It was reported this morning that the third season of MNet’s popular audition program, “Superstar K3,” has received more than 15,000 contestant applications in less than ten hours since opening its ARS and UCC channels at midnight. It’s a huge spike compared to the first season of “Superstar K,” which saw about 5,600 applications in the first 24 hours, but a slight drop against the show’s second season, “Superstar K2,” which received nearly 20,920 entries in the first 11 hours of opening. The second season went on to get roughly 1.35 million applicants in total, almost double the 710,000 total applicants the first season saw. It remains to be seen how many entries the third season will receive in total but considering the show will start accepting group applicants for the first time this year, the number is widely expected to surpass the previous season’s record.
“We believe a lot of group applicants will show up this year so we’re expecting to see a higher number of total applicants,” an inside source told local media. “But it’s really difficult to make any projections at this point because the ‘Superstar K’ series has broken so many unexpected records,” the source added. The fact that MNet will hold auditions in China starting from this year adds hope to breaking a new record too. Some claim K-Pop culture is more popular and mainstream in the Chinese market than in the U.S, so show officials are expecting to see higher number of applicants flow in from China. Plus, the winner of “Superstar K3” takes home half a billion won (450,000 USD), almost double the prize amount of the previous season (300 million won or 270,000 USD), and the increased prize money could play as extra motivation for these people to apply.
All these factors point towards another massive hit for MNet and its “Superstar K3” program, but of course there are the downsides as well. We’re seeing more and more of these audition programs in Korea and “Superstar K” may lose its exclusivity as the country’s sole, most prestigious audition program. MBC has already started “Star Audition: The Great Birth” and cable channel tvN is set to launch “Korea’s Got Talent” later this year. These programs could possibly drop the overall number of applicants and also dilute the talent pool for “Superstar K.” Also, we haven’t seen the winners of previous seasons really pan out as mega stars in the industry yet. Of course we’ve seen the likes of Seo In Guk, Huh Gak, and John Park make strides as pop singers, but none of them have reached the level of fame as distinct as Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, or Carrie Underwood, who all debuted through a similar audition program, “American Idol.” People may lose interest if winners fail to reach the fame expected out of this show, and that could potentially bring a drop in both the quantity and quality of applicants. Nonetheless, this show is one of the best audition programs I’ve seen in a long time and I’m sure they’ll pull off yet another great season. After preliminary stages at home and abroad, “Superstar K3” will air its first show on August 12th and announce the final winner on Nov. 11th. MNet will accept applications until June 28th so get them entries in as soon as possible!