Welcome To I-Land: A Quick Overview of Part 1

I-Land will be making its return August 14th with the start of Part 2, the last stretch until we see the final lineup for a new Big Hit boy group.

Part 1 of this show has been a roller coaster of emotions. It’ll make you hopeful, it’ll make you cry, and it’ll make you frustrated. However, the fun of these survival shows is to watch each contestant grow to their possible potential and work hard for their dreams to debut.

While Part 2 begins in a couple days, watchers might need a reminder what may have happened through the first 6 episodes.

NOTE: If you haven’t watched Part 1 of I-Land and are planning to watch it, then stop here as the rest of the article will be one big spoiler.

Spoilers ahead!

First things first, I-Land is a survival reality show made by Belift Lab, a collaboration between Big Hit Entertainment and CJ E&M. Alongside Big Hit’s CEO, Bang Si Hyuk, the idol veteran Rain and trendy K-hip hop rapper Zico joined together as producers to judge and be mentors to 23 participants. Actor Namgoong Min also took the role as host for the show.

I-Land’s concept is far more intense and mentally draining than you would expect from a survival reality.

The 23 trainees arrived at a futuristic building (specifically made for this show) in the middle of no-where. The building will be where the show will mainly be filmed in. It is a complex that’s meant to give the boys the best space for practice. It is complete with sleeping quarters, practice rooms, recording studios, kitchen, and much more. However, this amazing space is only for the 12 boys that have placed themselves in I-Land.

In comparison, the other 11 boys are placed in the “Ground.” The Ground is meant for those who need to work harder to gain their place for the debut line. For the participants that are stuck at the Ground have no chances of debuting. The building for the Grounders is a simple space that only has a practice room and dining area. The Grounders have to commute every day.

Who gets to stay in I-Land depends on the producers and the trainees’ votes. This has been a thing from the very first episode, which I thought was brutally harsh on the young boys.


The first episode introduces all 23 participants; K, Heeseung, Hanbin, Se On, Geon U, Jae Ho, Jae Beom, Ji Min, Young Bin, Jay, Nicholas, EJ, Jake, Sung Hoon, Sun Oo, Sung Chul, Jung Won, Tae Yong, Kyung Min, Yoon Won, Taki, Niki, and Daniel. The boys either formed groups or went solo to perform covers of senior artists, such as ZICO, EXO, Monsta X, NCT U, and more as their entry test.

From those first performances, the boys then get to vote by raising their hands if they deserve to go up into I-Land. If an individual gets 12 or more votes, they’re able to go to I-Land. I remember watching this unfold and thinking how difficult it must be to be in their position as they all share the same dream of debuting.

For the entry test, a total of 16 trainees have gotten enough votes to move up. However, EJ, Sung Chul, Taki, and Sun Oo joined Hanbin, Jae Beom, Ji Min, Kyung Min, Jae Ho, Yoon Won, and Tae Yong in Ground after being voted out.

As the boys figured out their first set of I-Landers and Grounders, they get straight into their first official mission, which is to perform their show’s theme song, Into The I-Land. The I-Landers need to work together to create an amazing performance while the Grounders need to record their individual performance of Into the I-Land daily to be reviewed by the producers to get the chance to be moved up into I-Land.

The way possible eliminations work for this mission is that the trainees are graded by their own performance, and with the average of all the grades together will decipher how many of them will be eliminated.

From the chart, the boys have to get high scores to have no one be eliminated from the current group.

From this Theme Song mission, Heeseung had taken the role a leader and was offered the center for the song. However, the center part was then given to Niki after much thought and discussion.

In the end, the boys got a whopping average score of 59, leading them to vote out 6 of them. Niki, Jake, Jay, Nicholas, Daniel, and Youngbin were the six voted out.

After the evaluating the Grounders’ videos, EJ, Taki, Sun Oo, Tae Yong, Yoon Won, and Jae Beom have been chosen to move to I-Land.


In the middle of Episode 3, the boys get their second mission. For this mission, they all have to focus on teamwork while performing BTS’s Fire. It will use the same scoring system, with the additional bonus of the highest graded individual will be able to get a dropout exemption card. He could use it either on himself or someone else that are chosen to be eliminated from I-Land.

I-Lander’s performance

Grounder’s performance

I-Landers have proven themselves to work together better as they received a better score with an average of 78, although still having to vote out four.

From the elimination, Jung Won, Sun Oo, Tae Yong, and Yoon Won were chosen to move out. K then used his card to save Jung Won from elimination since he thought he was a crucial part of the team. Thus lead Taki being the one to join the Grounders next as he was next in line for being voted out.

Jay, Jake, and Youngbin got to return back to I-Land with the addition to Kyungmin joining in for the first time.


The third mission relies on picking representatives for a vocal and dance performance and the I-Landers and Grounders will go on a head to head competition. Different from before, if the Grounders get the higher score than I-Landers, then 6 will be moved up to replace 6 of the I-Landers. If I-Landers get the higher score, then no one will be eliminated.

This mission itself showed the boys’ sacrifice and passion for performing. It was crucial to figure who would be best at performing so to get the better performances.

For I-Land, Hee Seung and Geon U took on the vocal performance and K, Jung Won, and Sung Hoon for dance.

Hee Seung & Geon U performing BTS’s Butterfly

K, Jung Won, and Sung Hoon performing Rain’s Rainism, Dynamic Duo’s 3 Dope Boyz, G-Dragon’s One of a Kind

For Grounders, Daniel and Sun Oo took vocal while Niki, Nicholas, and Jae Ho for dance.

Daniel and Sun Oo performing BTS’s Save Me

Niki, Nicholas, and Jae Ho performing HOT’s Warrior Descendent, X-Teen’s Reversal, and G-Dragon’s One of a Kind

In conclusion of this mission, I-Landers were able to win with the higher points and so no one was eliminated from the group.


With the fourth and final mission, this will be what will decide the final 12 members. The boys are given an original new song to perform for the mission, I&credible. With 7 days to prepare for the big performance, the boys get right into practicing the song.

There is an important difference to this round. After I-Landers perform, the boys will vote out three of their own and the producers vote another three to be eliminated from I-Land. From that point, the remaining 6 in I-Land have safely made it into the final 12 to continue on to Part 2. The 6 that stayed are K, Hee Seung, Sung Hoon, Jay, Jake, and Jung Won.

I-Lander’s performance

The Grounders and the newly-eliminated I-Landers then have to perform I&credible altogether three days later, after redistributing parts and preparing. Their fate will be up to global fans, as they now have the chance to vote who they want to keep on I-Land. Whoever are eliminated at this point are eliminated for good.

Trainee Yeon Woo have unfortunately dropped out due to an injury, so there are 16 trainees left to fight for the last 6 spaces in I-Land.

Grounder’s Performance


And thus, ends Part 1 of I-Land. Fans will be able to see who made it into the Final 12 in the upcoming episode on Friday.

From the get-go, the survival show have garnered a lot of attention and for good reason. Not only do we get mentors Rain and Zico and host Namgoong Min, the trainees are all so hardworking and admirable that you have to support each and every one of them! My heart won’t be ready to see the 6 Grounders that will make it into the Final 12. I’m sure the show will bring on more tear-jerker moments before we say goodbye to the rest.

Now that we have a refresher of Part 1, we’re pretty much ready for Part 2, right? (The answer is no, are we ever going to be ready?)

What are your top picks for I-Land? And are you excited for Part 2?