Thanks to the hard work of groups ranging from Wonder Girls to BTS and beyond, K-pop has spread far and wide across the world, and its influence and popularity is only continuing to grow daily. Now, there are many people with dreams of breaking into the K-pop industry despite not living in South Korea or being ethnically Korean. JYP Entertainment founder J.Y. Park is keenly aware of that, and so JYP and Republic Records teamed up for the reality show series A2K (“America2Korea”), in which North Americans were given the opportunity to perform for J.Y. Park and prove that they have what it takes to train in the Korean JYP training system. J.Y. Park explained that the show is about “finding American talent to create a girl group through a K-pop system,” so this show very well could be creating tomorrow’s stars! Here, we have provided a full episode summary and results for all episodes of A2K, which includes episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22. At bottom, we also have the final A2K team members lineup revealed in the finale, episode 22, for the group named VCHA.
The 11 contestants featured on A2K were Camila Ribeaux Valdes, Kendall Ebeling, Lexus Vang, Melissa Kadas, Cristina Lopez Sandiford, Savanna Collins, Kaylee Lee, KG Crown, Mischa Salkin, Yuna Gonzalez, and Gina De Bosschere. Their ages referenced below are in relation to how old they were when the show filmed in 2022.
A2K Episode Summary and Results for 11 Contestants
Episode 1: Dallas and Chicago Auditions
A2K Episode 1 – “The Start of A2K,” aired July 13, 2023: To begin the series, J.Y. Park would conduct auditions in five major US cities: Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, and Los Angeles, with the chosen finalists then traveling to Los Angeles for six days of challenging boot camp missions as their final test. Auditions were conducted in an American Idol-like format, where the most talented contestants would individually perform for J.Y. Park in an enclosed space, demonstrating singing skills and (from a given selection of JYP Entertainment songs) dance skills. However, unlike American Idol, A2K would primarily only give screen time to the contestants who would actually become finalists, making it a more positive and focused experience. And J.Y. Park reiterated that he was looking for people with potential who could flourish with JYP training rather than people who were already perfect performers.
A2K episode 1 showcased auditions in Dallas and Chicago. In Dallas, the first successful audition was from 17-year-old Camila Ribeaux Valdes from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who is studying nursing at John Abbott College. Camila had previously been on La Voix Junior (“The Voice Kids”) in Canada in 2016, and she is ethnically Cuban and speaks Spanish. She sang “Easy on Me” by Adele, and J.Y. Park praised her singing ability but instructed her to sing a full voice for high notes as opposed to fleeing into using falsetto. Nevertheless, she was chosen to continue on.
The second successful audition from Dallas was from 16-year-old Kendall Ebeling from Fort Worth, Texas, who had previously studied at a dance academy in South Korea. Kendall danced “Dalla Dalla” by Itzy, and J.Y. Park actually thought her dancing was “very messy” and that she was “so lacking in skill.” However, as far as her character and expressions, she was the “closest to a K-pop artist” that he had seen, which is something that cannot necessarily be taught. As such, Kendall was selected to continue.
Moving on to Chicago, the first successful audition came from 16-year-old Lexus Vang from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is notably ethnically Hmong and trained as a ballerina for 12 years. Despite no previous experience in singing, she sang “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez. J.Y. Park said she had a good sense of pitch and rhythm but needed to loosen up her body. Then Lexus danced “Dalla Dalla,” and he praised her total body control and clean lines, later saying that she was “so powerful.” (Personally, we agree! Her movements looked razor-sharp.)
That concludes this summary and results for A2K episode 1.
Episode 2: Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City Auditions
A2K Episode 2 – “Show Your Talent,” aired July 17, 2023: Continuing in Chicago, 17-year-old Melissa Kadas from Brampton, Ontario, Canada had a successful audition. She had previous experience in singer-songwriting and acted in the musical comedy, Take Note. She sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. J.Y. Park praised that her singing sounded like her voice but that her singing was otherwise “not great.” He instructed her to conserve her air to hit notes better. Ultimately, he explained that he liked “her personality” more than “her skills” at the moment, which is what compelled him to select her.
Moving on to Atlanta, 17-year-old Cristina Lopez Sandiford from Atlanta, Georgia had the only successful audition seen in that city. She had been singing and dancing for most of her life, and she said she even has her own dance studio of 20-30 people. She sang “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez, and J.Y. Park praised that she sang in a way that sounded like her speaking voice. Then she performed “Dalla Dalla” for dance, which he described as “very amateur” and that her body was “stiff,” not allowing for large enough limb movements. Still, he felt Cristina’s passion, authenticity, and a talent that could be nurtured, so she was accepted.
Continuing to New York City, the first successful audition came from 16-year-old Savanna Collins from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She had done competitive gymnastics for seven years before stopping for an elbow injury, and then she became more interested in dance and K-pop. She danced to “Dalla Dalla,” and J.Y. Park observed that the parts she did well looked great and the parts she did poorly looked quite bad. He thought that she looked “less prepared” than other contestants. Then Savanna rapped, and J.Y. Park praised her rhythm and that she rapped using her own voice. Ultimately, he felt he had to select her for the next round because of her “bright energy.”
The next successful audition came from 12-year-old Kaylee Lee from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who is also fluent in Korean. She sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, and J.Y. Park observed that she already knew how to sing without lifting her chest, to such an extent that she had the best breathing of any contestant he had seen. Then she danced to “Dalla Dalla,” which she had only learned a few days prior. Despite her unimpressive performance, J.Y. Park felt with practice she would be a “great” dancer with her long limbs. Beyond that, he appreciated her passion and intelligence, so she was selected to move on.
That concludes this summary and results for A2K episode 2. (Have you noticed all the “Dalla Dalla”?)
Episode 3: A2K Los Angeles Audition Results
A2K Episode 3 “The Final Contestants,” aired July 20, 2023: In the final city of Los Angeles, 15-year-old KG Crown from Los Angeles, California had the first successful audition. She had made a band with her brothers when she was 7 years old, and she had more recently began performing solo music, which she co-wrote. She played guitar while singing “Issues” by Julia Michaels, and J.Y. Park said she had “such a strong voice” and “perfect” pitch. However, her speaking and singing voices were different, and he felt her voice would be stronger if she sang like she spoke.
The next successful audition came from 13-year-old Mischa Salkin from Florida, who sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. J.Y. Park praised her breathing and how she sang with her own voice (clearly a comment he gave often to successful contestants), and her mid-range and lower notes were “so solid and stable.” However, he told her to be careful with her theatrical expressions. Still, he felt she had the potential to be a “star.”
Afterward, 17-year-old Yuna Gonzalez from California had the next successful audition. She led a K-pop dance group at her school and even created her team’s jackets for a competition. She performed “Dalla Dalla” for her dance, but she only had one day of practice because she had initially thought she did not meet the age requirement to participate in A2K. However, considering the small window in which she had practiced, J.Y. Park thought she was “amazing,” and despite her dancing being inaccurate, she was still like “magic” to watch.
The final successful audition in Los Angeles came from 13-year-old Gina De Bosschere, who had actually already been a trainee at JYP Entertainment for eight months, after being noticed by the company for her dance videos and music she had uploaded online. (She had incidentally already met J.Y. Park in an elevator once — though he didn’t remember — in addition to having met JYP idols Twice, Stray Kids, and Itzy.) She sang “Easy on Me” by Adele, and J.Y. Park praised her “power” and “great sense of pitch.” Then she danced to “Dalla Dalla” by Itzy, and he praised how “every movement was fast, powerful, accurate,” and she understood how to move her body to make larger movements.
The auditions were complete at last, and that marks the end of this summary and results for A2K episode 3. (And yes, every dance performance shown across all three audition episodes was for “Dalla Dalla.”)
Episode 4: A2K Contestants Begin LA Boot Camp Dancing
A2K Episode 4 – “The LA Boot Camp Begins,” aired July 24, 2023: One month after the regional auditions, the 11 chosen contestants — Camila Ribeaux Valdes, Kendall Ebeling, Lexus Vang, Melissa Kadas, Cristina Lopez Sandiford, Savanna Collins, Kaylee Lee, KG Crown, Mischa Salkin, Yuna Gonzalez, Gina De Bosschere — united in Los Angeles for the A2K LA Boot Camp.
All contestants who passed the regional auditions had received an A2K necklace with four empty slots in it, which would now have to be filled with four different stones that contestants would earn for demonstrating different competencies. To join the JYP training system, contestants would need to earn all four of these stones. The four stones represented competencies in (1) dancing, (2) vocals, (3) star quality, and (4) character. Stones for dancing, vocals, and star quality could be earned directly through the boot camp missions, but character would be decided separately according to feedback collected from A2K trainers and staff.
Except for the character stone, there were three ways a stone could be earned: (1) J.Y. Park could immediately reward a stone to a contestant for a strong performance, (2) Park and staff could meet later to evaluate contestants and decide if someone else deserved a stone, and (3) All four stones could potentially be earned during the final mission if sufficient improvement was demonstrated. The number of contestants who could travel to Korea after victory in A2K was not fixed, meaning the contestants were not in competition with each other and were encouraged to support each other.
A2K LA Boot Camp began in episode 4 with the dance evaluation, and Savanna went first. Incorporating her feedback received last time, she performed “O.O” by NMIXX, which involved challenging legwork. J.Y. Park said she could put Savanna “on stage with NMIXX right now” based on the fast and powerful yet relaxed movements she had demonstrated. Her body control was also “amazing.” Savanna earned the dance stone.
Next, Camila performed “Icy” by Itzy, also with a mind for previous feedback she had received. J.Y. Park praised her ability to accent the right dance moves and that she had improved in all the areas she had been lacking. Camila earned the dance stone.
Finally, Lexus performed “God’s Menu” by Stray Kids because it was “masculine and hard-hitting,” to show a different side of herself. J.Y. Park praised that she had found “swag” and “spice” that had been missing before, and the “dynamic was crazy.” It was an “amazing improvement,” and Lexus earned the dance stone.
That’s the end of the summary and results for A2K episode 4!
Episode 5: The Dance Evaluation Continues
A2K Episode 5 “Dance Evaluation Continues,” aired July 27, 2023: Kendall performed next, and like everyone else, she took her previous feedback seriously in her preparation for this performance. Kendall danced to “Pop!” by Nayeon of Twice, and J.Y. Park called her “unbelievable” for improving so much in a short period. He felt if she could improve her muscle strength that she could become a “top-of-the-top elite-level dancer,” because she delivers emotion in her expressions that can’t be taught. Kendall earned the dance stone.
Next, Mischa performed “Icy” by Itzy. She had primarily been a convention and contemporary dancer to this point, so she trained hard to become a more natural pop dancer. J.Y. Park could see how hard she had practiced, but he noted that she had spent the entire performance looking past him instead of at him. He also believed she was too focused on controlling her body, which caused her movements to “shrink.” If she could learn to relax and give herself “more room to have fun,” she could be successful. Mischa did not earn the dance stone.
After that, Melissa performed “Like This” by Wonder Girls. J.Y. Park loved her “energy” and her “vibe,” but her dancing lacked necessary “precision.” He instructed her to just keep practicing until the movements became stored as muscle memory, so that she would not have to think about the moves. Melissa did not earn the dance stone.
KG was the next to perform. It was revealed that, during the regional auditions, J.Y. Park had told her that her dance skills were “probably on the lowest level among contestants,” so she practiced intensely to improve. For the boot camp, she danced to “Fever” by J.Y. Park, and although Park described the performance as “the worst among all contestants today,” he also described it as the “most impressive” because of how tremendously she had improved since the regionals. For demonstrating drive and a strong ability to improve, KG earned the dance stone. (He emphasized that she needed to keep working on “precision” though!)
Lastly, it was Cristina’s turn, and it seemed she had taken her feedback to heart even more than everyone else because she had actually gone to South Korea to take private dance lessons for preparation. This improved her flexibility, and she chose to dance to “Sneakers” by Itzy, with its strong leg movements, to demonstrate her new fluidity. J.Y. Park took note of this, praising her dramatic improvement, so Cristina earned the dance stone.
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 5!
Episode 6: JYP Ranks the Dancing from Worst to Best
A2K Episode 6 “Show Your Passion,” aired July 31, 2023: Kaylee had practiced on her own to improve her dancing, and she performed “What Is Love?” by Twice. J.Y. Park felt she could be stronger and faster, but he was impressed by how incredibly relaxed she was, with the ability to convey emotion throughout the performance. Kaylee earned the dance stone.
Next, Gina said she had been a trainee at JYP for 11 months at the point of this episode’s filming. She performed “Sneakers” by Itzy. It was technically excellent, but J.Y. Park said he did not feel the performance was “alive” enough, which is a critique he said he would only give to an “elite-level” dancer like her. Nonetheless, he also called the performance “almost perfect” and “flawless,” so Gina earned the dance stone.
After that, Yuna performed “Good-bye Baby” by miss A. J.Y. Park said that she had “so much talent in dancing” with clear lines, speed, and power. However, he was surprised that her dancing was ahead of the music, which was a mistake she did not recognize. Yuna did not earn the dance stone.
Afterward, J.Y. Park revealed he and the staff would rank all of the performances of those who earned the dance stone, ostensibly as another form of motivation for the contestants. He said there had been debate among the staff about how to order the top three because their skills were all of a similar level. (He even joked that he could not say why Lexus was third and not higher.) The rankings were as follows:
When filming was complete for the day, the contestants consoled especially Yuna and Mischa for not earning the dance stone. The next day would bring the vocal evaluation, but in the interim, that concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 6.
Episode 7: Vocal Evaluation Starts
A2K Episode 7 “Vocal Evaluation Starts,” aired August 3, 2023: True to its title, this episode immediately began with the vocal evaluation, starting with KG, who had practiced singing in a normal voice as advised by J.Y. Park at the regionals. She sang “Easy on Me” by Adele, and J.Y. Park said it was “great.” There was a bit of twang left in her voice that he still wanted her to discard, but he was otherwise very “touched” and “moved.” KG earned the vocal stone.
Next, Kendall sang “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, and J.Y. Park felt that, as a result of a lack of confidence, her pitch was a little unstable and that she did not know how to maintain a note. However, he felt she expressed her emotions so well that Kendall earned the vocal stone anyway. Then she cried.
After that, Kaylee sang “Hello” by Adelle. She thought she was more confident in singing than dancing. However, J.Y. Park felt he could barely feel any of her emotions, and she was singing ahead of the beat the entire time and with stiff body language. Kaylee instantly cried rather hysterically at this feedback, upset with herself. J.Y. Park then reminded her that he isn’t seeking perfection and encouraged her to do better during the final group mission. Kaylee did not earn the vocal stone.
Then Melissa sang “Love” by Keyshia Cole. J.Y. Park called her performance “amazing” and declared, “That’s what I call singing.” He even said he saw shades of a “young Mary J. Blige in K-pop” with her performance. He praised how she changed the melody in surprising ways to make it her own. Melissa earned the vocal stone.
The vocal evaluation would continue, but for now, that ends the summary and results for A2K episode 7.
Episode 8: A2K Vocal Evaluation Rankings and Results
A2K Episode 8 “Vocal Evaluation Rankings,” aired August 7, 2023: Prior to Gina performing, J.Y. Park posited based on her dance performance the previous day that she might be worried about having to be better than the other contestants because she had gone through the JYP system. He suggested that she relax, talk with the other contestants, and remember to just feel the fun with her performance, and Gina appreciated this sentiment. Then she performed “Hello” by Adele, and J.Y. Park called it “so much better” than her dance the previous day. He found a “little bit of flexibility” and “vulnerability” in the performance. Gina earned the vocal stone, but J.Y. Park told her she still needed to be looser.
Next, Savanna performed “Easy on Me” by Adele, changing the key to fit her vocal range. She had no background in singing, and it was revealed that she had not sung well at the regionals, owing to her total inexperience. After she performed “Easy on Me,” J.Y. Park was not satisfied with her low singing, so he began playing on the keyboard and instructed her to sing in a higher key, which she did. He told her she had the potential to be a great singer, but she needed to work on her breathing because it was “so terrible” at the moment. Savanna did not earn the vocal stone.
In a fast montage where each contestant received little attention in the episode, Mischa, Cristina, Yuna, and Lexus all failed to earn the vocal stone. Among the fast statements made in the montage, J.Y. Park said Mischa treated each note the same way. She also forgot some lyrics. He instructed Cristina not to “waste too much air” when she sang, because she would run out of breath for notes. Yuna lacked vocal skills in general, and Lexus didn’t know “how to sing on air.”
Afterward, Camila performed “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, for which she received a standing ovation from her fellow contestants. J.Y. Park praised how her higher notes actually caused her voice to become fuller, and she added emotions while expressing perfect rhythm. He declared, “You look like my Whitney Houston right now,” and he was amazed at how dramatic her improvement was since regionals. Camila earned the vocal stone.
J.Y. Park then ranked the performances with his staff, and during this discussion, they additionally decided to award one more vocal stone to Kaylee.
Afterward, those who earned the vocal stone were ranked as follows: (Although, J.Y. Park said there was prolonged discussion with staff and that Melissa basically could have finished in first place too.)
Next episode would be a showcase of individual contestants’ charms in planned, unique performances, but that’s the end of the summary and results for A2K episode 8.
Episode 9: A2K Star Quality Evaluation
A2K Episode 9 “Star Quality Evaluation,” aired August 10, 2023: For day 3 of LA boot camp, the contestants came prepared to showcase their unique star qualities and dressed accordingly. KG went first, and for her stage, she mixed her original song, “Porcelain Queen,” with “Sneakers” by Itzy, which she both sang and performed on keyboard, followed by an abrupt (slightly odd) transition into skilled basketball dribbling. (J.Y. Park loves basketball, but he said that did not influence his decision.) KG earned the star quality stone.
Next, Kendall showcased her art for her stage, which included a flamingo, a flower, I.N from Stray Kids, manga-like digital art, and other more sculptural art, and she crafted a dog pendant for J.Y. Park while discussing the other art. J.Y. Park appreciated how genuinely “interesting” Kendall was as a person and also her strong, concise speaking skills. Kendall earned the star quality stone.
After that, Camila presented her “cool and swaggy” self-written rap about self-confidence and reaching one’s dreams, using Spanish, French, and English. J.Y. Park praised the authenticity of her performance and the change in flow that came with her Spanish lyrics. She was “sassy.” Camila earned the star quality stone.
For her stage, Yuna created a JYP fashion show, some outfits created from scratch and some via upcycling, and a red carpet was rolled out to present the fashion. She recreated a dress from an NMIXX music video, an outfit from a Twice music video, and a dress from a Wonder Girls music video, all of which she wore and danced to on the red carpet. J.Y. Park praised the execution of her idea — not merely of creating fashion but of portraying it with the red carpet and such enthusiasm. J.Y. Park said she “outshined” the wardrobe she wore. Yuna earned the star quality stone (her first stone).
Next, a short montage occurred: Cristina created a science class involving rap, exploding soda bottles, an erupting volcano, and the periodic table of the elements. Mischa did a contemporary dance. Cristina and Mischa both earned the star quality stone.
After that, for her stage, Savanna began by playing flute, specifically “I’ll Be Back” by 2PM, but then she surprise-transitioned into doing gymnastics to the song. It demonstrated both her skills and her physical strength. J.Y. Park called it an “amazing” performance, full of elements he could use in a K-pop group, and it was “way beyond” what he was expecting. Savanna earned the star quality stone.
The next episode would present the conclusion of the star quality evaluation, but for now, that’s all of the summary and results for A2K episode 9. It was a really fun episode!
Episode 10: Star Quality Evaluation Rankings
A2K Episode 10 “Star Quality Evaluation Rankings,” aired August 14, 2023: For her evaluation, Lexus remembered that J.Y. Park loved ballet and that his favorite was Giselle, so she performed a segment of that ballet, followed by transitioning into a surprise, pop ballet-ish performance of “Pop” by Nayeon. About her performance, J.Y. Park said, “Thank you for gracing this boot camp,” and he praised how her feelings changed with the movements. Lexus earned the star quality stone.
Next, Gina came out wearing glasses and a stylish reporter outfit to report on her life that she had lived in several different countries. In a literal reporter style, she discussed living in Paris, New York, and Seoul, speaking in English, French, and Korean. This included a short, funny faux commercial for “JYP water.” J.Y. Park praised her ability to speak multiple languages, given the now global nature of K-pop. Gina earned the star quality stone.
After that, Kaylee did a combination of taekwondo and dance (“anmoo”) for her performance, set to “Icy” by Itzy. It involved a split and lots of kicks! Then she popped a Warhead sour candy into her mouth, just to show she can be calm with such sour candy. She offered one to J.Y. Park to try, so he tried one reluctantly and felt the kick. Then she apparently ate a second sour candy. Regardless, J.Y. Park said, “I think you were born to be a K-pop star,” because of her “cute” side and also her “speed.” Kaylee earned the star quality stone.
Finally, for her A2K star quality evaluation, Melissa performed a song that she wrote when she was 13, “Enough Is Enough.” It was about how her dad was in and out of her life negligently, and it was a toxic relationship that she tried to move on from. Not only was her singing passionate, but the song itself was just good. J.Y. Park praised her ability to sing so strongly about her pain, saying, “That’s amazing.” He said he could not think of any K-pop artist that could write a song like that and perform with the emotion she did. Melissa earned the star quality stone.
Thus, by the end of episode 10, all A2K contestants had earned the star quality stone, making for the most positive possible results. Then J.Y. Park and his staff discussed the performances to create a “top 5” ranking out of them, with criteria of which performances made people fall for a contestant more:
Next episode would be the character evaluation, involving what appears to be actual Q&A between J.Y. Park and contestants in a sit-down setting!
That completes the summary and results for A2K episode 10.
Episode 11: A2K Contestants Character Evaluation
A2K Episode 11 “Character Evaluation,” aired August 17, 2023: To begin the episode, J.Y. Park arranged the A2K contestants into three teams with three songs, respectively, that the staff thought would match well for the final team performance evaluation:
- Team A (“Be My Baby” by Wonder Girls): Camila (leader), KG, Cristina (Team chosen because all contestants must be able to sing and dance for the song)
- Team B (“Wannabe” by Itzy): Kendall (leader), Kaylee, Savanna, Mischa (Team chosen to exude bubby energy)
- Team C (“The Feels” by Twice): Melissa (leader), Lexus, Yuna, Gina (Team chosen to bring out bouncy rhythm)
Episode 11 briefly showed their training for those performances, but instead, A2K segued to the character evaluation, which will be based on three criteria: in-depth interview, trainers’ vote, and fellow contestant vote. J.Y. Park invited K-pop journalist Jeff Benjamin to help him during the in-depth interview portion.
Lexus and Gina were the first to physically sit down with J.Y. Park and Jeff Benjamin for the interview on day 5 of boot camp. J.Y. Park commented that he loved Gina’s competitive energy but wasn’t sure how much of her actual personality he was seeing. Gina explained that she doesn’t like to show her vulnerable side and gave an example that she broke her foot in P.E. class when she was younger but didn’t cry because she didn’t want to seem in pain.
Meanwhile, J.Y. Park revealed Lexus was voted as both the “most passionate talent” by the teachers and most popular among the contestants. Lexus said she has tried to help the other contestants reach a higher level of confidence with dancing, which is her strong suit.
Savanna and Mischa were next to sit down for interview. J.Y. Park said Savanna’s personality confused him the most because her personality makes everyone relaxed, but he wondered if she had the “desperation” to really want to be an idol. However, Savanna assured that this was her “dream,” and her mentality is to try to stay relaxed because acting otherwise doesn’t make her perform better. She also said she can’t see herself doing “regular” jobs for the rest of her life, and this was the “opportunity” for her. She ultimately wanted to do this to “connect” with others around the world.
J.Y. Park asked Mischa how she was staying confident amid talented contestants (some of whom were performing better than her), and Mischa said she just wanted to put past insufficient results behind her to try her best and support her team members. Jeff thought there was something about Mischa that could not be replicated by others. (However, a lack of time spent on Mischa in the TV editing frankly suggests that she will not make the final team.)
Next in A2K episode 11, Yuna and Melissa sat down for interview. They discussed how Melissa had created her song that she had performed in the previous episode, and she said that writing the song was like “therapy” to her. Jeff asked Melissa how her songwriting perspective could apply when having to take into consideration the perspective of a whole group, so Melissa said she would find a way to fit in a group and not “stand out.”
J.Y. Park asked Yuna if she believed she would be selected to come to South Korea, and she answered definitively yes and that her confidence level had increased while training with her fellow members. When asked to explain her personality further, Yuna said she is the best at speaking Spanish, and J.Y. Park was amused to hear her speak confidently about something finally.
The episode ended right there, so that marks the end of the summary and results for A2K episode 11!
Episode 12: Character Evaluation Conclusion and First Victorious Contestant Revealed
A2K Episode 12 “Character Evaluation Rankings,” aired August 21, 2023: Kaylee and Kendall were next to do their character evaluation with J.Y. Park and Jeff Benjamin. J.Y. Park revealed that Kendall ranked last among the contestants in the vote of who the other contestants would like to be on a team with. When asked why, Kendall suggested that maybe she was focusing on her own practice more than getting to know the other contestants at first.
J.Y. Park asked Kaylee if she was as fiery in her passion as she seemed, and she attested that she was, despite her cute and bubbly exterior. Kaylee also explained that she had cried during her failed vocal evaluation because she was frustrated with her performance as opposed to with Park’s critique. She then said that she would be the “mood maker” of the group if she made it onto the team.
The last group of the day for character evaluation comprised Camila, Cristina, and KG. Camila had been voted co-favorite teammate by the other contestants. Camila surmised that was maybe because she was one of the oldest teammates and was cheering on the others. J.Y. Park said he felt that Cristina was trying to “figure out” everything all the time, something he said he had done himself for 50 years. Cristina agreed with that assessment, saying she tries to think about how other people are thinking. She is trying to become a person who also cares about how others feel.
J.Y. Park confessed that he did not initially think KG could make the final team after regionals, but her performance during the vocal evaluation changed his mind. KG said she is motivated by her members to do well because she wants everyone to look good. Camila, Cristina, and KG then reiterated how all of the girls get along well, which was noted as a refreshing difference compared to how other such competitions often go. Jeff Benjamin thought that the three of them offered some of the best conversation of the day.
Afterward in episode 12, the A2K contestants reconvened for the results. J.Y. Park praised everyone for how they answered the questions, and he reiterated that the evaluation was about contestants’ overall attitudes, as determined by three elements: that day’s interview, the number of votes collected for best future teammate from peers, and the scores from teachers and staff regarding their passion and attitude.
The top five contestants according to these three criteria received the character stone, and they ranked as follows:
- Camila (officially confirmed to travel to Korea for receiving all four stones)
J.Y. Park reminded them that the final performance evaluation would grant everyone a chance to earn any stone that they had not already received. But regardless of that performance, Camila has already “won” and will go to South Korea for K-pop training!
This ends the summary and results for A2K episode 12! The final performance evaluation is coming next.
Episode 13: Practicing for the A2K Final Showcase Evaluation
A2K Episode 13 “The Showcase Begins,” aired August 24, 2023: The episode opened one day before the final showcase, as the contestants practiced in their previously selected groups from episode 11. J.Y. Park arrived to observe their practice, not to overtly judge them but to offer helpful advice. On her team, Camila had encouraged KG with her dancing and Cristina for her singing, since they each lacked confidence in those respective areas. J.Y. Park said the vocals were “so much better” than he had been “worried about,” and he praised the stability Camila brought to the team. He told Cristina she should put more emotion into her dance, even though she was otherwise the best dancer of the three; he demonstrated how all three of them could improve in that regard.
Next up, J.Y. Park observed Melissa, Lexus, Yuna, and Gina. He said Gina’s vocal made the whole song “so stable” and Lexus’s dancing was “so amazing,” calling her the “best dancer” on the crew. Meanwhile, Melissa was dancing a little behind the beat, a bit slow, while Yuna was still dancing ahead of the beat sometimes. J.Y. Park demonstrated some dancing pointers to this team as well. Gina then specifically asked for advice about how to sing and dance at the same time, so J.Y. Park had them all lie down with feet on the floor. Then he taught them a breathing exercise to do morning and night. Afterward, Melissa asked J.Y. Park for exercises for stretching her hips, so he somewhat humorously demonstrated what she could do there too.
Prior to J.Y. Park visiting, the remaining team of Kendall, Savanna, Kaylee, and Mischa had practiced, and Kaylee had difficulty remembering parts. The trainer and Kaylee discussed it in Korean, and Kaylee cried from losing confidence. When J.Y. Park came to observe them, he praised Savanna’s dance expression but taught her cleaner lines. He said Mischa felt like she was still doing homework. He praised Kaylee’s vocals as being more than he expected, but he said Kendall’s voice felt thinner than Kaylee’s while singing. Kendall could not distinguish how to do “full voice” instead of falsetto despite several attempts under J.Y. Park’s instruction.
Then the final evening of A2K boot camp began in episode 13, and even J.Y. Park professed to being nervous. He invited Nichkhun from 2PM as a special judge, and he reminded the contestants that their job is not just to sing but to entertain.
A2K episode 13 ended dramatically at that point, so that concludes the summary and results for this episode. Next episode would feature the beginning of the final performances.
Episode 14: The First Two Final Showcase Performances
A2K Episode 14 “The Showcase Performances,” aired August 28, 2023: The episode began on a light note, with Melissa (group leader), Gina, Lexus, and Yuna naming themselves “LGYM” (a combination of their names) and singing a jingle about how they will be “on your mind.” The episode then showed their preparation, and Yuna underwent training with the trainers to improve her sense of timing, since she was struggling with singing on the beat. The girls also engaged in physical (figurative and literal) exercises to improve their ability to sing while moving.
The group then performed “The Feels” by Twice for J.Y. Park and Nichkhun, and it all went well. J.Y. Park called Gina “amazing” with her vocals and how she performed while doing all of the dancing. He said that Yuna looked “confident” instead of the “scared puppy” she had been the rest of the time, and he said he could not believe how much she had changed in such a short period. Yuna explained that she had gained confidence in being part of a team. Melissa explained that the whole group had developed together and supported each other to grow through their weaknesses. Gina and Lexus earned the character stone, guaranteeing Gina’s place in South Korea. Yuna earned the vocal stone.
Afterward, it was revealed that J.Y. Park had said to Lexus that, while her vocals had become “stable,” she didn’t sing to be “great” but rather to not be “bad.” Lexus cried in private about that with the team after the evaluation.
Next, Camila, Cristina, and KG, who named themselves “CKC” (again a combination of their names), came to the stage for A2K episode 14. During preparation, Cristina had initially lost confidence in singing because Camila and KG were clearly better. KG likewise took longer to learn choreography owing to her inexperience. Cristina actually exited training at one point due to a health issue, and following her performance (below), she apologized for getting sick and leaving the rest of her team.
Nonetheless, the group performed “Be My Baby” by Wonder Girls. J.Y. Park began by saying, “If anybody wants to truly feel what I’m feeling today, they should try to perform this piece and just realize how hard it is to sing like that while dancing like that.” He said Camila looked like the “Beyonce of A2K,” and Nichkhun said she looked “very professional.” Then he said Cristina’s dance was “so perfect that it was beautiful” and that it would score 11 on a 10-point scale, and she also “improved” in her vocals. Thus, Cristina earned the vocal stone, guaranteeing her place in South Korea.
Nichkhun said KG was the “smallest” of the three girls on stage, but she had the “biggest” energy. J.Y. Park agreed that she had “powerful” energy.
A2K episode 14 ended there, so that ends the results and summary. Next episode would reveal the final results of the A2K LA boot camp and who in total is going to South Korea! However, the A2K series would continue on afterward with more episodes to show the Korean boot camp.
Episode 15: A2K LA Boot Camp Finale Results & Final Group for Korea Revealed
A2K Episode 15 “The Showcase Performances,” aired August 31, 2023: At last, the final team of Kendall, Kaylee, Mischa, and Savanna, named “Naekko” (referencing, in a roundabout way, a Korean phrase meaning “because it’s mine”), took the stage to perform “Wannabe” by Itzy. During training, members had trouble with dance formation changes, but Savanna helped the members to achieve harmony. Kendall still could not grasp full-voiced singing during vocal practice, but Savanna began to grasp full-voiced singing during practice.
When the team performed “Wannabe” for J.Y. Park and Nichkhun, Kendall finally sang the chorus fully voiced as intended. Nichkhun was “impressed” with them for performing a “very difficult” song within the two days they had to practice. J.Y. Park said he saw individual improvements in the members, but the harmonization of their choreography was “slightly lacking.” J.Y. Park asked how Kendall had finally learned full voice, and it was revealed that Kaylee had actually taught her a trick that allowed her to do it. He also said she had “glaring improvement” in dancing with her arms.
J.Y. Park reiterated that Kaylee has such a “stable” vocal, and they were the “backbone of the performance.” Mischa’s dance still was “not fluent enough,” but her vocals were “so much better” than he had expected. Nichkhun said Mischa’s smile pulled his attention toward her the whole performance. J.Y. Park called it “very surprising” that, from the “very start,” Savanna knew exactly how to perform the moves, and she also delivered a significantly better vocal performance than he was expecting.
Ultimately, Savanna and Mischa earned the vocal stone, guaranteeing Savanna’s place in South Korea.
Then J.Y. Park, Nichkhun, and the staff had a final discussion about who else had earned a trip to South Korea for JYP training. Afterward in episode 15, all of the A2K contestants reconvened, and J.Y. Park ranked all of the candidates.
These are all of the A2K candidates who are going to South Korea for JYP training, ordered by final ranking:
In A2K episode 15, only Mischa failed to continue on to South Korea. However, J.Y. Park reassured her, “I’m confident that we will be able to see you again.”
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 15 and the LA boot camp, but the series will continue into training in South Korea next episode!
Episode 16: South Korea Boot Camp and the Final Series of Evaluations
A2K Episode 16 “Korean Boot Camp Begins,” aired September 4, 2023: As the episode began, J.Y. Park explained to the audience what the plans are for the Korea stage, saying that every evaluation would go to “another level.” They would see who is “competent enough” to represent the tradition and reputation of JYP Entertainment. The contestants had waited six months to travel to South Korea and would be there for three months. They reacted with the explosive excitement one would expect of seeing the JYP Entertainment building. They saw the training room where iconic dance practices occur, along with a recording area.
However, Melissa was unable to join the A2K team in South Korea due to personal reasons that she did not elaborate upon. She left a warm goodbye message to the other contestants.
Then they convened in a circular “Colosseum,” where J.Y. Park briefed the nine remaining contestants. There would be three evaluations in three months, with rankings assigned each time. Ranking last twice would result in being removed from the debut process. A new evaluation necklace was revealed with four new empty stone slots to fill. Three stones would be awarded for successfully completing the next three evaluations, respectively. The remaining stone would be awarded according to contestants’ attitude/character, which would be more important than dancing and singing ability. Teammates and trainers would give stickers to contestants to be placed in booklets that recorded their progress weekly regarding attitude/character.
J.Y. Park explained that they looked for three qualities in JYP artists: honesty, diligence, and humility. Honesty meant being the same person on camera and off camera, on stage and off stage. An honest person wouldn’t need to worry about “being careful” in front of a camera. Diligence referred to the notion that “it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon,” being about developing a life style of work ethic. Humility referred to remaining humble and caring more about team success than individual success — caring about others first. J.Y. Park said that the key was “togetherness.” Two weeks then passed before the first evaluation, in which they began training at JYP Entertainment.
The round 1 mission in Seoul in A2K episode 16 was the contestants’ “first individual level test,” which would test how much they had continued their training in the past six months since LA boot camp had concluded. They would perform on the 76th floor of Lotte Tower, one of the tallest towers in the world. (Incidentally, we have been there — and yes, the view is incredible.) J.Y. Park reminded the contestants that lots of people say they “want it” — meaning the chance at success — but these three months in Korea had to prove it.
For her evaluation, Kaylee chose to perform “Pop!” by Nayeon, and during her practice, she had tried to make her dance moves neater and focus on energetic facial expressions. After her performance, J.Y. Park said that he thought she could have “more fun” in the performance, and she still looked a “little uncomfortable.” He thought she was more passionate to show her skills than to have fun in the performance. However, he said that was the “only negative thing” he could say about the performance, because it was “so great.” Kaylee “beat” his expectation, and he praised her ability to hit high notes while dancing. Kaylee earned the individual mission stone.
Next in A2K episode 16, Kendall chose “24 hours” by Sunmi to perform. During her practice period, she grappled with learning the Korean lyrics and conveying the proper emotion that goes with them, and she received a “vocal sticker” for her character booklet in the process. However, her voice had been bothering her prior to the performance, raising her nerves. Nonetheless, Kendall delivered an alluring and powerful performance, barefoot no less. J.Y. Park said she performed the song as if she already knew that he would give her a good response (which she did not), and her “acting skill” was “amazing.” He said, “You didn’t make me think of Sunmi at all,” which was “not easy.” He was extremely impressed. Kendall earned the individual mission stone.
That concludes the exciting summary and results for A2K episode 16, but the drama is only going to skyrocket from here!
Episode 17: More A2K Individual Mission Performances
A2K Episode 17 “Individual Performances Continue,” aired September 7, 2023: KG was next to perform, with “Blue” by LeAnn Rimes, played on guitar. During vocal practice, her vocal teacher had told her that her inhales were too short and instructed her on spots to add more emotion, and KG was appreciative for the feedback for helping her to grow. She said she had been waking up at 5 a.m. each day to make the most of her practice time. After her performance, J.Y. Park said the only thing that bothered him a little bit was “the rhythm,” as she was behind the beat too much while singing. However, he said that her goal of conveying emotion was “perfectly done,” and the song felt like her “story.” He noted after the fact that she still needed more polish, but KG earned the individual performance stone.
After that in A2K episode 17, Cristina chose to perform J.Y. Park’s “Swing Baby,” a song that J.Y. Park had described as “endlessly hectic” to perform, increasing his apprehension. During training, Cristina had spent a lot of time learning and practicing the Korean lyrics, going syllable by syllable, and she also added an English rap to the song. When Cristina performed “Swing Baby,” J.Y. Park said that not nailing a high note in full voice was the only part that detracted from the performance a bit. However, he appreciated that she at least attempted it as opposed to running away from it. Ultimately, he said Cristina’s dancing was even “better” than in LA boot camp, and she was continuing to get better each step of the way. It was a “powerful” performance with “stable” vocals, so Cristina earned the individual performance stone.
Then Gina came up to perform “2 Different Tears” by Wonder Girls. During practice, her dance coach helped her to clean up her dancing and convey more emotions. After she performed, J.Y. Park said her fundamentals were “so sound,” but he could not get “emotionally connected” to her performance. He added that it felt more like a “monthly evaluation” from her in the JYP system, and he offered examples of how she could have sung differently to convey emotion. He said it was an issue of “mindset” as to how she approached singing and dancing. Nonetheless, because she was technically so proficient, Gina earned the individual performance stone. (He said he needed “more” though. And after Gina left, he said he was starting to feel “worried” about her.)
Lastly in A2K episode 17, Camila performed “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. During training, her vocal teacher had instructed her to manage her breathing during high notes, but she developed a slight inflammation in her throat ahead of her performance from practicing. After Camila performed, J.Y. Park joked that he was very glad he had helped her change her career path away from nurse. He praised her creative and “accurate” runs while singing. Ultimately, she knew how to “sing and dance with emotion,” and after she left, J.Y. Park said her vocals were on a “different level.” Camila earned the individual performance stone.
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 17, which means Yuna, Savanna, and Lexus remained to be evaluated (and the preview for episode 18 made it look like it might not go well for them).
Episode 18: A2K Individual Mission Evaluation Rankings & Results
A2K Episode 18 “Individual Evaluation Rankings,” aired September 11, 2023: Lexus chose to perform “Like This” by Wonder Girls. She expressed to J.Y. Park prior how it was difficult to learn to sing and dance together, and she had been extremely nervous prior to performing because she was not confident in her ability to hit high notes. Her voice had cracked during vocal practices and she lacked stability, but her vocal coach instructed her about how pressuring herself would make her perform worse. After Lexus performed “Like This,” J.Y. Park said it was her “best performance so far,” and it was “so much better” than when she performed “The Feels.” He praised her with, “You always understand the feel of the movements.” He said her vocals were “so much better” but had a “long way to go,” and she would not get a stone in the next evaluation if she sang like that next time. However, today, it was good enough. Lexus earned the individual performance stone. After she left, J.Y. Park said that Lexus’s dancing was on a “different level” from that of the other contestants.
Next in A2K episode 18, Yuna would perform “Bad Girl Good Girl” by miss A, with a self-written English rap added. J.Y. Park asked what she had thought of finishing ninth in LA boot camp, and Yuna felt gratitude just for being chosen and expressed a desire to close the skill gap between herself and the others. During practice, she took time to learn to dance to the beat, and she became frustrated how long it took her to learn the choreography. Camila, Cristina, and others helped her to improve and gain confidence though.
During her performance of “Bad Girl Good Girl,” Yuna missed the timing where she was to perform her rap, so she danced in silence for that part. When J.Y. Park asked about it, she said emotionally that she “got confused a little bit.” J.Y. Park said the performance started out great, and she conveyed much more “charisma” and “confidence” than in the past. However, after she missed her rap part, he said her nervousness became apparent again. He also noted that Yuna was great at some dances and not so good at other dances, so he suggested she practice a lot of difference dance styles. However, he described her singing as her most “critical problem,” and she really needed to practice hard to improve her singing. Yuna did not earn the individual performance stone. After she left, J.Y. Park called Yuna his “biggest worry.” The other contestants consoled Yuna, and Lexus said they would help her improve.
Finally, Savanna performed “Thunderous” by Stray Kids, whose intense dancing she thought would match her style. During training, her vocal teacher instructed her to deliver stronger notes with clearer Korean pronunciation. The day prior to performance, she sprained her ankle slightly, but she soldiered through it. After Savanna performed “Thunderous,” J.Y. Park called it “amazing.” He said the most impressive part was her singing, how she “maintained power” while doing “crazy movements,” and Savanna credited her Korean teachers for that. However, J.Y. Park added that Savanna needed to make her movements bigger. Nonetheless, he said he was going to show her performance to Stray Kids! Savanna earned the individual performance stone.
J.Y. Park then met with staff to rank all the contestant performances in the first mission of Korean boot camp. In A2K episode 18, these were the final results and nine rankings of the first mission:
If Yuna ranked last a second time, she would be removed from the debut process.
About the rankings, J.Y. Park noted that Lexus would have finished in first place if she had only been judged by dancing and expressions; it was just her singing that needed to improve. Cristina’s performance was “nothing short of great,” but J.Y. Park still was hoping for an extra spice in it for the future. He also said he genuinely enjoyed the top three performances just in the sense of watching them, and Kendall particularly felt like she was in a “zone” with her performance.
On a new day, J.Y. Park revealed that he had selected Kendall, Camila, and KG to record the song played at the start and end of each episode of A2K, and the show briefly filmed the process of how they recorded it with J.Y. Park himself. However, after they recorded, he decided to bring Kaylee, the fourth place finisher, in to sing a fourth part.
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 18! The second boot camp mission would be a team mission, and it would involve more praise and more crying.
Episode 19: Korean Boot Camp Team Mission Evaluation
A2K Episode 19 “Team Evaluation,” aired September 14, 2023: For the team mission, J.Y. Park explained to viewers that contestants didn’t have to be perfect throughout the whole song; they just had to be good at their part and give their team an “extra edge” with their own merit. For the team that finished in first place, everyone would receive the team mission stone. For the other teams, contestants would receive stones according to their rankings.
The three team compositions and their songs in A2K episode 19 were as follows:
- Team Marteami (“Alcohol-Free” by Twice): Kendall, Lexus, Yuna
- Back Dawgz (“Back Door” by Stray Kids): Camila, Gina, Cristina
- SP3KTRUM (Song “Love Me Like This” by NMIXX): KG, Kaylee, Savanna
During Team Marteami training, it again took Yuna time to learn the choreography compared to the rate at which her teammates picked it up. The vocal teacher also instructed Lexus to make her singing “brighter.” Lexus became the team’s personal trainer of sorts in the gym, focusing on developing their core to improve their singing stability. Kendall in turn led vocal practice for the team. Together, the team members improved each other.
When Yuna, Kendall, and Lexus performed “Alcohol-Free,” J.Y. Park said the song (which he wrote) has a melody that is “connected and long” and would probably cause unstable vocals, and that is what happened in this performance. He critiqued Lexus for not being as impressive at delicate and soft dances as she is when doing hip hop-style dancing, but he assured that he knows she can do better. Yuna sang “way better” than J.Y. Park expected, but he said she still needed to practice more. He was also “not that impressed” with her dancing. Kendall had moments and movements that really “surprised” J.Y. Park, and he said that she then put extra “emotion” and “movement” on top of the original choreography. Her expressions were “amazing” as well.
After the contestants left, J.Y. Park observed that Lexus was not that “versatile,” and he said he was starting to feel a difference of “level” in Yuna compared to the skill level of other contestants, which worried him.
Next in A2K episode 19 were Camila, Gina, and Cristina, whom J.Y. Park hoped would act in perfect synchronicity for the complicated choreography of “Back Door.” During practice, the team recorded themselves frequently to identify their dance mistakes and improve. Camila’s vocal chords had inflammation, so she had to refrain from practicing singing for approximately a week.
After they performed “Back Door,” J.Y. Park said it was “amazing,” individually and as a team. It was “the most” that he could expect at that stage. They were “almost perfect” with their dance and their vocals, but J.Y. Park was most impressed of all with their synchronicity. “It was like a team that practiced for years,” he added, and he was “shocked.” He said it was the first time that he truly felt Cristina had “lived up to her potential.” J.Y. Park also felt this was the first time it looked like Gina was “having fun” on stage, and she was the “stability element” throughout the performance. Meanwhile, Camila was “like a superstar.” He said that she could do anything and at a high level, and she could make everything look like her own.
That does it for the summary and results for A2K episode 19: Next episode would deliver the final team’s performance, the team and individual rankings, and a potential contestant elimination.
Episode 20: Team Evaluation Rankings and Results
A2K Episode 20 “Team Evaluation Rankings,” aired September 18, 2023: Finally, it was time for KG, Kaylee, and Savanna to perform NMIXX’s “Love Me Like This.” J.Y. Park was hoping for them to perform like friends having fun together. During training, there was a pronounced gap in dancing ability between KG and her teammates at first, but when Savanna named the dance moves, it helped KG to remember them. KG and Kaylee in turn coached Savanna to improve her vocal delivery.
After KG, Kaylee, and Savanna performed, J.Y. Park said he would give the performance an “A+” for a letter grade. The most impressive part to him was KG’s dancing. He joked, “I’m seeing hope,” for her as a K-pop idol. J.Y. Park praised how Savanna added “extra spice” to her dancing, but more impressive to him was her “loud” and “stable” vocals with correct pitch. Then he called Kaylee “amazing” with stable vocals and an ability to express emotion. He had “absolutely nothing negative to say” about Kaylee. The performance was “so much more” than J.Y. Park had expected from them, and he said they had “great teamwork” and “great individual improvements.”
J.Y. Park then discussed team and individual rankings with his team. Afterward, the contestants reconvened, and here were the final results and rankings for the team mission in A2K episode 20, beginning with team rankings:
- SP3KTRUM: KG, Kaylee, Savanna (all received team mission stone)
- Back Dawgz: Camila, Gina, Cristina
- Team Marteami: Kendall, Lexus, Yuna
Next, here were the final individual rankings in A2K episode 20, and only the top six contestants received a stone:
Kendall and Lexus did not receive the team mission stone. For finishing last in two missions, Yuna was eliminated from the A2K series and would not debut.
J.Y. Park said Yuna showed how much she had tried and how dedicated she was, and he was proud of her. Yuna said she was “really going to miss everyone,” and she said these contestants were her first “real friends” she had made throughout her life. All of the contestants cried afterward and hugged her for a long time.
The remaining eight contestants convened the next day for a surprise reward. The contestants had regularly been informing staff of who their favorite teammates were, collecting “friendship votes” from each other, and the three contestants who finished at the top of voting received a trip to Lotte World, a famous amusement park. Camila finished in first place for the friendship vote, followed by a tie of Lexus and Gina, so they went on a trip to Lotte World! (Savanna and KG had tied for third, but they didn’t get to go.)
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 20, and all that remained was the two-part finale that would determine the final group composition! It was implied that at least one more person would not debut.
Episode 21: The America2Korea Grand Finale Begins
A2K Episode 21 “The Grand Finale Begins,” aired September 20, 2023: The beginning of the end of the A2K series started here, in the first part of the two-part finale. The final mission would take place on a large broadcasting stage (with a laser light show to boot), and it increased the contestants’ excitement to perform. Hyun Mo Ahn was the special MC for the final stage, and Gabee (leader of dance group La Chica) and Sunmi (acclaimed soloist, previously of Wonder Girls) were special judges for the event.
For judging, J.Y. Park said he would have to look at the level of their dancing and singing abilities, but he would also consider contestants’ growth over time, in addition to their character. J.Y. Park said he had not decided on a final number of team members for the group — he said it could be all eight or “two or three.”
The final A2K mission would consist of four performances: two different, original songs for two different teams, and then the same song for both teams. The two team compositions were as follows:
- TOPIC, performing original song “Know Me Like That”: Camila (leader), Gina, Lexus, Savanna
- Clover, performing original song “Go Getter”: Kaylee (leader), Kendall, KG, Cristina
J.Y. Park and David Stewart had composed “Know Me Like That” in a day. J.Y. Park broke down the singing parts with Camila, Gina, Lexus, and Savanna, and then he left them to train. During training, they met Sunmi and performed for her, but it took time for them to collect their nerves because they were so elated to see her. Sunmi was impressed with Savanna particularly for looking her in the eyes during the performance.
In A2K episode 21, when Camila, Gina, Lexus, and Savanna performed “Know Me Like That” for the final mission, Sunmi said she forgot to write any notes because she was too immersed in the performance. She added that they performed like a group that had already debuted. Gabee said that, originally, she had thought that Lexus danced well but lacked uniqueness, but now she was the “star” of this performance. Sunmi also said Lexus had done a very good job. She further said that she wished she could dance like Savanna.
Gabee said Camila had some “unstable movements,” and she could have stood out more with her long reach. J.Y. Park added that Camila needed to develop her muscle strength, but he noted that she only looked worse because the other three teammates had all had muscle training. Sunmi was a bit disappointed in Gina, as she exhibited “excessive” power that made her movements appear a bit stiff.
Overall, the performance was more than J.Y. Park had expected because all four team members delivered. The two things that made him “scream” were Lexus’s dancing and Savanna’s singing. Both Savanna and Camila pulled off the pre-chorus. He called Lexus “secretly strong” and that she can “totally change” when the moment comes. Lexus reminded J.Y. Park of Mayuka from Nizi Project.
Next, for the other team of Kaylee, Kendall, KG, and Cristina, J.Y. Park had co-produced “Go Getter” with Space Primates, a half-rock, half-pop energetic anthem. J.Y. Park distributed lyric parts with the contestants, and he noted that the song had a particularly high note that only a lead vocalist like KG could hit reliably. During training, KG praised Kaylee for genuinely leading and spotting performance mistakes. The team supported each other in general. At one point, Sunmi came to watch them perform and offer advice as well.
When Kaylee, Kendall, KG, and Cristina performed “Go Getter,” Gabee said that they had wonderful energy and tried to use their facial expressions. However, the direction of their bodies did not match. Cristina made Gabee feel “nervous” because she looked nervous. Sunmi said Kaylee’s positive energy spread across the team, but her moves were not “precise” or “big enough.”
J.Y. Park said to Cristina that she needed to “have fun” during her performance and not think so much about what she was doing. Likewise, he thought Kaylee was, as leader, worrying too much about her teammates’ performances during their stage. However, KG had surpassed J.Y. Park’s expectations for her dancing ability, considering where she had originally begun. He also said Kendall’s singing was “perfect” and maybe the loudest, with powerful, full voice. J.Y. Park then revealed that Kendall had received the most votes from the trainers, because of her attitude during training, which caused her to cry. He concluded that Kendall and KG had radiated energy for the team.
Ultimately, Gabee, Sunmi, and J.Y. Park all chose TOPIC (Camila, Gina, Lexus, and Savanna) as the winning team of Round 1 of the final mission, but Round 2 still remained!
That concludes the summary and results for A2K episode 21. Next episode would be the end of the series, and the final team composition for the A2K series from JYP Entertainment would be created!
Episode 22: A2K Series Grand Finale Results & Final Team Members Lineup
A2K Episode 22 “The Final Members,” aired September 21, 2023: The grand finale of the series began by showing the final, individual interview each contestant gave prior to the final mission performance. They contemplated what A2K had meant to them and how each of them loved and appreciated the friends they had made. After that, the second part of the final mission, the Common Song Battle, began, where both teams would be performing the same original song, “Y.O.Universe.” J.Y. Park had co-produced the song with Cirkut, and Gabee had created its choreography.
J.Y. Park had spent time meticulously deciding with the teams who would sing which parts. During practice, Gabee spent time with each team to critique them and offer pointers. Kaylee, Kendall, KG, and Cristina received instruction in how to dance in sync together. On the other team, Gabee instructed Savanna to be friendlier during a certain part of the choreography, Lexus needed to find a way to “pop,” and Camila needed to work on her expressions.
After Kaylee, Kendall, KG, and Cristina (Clover) performed “Y.O.Universe” for the final mission in A2K episode 22, they did not receive any feedback from the judges at that time. Instead, they left the stage, and Camila, Gina, Lexus, and Savanna (Topic) then performed their own rendition of “Y.O.Universe.” After that, all contestants reconvened on stage.
Sunmi said Clover was full of energy, and Topic had more charisma and skill. Gabee noted how Clover was smiling during their performance, unlike during their dance practice. Sunmi said she did not think KG was bad at dancing (meant as a compliment!) despite her lack of background in dancing. Gabee felt Topic had performed a bit better during practice and lost some composure during their final performance. However, Sunmi said Savanna was “so good” at dancing, and Gabee agreed that she “popped” on stage.
J.Y. Park thought both performances were at a level that was higher than he had expected, and he was “so proud” of all eight A2K contestants for what they had done in the finale. He said Camila came back to “MVP status,” and her performance could not have been better for this song. He also said that, in general, Savanna had never missed any “details” throughout the A2K series and was receptive to feedback. Then he said KG’s vocals were “amazing,” and he agreed with Sunmi’s assessment about her dancing.
In the final results of the Common Song Battle in A2K episode 22, Sunmi chose Topic as the winner, Gabee chose Clover as the winner, and J.Y. Park chose Topic as the winner. By a two-to-one measure, Topic won this battle, and they won both parts of the final mission.
Then J.Y. Park and his team convened one more time to select the final members of the A2K group. However, before revealing the final results, J.Y. Park announced the four contestants who had ranked at the top in the character evaluation:
After that, in the grand finale of A2K episode 22, Park announced the final results and individual rankings, to create a new JYP girl group to debut. Each contestant gave a speech as their name was called. These were the final rankings of A2K, with these six members selected for debut:
Lexus, KG, Camila, Savanna, Kaylee, and Kendall would debut as a new JYP Entertainment American K-pop girl group! Cristina and Gina would not debut at this time. J.Y. Park reiterated that JYP had had to consider “character” and “trajectory” as well when selecting these finalists, and he said it was “not easy” to not select Cristina and Gina. After primary filming stopped, J.Y. Park gave Cristina and Gina a pep talk, and the contestants cried together.
The final moment in A2K was J.Y. Park revealing the name of the new American K-pop girl group: VCHA (pronounced “V-cha”), referring to a Korean word for shining or illuminating. VCHA would release its predebut single, “SeVit (NEW LIGHT),” on September 22, 2023 at midnight ET!
That completes the summary and results of season 1 of the A2K series, complete with the final members lineup. Thank you for reading with us at K-Pop Answers! Next up, perhaps you would like to check out our summary and results for The Debut: Dream Academy, a similar series being conducted by HYBE and Geffen Records!