Interview: THE BOYZ

Client: TEEN VOGUE

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Many things changed for The Boyz over those eight episodes — primarily their belief in themselves — while some didn’t change at all. “We realized we’re a group who can pull off these very hard performances, and that’s given us new confidence,” nods Juyeon. But for Sunwoo, who has a chronic fear of heights yet spent his time on the show falling backwards off high staircases or clambering up tilting platforms, Road To Kingdom failed to cure his acrophobia. “Every time I practiced, the fear would feel brand new, like it was the first time again,” he says, dejectedly. “No matter how much I practiced, I just couldn’t get used to going up high. Psychologically it wasn’t easy.”

There was also the matter of the follow-up flagship show, Kingdom. Even before Road To Kingdom began airing, there were mutterings around the series’ viability. In late July, it was confirmed that Kingdom wouldn’t air this year. You might assume The Boyz, having invested so heavily into the process, were frustrated at this open-ended postponement. But Hyunjae, huddled deep within his hoodie, confesses all he felt was relief, noting that “we were at a point where we were physically and mentally tired, and needed a rest.” Their first performance after the show, Kevin recalls, was for the annual KCON event, albeit a COVID-suitable digital version. “It felt so much more peaceful to be able to perform in a non-competitive setting,” he says. “There was time to focus on ourselves and prepare and release our own music instead of worrying about competing.”

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