MBC’s ‘Teenage Girls’ aims to nurture Billboard chart-in girl group

  • Published : Nov 25, 2021 - 18:02
  • Updated : Nov 25, 2021 - 18:37
(G)I-dle’s Soyeon, dancer Aiki and singer-turned-musical actress Ock Joo-hyun pose during a press conference for “Teenage Girls” at MBC headquarters in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, Thursday. (MBC)
MBC’s upcoming global audition program “Teenage Girls” is set to premiere on Sunday, with scores of contestants competing to form a seven-member girl group with the potential of making it on the Billboard charts.

Viewers will see 83 trainees from South Korea, Japan, China and other countries display entertainment skills such as singing, dancing and rapping. The trainees will be split across four categories based on age.

MBC teamed up with Naver and Han Dong-chul, who produced Mnet’s landmark K-pop competition “Produce 101.” The show touts itself as a brand new concept by previously airing a prequel “Hesitation Before Going to School,” where psychiatrist Oh Eun-young appeared in a motherly role to inspire contestants.

It also attempted to deviate from the norm of local audition shows by featuring legendary artists as both judges and mentors for the trainees. Singer-turned-musical actress Ock Joo-hyun, Girls’ Generation’s Kwon Yuri, (G)I-dle’s Soyeon and dancer Aiki will mentor contestants, while actor Yoon Kyun-sang will make his hosting debut for the show.

“The most unique point about ‘Teenage Girls’ is that we aired its prequel to provide a chance to fans to meet the trainees. The contestants were also able to show their talents and charms ahead of airing the program,” Kang Young-sun, chief producer for the program, said during a press conference held at MBC headquarters in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, Thursday.

“An audition itself can’t be fair to everyone, but once it starts, all contestants should receive equitable evaluations,” the chief producer said. “No matter whether trainees become members of possible debut groups or not, we’ve put all-out efforts to provide opportunities for everyone to take a step closer to becoming more skilled artists.”

Ock, previously of now-disbanded girl group Fin K.L, emphasized her goal of becoming a mentor who can build good memories for the contestants. Aiki, who appeared in Mnet competition “Street Woman Fighter,” said she will focus on the trainees’ attractive features from the viewers’ point of view.

“It is my fourth time starring in survival programs. Since I’ve participated in the shows as a contestant, I can understand the hardships and feelings that the trainees go through. So I’ve been putting in efforts to share tips (that I learned as an idol) as much as possible,” Soyeon said, highlighting the importance of enduring hardships during various competitions on the show.

Fellow mentor Yuri was unable to attend the press conference due to recently coming in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Yuri is awaiting her results after undergoing a COVID-19 PCR test.

“Teenage Girls” is set to air its first episode Sunday at 8:20 p.m. The program will air regularly on Sundays at 9 p.m. from the next week. All episodes will be available on both MBC and Naver NOW.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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