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GREAT NEWS FOR FUTURE ASIAN GIRL GROUP WANNABEES

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.

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Grammy Award-winning producers Eliot Kennedy (left) and Brian Grant (center) are set to compose songs with Canto-pop singer Jonathan Wong for a new Pan-Asian girl group. FarWest Entertainment

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.”

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By Jean Oh  (oh_jean@heraldm.com)

credit: heraldm.com + kpop.ph


LEE HYORI’S AGENCY SUES BAHNUS VACCUUM

Korean pop singer Lee Hyori [Asia Economic Daily]

Top Korean singer Lee Hyori’s agency Mnet Media has taken legal action for the recent plagiarism controversy surrounding Lee’s latest album “H-Logic,” filing criminal charges against record producer group Bahnus Vaccuum to Seoul West District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday.

“Bahnus provided [Lee and Mnet Media] songs that were plagiarized,” an official at Mnet Media told Asia Economic Daily over the phone on Thursday. “Today [July 1], we filed a criminal lawsuit against Bahnus Vaccuum for fraud and obstruction of work.”

The official explained that Bahnus had committed fraud by providing plagiarized songs and obstructed the activities relating to Lee’s record production and sales. He said that Mnet is currently trying to find the original foreign songwriter.

Lee had received a total of seven songs from a producer group named Bahnus Vacuum, known as a project group consisting of seven members, who initially denied the allegations by claiming the demos had been leaked by illegal means.

On June 20, however, the singer posted a message on her official fan cafe, admitting that several songs on the record were plagiarized and announced a break from all musical activities until the plagiarism controversy gets solved.

According to the Wikipedia entry for Lee, the songs that are reportedly accused of being plagiarized are; “I’m Back” (plagiarized from Canadian indie-singer Lil Precious’ track “So Insane”); “Memory” (from British Trip-Hop group Second Person’s track “The Alphabet Song”); “Feel the Same” (from Canadian indie-singer Melanie Durrant’s “Feel the Same”); “Swing” (of which the melody resembles Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis’ “To treno fegi stis ohto”); “Bring it Back” (from aspiring Canadian girl-group Cookie Couture’s “Boy Bring it Back”); and “How Did We Get” (from Jason Derulo’s “How Did We”, which also sampled Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love You’s”, which on its turn is a cover from the song with the same name by The Lover Speaks).

This is not the first time that Lee’s music has been accused of plagiarism. In 2006, the song “Get Ya,” the title track from her second solo album “Dark Angel,” drew immediate controversy over having plagiarized U.S. pop star Britney Spears’ hit tune “Do Something.'”

Lee, 30, debuted in 1998 as a member of popular girl band Fin.K.L. and went solo after the group disbanded in 2002. She has released four studio albums as a solo artist, producing several hits including “10 Minutes”, “Hey Girl” and “U-Go-Girl”.

She has also branched out to acting, hosting and appearing on variety shows, most notably on the first season of SBS’ “Family Outing”.

The singer was enjoying a comeback to the music scene with “H-Logic,” which was released on April 15. The title single “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” swept various K-pop music charts over the past few months.

credit: asiae.co.kr


SUPER STAR K TO HOLD AUDITION IN L.A

The popular cable show “Super Star K” is eyeing the L.A. crowd with plans to hold an audition at Koreatown’s CGV theater June 26.

/ Courtesy of Mnet Media

By Han Sang-hee
Staff reporter

The popular Korean program “Super Star K” is reaching out to the United States. Mnet Media, the cable channel that airs the show, announced Wednesday that the program, which is in its second season, is casting its eyes on America.

“We have received requests for overseas auditions from people who wanted to try out and hopefully become the next winner of `Super Star K.’ Considering that many singers who work in Korea have been chosen through auditions held abroad, we decided to hold one in Los Angeles as a start,” Kim Yong-beom, the chief producer of the show, said.

People of any age who can sing Korean songs in Korean can apply for an audition, regardless of nationality. It will take place at 10 a.m. on June 26 at the L.A. CGV theater in Koreatown and anyone who wishes to show off their talents is welcome to show up. Qualifiers from the first round will move on to the next stage the next day on June 27, and the winners from the second heat will be flown to Korea in July for the final show with the Korean contestants.

“The whole crew has high expectations, as the event will be held in the United States, the home of pop music. We hope this will be a chance where we can find and further nourish aspiring artists living in L.A.,” he added.

As Kim mentioned, numerous singers currently working in the music industry were discovered through competitive auditions held by top local agencies. 2NE1 member Sandara Park was discovered in the Philippines, while Jay Park, also known as Jae-beom and former member of boy band 2PM, was also recruited after auditioning for JYP Entertainment.

More than 1.3 million people applied for the second season of the show, more than double last year’s count.

The search for talent around the world seems to be a trend, with former American Idol host Simon Cowell looking into putting together a show called “World’s Got Talent,” according to Entertainment Weekly.

“Super Star K” may not be targeting the world just yet, but the first overseas audition proves the high demand for local shows and that many up and coming musicians are looking for a way to break onto the local music scene.

“Super Star K” started last year with hopes that the show would somehow revive the dying music industry and further discover hidden talent from around the nation. Top producers and singers, including Yang Hyun-suk, Lee Hyo-ri and Lee Seung-chul, appeared as judges, and the eventual winner Seo In-guk became a star.

The second season of “Super Star K” will start airing July 23 at 11 p.m. on Mnet.

sanghee@koreatimes.co.kr

SAMSUNG TO MAKE 3D VIDEOS FEATURING KOREAN POP STARS

HONG KONG: Computer companies are betting that the future is not only bright but in three dimensions, as a string of manufacturers are set to bring 3D laptops and desktops on to the market.

Fujitsu announced on Wednesday a desktop computer that can play 3D content, convert 2D DVDs to 3D and even has a 3D camera.

And Toshiba’s 3D Dynabook TX/98MB laptop, which it says is the first laptop to play 3D Blu-ray discs, goes sale in Japan in July.

Taiwan-based ASUSTek was the first off the drawing board and into the shops with the launch of its G51 3D late last year, which was branded as “the world’s first true 3D ready notebook”.

“We believe 3D is now an important part of the market,” ASUSTek spokeswoman Jenny Lee told AFP on Wednesday.

“More and more games and more and more movies are being made in 3D. We think there is a huge demand for 3D computers.”

Graphics card and chipmaker NVIDIA make the computer guts that will help create the 3D magic on screen for many of the new machines.

The company’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a keynote speech at Computex, Asia’s biggest IT trade fair, in Taipei last week setting out the company’s 3D stall.

“This is the beginning of the 3D PC revolution,” he was quoted as saying by tech news website TG Daily. “It’s been 10 years since there’s been a revolutionary change in gaming graphics.”

“This is by far one of the most captivating technologies ever introduced on the PC,” said Hidehito Murato, Chief Marketing Executive at Toshiba in an NVIDIA press release. “The era of 3D is upon us.”

And many content producers agree.

The FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Johannesburg on Friday will for the first time be filmed in 3D and broadcast in selected public viewing areas across the world, Sony said.

The opening ceremony will also be shown in 3D to fans at six FIFA viewing sites in cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

And last week, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Hollywood director James Cameron announced a deal to work together to boost 3D television content.

Under the agreement, Cameron and his crew will make 3D footage of music videos featuring South Korean pop stars that will be used by Samsung to help promote the sale of its 3D televisions worldwide.

Cameron’s 3D blockbuster “Avatar” started a 3D wave in the movie industry and is the world’s highest grossing movie, earning 2.8 billion dollars in ticket sales so far.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of flat-screen televisions, said it may raise this year’s sales target for 3D TVs given the growing demand. Early this year it targeted around two million sales.

Cameron told a forum that lack of content was the biggest hurdle to 3D televisions saying that the thousands of hours of content that would be needed “will require a revolution in the way TV is produced”.

source: economictimes.indiatimes.com


SOUTH KOREA BLAST “HUH’ OF 4MINUTE, PROPAGANDA OVER THE BORDER

by Joe Tacopino
Daily News Writer

South Korean soldiers stand guard near the South side of the border in the village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Sung-Jun/Getty
South Korean soldiers stand guard near the South side of the border in the village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

South Korea is waging war with pop music.

After the country formally accused North Korea of launching the torpedo that sunk their warship Cheonan, South Korea has declared psychological warfare in retaliation.

Their first missive into the hermit kingdom was a pop song.

Ended a six-year suspension against state-sanctioned propaganda, the South sent the message across the border through the airwaves.

Before airing a rebuke from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the broadcast features K-pop girl group 4minute singing their song “HuH (Hit Your Heart).”

The song was specifically chosen to irk the repressive regime with its liberating lyrics: “Baby, you’re kidding me? I do what I want and I do it my way.”

The two countries, officially still at war, are divided by a 155-mile Korean Demilitarized Zone. The South set up speakers to blast the propaganda across the DMZ.

In a move reminiscent of the 1984 movie “Footloose,” the North Korean capital of Pyongyang has vowed to destroy any speakers set up along the border.

source: NYdailynews.com

[KPOP/NEWS] 100415 SM SUES TVXQ MEMBERS 2.2 BILLION WON

Three members of boy band TVXQ, namely Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun and Xiah Junsu, have been sued a total 2.2 billion won, equivalent to nearly two million dollars, by major talenthouse SM Entertainment.

SM, in charge of discovering and managing the five-member band, had taken legal action against the three singers on Monday, filing an objection against a court’s decision ordering provisional disposition of their working contracts as well as a lawsuit reclaiming their validity.

“We are demanding compensation for damages the agency and the remaining two members have suffered from the cosmetics business the three have undertaken and them also cancelling a concert in Shenzhen,” SM stated in its complaint.

SM went onto explain that the conflict between the two parties arose from the cosmetics business the three singers invested in last year, after the agency claimed the singers would be violating their exclusive contract by using the group’s name and portrait rights for the business.

“That is when they denied the validity of their working contract and filed for provisional disposition. They then one-sidedly decided to cancel on their schedules following the court ruling, inflicting immense damages to the remaining two members,” SM claimed.

In late July last year, Hero, Micky and Xiah had asked a court in late July to nullify their 13-year exclusive contract with SM to which the court ruled that the agency will not interfere in their individual activities.

The five-man band had stopped working as a group in Korea ever since, although carrying on their activities in Japan including making TV and magazine appearances as well as releasing albums, until announcing on April 3 that the group would no longer pursue a singing career together.

TVXQ has been one of the most successful K-pop acts in Asia since their debut in 2004 with reportedly the largest fanbase in the world.

They were particularly successful in the Japanese music industry, becoming the first foreign artist to top the Oricon singles charts six times with a single last year and also the first foreign artist in 15 years to place their single and album simultaneously within the top three slots of Oricon’s singles and albums chart.

credit/source: asiae.co.kr


[JPOP] NEWS’ TEGOSHI CAUSES CAR ACCIDENT

Yuya Tegoshi (22), a member of the boy band NEWS, caused a car accident earlier this week, it was learned on Friday.

According to Shibuya police, the accident took place near a coin-operated parking lot in Minami-Azabu on the evening of March 15. Tegoshi was exiting from the parking lot, while a taxi on the street was passing from his right. His vehicle hit the rear left side of the taxi.

Tegoshi reportedly said that he mistakenly thought the taxi was going to yield to him.

Fortunately, neither Tegoshi nor the taxi driver were hurt.

Source: Sankei Sports + tokyograph.com


[KPOP] JYP CALLS COPS OVER CYBER CALAMITY

TALK OF THE TOWN
2PM

JYP Entertainment, the management company of boy band 2PM, has turned to the police to track down fans who, angry at the departure of member Park Jae-beom from the group on Feb. 25, have spread rumors about the group and publicized personal information, including the resident ID numbers of the remaining members. “Although the members said that we should try to understand the disappointment of fans, since they are spreading and misusing [personal] information, we had no choice but to ask the police for assistance,” the company announced on its Web site Tuesday.Park, an American of Korean descent, resigned from the group after posts on his MySpace page complaining about Korea, uploaded before he joined the group, came to light, sparking public outrage. He currently lives in Seattle.

source:  joongangdaily.com


[JPOP] NEWS’ SHIGEAKI KATO TO STAR IN A DRAMA SERIES

NEWS member Shigeaki Kato (22) has been chosen to star in a TV Tokyo drama series titled “Troubleman,” airing this spring. This will be his first lead role in a television series.

“Troubleman” is a comedy about a man (Kato) who keeps getting dragged into the problems of his neighbors. The show is being written and directed by cult filmmaker SABU (45), who has never been in charge of a television drama before.

The series starts on April 9 and will be broadcast in TV Tokyo’s “Drama 24” time slot (Friday nights at 12:12am).

Source: Sankei Sports and Tokyograph


[HALLYU] KIM YUN JIN OF “LOST” TO GRACE THE COVER OF U.S ENTERTAINMENT MAG

Korean actress Kim Yun-jin [Asia Economic Daily]

Korean actress Kim Yun-jin will be featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, one of the top entertainment magazines in the United States, according to Kim’s agency Zion Entertainment. The actress, who is currently in shooting for the final season of ABC’s hit series “Lost,” posed for the cover of the magazine alone for the first time. She had appeared on the front of the publication over several occasions alongside other members of the show but never by herself.Kim made herself a household name after starring in “Swiri,” the highest grossing film in 1999, where she played the role of a North Korean spy. She then gained recognition overseas for her role in the Emmy Awards-winning show “Lost,” making her the first South Korean actress to make a breakthrough into the U.S. entertainment industry.Her latest film “Harmony,” where she is a prisoner who forms a choir, has attracted over 1.3 million viewers since its opening late last month. Kim, 36, recently set up Zion, which works in affiliation with major U.S. talent management agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.

SOURCE: asiae.co.kr