Welcome to the final slew of nominees announced for the 2018 LWOS.life K-Pop Awards. The major award nominees can be seen in the article titled “2018 LWOS.Life K-Pop Awards: Top Award Nominees”
A Look At The Nominees In The Smaller LWOS.life K-Pop Award Categories
Rookie Girl Group of the Year
This was one of those categories where everyone should win. But sadly, that’s not how this show operates. All four nominated groups had a great year. The number of comebacks per group varied from three to one, but all of them made a splash.
IZ*ONE: IZ*ONE was the success story of the survival show Produce 48. The premise of the group is that some members are from Korean agencies while others are from Japanese 48 groups. The group did astronomical numbers with their one and only release so far COLOR*IZ.
Fromis_9: Fromis_9’s year was a busy one. While the group wasn’t the most popular out of all rookies, they put out a lot of good music. To. Heart, To. Day and From.9 were the three mini-albums put out by the group, including the tracks “To Heart,” “DKDK” and “Love Bomb.”
LOONA: This year LOONA concluded their soloist and sub-unit projects for their 12 members and finally debuted as a whole group. The debut brought the songs “Hi High” and “favOriTe” into the world. The unique way in which the group was promoted for years made their debut even better.
(G)I-DLE: (G)I-DLE was a group that had amazing success right from the get-go. In mid-2018 they put out the song “LATATA” and won music shows with it. Months later they followed the song up with another hit titled “HANN (Alone).”
Rookie Boy Group of the Year
- Stray Kids
- The Boyz
- The Man BLK
This is one of those awards where there may be four nominees, but quite honestly, only two have a chance of winning. I won’t say who, but you can probably figure it out. Although The Boyz and Stray Kids didn’t debut in 2018, they were rookies for the majority of the year, which qualified them for this awards.
D-CRUNCH: D-CRUNCH put out two intense tracks in 2018 that went under many people’s radars. The first, “Palace” had intense choreography to accompany it. The group maintained a tough and dark concept with their latest comeback titled “STEALER.”
Stray Kids: JYP Entertainment’s newest project has found themselves nominated. In very early 2018 Stray Kids established themselves with the song “District 9” from mini-album I am NOT. They continued with songs “My Pace” and “I Am You” later in the year.
The Boyz: The Boyz are a close competitor with Stray Kids. Debuting at similar times, The Boyz tend to have brighter concepts. Their first two songs in 2018, “Giddy Up” and “Right Here,” were very lighthearted. They changed their concept up a little in their most recent comeback with the song “No Air.” The group doesn’t have the advantage of being owned by a “big three” label.
The Man BLK: The recently debuted group “The Man BLK” did not receive much attention at all with their debut. Despite this, they are on the list because their debut mini-album was impressive. The project, called Various Colors, has two tracks on it which stand out: “Swimming Pool (Ya Ya Yeah)” and “Free Fall.”
Male Soloist of the Year
- DPR Live
- Eric Nam
DPR Live: Despite only making a single and a mini-album in 2018, DPR Live found himself on this list for his many good songs. The EP Her brought “Martini Blue” and “Text Me” into the world. “Text Me” has a catchy chorus with easy-to-remember English in it.
Eric Nam: Eric Nam is a front-runner for the Male Soloist of the Year due to not just his music but his concerts. The soloist put out the EP Honestly, headlined by the track of the same name. After the release of the album, he went on a 15-date tour of North America, playing in most big cities.
Samuel: In 2018 Samuel put out a Japanese version of his hit song “Candy” and mini-album TEENAGER. Samuel’s success from Produce 101 Season 2 has continued to carry on despite not making the cut for Wanna One.
Zion.T: Zion.T’s mini-album ZZZ was what put him in contention for the Male Soloist of the Year. His title track “Hello Tutorial” was a good collaboration with Seulgi from Red Velvet, along with other songs on the release like “Sleep Talk” which had good replay value.
Female Soloist of the Year
BoA: As many years are for BoA, she had some hit songs. Early in the year the dance song “One Shot, Two Shot” was released, with another release coming late in the year titled “Woman.” Both songs have very memorable choruses, and are very catchy and fun listens.
Hyolyn: After her original group SISTAR split in 2017, Hyolyn has gone on to do big things by herself in 2018. After forming her own label, she has been able to put out three absolute hits. The first of three was “Dally,” a club song which had a great chorus and an impressive dance routine. After that came “See Sea,” a more laid back song which had great outdoor shots in the music video. The most recent of the three music videos is “BAE,” a feel-good song that had the usual great vocals you expect from Hyolyn.
IU: While this year wasn’t the busiest for IU, she put out the single “BBIBBI” which did big numbers. The song shows the musician’s candid thoughts on how she is treated by the media. Along with this song, IU held a concert this year to commemorate being in the industry for a decade.
Sunmi: In 2018 Sunmi built off of her newfound viral fame from the song “Gashina.” The music videos “Heroine” and “Siren” were put out, along with the mini-album WARNING. The soloist’s unique voice along with her ability to produce hit songs is what kept her name in the hat for 2018’s best.
Breakout Artist of the Year
This award goes to a group that has gotten newfound success after their debut.
Momoland: The nine-member girl group Momoland debuted in 2016, but didn’t strike gold until early 2018. In January 2018, the group put out the song “Bboom Bboom,” which is nominated for song of the year. The song reached #2 on the Gaon Digital Chart and #4 on the Billboard US World Chart. The three singles before from the group didn’t chart on either platform at all. The song won seven music show awards across five shows.
Busters: The girl group Busters debuted in late 2017 but didn’t do big numbers with their songs. The song “Dream On” barely cracked 100,000 views on Youtube. After the group put out their second single “Grapes,” a photo spread online that said that the group needed support and was at risk of disbanding. This wasn’t put out by any official artist or company, and the claim that they might disband didn’t have any proof behind it, but spread throughout the internet. After that, their song was flooded with views and comments and reached over one million views.
Subunit of the Year
- Pristin V
- LOONA yyxy
Pristin V: As a whole group, Pristin had a pretty throwaway year, as nothing was put out. But the newly made sub-unit Pristin V put out a very good mini-album. The five-member group released the song “Get It.” The song was the epitome of the girl crush concept. The group had a very well-shot video and catchy song. Putting out two songs online, the sub-unit made an impact in 2018.
EXO-CBX: For a couple of years the EXO sub-unit “CBX” has been a thing, but the group really shined in 2018. The groups biggest release in the Korean market was the bassy pop song “Blooming Day.” Along with this was the group’s Japanese song “Horololo” which was followed by a tour of Japan.
LOONA yyxy: As part of the girl group LOONA’s debut project, the company Blockberry Creative debuted all twelve of their members over the course of 2 years. The 12 members made up three sub-units, with the last of the three being LOONA yyxy. The unit’s music video song was “love4eva,” which was in collaboration with Canadian pop artist Grimes. The upbeat dance song came with a music video that left a lot up for interpretation, in the most endearing way possible.
Collaboration of the Year
- BTS & Steve Aoki
- Wendy & John Legend
- BLACKPINK & Dua Lipa
BTS & Steve Aoki: Back in November of 2017, Steve Aoki first collaborated with BTS, remixing their song “MIC Drop.” In 2018 the DJ continued his collaboration with the group, making original songs “The Truth Untold” and “Waste It On Me.”
Wendy (Red Velvet) & John Legend: In what was a big collaboration between an American star and a K-Pop star, Wendy from Red Velvet collaborated with John Legend for a ballad song called “Written In The Stars.” The duet is very pretty and showcased the two musicians’ talented voices.
K/DA ((G)I-DLE, Madison Beer & Jaira Burns): In what was an unexpected collaboration, K-Pop girl group (G)I-DLE found themselves teaming up with Madison Beer and Jaira Burns to make the group K/DA. The group was made by Riot Games to promote a line of skins in their video game League of Legends. What came of the collaboration was a single called “POP/STARS.” The song, unlike some nominations on the list, was performed on a big stage, that being the World Finals for League of Legends. The song found itself on LWOS.life’s top songs of 2018 list.
BLACKPINK & Dua Lipa: BLACKPINK were most known for their song “DDU-DU DDU-DU” in 2018, but also had a big collaboration with English pop artist Dua Lipa. On the soloists latest album Dua Lipa (Complete Edition), the talent from Britain and Korea came together to make the song “Kiss and Make Up.” The song has racked up 116 million Spotify streams and 73 million plays on Youtube.
Best International Promotion Award
This award goes to the group with the most outstanding promotion outside of Korea. The award takes into account how promoting tours or songs on a global scale is a big deal, but also takes into account how dominating a specific foreign market can be crucial for a group.
BTS: BTS’s worldwide success was a major factor in their success in 2018. Along with appearances at shows like the Billboard Music Awards, the group started their world tour. Selling out every show (except one), the group has traveled to nine countries in three continents.
TWICE: TWICE doesn’t go outside of Asia often. Their last performance in the US was in the summer at KCON, and that isn’t really a full show about them. What gives them this nomination is their success in their second market: Japan. This year the group put out three singles in Japan, with one of them coming with the full-length album BDZ. For some groups, that’s more music than they even put out in Korea.
Company of the Year
- Blockberry Creative
- JYP Entertainment
- Planetarium Records
- SM Entertainment
Blockberry Creative: Blockberry Creative and the way they promoted LOONA was very unique and smart. The very long build-up for the group, which took two years, was all worth it in the end. The idea of having each member of the group put out a solo and sub-unit release before debuting as a group of twelve was an interesting campaign. The amount of money that was put into the group and their music videos seemed very major league as well.
JYP: While having groups like GOT7, DAY6 and Stray Kids have many releases a year, the biggest focus for JYP Entertainment has been TWICE. The label has been able to manage TWICE in a way that made them consistently put out high quality and quantity of product.
Planetarium Records: Planetarium Records is the dark horse in this category. The very new label found a way to market their artists and themselves as a brand by releasing collaborative albums titled Planetarium Case. The first of two cases was one of my favorite albums of the year and would have been one of the next in line for the album of the year nomination. Planetarium doesn’t win the popularity contest but has a chance at winning this.
SM: When comparing SM Entertainment to the two other big three labels, you notice that they seem to have a different philosophy. Instead of having maybe four groups or brands to focus on, SM has closer to ten. They are constantly putting out high-quality music videos and releases for most of their talent.
Looking Ahead To The Awards
This wraps up the nominees for the minor awards of the LWOS.life K-Pop Award Show. There are a few other awards who didn’t have nominees but will be awarded when the show comes around. Some of those categories are TV Show of the Year, Concept of the Year and Fanbase of the Year. Keep a look out on the site in early 2019 for the winners announced.