Just days before the finale of Girls Planet 999, Mnet has announced the current ranking, and one contestant rose 10 places to no.1 in the ranking: Kim Chaehyun. Here’s everything you need to know about her.
Kim Chaehyun was born on April 26, 2002, in Yeonje district, Busan. There, she grew up with her parents for most of her childhood.
As a youngster, Chaehyun earned the nickname “Dwaeto”—a combination of “dwaeji” (the Korean word for pig) and “tokki” (meaning rabbit). Judging by the picture she drew of her nickname, it seems the moniker came from her bunny-like visuals and her love for delicious food.
Up until her first year of Yeonje Middle School, it seems that Chaehyun lived a relatively normal life. However, that all changed at the age of around 13 years old—the year she became a K-Pop trainee.
After dropping out of middle school, Chaehyun began training under SM Entertainment. Given that the agency is known for producing artists with great vocals, it’s no surprise they were quick to snap up talented young Chaehyun.
SM Entertainment is also known for casting idols with similar looks, and many fans have noted Chaehyun’s close resemblance to Red Velvet‘s Wendy and Irene as well as Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon.
Joining the company shortly after Red Velvet’s debut, Chaehyun honed her skills in singing and dancing alongside almost all of the trainees who went on to become members of aespa: Ningning, Karina, and Winter.
However, for reasons unknown, Chaehyun left SM Entertainment sometime last year after a staggering five to six years of training. Thankfully, that didn’t mean her journey was over yet. Chaehyun soon joined CJ ENM subsidiary WAKEONE, previously known as MMO Entertainment.
The label, which recently merged with Stone Music Entertainment and Off The Record Entertainment (co-managers of IZ*ONE), is also home to TO1, Davichi, and former IZ*ONE member-turned-soloist Jo Yuri.
And, in July this year, Chaehyun was officially confirmed as a participant on Girls Planet 999. Within a week of her introduction video dropping on YouTube, Kim Chaehyun was the fifth-most viewed Korean contestant, with numerous viewers praising her vocal skills.
Interestingly, for her first stage on the show, she went on to perform a cover of aespa’s debut song, “Black Mamba” alongside fellow former-SM Entertainment trainee An Jeongmin. There, Chaehyun revealed to the judges that she felt “a fire” inside her upon seeing her friends debut in aespa.
I want to prove the years weren’t wasted.
— Kim Chaehyun
At first, Chaehyun got off to a mid-tier start on Girls Planet 999. In her Signal Song Evaluation, she was ranked 23rd out of the 33 K-Group contestants. However, by the first elimination round, she’d already made it to the Top 9 ranking overall—in part thanks to her singing skills in her team’s Connect Mission cover of TWICE‘s “YES or YES.”
For the Combination Mission, Chaehyun’s team sang “My Sea” by IU. Though they didn’t win the challenge, viewers still couldn’t get enough of Chaehyun’s talents. She kept her ranking of 9th place, and her fancams for the performance racked up over half a million views combined.
Most recently, following the Creation Mission, Chaehyun’s rank slipped to 11th place in the semi-finals. However, she was soon about to make a dramatic rise.
When the interim results were released just days before the finale this week, it was revealed that Kim Chaehyun is currently the no.1-ranked Girls Planet 999 contestant overall—a rise of 10 places on the scoreboard!
Describing herself as someone with the “looks of a rabbit and charisma of a white tiger,” Chaehyun has numerous hobbies, including photography, gaming, watching YouTube videos, and playing the guitar. Alongside singing, she considers her specialties to be DIY and speaking Japanese.
Over the course of the show, Chaehyun has drawn in numerous fans from around the world. And, with her current ranking, there’s a very strong chance she could make it into the final lineup. If she does, she’s sure to be part of the vocal line, and many viewers believe she’d be a great asset to the upcoming girl group.
The Girls Planet 999 finale with air on Friday, October 22, via Mnet’s YouTube channel and the iQIYI app. Missed the rest of the interim ranking? Take a look at the shock ranking reversal here.