South Korean entertainment agency SM Entertainment and America's MGM Worldwide Television Group are partnering to develop a reality competition series for the purpose of scouting young American talent to form a US-based K-pop group.
The newly formed K-pop group will be called NCT Hollywood and will be the latest sub-unit under SM's concept group, NCT. This group also includes the sub-units NCT 127 (based in Seoul), WayV (based in China) and NCT Dream (originally a teen-only group which was changed last year).
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What is the new K-pop competition reality show?
According to reports, the new reality show will be similar to shows like "American Idol." The competition will look for American male artists between the ages of 13 and 25 years old.
The selected contestants will be flown to Seoul, South Korea, where they will join as trainees for a K-pop boot camp at the SM campus. Each episode will show the contestants competing in dance, vocals, and style tests. The contestants will be judged and mentored by SM founder Lee Soo Man as well as current NCT members.
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What is SM Entertainment's K-pop training like?
SM Entertainment is known for being one of the "Big Three" K-pop entertainment agencies, along with YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment.
SM's artists are vastly credited for the success of "Hallyu" or "Korean wave" in K-pop across the world. The agency includes groups like Girls Generation, SHINee, NCT, SuperM, Super Junior, Red Velvet, and more recently, Aespa.
However, the company has often come under criticism for the harsh treatment of its artists and has been involved in several lawsuits by former members.
SM Entertainment's strict trainee life came under the lens when a former member revealed that trainees had to undergo harsh training. For instance, if a trainee was late, they had to sing while running around the practice room 10 times. Trainees reportedly had to sing while doing sit-ups, and their stomachs were hit in order to develop muscle and vocal power.
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Each month, the trainees' body fat percentages are checked as the K-Pop industry has strict beauty standards. SM Entertainment also makes it a point to train its members in various languages so that idols are able to communicate with their fans during international concerts.
K-Pop trainees are also taught to maintain their public image, basic etiquette, and media training. They are encouraged to refrain from drink-driving, doing drugs, and any other scandals that might result in intense public scrutiny.
Prospective trainees usually spend anywhere between a couple of months to more than 10 years training while they wait for their big break in the K-Pop industry.
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