Boy Groups / Rock / Rookies

2012 in Review: Male Rookie Reserves


You may be wondering why I’m calling these gentlemen “Rookie Reserves.”  These artists are rookies I feel were either good, great, or have massive potential, but weren’t nominated for a MAMA.  Those who were nominated were: BAP, EXO, Busker Busker, Ulala Session, and John Park. That’s why those five will not be on this list.  With over 80 (that’s right OVER 80) rookies debuting this year, these guys really stood out amongst the massive flood. Without further ado, here are my rookie reserves.




Members: Byungho (Rapper, Dancer), Dae Il (Maknae, Rapper, Dancer), Cory (Leader, Vocalist), Ki Su (Vocalist), Sung Ho (Vocalist), Seok June (Vocalist)

Label: CHOEUN Entertainment

Debut: September 6, 2012 with Hurry Up

Prior to debut as 24K, vocalists Cory, Ki Su, Sung Ho, and Seok June released the EP, Rocking Girl, as a subgroup (4K). They released MVs for “Rocking Girl,” “Bye Bye Bye,” and “Moonlight Sonata.”  24K is a combination of 2 dancing machines (Byungho and Dae Il), plus 4 main vocals (4K = for Kpop). The group promoted with “Hurry Up” by doing street performances (and uploading videos here). They released the follow up MV for “Secret Love” on November 4, 2012.




Members: Sanghun (Maknae, Vocalist), Hyukjin (Vocalist), Jonghwan (Vocalist), Minwoo (Leader, Vocalist), Chanyoung (Rapper), Rockhyun (Main Vocalist), Changbum (Rapper)

Label: T.O.P Media

Debut: September 18, 2012 with the single We, 100%

Prior to debut, member Rockhyun was a member of another boy group created by Andy Lee (CEO of T.O.P Media), Jumper. Member Minwoo was an actor and featured in a promotion with Andy Lee.  100% promoted “Bad Boy” for their debut.  The group released the MV for follow up track, “Still Again,” on October 24.  On October 26, the collaborative show, Teen Top and 100%: Rising Brothers,  with the group and labelmates, Teen Top, premiered. On December 7, 2012, 100% released the digital single, “Guy Like Me.”




Members: Sungmin (Main Vocalist), Yunyoung (Lead Vocalist), Hyo Jun (Vocalist, Main Dancer), Seungjin (Lead Rapper, Lead Dancer), Jaehyung (Vocalist, Visual), Hyeongkon (Leader, Main Rapper), Seungyub (Maknae, Vocalist)

Label: DSP Media

Debut: June 1, 2012 with the single “One 4 U”

Prior to debut, the group was called DSP Boyz. In May 2012, the group released a prologue track, “Never Let Go.” On July 11, 2012, A-JAX released “Hot Game,” a follow up single to “One 4 U.”  On November 5, the group released their first mini-album, 2MYX.  A-JAX has also already debuted in Japan.


baek seung heon

Baek Seung Heon

Label: C.TWO Entertainment

Debut: November 2, 2012 with The First Solo

He promoted with the track “Till The Sun Rises.”




Members: Sunghak (Vocalist, Rapper), Feeldog (Leader, Vocalist, Rapper), Raehwan (Vocalist), Baram (Vocalist, Rapper), Jude (Maknae, Vocalist)

Label: Brave Entertainment

Debut: July 12, 2012 with the mini-album BIGSTART

For their debut, Bigstar promoted the track “HOTBOY.” On October 4, the group released their first mini-album, Blossom.  The group first released the MV for introductory track, “Shut Up,” which was a commentary on all the negative comments they received.   On October 3, they subsequently revealed the MV for promotional track, “Think.”  BIGSTAR released “I Get a Feeling” on November 28, 2012.



Members: Peniel (Vocalist, Rapper), Minhyuk (Vocalist, Rapper), Eunkwang (Leader, Vocalist), Sungjae (Maknae, Vocalist, Rapper), Ilhoon (Vocalist, Rapper), Changsub (Vocalist), Hyunsik (Vocalist)

Label: Cube Entertainment

Debut: April 3, 2012 with the album Born to Beat

When they debuted, the group promoted the track “Insane.” On May 2, they released the MV for “Father” and on May 22, BtoB released the MV for “Irresistible Lips.” In between BtoB promotions, Eunkwang performed a duet with Yoo Sungeun.  On September 12, 2012, the group returned with their second mini-album, Press Play.  They promoted with the track “WOW, and on October 18, they promoted with the follow up track, “I Only Know Love (Lover Boy).”




Members: Kangjun (Vocalist), Maru (Maknae, Rapper, Vocalist), Rome (Leader, Rapper), Ray (Vocalist), Siwoo (Vocalist), T.K (Rapper)

Label: Yedang Entertainment

Debut: July 18, 2012 with the mini-album Not Alone

C-Clown means “Crown Clown.” The group promoted the track “Solo” upon debut.  On November 15, C-Clown released thier second mini-album, Young Love.  They revealed several MVs for the lead track “Far Away…Young Love” (also called “Because You Might Grow Distant”).




Members:  Dohwan (Maknae, Main Vocalist), Dongmin (Sub-Vocalist), Heejae (Vocalist), Hyunsun (Rapper), Park Taeyang (Leader, Vocalist)

Label: Winning InSight Entertainment

Debut:  January 5, 2012 with the single “She’s Coming”

The group name refers to their  goal to “throw the world into chaos with their music.”  On July 25, the group released their first mini-album, Racer, and promoted with the track by the same name. On September 20, 2012, ChAOS revealed the MV for the digital single, “Kiss Kiss.”



Cross Gene

Members: Casper (Rapper), Yongseok (Vocalist), Shin (Vocalist), Takuya (Vocalist), Sangmin (Rapper), J.G (Maknae, Main Vocalist)

Label: Universal Music Group International/Amuse Korea

Debut:  June 8, 2012 with the mini-album Timeless: Begins

CROSS GENE consists of three Korean members, two Chinese members, and one Japanese member.  Members Shin and Takuya are also actors. The group promoted with “La Di Da Di.” The group has also released ‘making MVs’ for “Sky High” and “For This Love.”



JJ Project

Members: JB and Jr.

Label: JYP Entertainment

Debut:  May 22, 2012 with the single Bounce

Prior to debut, the two were cast members of Dream High 2.  JJ Project promoted with the title track “Bounce.” In June, the duo released a cover of Yoo Seung Jun’s “NaNaNa.”




Members: Sam Carter (Leader,Vocalist, Guitarist), Teo (Piano, Bass, Percussion, Vocalist), Yun (Vocalist, Guitarist)

Label: Nega Network

Debut: September 6, 2012 with the album Super Hero

Their initial release was in all English and consisted of “Super Hero” and “You Got That Something I Need.”  LUNAFLY released their first Korean single, “How Nice It Would Be” on September 26, 2012. The group released the MV for “Super Hero,” which is the English version of “How Nice It Would Be,” on September 29. On December 4, 2012, LUNAFLY released their second digital single, “Clear Day, Cloudy Day.”  They subsequently released the MV for the English version, “Day by Day.”  The trio consistently uploads videos of their live performances here.




Members: Minhyun (Lead Vocalist, Dancer, Visual), Ren (Maknae, Sub-Vocalist, Dancer), JR (Leader, Main Rapper, Main Dancer), Baekho (Main Vocalist, Dancer), Aron (Lead Rapper, Lead Dancer, Sub-Vocalist)

Label: Pledis Entertainment

Debut:  March 14, 2012 with single, “FACE”

NU’EST stands for “New, Establish, Style, Tempo.” Prior to debut, the members were backup dancers in AS Blue’s “Wonder Boy” MV. JR appeared in the MV for Orange Caramel’s “Bangkok City” and Minhyun in “Shanghai Romance.” Baekho appeared in After School’s MV for “Play Ur Love.”  On July 11, 2012, NU’EST released the mini-album, Action.   On August 12, the group released the MV “I’m Not Over You” and in October, they released the MV for “Sandy.”



Roh Ji Hoon

Label: Cube Entertainment

Debut: November 7, 2012 with the EP The Next Big Thing

Prior to debut, Roh Ji Hoon was a participant on Birth of a Great Star, and joined Cube Entertainment in 2011. On November 6, 2012, he released the MV for his promotional track, “Punishment.” On December 22, Roh Ji Hoon released a “Live Version 1” MV for “Punishment.”



Tasty (Tasty 2wins)

Members: Soryong and Daeryong

Label: Woollim Entertainment

Debut: August 9, 2012 with the single Spectrum

Prior to debut, the twins were trainees and backup dancers at JYP Entertainment.  The duo were dubbed by Woollim as “Asia’s No.1 Performance Duo.” Tasty promoted with the track “You Know Me,” and released the MV on August 9.




Members: Kim Jung Woo (Guitar, Keyboards, Vocalist) and Kim Seulong (Drums, Vocalist)

Label: TnC Entertainment

Debut: October 11, 2012 with the mini-album First Bridge

Seulong was a drummer with the disbanded band, OK PUNK!.  Prior to debut, in 2011, Toxic won first place on the show TOP Band.  On Ocotber 12, 2012, the band released the MV for the track “Lonely.”  Toxic continually releases videos of their live performances here.




Members: Hyuk (Maknae, Dancer), N (Leader, Vocalist, Rapper), Ravi (Rapper, Dancer), Hongbin (Rapper, Vocalist), Ken (Main Vocalist), Leo (Main Vocalist)

Label: Jellyfish Entertainment

Debut: May 24, 2012 with the single Super Hero

Prior to debut, the members were part of the reality show, Mydol. They also featured in MVs for their labelmates: N, Leo, Ravi, and Hongbin in Brian Joo’s “Let This Die;” N, Leo, and Ravi in Seo In Guk’s “Shake It Up;” and Hongbin in Seo In Guk’s “Tease Me.”  The group released the MV for “Super Hero” on May 23. They released the single Rock Ur Body on August 14 and the MV for the title track on August 13. VIXX also releases videos for their own show, VIXX TV.



Real Name: Zyno Kim

Label: JFC Entertainment

Debut: October 6, 2012 with the mini-album Lunatic

Australian-born CRAZYNO debuted with utter craziness and lived up to his stage name.  His stage name is derived from his real name, Zyno, and also from “Crazy? No!”.  Prior to the release of his mini-album, CRAZYNO gained attention with rather odd teaser images. He released images of himself dressed as Marilyn Monroe and the Joker. On October 3, 2012, CRAZYNO unleashed the hilarious MV for his title track, “MUSICHE,”  which tells the story of how difficult it was for him to fit into Korea due to being from Australia.  Citing PSY as a role model and inspiration, CRAZYNO’s ‘crane dance’ in “MUSICHE” was just as randomly awesome as the horse dance.  The MV follows him spreading joy through crazy dancing and music, and features MMA fighter, Choi Hong Man.  CRAZYNO has also released videos of him interviewing himself (a must watch) and performing live on the streets.  Unofficially, although CRAZYNO also uses the title, his fans are called “Lunatics.” In December, he received the award for “Best New Solo Artist” from the Korean Culture and Arts Awards. After debuting a new hair color, CRAZYNO also shared photos of himself in the studio, where he is working on new music.



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