 chart. On May 7th, 2019, The Boyz were able to take home their first win on The Show, beating N.Flying's "Spring Memories" and Park Bom's "4:44". The mv currently has 13 million views on 1TheK, and their most-viewed live stage is their M Countdown stage with 1.2 million views.
What it should have been: No Air
"No Air" was released on November 29th of 2018. The album for the song, The Only, peaked at #3 on the weekly Gaon Album Chart. According to the 2018 Gaon Album Chart, 133,310 copies were sold, almost doubling their normal sales. The title track peaked at #86 on the K-pop Hot 100 chart. The mv for the song currently has 28 million views on 1The K, and their most-viewed live stage for the song is their M Countdown stage with 1.1 million views. During their promotions, they had been up against Wanna One, who was promoting their last song before their disbandment, and Mino's "Fiance." There weren't many weekly shows during their promotions due to Wanna One's disbandment and KCON. "Bloom Bloom" did slightly better than "No Air," but I do feel like "No Air" was very deserving of a weekly show win. If Wanna One hadn't been disbanding during this time, I do feel as though The Boyz could've gotten a win.
First Win: Wave
"Wave" was released on June 10th, 2019. They received 2 wins for the song with the first being on M Countdown (June 20th) and the second being on The Show (June 25th). They had been up against "Boogie Up" by WJSN, "No One" by Lee Hi, and later on "Zimzalabim" by Red Velvet. The album for the song Treasure EP.3: One to All peaked at #2 on the Gaon Album Chart, #8 on the Billboard chart, and #9 on Billboard Top Heatseekers. They were able to sell 180,121 copies of the album by August 20th, 2019, according to the Gaon Album Chart. The song was able to chart on the Billboard chart, peaking at #17. The mv collectively has 52.6 million views (51 million on KQ Entertainment and 1.6 million on Stone Music). Their most-viewed live stage is their M Countdown stage with 3.5 million views.
What it should have been: Say My Name
"Say My Name" was released on January 15th, 2019. The album for the song Treasure EP.2: Zero to One peaked at #6 on the Gaon Album chart, #5 on the Billboard chart, and #7 on Billboard Top Heatseekers. They were able to sell 100,039 copies, according to the Gaon Album Chart. The song peaked at #8 on the Billboard chart, and the mv currently has 61 million views collectively (51 million on KQ Entertainment and 10 million on Stone Music). Their most-viewed live stage is their M Countdown stage with 3.6 million views.
This era was a breakthrough for Ateez. Their fandom grew massively internationally as part of their dance from this song began to trend. The song propelled them out of being forgotten and being able to become a notable group. 2019 was a huge year for the group, and although only one of their 2019 releases earned music show wins, all of them should have. Despite their massive fandom growth Ateez are still not able to beat out other notable groups. During promotions for "Say My Name," they'd been up against "Millions" by Winner, "Gotta Go" by Chungha, "%%" by Apink, "Sunrise" by Gfriend, and "Home" by Seventeen. Ateez tends to lose often to more notable groups, but all of their releases deserve wins.
These are just some songs by some groups that deserved to be their first win. The main reason why they did not achieve those wins is due to the fierce competition competing against them during their promotions. Nevertheless, I am glad that all of the groups mentioned were able to get their first win. There are many groups who still don't have their first win, and that is what I'll be discussing in another post. Groups like Dreamcatcher, A.C.E., and fromis_9 are highly deserving of first wins but somehow still don't have them. I hope you look forward to that release.
I may post a pt. 2 to this post, but it did take a lot of time to make. I tried my best to make sure everything is accurate, but if I missed anything, feel free to comment that down below.