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There are 99 trainees in total from South Korea, Japan, and China who have the same dream of debuting in an idol group despite having different languages and cultures. But what will be challenging is that only 9 of them will be able to debut as a K-pop group. The growth of these girls as they head toward their dreams will unfold in the imaginary world named ‘Girls Planet’.

Before the show started, all of the trainees performed their themed song “O.O.O (Over & Over & Over) for the first time in public in M COUNTDOWN on July 12. They started on three round stages and ended on one huge stage. It represented girls from different countries gathered under one roof for their dreams. Amazed by the massive coordination and consistent dance movements, many viewers felt moved when they held hands together at the end to explain the whole massage in one action. In the same week, official performance videos of the trainees were released featuring each group performing the theme song and individual profiles of the K-Group contestants were also revealed.

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The ‘planet’ theme of the show is derived from a new collaboration between Mnet and NCSoft's new platform called UNIVERSE which is centered on K-pop. It will allow votes from other countries outside of the participating three, and also hosts other promotional content for the show. Girls Planet 999 is hosted by the famous actor Yeo Jin-goo is the planet master, with Lee Sun-mi and Tiffany Young as K-Pop Masters who will guide them along with the trainers. JuHee, a choreographer and dancer for JYPE, and Baek Koo-Young, an SM choreographer will be the dance trainers. And the Vocal Masters would be Jo Ayoung and Lim Han-Byul. And the global K-pop fans who are watching the show from all around the world are planet guardians.

In the first episode, host Yeo Jin-goo explained that there will also be 33 units with 3 trainees which will be called ‘cells’ and each of them will include one girl from South Korea, one from Japan, and one from China. Each of the three categories has its own assigned colors. The K-Group's color is yellow, C-Group's color is blue, and the J-group's color is pink. The cells were decided by common factors like their K-pop biases, professions, favorite shows, or age. Even though Mnet had decided the cells, the girls could later change their cellmates. These cells would be judged together and either all 3 girls would survive or get eliminated. And in the end, 9 winners will get together to form a K-pop group. In every mission, the top 9 global picks will become the planet top 9 that symbolizes the debut group.

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As trainees, many current girl group members also participated in this grand competition, including Choi Yujin (CLC), SimSeungeun (BVNDIT), Huh Jiwon (Cherry Bullet), May (Cherry Bullet), Kim Bora (Cherry Bullet), Chiayi (FANATICS), Kim Doah (FANATICS) and Lee Rayeon (FANATICS). Some contestants also came from other reality shows, such as Youth with You 2 (Chen Xinwei, Fu Yaning, and Xu Ziyin), and Chuang 2020 (Cui Wenmeixiu, Shen Xiaoting, and Su Ruiqi).

iQiyi International has secured streaming rights worldwide for this show by also providing English subtitles where viewers can cheer for their contestants in real-time. “Girls Planet 999” will be released every Friday till 22nd October 2021 for 12 episodes. UNIVERSE, the new global K-pop platform developed by game company NCSOFT, will partner with Girls Planet 999 and provide the official platform for the show. Along with the global voting system for the final debut lineup, UNIVERSE will host various digital content and services for fans. Voting will be completely decided through global voting. Half of those votes will be from Korea, and half will be from other regions.

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Chief producer of Girls Planet 999, Yoon Shin Hye said, “Despite the difficult situations, opportunities should continue. With the COVID-19 situation getting longer, many trainees’ debuts are often being delayed or sometimes canceled, and the number of people who debut is decreasing. I hoped that this show would be a chance for the 99 trainees to grow, show their talent, passion and eventually achieve their dreams.” The “Girls Planet 999” also ensured that the contestants' physical and mental condition is their top priority which many trainees loved about the show.

When you watch the show and vote for them, you will be considered as the planet guardian. So, Planet guardians, support these talented girls on their challenging journey, guard them, and make sure to stream Girls Planet 999.

* Rumaiysa M Rahman is a 10th grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka

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