A ten-year-long career is no easy feat, and despite many challenges along their way, Highlight pulled through. The group maintains a strong following and has become one of the most legendary K-Pop groups today.
Born during what many consider the “golden age” of K-Pop, Highlight originally debuted as BEAST under Cube Entertainment in 2009 with six members: Yoon Doojoon, Jang Hyunseung, Yong Junhyung, Yang Yoseob, Lee Gikwang, and Son Dongwoon. Their debut single “Bad Girl” became a hit and got them the Rookie of the Year Award from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Their debut album Beast Is The B2ST sold 20,000 copies on its first month and 40,000 three months later. At that time, it was highly unusual for a rookie group to sell that much.
BEAST steadily promoted, and in their second year, they got their first music show win in “Shock.” In 2011, the group entered Japan’s music scene with the Japanese version of the same song and landed the second spot of Oricon’s weekly chart. In the same year, Hyunseung promoted with then-4Minute member Hyuna as the duo Trouble Maker.
BEAST went global with their “Beautiful Show” world tour in 2012. They performed in 17 cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Their new track “Beautiful Night” also won triple crown on M! Countdown.
“Fiction” is arguably one of their most iconic songs, having the most views out of all their music videos. More added to their roster of hit songs, including “Good Luck,” which garnered the most music show wins with 10 trophies to date, followed by “12:30” with eight.
In 2016, however, Cube Entertainment announced Hyunseung is leaving the group to pursue solo activities. BEAST continued as a five-member group with “Butterfly” and “Ribbon.”
Later that year, BEAST announced their departure from Cube Entertainment upon expiration of their contract. The members have since clarified there was no bad blood between them and their former agency, and that the decision to leave was due to their wishes to head to a different direction.
The group established Around Us Entertainment which handled their promotions from then on. As the name BEAST is trademarked by Cube Entertainment, the group changed its name to Highlight. The new group released their debut track “Plz Don’t Be Sad” on March 20, 2017, and their fans did not falter in supporting them. Can You Feel It? topped Gaon Weekly on its release and snatched 59th place on Oricon Weekly. Its repackaged version, Calling You, also landed on the second spot of Gaon Weekly on the 22nd week of 2017.
Leader Doojoon enlisted for his mandatory military service in August 2018, and Highlight proceeded to promote their third EP Outro with four members. In January 2019, Yoseob followed Doojoon in the military. Months later, Junhyung took to Instagram to announce his departure from the group after being implicated in the chat room scandal.
Whether you’re a B2uty or a Light, there are tons of moments to cherish with BEAST and Highlight. We listed some of them here as we celebrate their 10 years in the K-Pop industry.
1. Where it all began
Here’s one of BEAST’s earliest performances of their debut single “Bad Girl.” Just look at the hairdo, the bling, and those shades!
Credit: TV-People / YouTube
2. From backup to bandmates
Long-time B2uties and Lights would know Yoseob used to be a backup dancer for Gikwang, then known as AJ, during his early days as a solo artist. The two were high school friends and were thus very close. As fate would have it, they both ended up in the same group and have been together since.
Watch AJ/Gikwang’s “Dancing Shoes” MV with Yoseob at the back!
Credit: 1theK (원더케이) / YouTube
3. Legends covering legends
BEAST is only a day older than MBLAQ, and on this video from 2009, we see the two groups dancing to Girls’ Generation, Son Dambi, Brown Eyed Girls, Super Junior, and 2PM.
Credit: SicaYang / YouTube
4. Talent runs in the blood, indeed!
With its catchy melody and intricate footwork, “Fiction” could be remembered as one of BEAST’s best releases. And while we’re all amazed each time this group performs this hit, it’s even more fascinating to see their fathers doing their own version! I mean, look at this clip here.
5. Speaking of “Fiction”…
One thing we know for a fact is that this orchestra version of “Fiction” is beautiful. There’s no other word for it. Simply breathtaking.
Credit: lyn yey / YouTube
6. When in doubt, improvise!
It’s always nice to watch your favorite K-Pop idols taking on the Random Play Dance Challenge. It’s impressive how they all manage to remember each move quickly and still be in sync. For BEAST, however, they turn every song into a freestyle dance and create new choreography on the spot to avoid punishment! Even the main dancer doesn’t know what’s going on, and they get so shocked when old songs play that they freeze on the dance floor. They even covered for each other whenever they get caught. They might flunk the Random Play Dance Challenge, but this is some whole new level of teamwork!
Credit: ALL THE K-POP / YouTube
7. I can hear your voice
Another fun game to watch among idols is the Whisper Challenge. BEAST is not the first group to do this, but the way they executed the game has become one of the most iconic in all of K-Pop. Here, we see Yoon Leader burning with passion as he played.
Here’s another one in which the members got the answer all wrong, but Doojoon miraculously saved the game.
Credit: ALL THE K-POP / YouTube
8. The end of an era
Yoseob, one of the most talented vocalists of K-Pop, is also known for his killer aegyo. He isn’t the group’s maknae, who are often expected to show their cute sides, but he certainly likes doing it. So when Weekly Idol made Yang Fairy crack his aegyo for the very last time and retire the skill for good, it was a devastating moment. *Sobs*
Credit: Echa Highlight / YouTube
9. New beginnings
After seven years as BEAST, the members shed their old name and became the new group, Highlight! Debuting for the second time with “Plz Don’t Be Sad,” they proved to the world that they still have it in them to be a K-Pop group to keep watching out for.
Credit: Mnet K-POP / YouTube
10. The seniors became the juniors
Because of Highlight’s 2017 debut, the group technically became the junior of the groups that debuted earlier. Highlight was told to bow and speak formally to KNK, who debuted in March 2016. It’s amusing because Seoham and Inseong are big BEAST fans and even funnier because KNK’s maknae Heejun, the youngest person in the room at the time, was really feeling it. He even gave Highlight members some tips on how to be comfortable on stage!
Credit: ALL THE K-POP / YouTube
Congratulations to Highlight for ten fruitful years in K-Pop!