Lee Hae-in’s Debut as I.B.I
While the final top eleven contestants made their debut in a project group I.O.I, LOEN Entertainment decided to choose five runner-up contestants and form the group, I.B.I. The members are Lee Hae-in (17th place), Kim So-hee (15th place), Yoon Chae-kyung (16th place), Lee Soo-hyun (13th place), and Han Hye-ri (12th place).
They (without Yoon Chae-kyung) appeared in I.O.I’s TV show Lan Cable Friend in June 2016. LOEN Entertainment also released some videos of the members either individually or in the group via their official YouTube account. A webtoon series titled I.B.I’s Debut Story by popular webtoon artist, Omyo, was released in five parts representing each member’s debut story.
I.B.I officially debuted on August 18th, 2016, by releasing their digital single album Mollae Mollae. On the same day, they held their debut showcase and made their debut stage on Mnet’s M! Countdown with their title track “Mollae Mollae.”
The next day, they held a guerrilla concert at Dongdaemun Design Plaza and brought their title song “Mollae Mollae” as well as Produce 101 songs like “When the Cherry Blossom Fade” and “Pick Me.” They also filmed their own reality show in six episodes called Hello I.B.I, which was aired from October 8th to November 12th, 2016. The group met the end of their promotion and was later disbanded in 2017.
Lee Hae-in’s Appearance On Mnet’s Idol School
Idol School is a survival program aiming to form a 9-member girl group in the end out of 41 participants. Even though it does sound like Produce 101, the difference is the voting system, the number of winners, and how they will treat the eliminated participants. If they don’t make it to the final, they are given a chance to continue learning and may debut in normal class if they choose to take the offer. The participants who are allowed to join are trainees at the age of 13 or above who are currently not part of any entertainment company, former trainees, or former singers. Lee Hae-in happened to join the program from July 13th to September 29th, 2017.
In the first episode, the girls began their vocal lesson and sang “Into The New World” by SNSD. Unfortunately, Lee Hae-in did not make a good performance since she lost her voice and did it poorly. She continued with dancing and physical endurance lesson. At the end of the episode, the top 9 students were revealed and Lee Hae-in got to be ranked first. In the second episode, Lee Hae-in still struggled with her voice as it was not fully recovered but managed to follow the class until the end.
In the third and fourth episode, the girls were preparing to perform a girl group song in a video for their first Debut Diagnostic Exam. The roles like leader and killing part were determined based on the evaluation by the mentors. Lee Hae-in along with other 7 girls performed “Whistle” by BLACKPINK and she was the third sub-vocalist in the team Yukhoe Rice. The group was ranked first.
For the fifth and sixth episode, they were divided into two classes based on their advanced level in singing and dancing into Beginner’s, Intermediate, and Advanced. In the end, they were put into groups and performed a song. Lee Hae-in was in Advanced Performance A and was put with other 4 girls in “Mr. Mr.” team. The group performed “Mr. Mr.” by SNSD where Lee Hae-in was given a chance to be the leader of the group. She also became the first rank of the group. However, Lee Hae-in’s rank dropped to 10th place in episode six.
For the seventh episode, the girls had to do a live broadcast through Kakao TV. Lee Hae-in, along with Bin Ha-neul (Sky) and Tasha broadcasted on channel 2 with their topic DJ Na-Sha-In. Out of 11 channels, their channel became the third highest in terms of views with 10.3% viewership.
For the eighth and ninth episode, the girls were in an internship with a former or a current idol group member. They also got to pick the song for their third and final Debut Diagnostic Exam. Lee Hae-in with other two girls managed to perform “I’m Your Girl” by S.E.S after receiving mentoring from S.E.S’ Bada and Shoo via video call. Lee Hae-in was again chosen as the leader and ranked first among the group members. She received a score of 77.9 for the performance.
For the tenth and final episode, the girls were divided into three groups and made a performance. Lee Hae-in (Main Vocalist A) with other five girls performed “MAGICAL” and was directed by Bae Yoon-jung. However, the final result showed that she didn’t make it through the top 9 and failed to debut as fromis9. She was placed 11th in the final episode.
Here’s her ranking progress!
Lee Hae-in’s Letter
Following the announcement of the final results, Lee Hae-in posted a letter that she wrote to her future self in 10 weeks along with a letter to her fans. As cited by Soompi, she began her letter with, “Thank you for waiting and sorry to make you wait once again.” She said that she has met many friends, teachers, and staff through the program. She thanked the production staff and mentioned the people who had been working with her. She said she felt grateful she could perform the last song “MAGICAL” in front of her family, close friends, and fans and also thanked the composer of the song. She mentioned her fellow team members and said it was okay their path was not filled with flowers and engaged them to walk together.
She showed her determination in pursuing her dream and had tried her best with no regrets. She also mentioned about the winners, her fellow friends who managed to debut soon in fromis9. “It was a happy dream, just like what I had written in the letter before I enrolled in the school,” she ended her letter. She added P.S. and thanked her friends who came to watch her final stage.