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MBN to air first metaverse-based music survival show ‘Avatar Singer’

From left: TV host and personality Jang Sung-kyu, Root M&C’s chief operating officer Kim Yun-sung, singer Hwang Chi-yeul, musical actor Kim Ho-young, rapper DinDin, comedian Hwang Je-sung, comedian Park Mi-sun, singer Baek Ji-young, Lip J of female dance crew Prowdmon and chief producer Kim Don-woo pose for photos during a press conference for MBN‘s upcoming metaverse-based music survival show “Avatar Singer” held in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. (MBN)
From left: TV host and personality Jang Sung-kyu, Root M&C’s chief operating officer Kim Yun-sung, singer Hwang Chi-yeul, musical actor Kim Ho-young, rapper DinDin, comedian Hwang Je-sung, comedian Park Mi-sun, singer Baek Ji-young, Lip J of female dance crew Prowdmon and chief producer Kim Don-woo pose for photos during a press conference for MBN‘s upcoming metaverse-based music survival show “Avatar Singer” held in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. (MBN)
As the metaverse rise in prominence, South Korean cable channel MBN decided to launch the first-ever music survival program using metaverse technology.

“Avatar Singer” will feature 10 top-tier musicians that conceal their identities behind a digital character. The contestants, represented by their 3D avatars with supernatural powers, will compete to become the show‘s winner. Their performances will transcend the physical limitations of the stage for a uniquely immersive viewing experience.

Participants are Memory, Cloudy, Ian, Ran&Logi, Geumeundong, Steel, Day, Kimsoonsu, Lime and Namjafriend. TV personality Jang Sung-kyu is set to host the program.

The judge’s panel features comedian Park Mi-sun, singer Baek Ji-young, actor Choi Won-young, musical actor Kim Ho-young, singer Hwang Chi-yeul, comedian Hwang Je-sung, Lip J of female dance crew Prowdmon, rapper DinDin and TV personality and YouTuber Jonathan. An audience of 100 people will also contribute to selecting the winner.

In a press conference held at VA Studio in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday, the survival show‘s production company, Root M&C’s chief executive officer Park Jung-hoon said, “We‘ll guide viewers through a whole new world by introducing the program with a virtual stage.”

Poster image of MBN’s upcoming metaverse-based music survival show “Avatar Singer” (MBN)
Poster image of MBN’s upcoming metaverse-based music survival show “Avatar Singer” (MBN)
According to the CEO, preparations for the program began in July last year. However, a show like this, which involved the latest advancement in virtual reality and augmented reality tech, created several challenges for the production team. The innovative concept won over the cable channel, and they decided to push forward with the production after just four days of consideration.

“This is a show where the things you imagine can become a reality. ... Viewers will quickly be surprised by the things they see, then surprised again by the things they hear,” he added.

According to the producer, the cutting-edge technology needed for the show makes it one of the most expensive of its kind. When the show’s host, Jang, asked for a rough estimate of how much it cost, Kim responded, saying, “Each episode costs more than the most expensive sedan available.” Shocked, Jang added, “That means that it costs more than a billion won ($750,000) per episode which is five to ten times more than a general entertainment show usually costs.”

The celebrity panelists were equally enthusiastic about the show, describing it as “sensational.” Baek Ji-young raised expectations further by describing the unprecedented performances as “cathartic.” DinDin also said, “What we are saying might not make sense now, but you‘ll understand what we mean after watching the first episode.”

“Avatar Singer” will premiere at 10:20 p.m. on Friday.

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