Country Musume to hold auditions for new members!

CountryMusume

A video of Satoda Mai was posted Up-Front’s official youtube channel announcing that new member auditions will be taking place for Country Musume. The auditions will run from now until March 31st. Applicants must be between the ages of 10 and 17. Here’s the audition website.

Now that all of the news about this is about of the way, please excuse me while I have a heart attack and flail my arms about this! Like guys, do you understand? This is actually happening! I am just too excited about this that I am having trouble properly putting my feelings into words. I think that’s a pretty good indication of how excited I am about this.

Do you remember a few weeks ago (it actually might have only been 1 month back now that I think about it) there was that article where Tsunku mentioned he was going to start up Country Musume again. You know, when the entire fandom was thinking more of a reunion than anything. Or that it meant a sole Mai comeback. Since she’s the only remaining member left after all. Though I guess that joke is over now. Gosh one of the biggest running jokes in H!P was how Mai was still a Country Musume member since she never officially graduated. Mostly perpetuated by Mai herself of course. 

I actually didn’t really think much of it to be honest, mostly because Tsunku says a lot of things that never really happen or does happen but not how you were expecting them to happen. Take Morning Musume’s big announcement that he said he was nervous about announcing and it was just a CM deal. Or think about the time he said how he was thinking about starting up Mini Moni again, but it turned out to just be the concert unit Shin Mini Moni. (Oh yeah, I’m going to keep referencing this until the end of time.) Us fans have learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt. Despite how sometimes we just want to take it face value. *cough*wantinganythingbutaCMdeal*cough*

But this time he wasn’t lying, or joking, or just straight up trolling us. No, this time it’s actually happening, and better than people were expecting. We are getting new members to Country Musume!

Now, I’m gonna be straight with you, I have never been a big Country Musume fan. And it was mostly because I think they were the hardest and most troublesome group to get into. They lost and gained members left and right. They had to add Morning Musume members into the group. They never got an official album. Just 2 best albums and therefore only a few album songs. So, I don’t think many H!P fans liked them beyond their singles because there wasn’t really anything else to like. Music wise that is. My favorite Country Musume was Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto. And not just because I’m a huge KonKon fan but because the songs they released then were incredible. Uwaki na Honey Pie and Shining Itoshiki Anata remain as some of my favorite H!P songs of all time.

Now, you might be wondering, “Aim why are you so excited about new members to an H!P group you were never really a fan of?”  Well, I’m glad you asked. Since Country Musume hasn’t released a new song in 10 years, and the songs they do have are so few, for all intensive purpose we are getting a brand new group. Sure they are going to have the name Country Musume and will most likely perform a few old songs here and there, but really what is Country Musume anymore? We’re talking about a group that hasn’t existed in a decade. A group that the general public doesn’t even remember anymore. A group that only has about 20 original songs to it’s name.

This new Country Musume is going to basically start fresh. They are this blank canvas that can release any type of song that they want, because there’s no way of knowing what type of music Country Musume would have ended up making if they actively released music until 2014. So let me state it again so it really sinks in, with this news H!P has just essentially announced a brand new H!P group! And that, my dear readers, is why I’m so excited.

I am also excited for the audition process. I’m excited to root for a girl to make it. I’m excited to see what type of girls are added to the group. I’m excited to hear what they sound like, what they look like, and how they dance. I’m excited to get a feel for their personalities. And I’m excited to pick, and grow attached to, a member. This is the euphoric feeling that only new auditions can bring. And I have to say this feeling is being multiplied several times because it’s an audition you weren’t expecting. So now you’re blindsided and at lost for words because you weren’t even expecting something like this. You didn’t even realize you wanted this. It evoked the same feelings the S/mileage 2nd gen auditions did. And the same feelings I continue to wait for from Momusu’s 12th gen. You know, if they ever start that up again.

So, let’s go H!P I’m all for this. The more idols you throw at me the better. The more groups I have to juggle the happier I am. The more new songs you release, well now you’ve just completely won me over.

Are new members really what Passpo needs?

It was recently announced that Passpo is looking to add new members to the group. Right now their are 8 candidates up for full member status. Passpo is going to accept at least 1 member, but it is still possible that all 8 will be accepted making Passpo a 17 member group. Passpo’s next single will include a voting ticket for fans to choose which member they want to add. And the new member announcement will take place at Nakano Sun Plaza on March 31st.

Now, after Kaho graduated I didn’t think for one minute that they would be getting more members. Passpo seemed like a pretty stable group. And a fairly large one with with 9 members now that Mushu is gone. Since Kaho wasn’t exactly popular I didn’t really think that Passpo would really be taking a huge hit in popularity. And it’s not like the members of Passpo are getting too old by idol standards. They youngest member is 16 and the oldest is 20. Passpo is at a pretty good place, since the older members won’t have to worry about being told to graduate for another 4-5 years. So, the question then is: why are they even adding new members?

Usually when idol groups add new members it’s because of necessity. (Well, idol groups besides AKB48 and their sister groups) They add new members because members are leaving, like it was in S/mileage’s case. Or they add members because the current members are getting too old, like it was with Morning Musume. It seems like Passpo is adding members to increase their popularity. Which I don’t really think is the right way to go about it. It’s obvious that Passpo’s management is looking for a new girl or girls that will be at the level of popularity as Mio and Makoto are. Which is why they are going the very AKB48 route and asking fans to pick. But are a group of Mios really enough to make the entire group popular? I don’t really think it works that way. An idol group has to reach a certain popularity level before one member will determine how much the group sells. If your group is only selling around 45-50,000 copies, like Passpo does, it pretty much shows that even the most popular members aren’t influencing the sales that much. You’d have to sell around 100,000 or more for any one member to really matter. Case and point KAT-TUN. KAT-TUN for a while, before Jin left, was selling a lot of singles. Over 300,000 copies sometimes even over 400,000 copies. Making them the 2nd most popular Johnny’s group at the time. The last single with Jin sold 439,736 copies and the first single without him sold 255,618 copies. A difference of 184,118. Which is a substantial drop. Now, let’s say Mio and Makoto left the group tomorrow. I’d say we’d see about a 25,000 maybe 30,000 drop in Passpo’s sales. If it’s even that. I know they are the most popular members, but are their fanbases really even that large? I think it’s giving them too much credit. But for the sake of arguing let’s say it is. Now, that’s a pretty big drop, considering what they sell now. But if Passpo as a whole was a more popular group a loss that size is nothing. Well, the number of Mio and Makoto fans would also increase, but you get my point. Being the most popular member of a group that hardly sells isn’t that big of a deal.

Let’s say Passpo does find this amazing star member, she’ll at most increase their sales by about 20,000. So, that would bring Passpo’s sales up to about 70,000. Which still isn’t a very large number. Right now Passpo seems to be selling roughly the same amount for each release, they aren’t really growing beyond that. The only way to do that is to build the group itself up. To make the group gain interest to have them continue to steadily gain fans. Keeping the same amount of fans as the release before isn’t really progress.

Yeah, adding members might give the group some media attention for the time being. But once the new members are added the media will pay as much attention to Passpo as they always do, which isn’t really all that much. The only way for Passpo to actually sell more is to work for it. No idol group magically started selling a million copies. AKB48 is at the level they are at because of constant work. TV shows, radio shows, fan involvement, and brilliant marketing. The only way Passpo, or any other idol group for that matter, will ever follow suit is to do the same. Obviously with their own unique take on it. Maybe having the fans vote is something you’d expect from AKB48, and maybe it even seems like a rip off, but whatever helps the group, does it really matter? In the current AKB48 dominated idol world it’s hard for any idol group to not get swallowed up by them. Maybe AKB48 like tactics will entice new fans, but it’s the aspects of the group that aren’t like AKB48 that will keep the fans.

The management said that they are also trying to improve Passpo. To make their events and lives better. To get featured on more TV shows and in more magazines. And if they are using new members as the jumping point to do all of that, more power to them. If they see new members as a way for Passpo to reinvent themselves and garner more attention, then let them do it. I honestly don’t see the point in adding new members, but if it’s going to help make Passpo be the best they possibily can be, then I’m at least going to be open minded to the whole new members thing. Maybe us fans will be pleasantly surprised. Maybe the new members will be better than expected and open new doors for Passpo. It’s worth a shot at least. At least Passpo’s staff sees some flaws in Passpo and are trying to inprove them. Do I think the members are what needs improvement? Not really. But am I going to condemn the new member or members before I even give then a chance? Absolutely not.

Introducing Morning Musume’s 10th generation

At today’s Morning Musume concert at Nippon Budokan the 10th generation of Morning Musume was finally announced.

The new member are: Sixteen year old Ikubo Haruna, Fourteen year old Ishida Ayumi, twelve year old Sato Masaki, and eleven year old Kudo Haruna.

Now, if anyone has noticed I’ve been away from blogging for a couple days. (And I will continue to be away until I catch up my TV shows I’ve been missing. XD) However, I wanted to at least write about this because it is huge news.
When I first got onto the computer I got this overwhelming, indescribable rush of excitment. Obviously new memers are always one of the most exciting fan experiences. Second only to actual concerts. But for a poor foreign fan like myself, this is pretty much as good as it gets. So, the excitment was pouring out as I quickly checked to see who had made it in, or if there would be any surprises like the 9th gen had. And as quickly as the excitement was building up and overflowing within me, it was then drained just as fast.
There isn’t really another word to desrcibe how I felt other than flabbergasted. I was so shocked that I wasn’t sure if I was reading it correctly. No Murakami Sara? No surprise Miyamoto Karin? The wave of disappointment hit me like a ton of bricks. And I was suddenly feeling pretty angry. My personal favorites from the audition Fuuka and Sara didn’t make it into the group. Not even my favorite underdog of the group, Miwa Satsuki, made it. Tsunku himself said that he needed strong vocalists to take over for Ai-chan. So, I’m not exactly sure why he only added 1 girl that can actually sing. I’m sorry, I don’t like Haruka’s “husky” voice. When I found out who made it into the group the first thing I did was yell out loud, “Oh come on, she’s too old.” Which was obviously in responce to Haruna. And I honestly mean that.

I don’t know, I’m just upset and frustrated by the whol decision. I guess this is why some fans don’t pick favorites, or skip that auditions all together. Because honestly it sucks right now that my favorite wasn’t picked. Instead things have turned out much like the S/mileage auditions where my favorite didn’t make it, but there was still a member added that I did like. In S/mileage it was Rinapu, and in Morning Musume it’s Masaki.
 I suppose I shouldn’t be too upset until I see the girls in action and their personalities. I mean, as of right now the 9th gen still haven’t copletely carved out their personalities yet. Especially Riho, that girl seems so unsure of herself. Tsunku usually knows what he’s doing, and there’s always been a girl from each gen that I absolutely adore. And I am actually really excited that 4 girls were added. I’m really happy to see Momusu at 12 members. Now, add about 3-4 more and I’ll be ecstatic.

But looking at all the wonderful talent he passed up, I still would love to know what he’s thinking. Honestly, I hope Tsunku has some grand scheme up his sleeve. I mean, he’d better. If he doesn’t I don’t see any reason in the world for him to have passed up both Karin and Sara. The man (techically group of people, you saw the 3 or so judges during the training camp) would have to be crazy. I don’t think it’s just the 8th gen again where Kikka was passed up and had to wait in the Eggs for years until it was her time. Or it should say, I don’t want it to be like that again. But Tsunku always knows what he’s doing. He always picks girls that come from behind and turn out to be incredible. We’ve seen that time and time again. And I actually do have a great deal of faith in Tsunku, or whoever is really calling the shots, because they honeslty are usually spot on. And he does seem to pick the perfect moment to use the girls. Yes, he’s made a lot of mistakes in the past with Eggs. But obviously he’s trying to correct them now. I think S/mileage being formed, and then adding more Eggs to S/mileage again and to Morning Musume twice now (3 times if you count LinLin, but I only really talking about in the last couple of years) shows that now sees their potential. And what their popularity can bring to the group.

 But with the 10th gen announced I can’t help but wonder what he has in store for the future. Because he said has 4 years of Morning Musume already planned. Why does Tsunku care so much about bridging the age gap? Especially since the remaining 5th and 6th gen girl’s days are numbered. And all the older member’s stint in Morning Musume were pretty short lived. Scandal or being Chinese aside, Miki and JunJun were gone pretty quickly. I know Risa has always loved Morning Musume, and it’s probably always been her dream to be the leader ever since she got that dorky Nacchi haircut when she was a child, but I don’t see Risa being the leader longer than a little over a year. And the 6th gen have maybe 2-3 years more. And by then no doubt we’ll be on the 11th gen at least. Which would then pushed Momusu’s age to 20-13. And then whatever the 11th gen are, assuming they are even added. But I don’t think Tsunku is that stupid anymore. With the the lose of both Eri and Ai-chan he knows he has to build up the girls he has now, while adding more, if he wants to keep Morning Musume alive with just the 8th-11th, if not higher, gens. But if they are that age why does it really matter to bridge the gap. Is he planning to make Morning Musume sexy after the 6th gen leaves? I mean, Haruna already has the mature, fashionalbe, sexy vibe now. Haruna will be 18, Aika will be 20, and Ayumi, Mizuki, and Erina will be 16. With Riho, Zukki, Haruna, and Masaki not too far behind. Sadly, it actually kinda seems like that. Or maybe we’d get a whole new sound that’s more appealing to teenagers. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when Morning Musume was nothing but teenagers. Twenty is close enough to a teenager. If a mature Momusu is really his plan, he better execute it better than he did last time.