On The Pulse

The 2023 Rookie Groups To Watch

From a highly anticipated debut to a total surprise that caught fans’ attention, these five rookie groups are making waves in the K‑pop universe.

Every month, there’s a new K-Pop group that debuts. And while the industry moves fast, it seems that things have sped up quite considerably in 2022. Some of these rookie groups have not only just debuted, but have also made multiple releases in less than six months.

Here, we highlight the five stellar rookie groups that you need to add to your playlist as 2023 approaches.


Debut: May 2, 2022

LE SSERAFIM is one of the most anticipated girl group debuts of 2022, and are a force to be reckoned with – the group’s name is an anagram for “I’m Fearless”. The quintet, made up of Chaewon, Sakura, Eunchae, Kazuha, and Yunjin, is the first female group from Source Music, an affiliate of HYBE (the agency behind BTS and TOMORROW X TOGETHER). 

And what a breath of fresh air LE SSERAFIM are. Their debut track, FEARLESS, is sleek dance pop with hushed, low-key vocals that moves away from the bubblegum-pop of many girl group debuts. 

In October 2022, within five months of their debut, the group dropped their first comeback with ANTIFRAGILE. The song, with its latin-esque rhythm and sing-talk hook, is an earworm that FEARNOTs** (LE SSERAFIM fans) won’t be getting out of their heads anytime soon.

#2 TNX

Debut: May 17, 2022

Affectionately dubbed PSY’s idols, TNX, which means The New Six, is P Nation’s very first boy group. The six members, Hwi, Sungjin, Junhyeok, Kyungjun, Hyunsoo, and Taehun, were handpicked by K-Pop veteran PSY.

The group debuted with their first mini album, WAY UP. Its title track, MOVE, was jointly produced by Yoo Gun-hyung, the mastermind behind many of PSY’s hits, such as Gangnam Style, New Face, and I LUV IT.

But what delighted THXs (TNX fans) is how involved the members are. Leader Hwi wrote two tracks on the album – WE ON and Your Favorite Melody. He composed and arranged the former, and teamed up with Kyungjun and Junhyeok to write the lyrics for the latter.

#3 NewJeans

Debut: July 22, 2022

There’s no debut as unique as NewJeans’. The girl group skipped the K-Pop debut tradition of introducing group members in advance through promotional videos and photos. Instead, Minji, Danielle, Haerin, Hanni, and Hyein burst onto the scene on July 22 with their aptly titled debut track, Attention. Even the group’s name was kept a secret ahead of their official debut.

From the moment the song hit the airwaves, it was a hit and the track has more than 93 million streams on Spotify to date. Its Pop-R&B sound has a laidback yet addictive quality, while never overshadowing the girls’ chill vocals, making it a memorable debut song.

Fans were only introduced to the members through the release of music videos. The music video (MV) for the group’s second single, Hype Boy,  dropped just a week after their debut, followed by MVs for their other songs including Hurt and Cookie

With such a unique debut style, it’s only natural that the group has gained many Bunnies (NewJeans fans), which includes other K-Pop artists. TWICE’s Sana and Mina, as well as singer-songwriter BIBI have shared that NewJeans is a group they’re keeping their eyes on.

#4 CLASS:y

Debut: May 5, 2022

Among all the groups that have debuted in 2022, CLASS:y has to be one of the hardest-working rookie groups. The girl group was formed immediately after MBC’s idol audition program, My Teenage Girls, wrapped in February this year. And in less than three months, Jimin, Seonyou, Hyeongseo, Hyeju, Riwon, Boeun, and Chaeon, debuted in early May with their mini album, CLASS IS OVER.

It didn’t take long for the group to make their first comeback. LIVES ACROSS dropped on May 26, followed pretty quickly by a second comeback, Day&Night, which was released on October 26. 

But that’s not all. Within a month of their South Korea debut, the group also made their debut in Japan with the release of the Japanese renditions of SHUT DOWN and SAME SAME DIFFERENT.

So far, it seems like the group is keeping their music up-tempo and dance-worthy. CLASS:y’s debut track, SHUT DOWN, is a fun and catchy tune which shows off the girls’ dynamic vocals, while CLASSY is undeniably snappy and perfectly mirrors the group’s youthful energy. The same can be heard in Tick Tick Boom, the group’s latest comeback track – a Latin-pop dance bop that might easily become your next earworm.

#5 Lapillus

Debut: June 20, 2022

Let’s first answer the biggest question on your mind: how did they come up with that name? According Lapillus’s agency, MLD entertainment, the name was derived from a Latin word that means “a jewel whose colour changes depending on the direction of light it absorbs.”

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the other fun fact about Lapillus is that its six members come from different parts of the world: Shana is from Japan, Chanty is a Filipino-Argentinian from the Philippines, Yue is a Chinese-American from the US, and Seowon, Bessie, and Haeun are from South Korea.

Lapillus also stakes claims to two firsts within the K-Pop industry: They have the first K-Pop idol of Argentinian descent, and the youngest idol to ever debut — Haeun is just 13 years old!

The group’s debut single, HIT YA!, showcases the girls’ swag-filled vocals, complemented by a catchy guitar hook and powerful percussion. 

The group also recently made their first comeback on September 22 with the mini album, GIRL’s ROUND Pt.1, continuing the fierce concept of HIT YA! The album’s title track, GRATATA, references the sound of a machine gun firing and represents the group’s determination to aim for their dreams.If you feel like you need a little power in your stride, you need to watch its equally powerful music video.

Interested to discover more K-Pop groups? Follow the K-Pop ON! Playlist for the latest K-Pop songs.