From Kang Tae Oh to New Jeans: 2022’s “Discovery of the Year”

This year, the performances of various rising stars, from idols to actors, shone brightly. 

Ahn Yu Jin met Na PD and became a great match in “Earth Arcade”  

IVE’s Ahn Yu Jin boasted an unexpected compatibility with PD Na Young Seok and drew keen attention as a rookie entertainer this year. Starting with Mnet’s survival program “Produce 48”, she went through IZ*ONE activities and re-debuted in IVE in December of last year, continuing her restless journey. Leading IVE as an ace member with pretty visuals, good dancing and singing skills, Ahn Yu Jin added a new character this year. 

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Ahn Yu Jin started her journey as a fixed variety show member by appearing on tvN’s “Earth Arcade”, which aired in June. She was a newbie that had not worked with Na PD before, but still stood out in the cast. Ahn Yu Jin revealed herself comfortably on the show. She was immersed in entertainment, showing a somewhat eccentric and sometimes crazy look. 

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Ahn Yu Jin showed off her easygoing and playful charm that is different from her on stage. She has quickly emerged as an rising entertainment idol. It was when Ahn Yu Jin gained spotlight outside of IVE.

Kang Tae On met Park Eun Bin: The birth of a “nation’s boyfriend” 

In fact, Kang Tae Oh is an actor who has been working consistently, stably, and diligently. After years of hard work, his sincerity finally shone in ENA’s “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, which gained popularity like a syndrome this year.  As the title of the drama itself focuses on the main character, Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin), even when you play the male lead, you can easily be buried. However, Kang Tae On still shone. 

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Kang Tae On gained a lot of popularity thanks to “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”. As he has been working on various works regardless of genre for 10 years, he perfectly transformed into Lee Jun Ho, an employee of the law firm’s litigation team with his stable acting skills. He showed the warm appearance, soft and friendly personality of Lee Jun Ho and won every viewer’s heart. 

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In particular, Kang Tae Oh went viral with his on-screen romance with Park Eun Bin. Through his portrayal of Lee Jun Ho, he became a “nation’s boyfriend”. Along with his popularity, Kang Tae Oh appeared in multiple commercials, and ranked No. 1 in brand power. Kang Tae Oh enlisted in the military on September 20th and is serving. The public is already looking forward to his future steps after being discharged.

Park Ji Hoon finally found his “lifetime drama” 

Park Ji Hoon, who is famous as the “jeojang boy”, has been actively building his career as both a singer and actor. He gained a lot of popularity as a Wanna One member by winning second place on Mnet’s “Produce 101”. He debuted as a soloist in March 2019. Since then, he has been active in music by releasing solo albums steadily.

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Another field Park Ji Hoon is passionate about is acting.  In fact, since he has a history as a child actor, acting may come first, but Park Ji Hoon only started acting in earnest after Wanna One disbanded, starting with JTBC’s drama “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency”. After that, Park Ji Hoon took on lead roles in the web drama “Love Revolution”, KBS 2TV’s drama “At a Distance, Spring Is Green”, and made a special appearance in Netflix’s “Remarriage and Desires”. Park Ji Hoon’s acting performance in these dramas was relatively stable, but the ratings and level of buzz could not be said to be good.

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Finally, after a long wait, Park Ji Hoon found the “work of his lfe” this year. It is Wavve’s original series “Weak Hero Class 1”. Park Ji Hoon plays Yeon Si Eun, a model student in the top 1%, and drew rave reviews for his expressive acting. Yeon Si Eun’s emotions are well conveyed to viewers through Park Ji Hoon’s acting, especially his eyes. “Weak Hero Class 1” is a drama that properly shows Park Ji Hoon’s presence as an actor. Now, more expectations are focused on Park Ji Hoon’s future steps as an actor, rather than an idol-turned actor who shot to popularity thanks to his aegyo. 

NewJeans: Discovery of the Year

One of the main keywords in this year’s K-pop scene is definitely “girl group”. The girl group market, which has completely changed to the 4th generation, has been on a rise with the support of global music fans. Various groups, from IVE to NMIXX, LE SSERAFIM, and Kep1er, have dominated the music industry with their own colors. Last summer, NewJeans made their debut amid the public’s explosive interest and created a sensation. The girl group established itself as a “super rookie”.

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NewJeans is the first group that Min Hee Jin, a former SM Entertainment CEO, formed and launched under HYBE’s sublabel ADOR. Before their debut, the group was already known as “Min Hee Jin’s group” and received so much attention. NewJeans then officially stood in front of the public by releasing the songs and music videos for their debut album without a long promotion. Maybe it was thanks to the reputation of HYPE and Min Hee Jin, or their unconventional debut strategy, NewJeans reached the top as soon as they debuted.


NewsJeans introduced a total of three title songs for their debut album. They are “Attention”, “Hype Boy”, and “Cookies”. And all these three songs succeeded in going viral. Not only their sophisticated and addictive melodies but dance challenges also spread globally on SNS. Immediately after making their debut, NewJeans emerged as a blue chip in the advertising industry and proved their potential by winning both Rookie of the Year and Daesang (Grand Prize) at the 2022 AAA. The girl group has set various shortest and highest records and is continuing to perform well on overseas charts, such as the U.S. Billboard. NewJeans rose to become a representative of K-pop’s fourth generation with their outstanding performances and remarkable achievements right from their debut.

Source: Daum

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