The popularity of K-pop is now evolving to another level as foreign terrestrial networks have begun producing audition programs for the genre. Colombia, a gateway to Latin America, is a case in point. The nation's largest private TV station, Caracol TV, joined hands with Korea's English-language network Arirang TV to make a K-pop reality show in April.
Colombian singers and music producers judge participants' performances while K-pop band U-KISS watches their video clips and evaluates them. Over 500 youngsters have so far taken part. A group of six finalists will be selected in June to make a trip to Korea for meetings with K-pop bands here.
Songs performed by those who passed the preliminary stages of the competition include 2NE1's "Fire," Girls' Generation's "The Boys," and SHINee's "Lucifer." The contestants with stars in their eyes further impressed viewers and judges with their accurate Korean pronunciation and flamboyant dancing skills.
K-pop may be new to Colombia but it is receiving an explosive response from youngsters there, according to industry insiders. However, people in their 30s or over are generally unfamiliar with the genre.
"Our viewer ratings stand at just 3-5 percent, but we decided to air the program as we believe K-pop will become more popular [here]," said the producer of the audition program.
As the Korean Wave starts to wash over the country, Arirang TV sees the market as having great potential. It said that Telmex, Colombia's largest cable TV station, will begin airing "Pops in Seoul" to introduce K-pop from next week.
Meanwhile, the 10 episodes of the audition program will be broadcast worldwide on Arirang from June 16.