‘Queendom Puzzle’ Episode 7: No surprises during 1st eliminations & new Top 7; Semi-Final teams and songs are decided

We are LIVE! And people are going to DIE be eliminated! But also, a live broadcasted episode means less content to cover, as we’ll probably be spending 20% of the showtime waiting for Taeyeon to reveal the results only to cut to commercial break. I’m ok with this.


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After a montage of the show thus far, which you’d already know about from our episode recaps, we’re treated to an exterior shot of the studio at night with the worst post-production additions I’ve seen on Korean television in a long while. Both Puzzle and Queendom teams are introduced, with everyone sporting fancy eveningwear. Taeyeon announces the stakes: 5 people will be eliminated today, based on the voting and the benefit totals acquire thus far. The current Top 7 will also be revealed.

First matter of business is finally revealing the results of the All-Rounder Battle. The total score for Team Puzzle is 1146, while Team Queendom is a distant 2nd place at 812. Team Queendom was absolutely demolished in every round, never breaking the 180 mark whilst Team Puzzle never scored below 200. A laughable contest at best. Kei is like “both teams played hard” and Yeonhee is like “Well, my mom thought we did well!”

We’re next shown footage of the contestants finally getting to see the new Semi-Final songs. First is “Puzzlin’“, produced and written by Young K. It’s… fine, but a little thin, definitely no “Rose Blossom”. Kind of sounds like “We have FIFTY FIFTY‘s ‘Cupid‘ at home”. Might be the weakest song of the three. “i DGA” is written by iKON‘s Bobby and sounds absolutely ridiculous. The last track is “I Do” by Ryan Jhun, and has the most hilariously stupid sonic reference in the hook that makes it perfect for shows like this.

This time, the teams have been decided by the voters. Teams will start practicing/recording before eliminations, so there will be more people than parts to start off. Potentially, teams will also have to be shuffled around a bit. Kei and Bora are first to find out, and get sent to separate teams. The rest of the contestants leave in pairs or threes, navigating to their designated… uhhh… receptacles.

Mnet is trying to do their best to make a fun game of “What could songs A, B and C be referring to???”, but it’s deathly obvious to everyone that B is “i DGA”, at the very least. All the rappers / tough girls are set to B. Also, a ton of low-ranked contestants are on Team A, who themselves are pretty sure their song is “Puzzlin'”. Team C is also fairly certain that Team A is performing “Puzzlin'”, while they themselves have been bequeathed “I Do”. But who knows? There could be some big surprises!

(There were no surprises.)

(Ok, one surprise.)

Team “Puzzlin'” is Kei, Miru, Jiwon, Riina, Soojin, JooE, Chaerin, Wooyeon, and Suyun.

Team “i DGA” is Yuki, Hwiseo, Dohwa, Sangah, Yeeun, Fye, Soeun, and Yeoreum.

Team “I Do” is Bora, Yeonhee, Nana, Elly, Zoa, Jiwoo, Jihan, Seoyoung, and Juri.

Songwriter Bobby shows up to meet his performers, and he is awkward as hell, mainly because this is the first time doing something like this, but also maybe because no shower? Yuki is stoked though. After a short pep talk, the 8 members distribute the parts. Soeun, sensing the end is nigh, volunteers to double up.

The other two teams drive to the recording studio to meet their respective songwriters. First it’s Young K Garden, the composer of “Puzzlin'”. They leap right into recording, and Garden says he prefers Jiwon for the main vocal over the expected Kei. Mr. Jhun shows up for Team C, and likewise, he thinks Jihan is better suited for the main vocal role than Bora.

Back at the live studio, Taeyeon announces the voting has closed. But since Mnet needs a little more time to rig tally the votes, we get a little Zoa/Jiwoo side stage, announcing a special performance from the entire Queendom cast.

But first we cut back to some pre-recorded material from the Puzzle Studio. The idols sign the big chalkboard as they arrive, enjoying each other’s company and anticipating the day’s activities. Suddenly, Bora lugs in her mailbox from Episode 1, which she says is a gift for everyone. The postbox is filled with messages from everyone’s fans. The girls get teary when seeing words of comfort coming from complete strangers, or the occasional Han Chowon in Sangah’s case.

Back to the live studio for a special performance of the show’s theme song, “Rise Up“. As the performance hits its climax, words of gratitude rain down upon the live audience. The idols reaffirm their devotion to their fans, hopefully gaining a little more confidence for the show’s home stretch.

It’s finally time to announce some midterm results. BUT FIRST… the group’s name reveal: EL7Z U+P, which looks like some 2-factor authentication nonsense. Congrats on giving this team a name that robots can’t parse correctly, I suppose.

Ok ok, it’s finally time for some results. The Top 7 are revealed.

  • #7: Hwiseo
  • #6: Yeoreum
  • #5: Nana
  • #4: Jihan
  • #3: Yuki
  • #2: Yeeun
  • #1: Kei

A fairly logical and unsurprising top 7. I’d say Hwiseo and Yuki would be the two lower percentile inclusions. Hwiseo, of course, wasn’t a household name by any means as the show started and is in top 7 purely via her performances on this program itself. Yuki’s not really an outlier as RBW/PURPLE KISS do indeed have a vocal fanbase. It’s just she got so high; I thought for sure Nana and Yeoreum would’ve been top 5. If Yuki was #6 I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

And now, the flipside. 5 contestants will be eliminated. Each team comes to the front of the stage as Taeyeon announces the results. She calls the “I Do” team to the stage. They only lose one member, tripleS‘s Seoyeon, who takes the news pretty causally. Some words of appreciation, one last hug and it’s over.

Next is Team “Puzzlin'”. Eliminated are Cherry Bullet‘s Chaein and JooE. Chaerin tries to take it in stride but can’t help but shed a few tears while bidding farewell. JooE’s had an emotional episode overall, figuring out what her next move is as a newly solo artist. She’s grateful to be able to reintroduce herself to the fans through the program.

Finally is Team “i DGA”. Most of the team is already in the Top 7 seats, but they’re still losing two members. LIGHTSUM‘s Sangah is the first to go, surprising the rest of the group. Weeekly‘s Soeun is the final elimination today.

The eliminated participants take their final bows. The votes are reset, meaning it is anyone’s game yet again. The next battle will eliminate 7 members, and will occur as another live broadcast on August 8th. I guess next week is a filler episode.

The final will also be live, and will go down on August 15th.


A eulogy for the eliminated:

Seoyeon got clapped hard in the Up-Down Battle and her reputation never really recovered. But she was always capable in every battle, and her chaotic zoomer ambivalence stood out multiple times during the show. Seoyeon was here, and she was real.

JooE never really settled into a proper character role, and her screentime really suffered because of it. You could tell she was also ridiculously nervous while on stage, maybe up until as late as “Glow Up”. We’ve seen her be a better singer and a better dancer elsewhere on Korean television, here’s hoping QP was the first step to JooE getting her groove back.

Chaerin’s time on Queendom Puzzle can be summed up as “baby’s first survival show”. Hard to say if she wasn’t equipped to engage with the format, or if she was just incapable of doing so. Bora was kind of a dud during Girls Planet 999, but picked the rhythm of the show up eventually. Mostly I think she’s donezo with the format.

Soeun tried really really really hard. The most capable double-threat of Weeekly has had this problem since day one: no one really likes her for some reason. It’s a chronic issue for her.

Sangah probably had the biggest gap between what the show thought of her (wunderkind, charismatic) and what the voters thought of her (underwhelming, raw). Would’ve been nice to see her around more just to dodge the CUBE Entertainment dungeon for a bit longer. I thought someone else like Soojin or Elly would’ve gotten cut before her.

Random Thoughts

  • Is this the first time Jiwoo has worn a gown? Because it looks like her first time.
  • Meanwhile, Riina looked incredible.
  • Today is the first time I’ve heard Taeyeon speak English outside the context of trolling Tiffany.
  • Also enjoyed the poetry of the canned responses Taeyeon had to repeat as she waited for people to get off the stage. I wish my subway automation spoke to me in such floral tones.
  • Can the gay community inform me if ‘Twinkple’ is an acceptable name for a voting app?
  • Lol’ed when you could hear Team A’s car screaming while Yeonhee was entering Team C’s car.
  • Yeonhee screaming at Bora’s jump scare because all her parts are gonna get stolen, again.
  • Elly not on the loser team for once! Too bad her confidence is in shambles and she has to rap.
  • Also cool to see the giant babies on the same team for once. Give them their own show!
  • Bora is being so gracious these days after coming out of the gates so greedy, but she’s also taken a nosedive in the polls recently, so maybe just maybe it’s time for her to curbstomp some peers.
  • Twitter’s new X logo and the Queendom Puzzle fonts aren’t the same, but they’re close.
  • Mnet cowers from Dohwa’s power and gives her no real screentime this week.
  • How nice of the producers to give Soeun, JooE, and Sangah such great emotional moments in the show before kicking them to the curb.
  • Love Yeonhee mad dashing straight to Seoyeon at the end of the episode.
  • Mnet should drop the corn tea sponsor and go straight to the corn crust pizza.


IATFB’s Shitters Section

See, I told you guys shit would get back on track once they started making heads roll. They were always doing a survival show with Queendom Puzzle, so it seemed bizarre that it was so de-emphasized for the most part. Look, it even motivated me to write about the ridiculous name yesterday and Hojo to write the recap almost immediately.

Back to Mnet’s fuckery now, and it’s rather nice in a way.


My Top 7


The way the votes are going is actually pretty fucking good. It’s a very self-serious team, but there’s also competent singers and rappers and dancers, and basically everybody is a visual. I would go with Jiwon simply because leaving her out after what I’ve seen from her on the show is just dumb as hell, but other than that, it’s fine. I’d pay attention just for having most of my mid-tier faves in it alone.

That said, I’m sure before all this is over everybody will find a way to fuck this up.


The Next 5


Again, this is nothing personal against Yeoreum, but why should she be in this group? She is literally in WJSN already and they won the last season of this. WJSN is just too relevant for this, I’m sorry. At least with Kei they kinda got clowned on their season of Queendom and somebody has to fucking sing.

Yeonhee is there just because she’s pretty and competent, not gonna lie. Juri is making her way up because there’s so much seriousness on the show and she’s one of the few who has shown well in performances and is actually entertaining, which is one of the most important parts of being an idol. Riina, Fye, and Elly have been way underrated in this run. They standout in most of their appearances, and if this wasn’t powered by fandom votes, I’d have to think their showing would be deserving of a better edit and better responses.


Unfortunately, the eliminated members are fine as well. They were mostly anonymous on the show or had enough poor showings where it was clear they wouldn’t fit in the final group. That said, I thought Sangah getting the boot here was harsh, and it probably reflects the lack of fandom support more than anything because she didn’t even get a terrible edit either. A bunch of others like Soojin, Dohwa, and Jiwoo had struggled more on the show and don’t figure to factor (though at least Dohwa is fun on the actual show).

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