Jumping onto the Last Idol Bandwagon. Japanese singing competition with a twist.
We’re sure that everyone is familiar with singing competitions around the world. There’s American Idol, China’s Singer, and in Korea, idol group Produce 101 where they go through singing and performance competition. In Japan, there are singing competitions almost every week on different TV channels. So, what is Last Idol and how is it different from other singing competition?
Produced by Yasushi Akimoto (yes, the man behind 48G and Sakamichi groups), Last Idol is a singing competition to search for the Ultimate Idol group. An audition was held in July 2017 and over 5000 idol hopefuls went for it. Among them, only 7 temporary Last Idol members were selected. The TV program started in mid August and each week, you would be seeing 1 to 2 challengers taking on one of the temporary members in a singing performance battle. A panel of 4 judges will judge their performance, but only one of them gets to decide with his/ her decision without prior discussion with other judges, on whether the challenger or the temporary member wins. If the challenger wins, the temporary member will be asked to step down from her position and the challenger takes over her place. If the temporary member wins, she will keep her position. This process continued for 19 episodes, with a couple of unexpected hiccups along the way, until their eventual debut in December. So, if you’ve noticed the time line, temporary members come and go and had to brush up their singing and performance capability in that short time frame of four months. Failure to do so, they are out of the competition.
To let you have a brief idea of what happened, here is a digest video of the competition:
Of course, that short digest would not be sufficient for people to understand the actual drama that was aired on the entire 20 episodes. Yes, we did see tears from temporary members and challengers who lost the battle or was afraid that they could not hold their position, but there were other things that wasn’t shown, such as a wrong judgement by one judge, which changed the entire ball game for group. As with any idol groups, there would definitely be fans. When one wrong judgement came in, fans set the net on fire. Even fellow judges question the decision at times. And if the challenger wins, the remaining temporary members will have to accept the fact that they just lost a fellow team mate. However, one of the most interesting aspect in the competition was seeing how a challenger who successfully won the battle, perform Last Idol’s debut song, Bandwagon, in perfection despite only having 30 mins to 1 hour to get her costume done up, and practice the dance. Yes, during the actual recording, you will get to see behind the scenes of what happened after a challenger wins.
So, what happens to those who lost the competition?
Well, we aren’t sure if this is how idol producers milk money from fans, but for challengers and ousted temporary members, four second units were created:
Adding in Last Idol…
If you look closely, you would notice one member appearing twice. She is Midori Nagatsuki. Having protected her position twice, she lost it when the wrong judgement came in. She was given a second chance in her second unit, Shuucream Rockets, and another chance came in later for her to get back into Last Idol. For full details, you might wish to watch it on your own.
Currently at the start of their second season, the competition has changed. Instead of members competing for a place in Last Idol, this time round all five units battle with each other to win the rights to sing the main song for their second single. A round-robin tournament system between all five units battle it out, leaving with the number one group to sing the main song.
For the second season, five song producers have been engaged to produce the units. They are (from left to right): Tsunku♂, Tetsuya Komuro, Yasushi Akimoto, Tetsurou Oda, and Rino Sashihara. All five producers are required to produce the songs, dances and costumes for the units that they are in charged of. Members chose their producers in random order and it turned out to be an interesting mix of units and producers.
Last Idol airs every Saturday on TV Asahi at 00:05am. If you have access to TV streams to TV Asahi, do not forget to watch them.
Last Idol Official site: http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/last-idol/
Last Idol Official YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIl3TIM7dAJYOKsEmTTrvtg
Last Idol Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/last_idol_pr
Twitter accounts for all units: @Lastidol_pr @Good_Tears_pr @chou_roke_pr @Somed_Somew_pr @LoveCocchi_pr
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