The Debut: Dream Academy – the 20 contestants vying to be part of the global girl group

Participants will undergo a similar rigorous training schedule like K-pop idols

The 20 contestants of The Debut: Dream Academy come from countries such as US, Australia, Brazil and the Philippines. Photo: Hybe and Geffen Records
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Hybe and Geffen Records have revealed the 20 contestants who will compete in their new reality talent competition, The Debut: Dream Academy.

The audition programme will stream weekly on YouTube, with the first episode to broadcast on Friday. The show aims to find members for a new global girl group and will be inspired by the success of K-pop acts. This means they will undergo the same rigorous singing and dance training sessions as K-pop idols.

Contestants come from countries such as South Korea, Japan, the US, Australia, Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines. The women were selected from more than 120,000 submissions after the joint venture was announced in November 2021. Viewers will also have a say in choosing the final line-up as they can vote for their favourite contestant on TikTok and WeVerse. The final will air on November 17.

“I have wanted to form an international group based on K-pop methodology for a while,” said Hybe chairman Bang Si-Hyuk. “To do this, I believed we needed a capable partner. When I met [Interscope Geffen A&M Records chief executive] John [Janick] – from the first moment, we both felt instantly that we had a connection, musically and creatively. I am very proud of the rich history we have made and the tremendous talent we have found. I am proud of the opportunities we have created within the K-pop universe.”

Janick added: “Since we began our partnership two years ago, Bang and I have often spoken about our shared beliefs in artist development, music and creativity. To develop a global group with Bang, with the best of K-pop methodology, and our Geffen team. It's truly special and will bring to life a first-of-its-kind experience in music.

“Each candidate is incredibly talented, dedicated, and driven, making this an exciting moment for music fans around the world.”

A Netflix series will also chronicle the years-long process of conceptualising and creating the girl group and will premiere in 2024. It will be directed by Nadia Hallgren, who also helmed Becoming, a documentary about former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 9:15 AM