Boys Planet contestant Kim Ji-woong has made his debut in the survival show’s boy group ZEROBASEONE, also known as ZB1. However, this isn’t his first time debuting. In fact, the K-pop idol has debuted more than three times before, but none of his previous gigs earned him much success.
It was not until he started acting, especially in Korean BL dramas, that he was able to garner some popularity and build his fandom, both domestically as well as internationally. All that hard work paid off for him as he is now able to get recognized for his talents and debut, hopefully for the last time, in ZEROBASEONE, achieving his long-standing dream of becoming a singer.
The success story of ZEROBASEONE’s Kim Ji-woong
Kim Ji-woong’s career has been full of hardships right from the start. However, he did not let all the failures stop him from achieving his dreams. Ji-woong’s dream had always been to debut as a singer despite his parents’ disapproval of his career path. The K-pop idol did not back down and won his parents’ approval due to his persistence and continued passion towards his craft.
After many auditions, the idol became a trainee at NA Entertainment and trained for almost seven years before finally debuting in 2016 as the lead dancer and lead vocalist, as well as the rapper of the group INX under the name Jinam.
However, the road ahead was not smooth for the ZEROBASEONE member, as the group disbanded soon after in 2017 and even sued their agency in 2018 for mistreatment. Luckily, the group won the lawsuit, and their contracts were considered void.
After winning the lawsuit, Ji-woong gave idol life a second chance, this time debuting as King in a boy group called ATEEN under DS&A Entertainment in 2018. This was a pre-debut group that had only debuted in Japan. However, before their Korean debut, the group disbanded in 2019. The agency’s CEO’s wife had allegedly s*xually harassed some of the members, which was why the project was shut down.
Ji-woong banded together with four other members of ATEEN, and the five of them, together with a new member, formed the pre-debut group B.I.T, also known as Brilliant Icon Team, under the agency Core Contents in 2019. The group only performed in Japan and was unfortunately disbanded in 2020 before they could officially debut in Korea.
Luckily for the ZEROBASEONE member, 2019 was also the year when he started getting solo attention, despite his failed group projects. He became a successful model internationally and even walked Fashion Week in China.
In 2020, Ji-woong went on to win the male category of JTBC and DSP Media’s 2020 survival show Burn Up: Challenge to Billboard. He and the winner of the female category also released a song called Sick of Love together. Despite being the winner of the show, his career as an idol did not take off and the singer decided to focus on his acting career for the time being.
He debuted as an actor in Naver’s web series The Sweet Blood in 2021 and acted in other K-dramas such as Convenience Store Junkies, Pro Teen, and Don’t Lie Rahee. However, his appearance as the protagonist in BL dramas such as Kissable Lips and Roommates of Poongduck 304 alongside singer-actor Yoon Seo-bin launched him into stardom.
Given the success of his acting stints, Ji-woong decided to give his singing career another shot by taking part in Mnet’s survival show Boys Planet, where he became an instant fan favorite due to his talents and charisma. He also appeared in K-pop idol Holland’s music video for the song Number Boy while the show was ongoing and was revealed to be a member of the group ZEROBASEONE during the finale of the show.
Boys Planet ended on April 20, 2023, revealing Kim Ji-woong in eighth place with over 1.3 million points, making him an official member of the nine-member boy group ZEROBASEONE. As such, fans were overjoyed for his debut as his path to success was full of hardships.