Art & Entertainment

Year Ender 2023: From RIIZE To KISS OF LIFE - 7 Best K-Pop Group Debuts That Set Stages On Fire

Check out the list of the top 7 K-Pop bands that debuted this year.

7 Best K-Pop Group Debuts

Every year, major labels in South Korea debut new groups. This year was no different. In fact, this year saw many new entrants, who not only in Korea, but also internationally made a name for themselves. They quite literally conquered the music scene with their addictive music, intense lyrics, mind-blowing dance and innovative concepts. 

While some groups that debuted this year were sub-units of previously existing groups, others were completely new. The group debuts of this year that have left an impact on audiences within a year of their debut are as follows. 


BOYNEXTDOOR is a boy band, formed by KOZ Entertainment. The group comprises six members: Sungho, Riwoo, Jaehyun, Taesan, Leehan, and Woonhak. They debuted on May 30, with their album 'Who!' The name of the group stands for the boy band that always "will be friendly and approachable, like boys living next door." According to their label, BOYNEXTDOOR aims to create music about "the daily lives of their peers." The members, who are also involved in the music production process, described their music to be easy-going and natural. The group has bagged acclaims including 'Global Rising Artist' at MMA. 


xikers is a boy band formed under KQ Entertainment. Consisting of ten members: Minjae, Junmin, Sumin, Jinsik, Hyunwoo, Junghoon, Seeun, Yujun, Hunter and Yechan, they debuted on March 30, with the EP 'House of Tricky: Doorbell Ringing.' The group stated that they got their name from a fusion of the letter 'x,' as in a coordinate and the word 'hiker', meaning traveller. So, when put together, the group name's refers to "boys who travel through time and space in search of coordinates." So far, they have won the 'K Global Super Rookie Award' at K Global Heart Dream Awards. 


Managed by S2 Entertainment, KISS OF LIFE, also known as KIOF, is a girl group consisting of four members: Julie, Natty, Belle, and Haneul. They debuted on July 5, with the self-titled EP 'Kiss of Life.' One of the members mentioned in an interview that the group has been highly influenced by the likes of BLACKPINK, 2NE1, and BIGBANG. According to their agency, the group's name signifies their dream to "breathe a new life into the music industry with their music and charm." The group's themes focus on various phases of life, especially centered around late teens and the early stages of adulthood. They have the '1theK Global Icon' Award to their name. 


BABYMONSTER, more popularly known as Baemon, is a girl group formed under one of the big four labels, YG Entertainment. The group consists of seven members: Ruka, Pharita, Asa, Ahyeon, Rami, Rora, and Chiquita. Ahyeon, however, has parted ways due to health reasons, but the band will continue as a septet, as she may re-join the group once she's better. Speaking English, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Chinese fluently, they debuted on November 27, with the single 'Batter Up,' which became the fastest K-Pop debut music video ever. BABYMONSTER, with a distinct "high-teen" image, distinguishes from the label's previous female acts. They were heralded as an "all-rounder" group, with the members labelled as "elites" due to their individual excellence in vocals, rap, and dance.


The next on the list is the NCT subunit, NCT DOJAEJUNG. This is the fifth sub-unit of the boy band NCT, formed by SM Entertainment. The unit consists of three members: Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo. And, the group's name is derived from their names itself — parent group NCT, and the member's names —'Do' from Doyoung, 'Jae' from Jaehyun and 'Jung' from Jungwoo. They debuted on April 17, with their EP 'Perfume.' What makes them stand apart from the other subunits of NCT is the dedication towards R&B music and all-vocal performances. The unit came together in early 2022, and started recordings in February 2022. However, in March of this year, SM Entertainment officially confirmed the debut of NCT DOJAEJUNG. 


RIIZE is the boy band that has been taking social media by storm. Formed by SM Entertainment, the group has seven members: Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee, and Anton. However, Seunghan has taken a pause from group activities, after a series of controversies followed him. They debuted on September 4, with the album 'Get a Guitar.' Within its first week, the album sold more than one million copies, marking the second-highest first-week sales for a debut album by a rookie group. The name of the group is created by combining 'Rise' indicating "growth" and 'Realize,' which means "a team that grows together and realizes dreams." They have won many acclaims including 'Favourite New Artist' at MAMA and 'Rookie of the Year' at MMA


Formed via Mnet's reality show 'Boys Planet,' ZEROBASEONE is a boy band, managed by WakeOne. The group is composed of nine members: Kim Ji-woong, Zhang Hao, Sung Han-bin, Seok Matthew, Kim Tae-rae, Ricky, Kim Gyu-vin, Park Gun-wook and Han Yu-jin. The group's name represents the "journey of the nine trainees to be completed as one after their debut". It refers to the journey of the members, starting from zero and ending with one. Making their debut on July 10 with the EP 'Youth in the Shade,' this group signed a special contract which enables them to be active only for two and a half years. Even before their official debut, they broke multiple records, continuing this trend even after their debut release, which now holds the record for the highest sales among K-Pop debut albums. They have also bagged awards for 'Best Musician Award' and 'Rookie of the Year' at Asia Artist Awards, 'Favorite New Artist' and 'Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10' at MAMA, and 'Best New Artist' at MMA. 

Just like 2023, fans are eagerly anticipating an equally thrilling list of debut groups in 2024.