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Series / Produce X 101

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Produce X 101 is a South Korean competition reality series and the 4th season of the Produce 101 series. The goal of the show is to create an 11-member Boy Band from a pool of 101 contestants, all from various talent agencies in South Korea.

New to the series is the rank X, which represents "infinite possibilities." In the first few episodes, rank X meant contestants had a high chance of being eliminated. Later episodes showed that rank X meant a chance opportunity at returning through variable means. In the final episode, the first 10 members of the group will be chosen by the highest ranking, while the final member, X, will be chosen by the highest cumulative votes in the entire series.


The show premiered on May 3, 2019 and ended on July 19, 2019, with the resulting group named X1. Unlike the previous seasons, X1 will be promoting for a total of 5 years, the first 2.5 years exclusively with the group.

The series is hosted by Lee Dong-wook. Mentors and panelists will include:

  • Dance: Bae Yoon-jeong, Choi Young-joon, and Kwon Jae-seung
  • Vocals: Lee Seok-hoon, Shin Yu-mi
  • Rap: Cheetah (returnee from Produce 101 Seasons 1 and 2 and Produce48)


Tropes appearing in Produce X 101:

  • Actor Allusion: When Lee Dong-wook brings Lee Jin-hyuk to picking a song for the position evaluation, Jin-hyuk asks, "Are you here to take me away?", referencing Dong-wook's role in Goblin. Dong-wook only good-naturedly responds, "No, I quit that job a while ago."
  • Adorkable: During the trainees' personal picks in episode 11, Lee Jin-hyuk and Song Hyeong-jun stated that they chose Kim Min-kyu as the trainee they'd vote for due to his clumsiness and silliness.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Lee Jin-woo's nickname and Catchphrase is "Haenam-ie", since he is from Haenam.
    • Cha Jun-ho is nicknamed "Cha-Cha."
    • Hwang Yun-seong is nicknamed "Petit."
  • Ascended Meme: Lee Eun-sang's "Nobody can stop me!" went viral in the Internet and the trainees ordered Lee Han-gyul to reenact it after he survived the third elimination.
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  • Bathtub Bonding: During their first days in the dormitory, Han Seung-woo is heard constantly asking his roommates to take baths together, much to their discomfort and them pointing out that one of the clauses in the terms of agreements says that excessive touching is banned.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Kim Min-kyu getting 10th place during the second elimination, when he was previously 2nd place, caused everyone to freak out to the point where Cho Seung-youn broke the tension by yelling, "Someone give him a hug!"
    • Lee Jin-woo dropping from 4th place all the way to 22nd place during the third elimination shocked many of the trainees, some of whom are surprised that limiting the votes to two trainees could change the results so drastically.
  • Bishōnen: Soyou describes Kim Min-kyu as a "pretty boy" during the rank evaluations.
  • Call-Back:
    • The trainees from Starship Entertainment entered the stage chanting, "Fightiiiing, fighting! Fighting, fighting, fighting!", just like the Starship trainees from Produce48.
    • During the first elimination, Son Dong-pyo wanted to do the "orange game" that the Woollim Entertainment trainees did during Produce48.
  • The Cameo:
    • Jang Won-young and Kwon Eun-bi (winners from Produce48 who debuted in IZONE) make voice-only cameos in the show to wake up the trainees.
    • Lee Si-an, who participated in Produce48, attended the concept evaluation as an audience member. She even got a shout-out from Lee Dong-wook.
  • Class Representative: In Kim Mink-kyu's 1-minute PR video, he plays up the "class representative" role. This is to demonstrate that, in real-life, he is ranked 3rd in his high school and was also part of the student council, with the official lapel pin on his uniform to prove it.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • During the rank evaluation, Rank A has pink shirts with a glittering blue "A" on it. Rank B is orange, rank C is yellow, rank D is green, and rank F is gray. Rank X is black.
    • During the position evaluation, vocal position trainees wore blue jerseys, rap position trainees wore black jerseys, and dance position trainees wore red jerseys.
    • During the concept evaluation, red was for "Super Special Girl", blue was for "Pretty Girl", white was for "Move", black was for "U Got It", and pink was for "Monday to Sunday."
    • During the debut evaluation, black was for "To My World" and pink was for "Boyness."
  • The Cutie: The younger trainees are often called cute, and most of them happen to be in "Pretty Girl", which has a cute concept. The trainees who specifically get these comments often are Son Dong-pyo, Lee Jin-woo, Song Hyeong-jun, Lee Eun-sang, and Nam Do-hyon.
  • Elimination Statement:
    • During the third elimination, Lee Se-jin and Kim Kook-heon were called onto the stage to see who would take the final spot for the debut evaluation. After Lee Se-jin won, Kim Kook-heon gave a speech.
    • In the final episode, Lee Jin-hyuk and Kim Min-kyu were each given an opportunity to say elimination statements before and after the X member was announced.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • When Kim Min-kyu first entered the room, Mnet's edits really focused on everyone being wowed by his good looks, with many trainees expressing how handsome he was and how he was a literal Prince Charming. In one of the behind-the-scenes footage, Nam Do-hyon noted that Min-kyu was very popular with the older trainees.
    • When Lee Dong-wook first appeared, many trainees claimed that he was the most handsome man that they've ever seen, and that he looked even better in real life.
  • Friend or Idol Decision:
    • During the concept evaluation, teams are shuffled to even out the groups after the second elimination, and each team must vote on who is staying, the results of which have upset several trainees. (For example, Choi Byung-chan was so desperate to stay on "Move" that he kept visiting the other members' dormitories to maintain their connection, while the majority of the "Monday to Sunday" dance training was centered on Kim Min-kyu's Heroic BSoD after being kicked out of "Pretty Girl").
    • Thanks to the new X rank, after teams have shuffled, they are later given the opportunity to recruit the X member, who has come back from elimination. This is a point of tension between the "U Got It" and "Pretty Girl" teams; Kim Yun-seong and Cha Jun-ho are close friends with X trainee Kim Dong-yun from being in the same company, but Kim Woo-seok insisted that, from a survival viewpoint, it would be risky and complicate the choreography, lines, and vote distribution, especially since, as "Move" pointed out, Dong-yun could steal their votes (as he became infamous during the Group X evaluation for his rap); "Pretty Girl" decided not to recruit him even though he was once part of their team and knew the choreography. Despite being the riskiest team, Dong-yun was eventually recruited to "Monday to Sunday."
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Mnet really tried to showcase Kim Min-kyu's struggles with learning how to dance properly, to the point that the majority of the "Monday to Sunday" training montage was of him lamenting how he wants to be seen as the "talented Min-kyu" instead of the "hard-working Min-kyu."
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: When Joo Chang-uk and Kim Dong-yun, trainees from Woollim Entertainment, were competing for the final position in the second elimination, Dong-yun says that he couldn't bear to watch and avoids looking at the screen.
  • I Want to Be a Real Man: Many of the younger contestants, such as Son Dong-pyo, Song Hyeong-jun, and Lee Jin-woo, are often seen trying to take on more mature songs and have stated during the Confession Cam it's because they want to be able to showcase sexy and mature concepts.
  • The Leader: Each group has to elect a leader for their performance. Some notable leaders include:
    • Ham Won-jin was chosen as leader and center for the Group X evaluation due to quickly picking up the choreography. He becomes notably stressed out and the trainers call out the other members for having him do the brunt of the work.
    • Song Hyeong-jun was chosen as the leader for the X trainees and falls under pressure. He decides not to be the leader anymore during the Group X evaluation, but during the debut evaluation, he takes on the role again.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Unlike the previous seasons, this season introduces a new rank, X. The trainees are first told that X meant that they are eliminated automatically during the ranking evaluation... only to find out that the producers lied and that the X trainees were actually training in a separate facility. However, if trainees get an X during the rank re-evaluation, they cannot participate in the theme song filming. Later, X was seen as a second opportunity at competing again, as demonstrated with Kim Dong-yun coming back as the X member for the concept evaluation. In the final episode, the X member was chosen by the highest number of cumulative votes throughout the entire series.
  • Like a Son to Me:
    • Lee Jin-hyuk describes his relationship with Lee Jin-woo as "father and son", to the point where Jin-woo calls him "Dad." Jin-hyuk is notably one of the trainees most commonly doing Jin-woo's "Haenam-ie" Catchphrase and pose.
    • Han Seung-woo's relationship with Son Dong-pyo is also described as father-and-son.
  • Mondegreen: During the rank re-evaluation, Tony mispronounces the first line of the song, "I can't see the light", to "I woke up at 2 AM."
  • Never Live It Down: Invoked Trope:
    • When it was Lee Jin-woo's turn to pick his song for the position evaluation, all the trainees kept yelling, "Uh!", referencing to when Joohoney had tried to teach him how to rap.
    • Lee Tae-eun infamously selected his team for the Group X evaluation despite that none of them wanted to perform "Clap" by Seventeen, all because he wasn't wearing his contacts when he picked them. For the position evaluation, both the trainees and producers asked him if he had been wearing his contacts when he made his choice.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore:
    • During the ghost prank, Kim Yo-han claimed he wasn't scared anymore after the first Jump Scare… but after another ghost grabs his leg and the first ghost begins chasing him, he starts running towards the door, with the subtitle commentary, "Are you sure you're not scared?" on the screen.
    • After the first Jump Scare, Son Dong-pyo says that all of his worries disappeared in an instant.
  • Old Shame: Invoked Trope: True to Produce 101 fashion, in the final episode, the audience gets to see the trainees' reactions to their audition videos, and needless to say, the majority of them are horrified and beg the others not to watch.
  • Older Than He Looks: When asked about why he's popular by Lee Dong-wook during the second elimination, Lee Han-gyul states it's because he looks older than his age.
  • Product Placement: There are a couple of segments where the trainees are filmed trying out Innisfree skincare products, make-up, Subway sandwiches, and TikTok.
  • The Rival:
    • Song Yuvin and Choi Su-hwan were portrayed as rivals due to ending up in the same group and competing for the main vocal position.
    • Lee Dong-wook has mentioned a couple of times to trainees from the same company that they will be competing against each other, such as Song Hyeong-jun and Ham Won-jin during the position evaluation, and Joo Chang-uk and Kim Dong-yun during the second elimination.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Nam Do-hyun has a high-pitched scream when he's scared or excited, though the subtitle commentary describes it as a "dolphin scream" instead of a "little girl scream."
  • Senpai Kouhai: When Lee Jin-hyuk and Kim Woo-seok first entered the stage, many of the trainees refused to sit down because they were members from the already-debuted Boy Band Up10tion and, therefore, didn't want to disrespect their "seniors." However, when Jin-hyuk and Woo-seok finally caught on, they insisted to everyone that they can sit down.
  • Sixth Ranger: Whichever eliminated trainee can return as an X member during the position evaluation, and Kim Dong-yun was selected. He can be recruited into a group but if no one chooses him, he will have to choose a group blindly.
  • The Show Must Go On: During the rank evaluation, the trainees from MBK Entertainment dropped their microphones while performing. However, Nam Do-hyon managed to catch his transmitter smoothly during the performance without distractions, which the trainers praised him for.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the trainee entrances for the first elimination, the trainees from DSP Media did a move from KARA's "Mamma Mia." The trainees from MBK Entertainment did the movements from T-ARA's "Bo Peep."
  • Special Guest: Soyou appeared as a vocal trainer during the rank evaluations. Joohoney from Monsta X appeared as a rap trainer for the Group X evaluations.
  • Spoil at Your Own Risk: Discussed Trope: When the trainees are allowed to make a phone call during the rank evaluation, Lee Jin-woo ended up saying, "I can't tell you" or "Just watch the show" to every question his mom asked after the producers instructed him not to spoil anything. This was brought up jokingly during the position evaluation, where he responded, "Just watch the show" when Lee Dong-wook asked which song he selected.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Invoked Trope: During the trainees' personal picks segment in episode 11, where the producers ask them who they would personally vote for, the trainees who chose Han Seung-woo often stated that he pulls off sexy concepts on stage. Cho Seung-youn was edited with a nosebleed and states, "You can stop being sexy now."
  • Teen Genius: Nam Do-hyon is called a "musical genius" several times in the series for being adept at rapping and music theory.
  • Tender Tears: Song Hyeong-jun is quick to crying, as he was prone to tears during the rank evaluation, the theme song training, and his speech in the first elimination. This led to him being described as a "crybaby" during his congratulatory descriptions later on in the series.
  • Throw It In!: Invoked Trope: Lee Hyeop's ad-libs during his high note in "Monday to Sunday" were all improvised and based on suggestions made by Nam Do-hyon and Lee Se-jin during the song recording.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Invoked Trope:
    • After Kim Min-kyu was ranked #1 during the first voting session, he says that he is pressured to live up to the expectations during his Confession Cam in the position evaluation, especially after he was critically slammed for his poor dancing in the Group X evaluation.
    • Ham Won-jin states during his Confession Cam that he was embarrassed by his poor performance during the rank evaluation and feels that he has let down Starship Entertainment, whose trainees have gotten high rankings and debuted during the previous seasons.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The theme of the series is "X" and introduces the new X rank. The series is also symbolized by an X.

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