Wonder Girls watch out. A new Asian girl group is on the way.
FarWest Entertainment — a production company helmed by former Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) president Jon Niermann — and a group of Asian partners are behind a fledgling girl band enterprise called “Project Lotus.”
The concept behind “Project Lotus” is simple.
Get five talented girls from Korea, Japan, China, India and the Philippines. Pair them up with Grammy Award-winning producers Eliot Kennedy and Brian Grant. Give them songs composed by prominent song writers like Take That’s Gary Barlow. Get it all down on film and drop it on the world.
In the midst of pre-auditions, FarWest and team are busy culling talent from a variety of outlets, including the Internet, where hopefuls can upload their audition videos onto Project Lotus’ website (www.projectlotus.tv), Facebook page or their YouTube channel.
To date 850 girls have sent in their clips. The number could more than double by the Aug. 2 submission deadline.
Applicants need to be Asian women aged 18 to 25 who can speak English and sing and dance. Clips should feature hopefuls singing an English-language pop song.
According to production manager Laura Conway, video clips are just the beginning of an extensive auditioning process that includes country manager-hosted tryouts. Producers will also tour Asian cities to scout out candidates from performing arts schools, modeling agencies and local management companies.
“The candidates who are successful will be invited to attend a live audition in their capital city,” Conway explained via e-mail. “This audition will take place in front of a panel of celebrity judges.”
A group of 25 finalists, five from each country, will then fly to Hong Kong to take part in a six-week training process. One girl from each country will be eliminated every week until only five are left.
The resulting footage is slated to air in February and March. The album release is set for April.
“TV deals are currently in negotiation,” said Conway. “We intend that the television show will be broadcast throughout the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Asia of their desire to target an international audience of girls aged 6 to 14, Conway said: “We believe that the timing is right for singers from Asia to make it big in the West.”
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
credit: heraldm.com + kpop.ph
NMB48 already has an official website and is currently gathering girls for an audition that will start this summer. The group is expected to start activities in November.
UPDATE: AKB48 also announced that they will perform in Italy this October, followed by performances in Singapore and Macau in November.
Source: Natalie + tokyograph.com
Ono has already appeared in a few movies and television dramas. She recently played a main role in Keisuke Yoshida’s movie “Sankaku” (starring Sousuke Takaoka). Through that role, she apparently recognized her own inexperience, and she made the decision to seriously study to improve her ability.
It was also announced at the concert that AKB48’s 19th single, scheduled for release this December, will have its roster decided by a “Janken Senbatsu.” A tournament-like event will be held at the Nippon Budokan on September 21, and the top 16 will perform on the single. All 48 members of the group, plus 4 kenkyuusei, are eligible for the tournament, regardless of their popularity.
Source: AKB48 Official Blog + tokyograph.com
AKB48 has once again created a temporary unit to promote “Natto Day” on July 10. The new group, named Natto Angel Z, consists of four AKB48 members who all like natto.
The new group is a follow-up to last year’s three-member unit Natto Angel. Miho Miyazaki (16) is returning for the new group, but Tomomi Itano (18) and Tomomi Kasai (18) are being replaced by Moeno Nito (17), Sumire Sato (16), and Haruka Ishida (16). Like the original group, all of the members are managed by the agency Horipro.
Natto Angel Z publicly performed their song “Natto Man” for the first time on Monday. The song will be released as a chaku-uta on July 7 and as a chaku-uta full on July 14.
Source: Nikkan Sports + tokyograph.com
Japanese idol band KAT-TUN will be making their first appearance in Korea on MNet’s “M Countdown” on July 1.
“This is a band that brought over 680,000 fans to their concert in Japan last year,” MNet Media, the group’s representative in Korea said.
“The show will provide the perfect chance for Korean fans to see one of Japan’s representative bands in action.”
The band will have its first concert in Korea on Aug. 6 and 7. The show sold out in just 20 minutes after tickets went on sale on June 23.
Nakanishi was one of the first generation members of AKB48, but she graduated from the group in November 2008. On June 6, 2010, she wrote in her official fan club blog that she was returning to her hometown in Oita, seemingly to take a break and to refresh herself. However, it appears that she is really just undergoing an image change, moving into the adult industry under the stage name “Rico Yamaguchi.”
The news seems to have first been broken by the magazine Shukan Taishu, whose June 21 issue reported that a former AKB48 member was going to make her AV debut. At the time, a writer for Cyzo speculated that the girl in question was Nakanishi. On June 25, that guess was confirmed when her nude photos appeared in FRIDAY, and AV company Alice Japan announced the debut DVD of Rico Yamaguchi, scheduled to go on sale on August 27. In addition, it has also been announced that Yamaguchi will get her first nude photobook titled “Departure” on July 13.
Source: Cyzo + Tokyograph
“Zutto Mae Kara” will be used as the new ending theme of the ongoing “Major” anime series, beginning with the July 3 episode. That same day, the song will begin digital distribution through various music sites.
Source: Natalie + Tokyograph.com
Sakurai has been cast as a doctor for the film, which is based on a bestselling novel published last year by an actual doctor named Sosuke Natsukawa. Ichito Kurihara (played by Sakurai) is a local physician in Nagano who meets an elderly woman with terminal cancer. His interaction with her leads to his own growth as a doctor and as a person. Miyazaki plays Sakurai’s beloved wife Haruna, who works as a photographer.
The staff for the film includes the production team from the movie “Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu” and screenwriter Noriko Goto, whose credits include the dramas “Blackjack ni Yoroshiku” and “Team Batista no Eikou.”
“Kamisama no Karute” will be released during the second half of 2011.
Source: Sports Hochi + Tokyograph.com
Japanese idol group KAT-TUN will be visiting Korea for their first-ever concert in the country in August, according to their Korean licenser Mnet Media on Friday.
A press release from Mnet said that the six-member boy band will hold their two-day concert at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul on August 6 and 7, as one of the stops on their Asia Tour titled “KAT-TUN World Big Tour.”
They are scheduled to take the stages of Japan, Korea, Taiwan and several countries throughout the Asia region.
A representative from Mnet stated, “Local fans are showing great interest in the group performing in the country and they will be able to experience high quality music from KAT-TUN.”
KAT-TUN, composed of members Kazuya Kamenashi, Jin Akanishi, Junnosuke Taguchi, Koki Tanaka, Tatsuya Ueda and Yuichi Nakamura, made their debut in 2006 with their first single album “Real Face.”
They are considered to be one of the most popular boy bands in Japan and have appeared in various Japanese variety shows, dramas and commercials.