“P-pop on the upswing this New Normal”

Gil Villa - The Philippine Star
âP-pop on the upswing this New Normalâ
Star Hunt Academy trains young girls and boys aged 16-19 to become P-pop stars of K-pop mold.

If you look at it, with the immensely available talent and massive following of K-pop (Korean pop) in the country, it only takes time before local-bred pop groups attain the level of mainstream success their foreign counterparts have enjoyed. The groups MNL48 and SB19 started the ball rolling in 2016 and 2018 respectively when they debuted in 2018 as more P-pop (Philippine pop) troupes come out of their shells roaring.

A key element made this foreseeable scenario just waiting to happen despite the disruption brought about by COVID-19: the transfer of proper discipline.

For all intents and purposes, Korean trainers have been generously passing on to local talents here the main ingredient to the triumph of K-pop groups. The five-member SB19 composed of Josh, Sejun, Stell, Ken, and Justin was the first Filipino act trained by a Korean entertainment company that eventually debuted in the Philippines. The first Southeast Asian artist to crack the Top Ten of Billboard’s Social 50, it is a K-pop influenced group proudly taking position as a Pinoy pop act.

The whole idea is to even strengthen the Asian pop scene with the emergence of talented, charming groups from all corners of the continent.  In doing so, the continuing rise of P-pop is nothing short of a steady journey, partly due to how embracing Filipino fans to the star power and amazing abilities these 21st century pop groups are empowered with.  

A quick look at how Star Hunt Academy(SHA), which trains young Filipino girls and boys aged 16-19 to hopefully become pop stars of K-pop mold, adheres to the vision emphasized that Filipinos understood the point of molding their natural talents into a highly standardized form. Alongside their studies, it’s all about developing holistically—in body, mind, and soul.

The Star Hunt Academy trainees (SHA trainees), for one, are currently beefing themselves up by way of multidimensional training to ensure that right goals are met. Filipino and Koreantrainers have been guiding them thoroughly, without skipping a beat.

It was reported that last June when SHA created its Tiktok account, its first videos, the Marikit and Bambambam dance challenges, garnered strong positive feedback overnight, with the former collecting 1.9 million views and the latter 540,800 views and counting. This record-making potential  is highly anticipated by their growing fan base. Not to mention how active and present they are in all social media platforms, now being the main means to communicate to fans especially during this pandemic.

More established local idol groups, all hoping to follow in MNL48’s and SB19’s footsteps, are set to make significant moves in this new normal.

MNL48, powered by exactly 48 young Filipina talents, are raking up millions of diamonds through broadcasting on Kumu, a livestreaming app growing in popularity among Filipinos. Even if they’re not appearing in live events because of the pandemic, it is innovations like these where they showcase their charms and talents, one of which is a Girls’ Love (GL) webseries aired on the app. As part of the international Sister Groups of AKB48, MNL48 is the fifth after counterparts in Indonesia, China, Thailand, and Taiwan were created. With their fair share of positive global reception as well, MNL48 is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Also eyeing to make big waves is 1st.One, a six-member Filipino boy band which won 1st Place-Dance Category at the 28th Philippine-Korea Cultural Exchange Festival held in September 2018.  November last year, the act was adjudged Grand Winner at the Seoul Music Awards. They debuted with their single called “One Dream.”

And then of course, SB19’s debut full-length album “Get In The Zone” had topped various countries while the group was named MTV Asia's Artist of the Month. It is now released on digital platforms via Sony Music, to the delight of its multitude of impassioned followers.

The pandemic may be here for a long while. But the passing of proper discipline had been well done even before it wrecked its havoc. The challenge is how to adapt to the changes brought about by community quarantine and public fear of the virus.

Fortunately, P-pop groups are now highly equipped to deliver the goods. So, whether you ask them to perform live online or come out in the open with face masks to sing and dance, you are assured of the swag that turned the Asian pop scene on its axis in place.


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