Wonder Girls

  • I. Introduction

    Wonder Girls (원더걸스, ワンダーガールズ) was a Korean pop girl group created by JYP Entertainment. They debuted in 2007 with rapper and sub vocalist Hyun A whom later left the group on July 20, 2007 citing illness. Yubin later took her place and the group became known for their songs "Tell Me", "So Hot", and "Nobody". In 2009 Wonder Girls announced their expansion in the United States and China, and the group was the opening act for the Jonas Brothers North American leg for their 2009 World Tour. However on January 22, 2009 it was announced that original member Sunmi would postpone her music career to pursue an academic career; Hye Rim replaced her. On November 26, 2012, JYP Entertainment announced that Sun Ye would be getting married on January 26, 2013 and members will focus on individual activities after the marriage for the time being. Due to Sun Ye's pregnancy, rumors have surfaced that she is leaving the group and Wonder Girls have broken up. In December 2013, So Hee left JYP Entertainment and will focus on acting. In June 2015, JYP confirmed the group would return after July as a four member group, Sunmi rejoining while Sun Ye would not participate. On July 20, JYP officially announced Sun Ye and So Hee's departure from the group. On January 26, 2017, JYP announced that Sunmi and Ye Eun didn't renew their contract with the agency and the group would be disbanding after a final single on February 10, the same day as the 10th anniversary since their debut.

    II. Career

    III. 2001-2007: Pre-Debut Search and Debut Era

    On July 1, 2001 Park Jin Young, the founder and CEO of JYP Entertainment, held an open audition called the Talent & Live Voice Project 99% Competition in order to find talented young females that would be trained for his planned idea to create his first girl group. Wonder Girls, a documentary program filmed and aired on MTV Korea, revealed the name of Park Jin Young's girl group as the Wonder Girls on May 22, 2006. The program introduced the four members of the Wonder Girls which were Sun Ye, So Hee, Hyun A, and Sunmi. Ye Eun was later recruited as the fifth member of the group and not long after her addition, Wonder Girls official debut was held at Show! Music Core where they performed their hip-hop song "Irony" on February 10, 2007.

    They held their first showcase at the “MTV Studio” on February 13, 2007. The group began their performance by performing a cover of "Don’t Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls, followed by "Irony" and "Mianhan Maeum ~tears~". Following their group performances, Wonder Girls showed off their individual talents with solo performances. Sun Ye sang “Stand Up for Love" by Destiny’s Child, Hyun A performed a solo dance, and Sunmi, Ye Eun, and So Hee sang a cover of Janet Jackson’s "Together Again". The showcase was broadcast live on MTV. Sequentially, their debut single "The Wonder Begins" was released and according to the South Korean music charts, the single sold 11,454 copies that year. After their debut, the Wonder Girls met a series of injuries. On June 25, 2007 So Hee tore a knee ligament due to falling off of a motorcycle while filming Tteugeoun Geosi Joha; she was precluded from group activities for one month. The four remaining members continued performing. Three performances Hyun A was missing and a clothing ad featuring Wonder Girls without her, on July 20, 2007 Hyun A announced her withdrawal from Wonder Girls due to Gastroenteritis and fainting spells.

    IIII. 2007-2008: Tell Me Syndrome And Two Massive Hits

    Yubin was appointed to be the replacement for Hyun A. She was to debut with another girl group under Good Entertainment; having received training for approximately two years. However, the company's financial situation worsened and the group's debut never came into fruition. Two teaser posters of So Hee were erected across Seoul to promote their debut album The Wonder Years.

    The concept for the album was described as "80's retro", and "Tell Me" was announced as the group's lead single. Their debut performance for "Tell Me" was at Music Bank on September 7, 2007. However, on September 14, 2007 Wonder Girls were involved in a car accident. Their van rear-ended a taxi on their way back from a performance at Dong-eui University, and the accident resulted in the death of the taxi driver and minor injuries to the group. Due to the tragic outcome and emotional trauma the group experienced, "Tell Me" promotional activity was temporarily suspended for two weeks. Wonder Girls continued "Tell Me" promotional activity on September 27, 2007 at Inkigayo. The choreography for the song was easy and widely mimicked with numerous videos of fan performances circulating the internet on South Korean video sharing sites such as Daum and YouTube. The popularity of the dance became known as "Tell Me Fever" or "Tell Me Syndrome", and earned Wonder Girls the title of "Korea's Little Sisters". "Tell Me" won the #1 "Mutizen" awards on Inkigayo three times, five times on Music Bank, and once on Music Core and M! Countdown. The song stayed at the top of various online music charts for 7 consecutive weeks, and the group won the 2007 Music Bank "Song of the Year" award, the "Anycall Popularity" and "Digital Bonsang" awards at the 2007 Golden Disk Awards, and "Best New Female Group" for "Irony" at the 2007 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Wonder Girls continued to promote their debut album using "Ebabo" as their second single; on December 6, 2007 the debut performance for “Ebabo” was at M! Countdown.

    Their second single "So Hot" was released June 3rd, 2008 and it was another hit for the group. In mid 2008, they performed on Music Core, performing "So Hot" and "This Time". Due to a vocal cord injury, Yubin temporarily lip-synched her parts under doctor's orders. After a very short break, they made a comeback with their first mini-album The Wonder Years - Trilogy. They performed the song "Nobody" the following weekend on Music Core, Music Bank and Inkigayo. The song quickly went to No. 1 on Music Bank, staying there for four consecutive weeks, and also won Cyworld's Song of the Month award in September and October 2008. Just like "Tell Me", "Nobody" also sparked a dance craze. At the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival Awards, the Wonder Girls received three awards: the "Song of the Year" award, "Best Music Video" for "Nobody" and "Best Female Group". They also won an award at the 2008 Golden Disk Awards a month later for high digital sales. At the 18th Seoul Music Awards, the Wonder Girls won the Daesang award ("Artist of the Year"), the highest award offered, for "Nobody", and two other awards. They were also selected as a top girl group by Virgin Media.

    IIIII. 2009 - 2010: U.S. Debut

    They started their first solo tour 1st Wonder Tour on February 28, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The tour was documented in the Mnet reality show Welcome to Wonder Land. After the end of the tour, they debuted a digital single for "Now", a cover of Fin.K.L's single of the same name. In June 2009, JYP Entertainment announced that the Wonder Girls would be joining the Jonas Brothers on the North American leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009. They also announced that "Nobody" would be the first English single, and that an English album would be next. To concentrate on their American debut, both So Hee and Sunmi had dropped out of high school. They released the digital single on June 26, 2009, the day before the start of their tour with the Jonas Brothers. The song eventually entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2009, making them the first Korean group to enter the chart.

    On January 22, 2010, it was announced that Sunmi would be postponing her musical career to pursue an academic career and that Hye Rim, a JYP trainee who was going to originally debut in miss A, would take her place. They have been preparing their first English album, initially scheduled for release in February 2010 but due to her departure it was put on hiatus. Park Jin Young commented that Sunmi is welcome to comeback with the Wonder Girls and form a 6 member group if she wishes to. In May 2010 they released an EP "2 Different Tears" in the U.S. and it was released as their third single in South Korea and first in China. The song was the first release with new member Hye Rim and became another hit in Korea as it reached #9 on the Gaon 2010 end of the year digital charts with 2,790,298 copies sold but sadly did not do well in the U.S.

    IIIV. 2011-2012: Wonder World and Japanese Debut

    On March 3rd 2011 they released a special album in China due to the success of the their two previous releases "Nobody" and "2 Different Tears" did there. The album Wonder Girls (Taiwan Special Edition) was released and did well on the charts. Leader Sun Ye said it was not clear if they would add their Mandarin songs to the album but Ye Eun said she was interested in it so they did. On June 30th, it was announced on that they had been invited to perform at the 2011 Special Olympics closing ceremonies in Athens, Greece. They performed the traditional Korean folk song "Arirang" along with "Nobody" sung in English and "Tell Me" sung in Korean. The performance was held on July 4th. In October a new poster, "R U Ready?", hanging over their company's building was revelved. JYP Entertainment announced that the Wonder Girls will release their first full length album titled Wonder World will be released on November 7th. The title track "Be My Baby" was released early November and became yet again another huge hit for the group. They performed a comeback stage on Music Bank on November 11th. In early 2012 JYP Entertainment announced the Wonder Girls will premiere a made-for-TV movie The Wonder Girls in the U.S.. On January 12th they released their second digital single "The DJ Is Mine" to promote the movie, where it reached No. 1 on several Korean charts. The movie premiered on TeenNick February 2nd. Ye-eun revealed that the girls would make a comeback in early June. The group released their second mini-album titled Wonder Party on June 3rd, 2012. The music video for the album's lead single, "Like This", was premiered on the same day. On June 12th, they won their first music show award for the song on MBC's Show Champion.

    On July 3rd, 2012, it was announced that they will release another digital single in the U.S. called "Like Money" and feature a famous American rapper in the song. A couple days later the artist was revealed as Akon. The digital single was released on the 10th. Another announcement in mid-June said the group would be making their debut in Japan and that their record label, DefStar Records, had expressed interest in the group's single "Nobody". The mini-album Nobody for Everybody was released July 25th, 2012 and reached #14 on the Oricon charts where it charted for 6 weeks. Towards the end of October, they had an interview with Nick Cannon and stated they will make a new show coming from their movie. In November, only four months after their mini-album was released in Japan, they released their first best album Wonder Best Korea / U.S.A / Japan 2007-2012 on November 14th consisting of their most popular songs released in Korea, The U.S., and Japan and the album reached #32 on the Oricon charts where it charted for 3 weeks.

    IIV. 2013 - 2014: Sunye's Marriage and Group Hiatus

    On November 27th, 2011 Sun Ye revealed that she would be marrying her long-term boyfriend on January 26th, 2013 worrying Wonderfuls that they might have to disband. J.Y. Park later commented that the group will be on hiatus for awhile and the members will start solo activities. Two months later on April 4th, 2013 it was announced that she is pregnant. Due to Sun Ye's pregnancy, rumors started surfacing again that she is leaving the group and Wonder Girls have broken up. Currently no information has came out if the rumors are true or false. The future of the group is uncertain for now. In December 2013, So Hee left JYP Entertainment and will focus on acting. SunYe will be doing missionary work in Haiti for 5 years. JYP Entertainment commented that "Although she's going to Haiti does not mean she's leaving the Wonder Girls. She will be there for five years but she can also come back to Korea for a short while. Sunye's Haiti trip does not mean the disbandment of the Wonder Girls."

    IIVI. 2015-2017: Group Comeback and SunYe's Departure, Disbandment

    On July 25, 2015, JYP officially confirmed the group would return after July as a 4 member group. Sunmi would rejoin the group while Sun Ye wouldn't participate. It was later confirmed on July 20, 2015 that Sun Ye had officially left the group.

    Rather than a dance group, the Wonder Girls returned as a four-member band with each member playing an instrument: Yubin (drums), Yeeun (keyboard), Hyerim (guitar), and Sunmi (bass). Their comeback featured a retro, 1980s sound resonant throughout the album, similar to some of their past releases. On August 2, "I Feel You", the lead single from album, was released. The group released the album, titled Reboot on August 3. The album was a commercial success, charting number five on Gaon Albums Chart and number two on Billboard World Albums. Each member participated in the composition and production of the album.

    On October 2, it was announced that the Wonder Girls would host an episode of Saturday Night Live Korea. They performed their hits "I Feel You", "Nobody", and "Tell Me". On December 27, they performed at SBS Gayo Daejeon, and on December 31 at 2015 MBC Gayo Daejejeon. Reboot was ranked No. 1 on The 10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2015 by Billboard, and also No. 18 on The 20 Best Albums of 2015 by FuseTV.

    In mid-2016, the group started promoting their upcoming single. On June 18, they released one of its B-sides, titled "To the Beautiful You". On July 5, the Wonder Girls released the song "Why So Lonely", with "To the Beautiful You" and "Sweet & Easy" serving as B-sides, as a CD and as a digital single. The single was commercially successful in South Korea—the digital download topped the Gaon Digital Chart. On July 12, the group performed the dance version of Why So Lonely for the first time on SBS MTV's The Show, winning the trophy for that week. This was their first win on a music program since the release of "Like This" in 2012. The group also performed the song at the launch ceremony for the South Korean Olympic team on July 19.

    On January 26, 2017, JYP Entertainment announced that Wonder Girls were disbanding, with only Yubin and Hyerim renewing their contracts while Yeeun and Sunmi decided to leave the company. The group released their final single "Draw Me" on February 10; it also serves as a celebration for their 10th anniversary since debut.

    III. Discography

    IIII. Korean Discography

    IIIII. Albums

    [2007.09.13] The Wonder Years

    [2011.11.07] Wonder World

    [2015.08.03] REBOOT

    IIIIII. Mini-Albums

    [2008.09.30] The Wonder Years - Trilogy

    [2012.06.03] Wonder Party

    IIIIIII. Singles

    [2007.02.13] The Wonder Begins

    [2008.06.03] So Hot

    [2010.05.16] 2 Different Tears

    [2016.07.05] Why So Lonely

    IIIIIV. Digital Singles

    [2007.04.27] Mianhan Maeum ~tears~ (미안한 마음; A Sorry Heart)

    [2007.11.26] Joyo Joyo (쪼요쪼요)

    [2008.02.21] Army Song

    [2008.10.14] Food Song

    [2008.11.18] Anybody

    [2009.04.04] Now

    [2009.06.29] Nobody (Eng ver.)

    [2011.12.03] K-Food Party

    [2017.02.10] Geuryeojwo (그려줘)

    IIIIV. Collaborations

    [2007.08.17] 8eight - The First (#9 Between (Feat. Wonder Girls & Pdogg))

    [2010.12.01] JYP Nation - This Christmas

    IIIII. US Discography

    IIIIII. Extended Plays

    [2009.10.11] Nobody (Sing-Along Version) - EP


    [2009.10.11] "Nobody" - the Remix Edition

    [2010.05.15] 2 Different Tears

    IIIIIII. Digital Singles

    [2009.06.26] Nobody

    [2009.10.30] Nobody - the Remix Edition

    [2012.01.12] The DJ Is Mine

    [2012.07.09] Like Money

    IIIIIIII. Compilations / Other

    [2012.10.16] A Very Special Christmas: 25 Years Bringing Joy to the World (#8 - "Best Christmas Ever")

    IIIIII. Chinese Discography

    IIIIIII. Albums

    [2011.03.15] Wonder Girls (Taiwan Special Edition)

    IIIIIIII. Single

    [2010.05.16] 2 Different Tears

    [2015.10.23] I Feel You

    IIIIV. Japanese Discography

    IIIIVI. Mini-Albums

    [2012.07.25] Nobody for Everybody

    IIIIVII. Best Albums

    [2012.11.14] Wonder Best Korea / U.S.A / Japan 2007-2012

    IV. Filmography

    IVI. Movies

    [2010.12.29] The Last Godfather (Cameo)

    [2012.02.02] The Wonder Girls (USA)

    IVII. Television

    [2006.12.22 - 2007.02.23] MTV Wonder Girls Season 1

    [2007.04.09 - 2007.06.04] MTV Wonder Girls Season 2

    [2008.03.07 - 2007.03.28] MTV Wonder Girls Season 3

    [2008.11.05 - 2008.12.24] Wonder Bakery

    [2009.03.06 - 2009.04.10] Welcome to Wonder Land

    [2010.07.29 - 2010.08.28] MTV Wonder Girls Season 4

    [2010.07.30 - 2010.10.01] Made in Wonder Girls

    IVIII. Commercials/Endorsements

    [2007] 1677

    [2007] Crown Haim

    [2007] Baskin Robbins

    [2007] TBJ

    [2008] TBJ (with 2AM)

    [2008] Red Pen

    [2008] Pizza Bingo

    [2008] TAAN

    [2008] Keroro Fighter

    [2008] IVYclub

    [2008] Free Style

    [2008 - 2009] LG KTF Ever

    [2008 - 2009] Vita 500

    [2008] EVER Slim Panda phone

    [2008 - 2009] Crown Bakery

    [2008] MBC 1833

    [2008 - 2010] peripera Wonder Line

    [2009] BBQ Chicken

    [2009] Cafe Mori

    [2009] EVER Audition

    [2010 - 2011] WG by Wonder Girls

    [2010] Sony Ericsson

    [2010] Kia Forte

    [2010] Love in Seoul City

    [2010] EXR Loves Pucca

    [2011] Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation

    [2012] MarshPuff

    [2012] Monster/JYP Diamond Tears