When I say, “boy band,” what do you picture? Did an image of the N*SYNC pop into your head? Maybe F4? Perhaps One Direction? By any chance, was it BTS? Well, whichever boy band came to mind first, what do these boys all have in common? Did you say they can sing? Yes, what else? They can dance? Yes, what else? Say it. You know the answer. You know. You won’t say it? Fine, I will. They all have six-pack abs. Was and is this still a requirement put upon popular boy bands? Well, the Produce Pandas say no!
Produce Pandas has been dubbed China’s “chubby” boy band. They recently debuted in July 2020, with the song “La La La,” which is, in my humble opinion, a bop. There are 5 young men in the group, namely Otter, Cass, Mr 17, Ding, and Husky. Produce Pandas is affectionately known as the XXL Boy Band, but it’s not just their size that’s XXL, it’s the possibilities in front of them, too. The five come from varying backgrounds — from a tram driver, a bar singer, or a corporate worker.
The big boys find humor in having to dance the same amount your typical boy band does, saying, “For bigger people like us, we need more energy to dance.” They are expected to perform at the level of the other dancers, so it makes it a bit trickier for them. They work out for at least an hour a day, but don’t fear! They eat to their hearts’ content to keep their panda-like figures.
At the beginning of the search for its members, they were tested every 3 months to rank their skills, and if a contestant was ranked the lowest, you would get eliminated.
Like all boy bands, their strengths and weaknesses vary. Otter shares in an interview that he was not the best dancer, failing to memorize and execute the routine on the first, second, and third try causing tears to run down his face. But he has improved, keeping up with the other members of the group.
Mr 17 and Ding had no training in singing, and that kept them both on edge. But now, Mr 17 is complimented by their vocal coach, saying he has a nice voice and his tone is good.
Mr 17 tells us the story of his name, saying that 17 is his favorite number. It’s the age at which you have a lot of hopes and dreams. At that age, he asked his teacher if he could be a dancer or a dance teacher and his teacher shook his head at him. This did not stop Mr 17 from pursuing his dreams, and here he is dancing and starring in music videos with his band, Produce Pandas.
These boys are on the rise, for sure. So keep your eyes peeled for this lovable boy band to start hitting the airwaves soon.