Fans of J-pop idol groups and televised competition shows, rejoice!
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10 Jul 2017 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2017 - 11:53 AM

Starting in August, one of Japan’s biggest broadcasters, TV Asahi, will air Last Idol. It's a competition show designed to put together a seven-member idol group produced by AKB48 mastermind Yasushi Akimoto from performers ranging from amateurs to professionals. Once a line-up is solidified, they will debut with their very own CD, along with a show on TV Asahi (which, I presume isn’t the show they appear on while competing) and appear on the cover of a weekly magazine. Here's the teaser:

A summary of how this works: auditions are held to put together an initial seven-member unit that will appear on the first episode in early August. In every episode of the show, a challenger will emerge to try to take a seat from one of the members. Judges make the decision on who stays and who goes. At the end of the season, whoever is in the group...is in the group.

Online reaction has seen a fair amount of people compare Last Idol to the K-pop reality competition Produce 101. That’s true on one level; they are both, indeed, musical group competitions that air on TV. After that they are completely different. Last Idol has much more in common with Korea’s Sixteen, the program that resulted in the formation of Twice, as that contest had a “major” team and a group trying to take their places. I have no doubts the overwhelming success of these talent shows - and the success of many units that come from them - inspired Japanese TV types to want their own version, but I’m also not sure it’s a winning strategy to play the “y is biting from x” game. I mean, Japan had pop group talent searches all the way back in the 1970s, so none of this is exactly fresh.

Anyway, it has been a while since a pop-group-making show like this graced a major Japanese network and, if done right, could make for some compelling television that results in a new idol group with a huge audience already exposed to them. A lot more details need to come out before getting too excited about this, but it seems intriguing.

And if Oomori Seiko - who appears in the trailer - is a judge, I’m in every week, guaranteed. 

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