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New Superstar K to look for hidden talent, create another touching story

Pop star Psy replaces Yoon Jong-shin on TV audition program


Mnet’s “Superstar K4” will differentiate itself from the increasing number of audition programs here by discovering genuine musical talent and delivering touching stories from millions of applicants who dream of becoming a star, according one of the show’s judges.

“The goal of the program is not only to introduce new talent to Korean audiences but also to convey the dreams and hopes of the contestants who want to become star artists through the show,” said Lee Seung-chul, legendary vocalist and one of the three judges for the new season of “Superstar K,” at a press conference at the CJ E&M center in Sangam-dong, Seoul, on Wednesday.

Renowned producer and pop artist Psy joins the new season of the show, replacing outgoing judge Yoon Jong-shin. Singer-songwriter and TV celebrity Yoon gained popularity with his humorous but sharp talk during the second and third seasons of the show. However, he decided to quit the show citing personal reasons, CJ officials said.

“I was so touched by last season’s winner Ulala Session’s performance and their passion portrayed in the show. So I decided to join the show hoping to introduce other talented artists like them,” Psy told reporters.
Superstar K4 judges Lee Seung-chul (left) and Psy pose for photo (CJ E&M)
Superstar K4 judges Lee Seung-chul (left) and Psy pose for photo (CJ E&M)

Psy said he will look at not just the vocal skills of the contestants but also at their ability to create innovative performances.

“The reason I chose Superstar K is because the show brings contestants specialized in all sorts of musical genres. I know better than anyone how hard it is to sing while dancing at the same time on the stage,” he said.

“So I will look for teams and singers who have talent in overall performance and showmanship.”

The cable TV channel didn’t reveal who will take the role of the female judge as singer Yoon Mi-rae won’t be joining for the new season. “Superstar K” usually features three judges ― two male singers and one female singer.

The show has been a huge hit, with more than 5.6 million people voting via text message for live shows last year, according to Mnet. The average viewer ratings of “Superstar K3” came in at 11.8 percent, sometimes being the highest among all terrestrial and cable channels, it added. Also last year, contestants went through a massive competition involving 2 million people consisting of not only Koreans, but star aspirants from abroad as well.

Contestants vie for 500 million won in prize money and a chance to perform live at the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Singapore. The show debuted a number of star singers including Seo In-guk, the winner of the first season of the show, Hur Gak, the winner of the second season and Ulala Session, winner of the third season.

So far, about 400,000 people including lawmaker Kang Yong-seok have signed up for “Superstar K4.” Those who get through the first round of preliminaries are invited to regional auditions to be held in and out of the country.

The production team of the show featuring the three judges will tour eight major cities in Korea and also some cities abroad. Last year, the show went to five cities in three countries including New York, Beijing, Tokyo and Osaka.

The first show will air on Mnet on Aug. 17.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)
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