Nearly two years after first announcing a partnership to develop a new girl group made up of artists from around the world, Universal Music Group’s Geffen Records and Hybe — the influential Korean label behind K-Pop stars like BTS — have revealed the contestants for the project in the two. The 20 girls were introduced as part of a streaming audition set to stream online starting later this week.
The girls who presented the audition program were called First appearance: Dream AcademyThey were chosen from 120,000 others who submitted applications to the group. The companies introduced them during a raucous live event broadcast from IGA Studios on Monday.
The contestants range in age from 14 to 21 years old, and they come from both the United States and South Korea as well as many countries around the world in Asia, Europe, Australia and South America. The audition will begin broadcasting on YouTube on the first Friday of September and will run for approximately three months before the final group is decided during the final audition on November 17. By then, the companies said, the group’s name will also be submitted.
During the live broadcast, all 20 contestants introduced themselves and said where they come from in both English and another language, depending on their location. The companies also showed a film (as shown below) to introduce the contestants.
Hybe and Geffen are touting the partnership as the first time an American record label has collaborated with a K-Pop label to develop a new group. Besides the competition itself, the companies said a Netflix documentary series detailing the creation of the group will air sometime next year. Nadia Hallgren, who directed the 2020 film become Documentary about Michelle Obama, he is directing the series.
The group will not be a K-pop group, but Bang Si-hyuk, the president of Hybe who helped form BTS more than a decade ago, said in a statement that the development process of K-pop will influence the way the group is formed.
Si Hyuk said, “I have wanted to form an international K-Pop group for a while. To do that, I thought we needed a capable partner. When I met John (Janik, Chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M), from moment one, we both immediately felt we had a musical and creative connection.
As Janik said, “Since we began our partnership two years ago, Bang and I have talked a lot about our shared beliefs in artist development, music and creativity. Developing a global group with Bang, with the best K-Pop methodology, and our Geffen team, is truly special and will bring to life a first-of-its-kind music experience.
Below is the full list of contestants, their ages and countries of origin.
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”