Not only will ATBO be THE BOYZ’s brother group, their maknae Won Bin also so happens to have lived in the Philippines for 10 years.
Is the Pinoy invasion of K-pop finally coming? After Sandara Park, the number of prominent K-pop idols that are either Filipino or have strong roots to the country have been very far and in between. But as of late, that has started to change. Former Star Magic actress Chantal Videla, also known by her stage name Chanty, recently debuted as an idol in LAPILLUS and already, she’s one of the group’s most biased members. And now, another upcoming idol is set to add more Pinoy flair to the K-pop industry thanks to his proficiency in Tagalog.
MEET WON BIN
On June 17, IST Entertainment, which is the new company after the merger of Cre.Ker Entertainment and fellow Kakao Entertainment subsidiary Play M, announced that Won Bin will be joining the boy group ATBO. ATBO, which stands for At the Beginning of Originality, was formed through the reality competition show The Origin – A, B, Or What?. The show, which began airing earlier this year and had its finally in May, followed 13 boy trainees from IST as they competed to be part of the company’s first group since the merger.
One of those contestants was Won Bin, who was a trainee for two years and will be going by Bin as his stage name. During the show, it was revealed that he lived in the Philippines for over 10 years as he studied English internationally. Because of this, the 17-year-old is fluent in English, Tagalog, and Korean and even flexed a bit of his Tagalog skills on the show. He made it quite far in the competition, but was sadly eliminated in episode five. But this past June proved to be a lucky month for Won Bin.
SCANDAL WON’T STOP ATBO
Even though ATBO hasn’t debuted yet, the group has already dealt with two scandals. The first came in the form of its name. Originally, the seven member boy group was called ABO, but that was later changed to ATBO due to the fact that ABO can be seen as a slur in some cultures. Next, former member Yang Donghwa was hit with accusations that he was a bully in school. After an investigation, IST Entertainment determined that he would no longer be part of the group. The company then looked to eliminated trainees to fill that void and they chose Won Bin.
“During the evaluation, the trainee Won Bin received the highest score by proving his vast potential and ability to learn quickly. Won Bin has also received huge support from domestic and international fans, ranking first in all global fan polls during the program. Thus, we reviewed the fans’ opinions, as well as the opinions of internal and external specialists. As a result, we have revised the final debut lineup to add Won Bin,” said the company when they announced his inclusion. At just 17 years old, Won Bin will be the maknae of the group as he joins fellow members Jeong Seunghwan, Oh Junseok, Seok Rakwon, Ryu Junmin, Bae Hyunjun, Kim Yeonkyu.
THE BOYZ having a brother group soon already has us curious for ATBO. But the fact that one of its members has strong roots in the Philippines instantly grabbed our attention. We’re very much looking forward to getting to know more Won Bin, as well as the group as a whole. Hopefully the scandals the group has faced won’t dampen their debut. Watch out for ABTO’s debut, which is set to drop in the coming months.
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