I contemplated updating after the ranking auditions, but there were too many names and faces that I couldn't keep up with. I decided to keep up from the Casting auditions, because that's where we get to be more familiar with the contestants and actually see who are the core of this competition.
Group 1: The Contract Couple Kim TaeYeon & Park JongBin
This was the first "couple" group that was put together as competition for the real couple group coming up next. Because they weren't a real couple but were expected to perform like one, they tried very hard (as seen in the BTS in the clip) to find the chemistry they needed. Kim TaeYeon was noted for her pretty voice during the ranking auditions, and sure enough was casted by JYP for her skills. Park JongBin however was the Sung ShiKyung look and sound-a-like, and for that reason despite everyone's efforts he was not casted.
Group 2: Bo-ddo Kim DoYeon & Choi YongSu
This was the real couple that made it through the auditions to reach this point together. However, this was the point where their performance couldn't hold up to their relationship; Kim DoYeon was praised her for her ability to make Mariah Carey's part her own, but Choi YongSu was criticized for trying too hard to sound like Boyz II Men. She was casted to JYP and he was dropped. JYP mentioned that it may have been something like where "Korean guys really try hard to impress their girls, and this may have been a case of that. He was trying too hard to sound like the original singers of the song..." which I found to be a very unnecessary comment, but they showed a very disappointed moment after the casting.
Group 3: Funky Ladies Nam DaWon & Jeon MinJu & Nicole Curry & Kim DaSole
The moment before their performance was to show how the girls got along through body language despite Nicole Curry not being able to speak that much Korean. Nam DaWon (straight bangs) was casted to JYP for her voice. Jeon MinJu (stripes), who was a favourite during the ranking auditions and was noted for her very developed abilities to both sing and dance well at the same time was casted to SM. Nicole Curry (obvious) was again called out for her amateur singing and dancing, but YG liked her outgoing personality and ability to express herself so she was casted there. Kim DaSole (side pony tail, the one who answered the question in the beginning) was not casted, due to her lack of presence so judges weren't really able to remember her from the previous rounds.
Group 4: Pig Babies Song HaYe & Park SoYeon & Lee Mirim
Worst group name ever. But they named themselves that to express how they were all in the process of losing weight, as previously advised by the judges previously. Park SoYeon (black fur) explained that she wasn't really losing weight, but she was born really big (so an actual "pig baby") at 4kg. Song HaYe (grey fur) was praised for finally starting to find her own voice (previously scolded for trying to sing like the original artist of the songs she picked). She was also praised for her apparent ability to work as a team member of a girl group, as opposed to Lee Mirim (white fur) who was noted for her lack of ability to do so. All three of them were casted to SM by BoA using her priority card.
Group 5: Akachu Akdong Musicians (Lee SooYeon, Lee ChanHyuk) & Bang YeDam
Contrary to what the judges thought Akachu meant (BoA guessed Acapella + Pikachu), it is the Korean short form of "Akdong Musicians plus one". They were praised to be the child prodigy/geniuses that they were assumed to be since the very beginning of the competition and the judges were immensely satisfied with the pairing. The Akdong Musicians were casted to YG for their unique character and ability to write clever songs and Bang YeDam was casted to JYP for his vocal abilities and exploding potential. Let me just take the moment to clarify here that Bang YeDam is indeed a boy. I didn't see it the first time.
Group 6: Racoon Boys Kim MinSuk & McKay Kim & Brian Shin
These three were praised as the male SuPearls, the hit girl group wonder from the first season of the show. With their harmony, ability to remake Thriller into their own masterpiece, and MinSuk's rhymes, the judges fell in love. JYP used his priority card to cast all of them. They were able to pick the perfect track and use it to their advantage; McKay and Brian were raised in the States and English is their preferred language, and MinSuk's talent with his rhymes were not wasted in his lyrics that went well with the theme of the song. Brian mentioned in the pre-performance interview clip that they were doubtful of the song choice until MinSuk gave them some sample lyrics when they first started to work together.
And a Kpop Star extra:
The top three contestants of the first season of Kpop Star, who are all contracted and have since debuted with their own tracks, performed at the annual year-end SBS Gayo Daejun. Lee Hi seemed the most prepared for this...