A new K-pop girl group is being formed by two major music powerhouses, and three talented Latinas will get to be contestants in the experience. HYBE, the South Korean entertainment conglomerate behind BTS, and Geffen Records, an American label with names like Olivia Rodrigo on their roster, are joining forces to put together a one-of-a-kind global girl group through their audition program called The Debut: Dream Academy.
After sorting through more than 120,000 worldwide submissions, the music companies revealed the 20 contestants set to compete on the program for a spot in the girl group (Aug. 28). Among them are three young Latinas: Celeste, a 19-year-old from Argentina; Daniela, a 19-year-old Cuban-American from Atlanta; and Samara, a 17-year-old from Brazil.
The 12-week program will follow the 20 finalists from around the world on their journey undergoing the K-pop training and artist development system beginning on Sep. 1. A live finale will air on Nov. 17, where fans can vote on platforms like TikTok and Weverse to determine the final members of the group. A Netflix docuseries directed by Nadia Hallgren is set to premiere in 2024, which will chronicle the journey of the formation of the group.
Here are the three Latina contestants:
Celeste Diaz (Argentina)
There’s not a lot of information about Diaz available at publishing time, but the pink-haired contestant’s Dream Academy profile says she describes herself as “sweet, sensitive, gentle.” The Argentina native is surely exceptionally talented, as she was able to secure a spot in the lineup of the top 20 contestants.
Daniela Avanzini (Cuban-American)
19-year-old Daniela Avanzini hails from Atlanta, GA, and is no stranger to TV competition shows. The Cuban-American appeared on season 8 of America’s Got Talent and made it to the top 10 on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation. Although she has proved to be able to burn the floor with her dance moves, Avanzini is also a great singer, as seen from the covers uploaded to her social media.
Samara Henrique Siqueira (Brazil)
Samara Siquiera is a 17-year-old singer and dancer from Brazil who may also be a familiar face to some. In 2021, Siqueira secured a spot in Bootcampers, a temporary subunit of Simon Fuller’s co-ed group Now United. She was flown out to Dubai to meet members of the band, undergo vocal training, and learn choreography with Kyle Hanagami, who’s known for his work with BLACKPINK, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears.
Dream Academy marks the first time a major U.S. record label and a K-pop entertainment leader have joined forces to develop an international girl group. “I have wanted to form an international group based on K-pop methodology for a while,” said Bang Si-Hyuk, chairman of HYBE, at the press event on Monday evening in Santa Monica, CA.
“To develop a global group with Bang, with the best of K-pop methodology, and our Geffen team, is truly special and will bring to life a first-of-its-kind experience in music,” said John Janick, chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M. “Each candidate is incredibly talented, dedicated, and driven, making this an exciting moment for music fans around the world.”
The Debut: Dream Academy premieres on Sep. 1 at 8 a.m. PT on YouTube.
Check out the intro film for the competition show below.