BTS, TXT, TWICE, and more: Top 5 K-pop groups where leaders aren't the oldest members

There are many K-pop groups like BTS, TXT, TWICE, and more where the leaders aren’t the oldest members of the group. Let’s look at the top 5 groups with this arrangement.

Updated on Feb 29, 2024  |  04:57 PM IST |  126.9K
RM, Soobin (Image Credits- HYBE), Jihyo (Image Credits- JYP Entertainment)
RM, Soobin (Image Credits- HYBE), Jihyo (Image Credits- JYP Entertainment)
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With the success of Korea’s first idol group H.O.T, many entertainment agencies attempted to replicate the group’s achievements by following a similar formula with slight variations in the number of members, music style, and costumes. However, a prevailing unspoken rule emerged - elder is the leader by default.

But over the years, this norm has been challenged by numerous K-pop groups. Traditionally, the leader is responsible for guiding the group and looking after its members. Age often plays a significant role in selecting a leader, with the oldest member typically assuming this position. However, this rule does not apply universally across all K-pop groups. In some cases, leaders may not be the oldest members but rather individuals who have been with their agency for the longest duration or possess other qualities deemed essential for leadership. Here are the top 6 groups


BTS' RM serves as the leader of the biggest boy band in the world. Despite not being the oldest member, RM holds that title within the group. When BTS debuted, RM stood out for his maturity and confidence, despite his younger age. Fluent in English, RM's leadership skills have been evident from the start. As the first member to join BTS and having trained for approximately four years, RM brings valuable experience to the group. Jin, as the oldest member, provides support and guidance to RM during challenging times, showcasing the strength of their bond and teamwork within the group.



TXT's Soobin was chosen as the leader by BIGHIT MUSIC and the other members during a leader evaluation process. Despite being the second oldest, Soobin possesses qualities that make him an excellent leader. He provides emotional support, motivation, and inspiration to the group, earning him appreciation from his fellow members. Soobin is known for his kindness and likable personality, making him well-suited for the leadership role. The leader's responsibility is to support the group and ensure everyone stays on track, a role that Soobin fulfills admirably. Meanwhile, Yeonjun, the oldest member, oversees the group and assists Soobin whenever needed, providing him with someone to rely on. 



When TWICE was initially formed, JYP’s Park Jin Young emphasized the importance of having a representative within the group, akin to a CEO of a company. He stressed the need for someone who could effectively express the opinions of all members. Park Jin Young valued qualities such as sacrifice and selflessness in a leader, emphasizing the importance of putting the group before oneself. 

Ultimately, the TWICE members held a private vote to choose their leader, and Jihyo was selected. During their appearance on Showterview With Jessi, TWICE revealed that Jihyo earned the leadership position through the members' votes. They agreed with Jessi's assessment that Jihyo is trustworthy, which influenced their decision. Additionally, Jihyo's extensive training period, totaling 10 years before debut, is presumed to be one of the reasons she was chosen to lead TWICE.


Suho's leadership role in EXO stands out within SM Entertainment groups, as the norm has typically been to appoint the eldest member as the leader. However, Suho explains that he was chosen as the leader of EXO due to his seniority within the group, being the first member to join. Additionally, Suho's extensive training period, spanning seven years before his debut, likely contributed to his selection as the leader.

While Suho may not be the eldest member of EXO, he holds the position of the second eldest, placing him high in the age hierarchy. Regardless of the reasons behind Suho's selection, he undeniably embodies the qualities of a strong leader, a fact that EXO-Ls readily attest to.


The leader position in Starship Entertainment's new girl group IVE has been entrusted to Ahn Yujin. This decision may stem from her exceptional talent and experience gained through her participation in Produce 48 and IZONE. Even prior to her re-debut in IVE, Yujin's leadership potential was recognized by her former IZONE members. 

In an episode of Arcade II, the maknae line of the group unanimously selected Yujin as their leader, citing her natural leadership aura as stated by another talented member Wonyoung saying that Yujin she "has that vibe" that befits a leader. Starship Entertainment’s vice president, Seo Hyun Joo, views Yujin as a true all-rounder with the ability to firmly support the group, which solidifies her position as IVE’s leader.


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About The Author

Pratyusha Dash is an English Literature Graduate from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies with a deep passion for Korean



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