Global auditions are changing the ‘K’ in K-pop – Asia Times

VCHA, a female-only hero group made up entirely of Canadian and American people who had passed North American auditions, was just launched by K-pop large JYP Entertainment. The band says its members ‘ backgrounds include Asian, light, Latino, dark, Vietnamese and Chinese ancestries.

The BBC and CNN‘s interest has now come to the fore, with the after novel concept of a K-pop group without Asian members.

Since 2023, I have been tracking world K-pop auditions in Canada in response to the changing nature of K-pop. Canada was the eighth-largest K-pop market in the world in the first quarter of 2023.

Between February and April 2024, I visited interview facilities: again in Vancouver in February, and half in Toronto in March and next April. I observed an increase in the diversity of people who wanted to join K-pop musicians like Toronto-born Keeho in the group P1Harmony, such as BLACKPINK and K-pop artists like BTS.

The lines between K-pop, which contributes billions of dollars to South Korea’s market each year and has attracted interest from all over the world, are blurring.

While BTS’s head RM defined K- pop as a social “premium label” in a 2023 interview, the term’ K’ may be losing its distinctiveness— prompting questions about what it does contain in the future.

Beyond language territories

I observed K-pop performers practicing their songs outside the place for the auditions. Although their lyrics included a sizable amount of English, they hummed with fluent Korean pronunciation.

Data from the Circle Chart, managed by the Korea Music Content Association, confirm this language mix. The use of English in K-pop girl group songs is increasing significantly, with 41.3 % of the lyrics from the top digital chart hits in English being used in the first half of 2023, an increase from 18.9 % in 2018. K-pop child bands ‘ songs have been written in English, but at a slower rate.

To improve communication in the North American market and beat language obstacles on the international stage, K-pop management made the wise decision to incorporate idols from Korean or Eastern backgrounds from English-speaking countries.

The obvious change to consider other than the conventional Korean lyrics associated with K-pop suggests that the language’s impact on K-pop’s sound is as much a result of its continued evolution and adaptability.

Exporting the K- music template

K-pop’s main focus is no longer only on upholding its primary purpose: producing and promoting individual artists. K-pop is more about evolving and diversifying by bringing back the pretty formula that has defined this style, with its masterfully crafted education and control, viral music, synchronized dancing, and strong supporter connections.

The North Korean global entertainment company HYBE held auditions for prospective K-pop stars last year that attracted 120, 000 people from all over the world. The last 10 respondents represented a wide variety of ethnicities including individuals from the Philippines, Australia, Brazil and Switzerland.

Bang Si-Hyuk, the chairperson of HYBE, also mentioned the desire to unite diverse talent into global organizations in the K-pop era.

However, such endeavours are not without their concerns. According to an insider in the industry, K-pop companies are simply copying South Korean or East Asian companies ‘ successful formulas and applying them to other nations. This approach might overlook the potential for creating novel narratives or distinctive writing styles that could evoke hybrid K-pop identities.

A K-pop expert points out that maintaining a balance between Korean and non-Korean fans is essential to strike a balance.

Looking abroad

Due to an aging population and a saturated domestic music scene, South Korea is currently dealing with talent shortages. Investors see significant investments in the future, especially given how sparsely the music industry manages venues for both new and established artists to get stage time. Given these factors, the appeal of traveling abroad seems to me even more compelling.

The South Korean government’s “K-culture training visa” initiative, which allows non-Koreas who enroll in local K-pop or performing arts academies to reside in South Korea for up to two years, shows how popular K-pop is internationally. This suggests that K-pop has great potential for internationalization and the potential arrival of more international talent.

Canada’s rising note in K- pop

The global K-pop auditions in Canada both highlighted the country’s young talent pool and provided a roadmap for the country’s young talent.

K- pop’s definition is dynamic and increasingly inclusive, reflecting the changing tastes and demographics of its global audience. It is integrating Canadian talent into its global narrative and expanding beyond its Korean roots.

Tae Yeon Eom is a sessional lecturer &amp, PhD candidate at tge East Asian Culture, University of British Columbia.

The Conversation has republished this article under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Yang Lan interviews Donnie Yen – One on One

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Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen starred in John Wick: Chapter 4 as Caine, a blind assassin forced, at an age approaching 60 to hunt John Wick (Keanu Reeves). Following in the footsteps of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Yen has devoted his life to promoting Chinese martial arts in films. In an interview, Yen shared his experiences about how he reduced his weight and learnt the details to act as kung-fu master Ip Man.

Yang Lan, one of China’s top TV journalists and entrepreneurs, partners with Asia Times to showcase the ground-breaking series, “Yang Lan One on One.” Yang reveals the victories, wisdom and breakthroughs of the many global luminaries she’s interviewed. Learn how these trailblazers – from movie stars, scientists and economists, to entrepreneurs and government leaders – have ignited social progress throughout the world.

Asia Times is the distributor of the series.

Episode 1: Yang Lan interviews Michelle Yeoh – One on One

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Yang Lan interviews Michelle Yeoh – One on One

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Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh won the Academy Award for Best Actress in March for her starring role as an overwhelmed mother navigating the multiverse in Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). In an interview, Yeoh shared her experience about how she developed her career as a kung-fu actress in the male-dominated action movie genre. 

Yang Lan, one of China’s top TV journalists and entrepreneurs, partners with Asia Times to showcase the ground-breaking series, “Yang Lan One on One.” Yang reveals the victories, wisdom and breakthroughs of the many global luminaries she’s interviewed. Learn how these trailblazers – from movie stars, scientists and economists, to entrepreneurs and government leaders – have ignited social progress throughout the world.

Asia Times is the distributor of the series.

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Streaming soon: Yang Lan One-on-One

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Yang Lan, one of China’s top TV journalists and entrepreneurs, partners with Asia Times to showcase the ground-breaking series, “Yang Lan One-on-One.” Yang reveals the victories, wisdom and breakthroughs of the many global luminaries she’s interviewed. Learn how these trailblazers – from movie stars, scientists and economists, to entrepreneurs and government leaders – have ignited social progress throughout the world.

Asia Times, the distributor of the series, will stream the first episode on May 11, 2023.

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Cannes shifts to the East in embrace of authentic filmmaking

Cannes' famous Croisette Photo: wikipediacommons

This year’s selection for the Cannes Film Festival includes possibly the largest number of Arab, African and Asian films in the storied event’s history. This isn’t just mere tokenism: The festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux and his fellow programmers have clearly cast their eye to new territories as they fight the notion that cinema is in crisis. […]Continue Reading

Chelsea Handler, Leslie Jones and John Leguizamo among guest hosts to step in for Trevor Noah on ‘The Daily Show’ | CNN

CNN  — 

The end of an era is fast approaching at Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” and the network has announced at least the first phase of plans for what’s to come next.

Following longtime host Trevor Noah’s imminent departure, the network shared this week that comedy legends including Al Franken, Chelsea Handler, D. L. Hughley, Leslie Jones, John Leguizamo, Hasan Minhaj, Kal Penn, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes and Marlon Wayans will fill in as host of the late-night show starting Tuesday, January 17th, as part of its “next chapter”.

Comedy Central added that “Daily Show” correspondents and contributors are also “set to host with additional details to be announced.”

“As we enter Trevor’s final week, we want to thank him for his many contributions,” said Chris McCarthy, president/CEO of Paramount Media Networks, according to the network statement.

Trevor redefined the show, as did Jon Stewart before him, and as we look to the future, we are excited to reimagine it yet again with the help of this incredible list of talent and correspondents along with the immensely talented ‘Daily Show’ team.”

Noah’s final show is set to air this Thursday. The network has yet to announced whether guest hosts will revolve indefinitely or if a permanent, individual host will be named soon.

“The Daily Show” airs weeknights at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central and is available the following morning on Paramount+.

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Ashton Kutcher and twin Michael talk health, guilt and rift between them | CNN

CNN  — 

In a rare interview, twin brothers Ashton and Michael Kutcher talked about both their bond and their rift.

The pair appeared on the new Paramount+ series “The Checkup with Dr. David Agus.”

Agus, who is Ashton Kutcher’s doctor, first spoke with the actor about his battle with the autoimmune condition vasculitis.

Later he sat down with the brothers to talk about Michael Kutcher having cerebral palsy and also the moment he almost died as a youngster after contracting viral myocarditis that caused his heart to become enlarged and fail.

The brothers both got emotional about Michael’s heart stopping while Ashton was visiting him in the intensive care unit.

“I go in the room and I’m like ‘Whoa,’” Ashton Kutcher said, fighting back tears. “I’m like…’Everything is not ok.’ And he flatlines in the room and I know that noise cause now I’ve been visiting occasionally.”

He said he considered jumping off a balcony to help his brother since his heart would be a match. Michael Kutcher did receive a donor heart in 24 hours.

He later had to have open heart surgery after a blood clot was discovered. Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher’s career as a model and actor started taking off and he said he felt guilt.

The “That 70s Show” star said he wondered, “How do I get to be this lucky?”

“For my brother…to be born with cerebral palsy, then have a heart transplant, then have this random blood clot, these things that you’re just like, ‘Who has to go through that?,’” he said.

Michael Kutcher eventually called him out, he said.

“He looked at me and he said, ‘Every time you feel sorry for me, you make me less,’” Ashton Kutcher said. “He said ‘This is the only life I’ve ever known, so stop feeling sorry for the only thing I have.’ And that then created an entire shift back to where I think we are today, which is straight up equals again.”

Michael Kutcher told Agus the brothers drifted apart because of jealousy on his part after his brother became “a household name.”

“There was a moment when I viewed him as receiving more attention than I was,” Michael Kutcher said. “That kind of drove me down to a place where I was jealous.”

The brothers talked it through, Michael Kutcher said, adding, “And once I took all of the fame and everything out of it, I was able to just, you know, come back to him.”

They also had an issue after the actor shared publicly that his brother had cerebral palsy, something Michael Kutcher had not shared. Ashton Kutcher said during the interview that he was not aware that his brother had been keeping it a secret.

Michael Kutcher is now an advocate for the disabled.

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John Travolta and Kirstie Alley: A love story | CNN

CNN  — 

Kirstie Alley and John Travolta were never romantically involved, but that wasn’t how she initially wanted it.

Alley, who died Monday at the age of 71 after a brief illness, often talked of her feelings for Travolta, whom she called the “greatest love” of her life.

The pair starred together “Look Who’s Talking” film franchise (the first movie hit theaters in 1989). During an appearance in 2018 on “Celebrity Big Brother U.K.”, Alley talked about how easy it is to fall in love with leading men.

She named two co-stars she said she developed feelings for, but never fully consummated the attraction: Patrick Swayze and Travolta.

“I almost ran off and married John. I did love him, I still love him,” Alley said. “If I hadn’t been married I would’ve gone and married him and I would’ve been in an airplane because he has his [own plane.]”

The same year she appeared on the reality show, the “Cheers” star also talked about Travolta during a conversation on “The Dan Wootton Interview” podcast. She said not sleeping with the movie star was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made because I was madly in love with him.”

“We were fun and funny together,” she said. “It wasn’t a sexual relationship because I’m not going to cheat on my husband.”

Alley was married to actor Parker Stevenson at the time. The couple divorced in 1997.

In 2013, Alley told Howard Stern Travolta also had feelings for her, but didn’t act on them because of her marriage.

“It took me years to not look at John as a romantic interest,” she said.

Travolta married actress Kelly Preston in 1991. Alley told Wooten that Preston put her foot down about her flirting with her husband.

“Kelly came up to me and they were married then, and she said, ‘Why are you flirting with my husband?’” Alley said. “And that was sort of when I had to make a decision and that was pretty much the end of that.”

Travolta paid tribute to Alley on social media Monday.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” he wrote in the caption on a post on his verified Instagram account. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”

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