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K-pop girl group members compete in virtual world

Kakao Entertainment to launch virtual idol survival program “Girl's Re:Verse” on Jan.2 at 9 p.m.

Dec. 27, 2022 - 17:47 By Hong Yoo
Poster of "GIRL'S RE:VERSE," K-pop idol survival program produced by Kakao Entertainment (Kakao Entertainment)

Unlike most K-pop survival programs, Kakao Entertainment has brought 30 former and current girl group members together to compete in a virtual world.

Kakao Entertainment’s new virtual idol survival program “Girl’s Re:Verse” will walk the audience through the journey every Monday at 9 p.m. starting on Jan. 2 via Kakaopage and its official YouTube channel. Only the final five that survive the competition will make their debut.

The singers took part in the program with virtual avatars whose names, personalities, and characteristics the idols customized themselves.

The program starts off with participants entering 30 different pods in which they connect to the virtual world once they put on their VR gear.

“Because no one knows their true identity, the girls are deeply immersed in the characters they have created, which makes them act bolder and genuinely showing sides of themselves that they would never have shown in real-life TV programs,” explained Executive Producer Cho Wook-hyung during a press conference held in Seoul on Tuesday.

In addition to the participants, there are four hosts in the show who will also enter the world with their own avatars: TV host and singer Boom, singer Bada, dancer Aiki, and EBS penguin character Pengsoo.

From left: TV host and singer Boom, singer Bada, dancer Aiki, and EBS penguin character Pengsoo pose for photos during a press conference for Kakao Entertainment's upcoming virtual idol survival program "Girls' Re:Verse" held in Seoul on Tuesday. (Kakao Entertainment)

“I liked the fact that the girls don’t have to worry about their looks and get to concentrate solely on preparing for their performance because it’s a virtual survival show. Everyone had charming voices so that, despite them being avatars, I could immerse myself into the virtual world W. It made me want to make a debut as a virtual idol,” said Bada, who was in 1990s K-pop girl group S.E.S.

“Each one of the characters was attractive. Because they are dancing in the virtual world, the girls’ movements were beyond the boundaries of real life,” remarked renowned Korean dancer Aiki.

But “Girl’s Re:Verse” is not just about dancing and singing. The evaluations evolved mainly around how charming and unique the virtual avatars are and the judges were a group of selected audience members that logged into the virtual world by wearing the VR gear prepared by the staff, according to the production team.

“We are coming up with a song that the final five will make their debut with. We have asked famous songwriters for songs and we already have a possible candidate,” said producer Son Su-jung.

During the press conference, four virtual characters were connected live to introduce themselves and the reason why they decided to take part in the survival program.

“I come from a cartoon world but I recently parted ways with my friends in that world. So I joined this survival program to make new friends with whom I can go off on adventures together,” said the virtual character Doha.

“I only used to sing deep in forests but I wanted to make myself known among many and that is why I decided to participate in this program,” added Rose, another virtual character.

Up to now, the production team has finished editing round one of the survival matches in which 15 out of 30 participants got eliminated.

Only once they are eliminated does their real identity get revealed.