The music industry loves putting together a good girl or boy group. Shows like the The X Factor brought us both One Direction and Fifth Harmony, and in South Korea, fan-voted competition shows to find the next big K-pop stars have created groups like TWICE and IVE. Now, these two seemingly opposite industries are teaming up to create a girl group like no other; South Korea’s HYBE entertainment company and the U.S.’s Geffen Records have partnered to create the first-ever truly global girl group that will be trained under the K-pop method. After a worldwide search and over 120,000 submissions, the 20 young women who will be vying for a role in the girl group were unveiled on Aug. 29. Soon, their efforts to make it in the group will be broadcast in a new show titled The Debut: Dream Academy, premiering on Sept. 1 on YouTube and Abema.
The 20 young women range from ages 14 to 21 and hail from as far as Belarus to Japan and the U.S. Over the course of The Debut: Dream Academy broadcast, they’ll undergo the famous K-pop training process and audition to be in the new group. Crucially, fans will get to vote via WeVerse or TikTok on their favorite members each week to determine who moves on and who doesn’t. In the show’s final episode, the remaining contestants will form the group, and the group’s official name will also be revealed.
In addition, the entire process will be documented in an upcoming untitled Netflix series. Set to premiere in 2024, the show will feature unprecedented access to the contestants and their auditions. It “will be a compelling portrayal of the journey to global stardom,” as well as offer “insight into the unique training and development program from HYBE and Geffen Records,” per a press release. The series will be directed by Nadia Hallgren, who also helmed the Michelle Obama documentary, Becoming.
As for the contestants themselves, they were formally introduced in a seven-minute boarding school-themed video where they dance, sing, perform, and otherwise showcase their talents. Watch it above, and get a closer look at The Debut: Dream Academy’s inaugural class, below.
Country: South Korea
Country: South Korea
Photos courtesy of HYBE x Geffen.