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String of talent shows trail 'Superstar K'


From left, JK Kim Dong-wook, Kim Eun-jung from Jewelry, Tei, Lim Jeong-hee and Kim Chang-ryul of DJ DOC appear on tvN’s “Operastar,” in which the singers competed to become an opera singer.

Following the smash success of “Superstar K2,” some 10 talent shows will be on air throughout the year, covering from singer, designer and model to announcer and actor.

Mnet’s “Superstar K3,” will start auditions for the third season of the hit talent show, Thursday, through phone and UCC (user-created content). After regional preliminaries, the show will start airing from Aug. 12 to Nov. 11, when the third winner will be announced.

The show received more than 1.3 million applicants last year and expects even more this time. Huh Gak, the winner of “Superstar K2,” shot to stardom from working as a fan repairman and other finalists such as John Park and Jang Jae-in are also working on albums.
Kim Yong-beom, the program’s producer, said this season’s keyword would be diversity at a press conference for the show last week.

“This year we will separate the applicants by soloists and groups,” Kim said. “Previous competitions were based on individuals and even competent group members could not survive by themselves. We will give chances to such groups.”

Veteran singers Lee Seung-chul and Yoon Jong-shin will continue to be judges and a new female panelist, following Lee Hyo-ri and Uhm Jung-hwa, will join them later.

“We want a variety of applicants to come to the auditions. I want to meet a cappella groups, duets, dance teams and rock bands at the show,” Lee said.



“MBC Star Audition,” launched last November, is picking up in both viewer ratings and attention. At first, the program was considered an imitation of “Superstar K,” but the producer chose to focus on mentoring and the program is developing its own path.

The five mentors — singers Lee Eun-mi, Kim Yoon-ah, Kim Tae-won, Shin Seung-hun and songwriter Bang Si-hyuk — now lead the participants in their own style, differentiating from other talent shows.

MBC began “I Am a Singer” and “Super Rookie” last Sunday. “I Am a Singer” is to select the best singer among experienced performers, while “Super Rookie” will recruit a new announcer for the broadcaster.

SBS will air “Audition of the Miracle” from June to choose the protagonist of a new SBS drama. Top actors and actresses such as Park Shin-yand and Ko Hyun-jeong have received offers to be the show’s judges, but the final list has not been revealed.

The broadcasting station also plans to nurture young figure skaters in “Kiss & Cry” (working title).

Cable channel tvN will air “Korea Got Talent,” using the format of the world famous “Got Talent” series from June. “Project Runway Korea” and “Korea’s Next Top Model” both successfully introduced the reality show format here and led to the popularity of such shows in Korea.



Singers in competition


The auditions are not only for ordinary people who want stardom. Established singers also compete on television shows to prove their ability.

MBC’s “I Am a Singer,” first aired on Sunday and immediately sparked controversy. The program is a double-edged sword: It gives singers the chance to show off their ability but they might suffer the humiliation of elimination.

The program, hosted by singer Lee So-ra, makes experienced singers, such as Kim Gun-mo, Yoon Do-hyun, Kim Bum-soo and Baek Ji-young, vie using their singing ability. In the first episode, Lena Park won while Jung Yup came in last. From this week, the bottom performer will be excluded from the show and a new singer will fill the position.

TvN launched “Operastar 2011,” featuring JK Kim Dong-wook, Kim Eun-jung from Jewelry, Tei, Lim Jeong-hee and Kim Chang-ryul of DJ DOC. The cable broadcaster brought the format of “Popstar to Operastar” from the U.K. and let the singers challenge a new genre of singing.

Nationwide auditions

The popularity of talent shows is mainly based on the participation of viewers, as they can affect the result of the shows.

The amount of prize money is also climbing with the popularity of the genre set to attract more gifted people.


Mnet’s second season of “Superstar K” gave 200 million won and a car for the winner last year, but it soon fell behind the 300 million won of “MBC Star Audition” and tvN’s “Korea Got Talent.” This year’s “Superstar K” has raised the amount of prize money to 500 million won — 300 million won cash prize, 200 million won for making an album and yet undisclosed additional prizes.

As talent shows are booming, competition among the programs might result in a decline in quality.


Jeong Deok-hyun, a cultural critic said talent shows can bring a diversity of storytelling, as ordinary people with broad background participate in the show.

“Other variety shows are filled with entertainers, actors and singers who often overlap,” Jeong said. “The stories of ordinary people now draw viewers to such programs. This is even more ’real’ than so-called real variety shows.”

He said the programs need unique content to survive. “Though the talent show format is now successful in Korea, copying without consideration would result in a series of boring imitations.”

Source: Kwon Mee-yoo @ The Korea Times
Tags: tv shows
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