First fan meet in Singapore for Wanna One, one of K-pop's most wanted boybands

ST VIDEO: GWENDOLYN NG

Taiwanese Lai Guan Lin is one lucky teenager. Barely a year ago, he was an aspiring K-pop star. Today he is part of Wanna One, one of the most talked-about K-pop boybands now.

"The biggest challenge is definitely the language, but the best part is that the 11 of us can do promotions together as a group," he says.

Lai, 16, was speaking in Mandarin at the band's press conference on Friday (Sept 22). He is also conversant in Korean and English.

His spot in the band was hard-earned. All 11 members were picked by popular vote from 101 aspiring K-pop stars on the South Korean boyband survival reality show Produce 101 earlier this year.

Just one month after releasing their debut EP, 1X1=1 (To Be One), they held their first fan meet here on Friday.

Such haste is necessary because of the pop outfit's predetermined short lifespan. Wanna One will disband in December next year (2018) and the members will return to their different talent agencies.

The whole idea of the variety show, as well as the winning band, is to provide a springboard for the band members to hopefully go on to bigger things after their time as Wanna One .

Wanna One's members are aged between 16 and 26 and range in experience from rookies to those looking for a new lease of life in their careers.

Lai had only trained at his agency Cube Entertainment for six months before getting his big break on the second season of Produce 101. Some of his members are boybanders from middling groups looking for a second shot at stardom, such as NU'EST's Hwang Min Hyun, 22, and Hotshot's Ha Sung Woon, 23.

Even though Hwang is making his debut with his second group, it was still an emotional occasion for him.

"The most memorable moment for me was the final live show, it was the first time we were together as 11," says Hwang, who was ranked No. 9 in terms of vote count.

Lai came in at No. 7.

Busan native Kang Daniel, 20, won first place with 1,578,837 votes. This means he earned the right to be the group's centre, the most prominent spot in dance formations or photos.

In Korea, Kang has been cast in multiple variety shows and has graced magazine covers on his own. At the press conference in Singapore, he sat in the middle seat of the front row.

Perhaps it is his understated confidence which has won him legion of fans.

Though he rarely spoke at the session here, he assuredly pointed to himself when they were asked to picked the best dressed member.

He says: "I am good at making use of different fashion items as compared to the other members."

So who is the worst dressed among the 11? Most of them picked member Bae Jin Young, 17.

Lee Dae Hwi, 16, says: "In Korea there is something called airport fashion. When we go to the airport, we usually get a lot of clothes from our stylist.

"I have no idea why, but Jin Young will insist on wearing his own clothes. He likes to wear the bucket hat... But he is handsome, so it's fine."