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Indonesian contestant’s performance in SBS’ ‘Universe Ticket’ sparks debate among K-pop fans

Is representation more important than talent and skills when it comes to idol trainee survival shows? Apparently in this newest audition program, fans think it so.

South Korean television and broadcasting company SBS has recently released its newest audition variety program, “Universe Ticket,” which like any other survival competition show, aims to grant eight talented trainees the chance to debut in the next global K-pop girl group.

The show includes a line-up of 82 contestants hailing from 14 different countries around the world, and a star-studded panel of judges and mentors. These include Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon, former I.O.I and Gugudan member Kim Se-jeong, singer-producer Adora, singer Younha, LACHICA choreographer Choi Ri-an and ITZY’s Yeji and Chaeryeong.

The number 82 is special, according to the show’s producers and judges. “Our program name and concept is a kind of declaration, that if you want to do K-pop, you have to come to Korea. If you want to make films, you go to Hollywood, and if you want to be a part of the K-pop scene, Korea is the place to be. That is why we chose 82 as the number of contestants.” said producer Lee Hwan-jin in an online press conference in November.

In the second episode of the survival show, the contestants were grouped and categorized into different concepts, which decided the song that they were going to cover. The concepts ranged from cute (TWICE and Wonder Girls), enchanting (Kara and After School), pure (Girls’ Generation and Lovelyz), sparkling (Red Velvet and Oh My Girl), and charismatic (BLACKPINK and 2NE1).

One specific performance from the group that covered Wonder Girls’ “Tell Me” went viral for the wrong reasons—one of the girls’ performance and the judges’ reactions. While the group had initially started off strong with their choreography and vocals, it was the fast rap that tripped the group’s whole performance.

Sole Indonesian contestant Vanesya visibly struggled while attempting to rap the song’s verse, while judges Hyoyeon and Kim Se-jeong couldn’t hide their laughter over it. The clip has already received a lot of views across the Internet and from different accounts. Bet you’ve seen it too, if you’ve been on K-pop Twitter a lot.

Despite her subpar performance in that episode, Vanesya still turned out at Top 3. In the most recent episode last December 7, 2023, she came out on first place, much to the confusion of many of the viewers of the show.


A Reddit post in the Subreddit for r/kpoprants says that the final group line-up “will flop” if Vanesya makes it. The comment section agreed to OP to a tee, while still feeling sorry towards the contestant because of the amount of hate she is already receiving following her infamous clip.

the final group from universe ticket will flop if vanesya makes it to the final lineup.
byu/HomeSignificant5549 inkpoprants

Many K-pop fans say that representation in a global girl group is definitely important, but that representation also has to exhibit the skills and talent expected from a K-pop group. Thus, many also find it incredibly delirious to see Indonesians “blindly voting” for their only representation in the show, despite obviously still lacking in those areas.

In the long run, it would also only give Indonesians a bad rep because of this (K-Netizens are clearly racist tbh). Is representation all that matters in global audition programs? Sadly, it appears to be so. We hope that viewers also consider the consequences that can happen when their obvious favorite debuts at this time.

Vanesya is still young, yes, thus she has more time to hone all of those skills required to be an idol.


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Red Velvet’s Joy allegedly unfollows boyfriend Crush, sparks breakup rumors

‘Dinagdagan kasi ginalingan’: How ‘performance punishment’ affects workers and employees

Filipino social media users call out state university for ‘insensitive’ remark toward NLE taker

Red Velvet’s Joy allegedly unfollows boyfriend Crush, sparks breakup rumors

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