Cable channel Mnet promised Wednesday to be fair in picking winners for its new audition program “I-LAND,” made with Big Hit Entertainment that represents K-pop titan BTS.
Mnet has been mired in a vote-fixing scandal since last year after Ahn Joon-young ― the director of all four seasons of popular audition show “Produce 101” ― was accused of manipulating results in favor of certain contestants. Ahn was given a two-year prison term and fined 37 million won ($30,000) at his first trial in May. “We have endeavored to ensure impartiality this time by deciding to conduct the vote on external platform Weverse,” Mnet official Jung Hyung-jin said during an online press conference. Weverse is an online/mobile fan community launched by Big Hit.
“We will also invite outside observers, who will keep their eyes on the vote counting,” Jung said. I-LAND is a competition show for 23 male idol trainees who are training at Belift Lab, a joint venture established last March by Big Hit and Mnet’s operator CJ ENM. The contenders will vie to debut as a K-pop boy band under Belift. Big Hit’s founder and chairman Bang Si-hyuk will work as a producer for the group.
The trainees will spend 113 days in a colossal oval-shaped building specifically constructed for the program. The three-story edifice offers a stage, bedrooms, and a living room, among others, to provide contestants the space to prepare for the competition. Unlike other audition shows, I-LAND will have its own “worldview” and center on storytelling. “I have been producing singers for more than 20 years, but this is my first time featuring in a program like this,” Bang Si-hyuk, who serves as general producer for the show, said. “It is not merely about competition and accomplishing the missions ― the participants have to make choices on their own and seek ways for self-development. I will give my help to them.”
The mastermind behind BTS also disclosed how he would evaluate the trainees. “I am planning to assess them based on three criteria,” he said. “First, I would see how much contribution a trainee makes to his group and also check whether he is a self-starter or not. Lastly, I will look for those with potential.” But further details ― such as the number of final winners and the exact selection process ― have been kept under wraps. I-LAND will premiere on June 26 (KST). Singer-actor Rain, also known as Jung Ji-hoon, and rapper-cum-producer Zico appear as producers/judges.
Source: The Korea Times