Author: Karen Lizeth Bisbicus Iles
In recent years, K-pop has had impressive recognition and growth, awakening the interest and curiosity of many people worldwide, due to its incredible choreographies, rhythms, and charismatic artists capable of stealing the hearts of their fans. One of the most recognized companies in Asia is JYP Entertainment (JYPE), which is part of the “Big 4” (SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, HYBE LABELS), those agencies that marked the history of the South Korean music industry. Although JYPE marked many generations in the previous years with its popular group Wonder Girls, the company has not stopped growing. Currently, it has many very well-known groups such as Twice, Stray Kids, ITZY, 2PM, Day6, NiziU, Xdinary Heroes, and the most recent rookie group NMIXX.
Kicking off this new chapter, Park Jin-Young, better known as “J.Y. Park” or JYP, teamed up with CEO Monte Lipman of Republic Records, a label well known for having artists such as Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Nicky Minaj, Conan Gray, and Taylor Swift, among other great musicians, to create a female group, under the K-pop system.
Thus, through the reality show A2K, according to its acronym “America2Korea”, the search for these girls began in five cities in the United States: Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Dallas, and LA. During the auditions, skills such as singing, dancing, personality, and character would be tested.
This pendant would be given to the girls who passed the auditions with J.Y. Park.
During the auditions, only 11 girls were selected for the next round, where they would be part of the “LA Boot Camp”, a week-long training camp in Los Angeles, where it would be decided who would go to South Korea to start training in Seoul and win their place for the debut. The girls who managed to convince and move JYP were: Camila Ribeaux Valdes, Kendall Ebeling, Lexus Vang, Melissa Kadas, Cristina Lopez Sandiford, Kaylee Lee, Savanna Collins, KG, Misha Salkin, Yuna Gonzales and Gina De Bosschere.
- Camila Ribeaux Valdes (17 years old).
2. Kendall Ebeling (16 years old).
3. Lexus Vang (16 years old).
4. Melissa Kadas, 17 years old (Brampton, Ontario, Canada).
5. Cristina Lopez Sandiford (17 years old).
6. Savanna Collins (16 years old).
7. Kaylee Lee (12 years old).
8. KG Crown, 15 years old (LA, California).
9. Mischa Salkin (13 years old).
10. Yuna Gonzales (17 years old).
11. Gina de Bosschere (13 years old).
LA Boot Camp
To go to South Korea, each girl had to fill her pendant with four stones, which were identified by color and represented a skill.
- Yellow, their dancing ability.
- Green, their vocal ability.
- Red, their star quality.
- Blue, their personality.
In the end, ten of them made it to South Korea. Unfortunately, according to JYP, Mischa Salkin had a lot of room for improvement, and with tears in their eyes, the contestants gave their partner a warm hug of support.
Three months passed after the LA Boot Camp, where the girls were committed to improving their skills and proving that they deserved to debut. Melissa Kadas, who had been selected to go to Korea, withdrew from the competition for personal reasons but continued to support her teammates. Again, their talents were evaluated as a group and individually, but unfortunately, all of them could not advance to the next phase. Cristina and Gina did not make it to the final lineup, but they certainly have a long road ahead of them and a lot of talent to show.
Those who remained in the final lineup were: Camila (17), Savanna (16), Lexus (16), Kendall (16), KG (15), and Kaylee (13).
Finally, J.Y. Park unveiled the group’s name, VCHA (비춰), which according to the Korean meaning, it is to illuminate and brighten. Their pre-debut video, titled “Y.O.Universe” is a song that was part of the reality show and was officially released on September 13, 2023. In just one month, it has reached more than 10 million views on YouTube.
We can only wish success and support to VCHA, a group of very talented girls!
Reading pair: Anna Franco Ucar
Revised by: Mar Montiel
JYP Entertainment. (July 13, 2023) A2K ep. 1 “The Start of A2K” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKRPS6Efw6E&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6
JYP Entertainment (July 17, 2023) A2K ep. 2 “Show Your Talent” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyBJT-1eV2o&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=2
JYP Entertainment (July 20, 2023) A2K ep. 3 “The final contestants” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F42xSl52bQA&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=3
JYP Entertainment (July 24, 2023) A2K ep. 4 “The LA Boot Camp Begins” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T45yniXCFac&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=4
JYP Entertainment (July 27, 2023) A2K ep. 5 “Dance evaluation continues” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIx4L2X0bfA&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=5
JYP Entertainment (July 31, 2023) A2K ep. 6 “Dance evaluation rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urmtqVB1EaI&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=6
JYP Entertainment (August 3, 2023) A2K ep. 7 “Vocal evaluation starts” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayVSCGvo8c8&list=PLwwH1oqtbHMzS2Rh86UzpXIIL9qg2kvc6&index=7
JYP Entertainment (August 7, 2023) A2K ep. 8 “Vocal evaluation rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22vQizupKg&t=25s
JYP Entertainment (August 10, 2023) A2K ep. 9 “Star Quality evaluation” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80AnYMKCobE
JYP Entertainment (August 14, 2023) A2K ep. 10 “Star Quality Rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE9ILNLCFks&t=1750s
JYP Entertainment (August 17, 2023) A2K ep. 11 “Character evaluation” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw2anuIsb3I&t=7s
JYP Entertainment (August 21, 2023) A2K ep. 12 “Character evaluation rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r1_wSz96TQ&t=1326s
JYP Entertainment (August 24, 2023) A2K ep. 13 “The Showcase Begins” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0QQ6vjZElk
JYP Entertainment (August 28, 2023) A2K ep. 14 “The Showcase performances” (video).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDDih929qS0
JYP Entertainment (August 31, 2023) A2K ep. 15 “LA Boot Camp Rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD6v6ABVggo
JYP Entertainment (September 4, 2023) A2K ep.16 “Korean Boot Camp Begins” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7Koci1Kv4U
JYP Entertainment (September 7, 2023) A2K ep.17 “Individual Performances Continue” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKlSlIADqH4
JYP Entertainment (September 11, 2023) A2K ep.18 “Individual Performances rankings” (video).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jOmmXrR3lo
JYP Entertainment. (September 14, 2023) A2K ep.19 “Team Evaluation” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-YcdicltdM
JYP Entertainment. (September 18, 2023) A2K ep. 20 “Team Evaluation rankings” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOsnCgeU6N0
JYP Entertainment. (September 20, 2023) A2K ep. 21 “The Grand Finale Begins” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b-b_iYQg0U
JYP Entertainment. (September 21, 2023) A2K ep. 22 “The final members” (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHgHDGN2Wug