K-pop is invading Canada. The South Korean musical genre that celebrates a riot of visuals set to an addictive beat grabs the spotlight in YTV’s Make It Pop.
Debuting Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes, DHX Media’s fast-paced tween series follows four freshman at Mackendrick Preparatory who are determined to win spots in the art school’s musical. There’s Sun Hi (Megan Lee), a sometimes overconfident gal who records every move she makes for her fans; Jodi (Louriza Tronco), a gifted choreographer; Corki (Erika Tham) a home-schooled bookworm who values her privacy; and Caleb (Dale Whibley), a clumsy but lovable dude and brilliant musician. Co-created by Nick Cannon and Thomas Lynch, Make It Pop already launched in the U.S. in Nickelodeon last summer; the sophomore go-round of the Canadian-American co-production is filming now.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some K-pop artists in the past in Korea and that’s how I was introduced to the world,” Cannon tells us from the Degrassi set where Make It Pop is filmed. “I’ve been working in youth television for awhile and said, ‘This would make interesting television.’ I got with my mentor, my guide, Tommy Lynch who has been doing this for many moons and we started to discuss this.”
Wednesday’s debut is jammed with dance and musical performances—during the opening assembly for the new school year and when Sun Hi goes back to the dorm room to retrieve her cell phone—and laughs, from Caleb’s blissfully bombastic creation of beats to Mr. Stark, Mackendrick’s over-the-top theatre teacher played by Matt Baram, from Sun’s unbreakable positivity to Jodi’s biting sarcasm.
“Everyone is wild around me and then I have the one sarcastic line that brings everything to a halt,” Vancouver’s Tronco says with a laugh.
But make no mistake, Make It Pop has a message for its young viewers: follow your dreams. A veteran of kid’s programming via such projects as The Nick Cannon Show, All That, Star Camp and Incredible Crew, Cannon may have a laid-back air about him while slouching in a chair and sporting sunglasses, but he’s dead serious about his responsibilities to young TV viewers.
“We grow up on shows like Degrassi or my stuff from my Nickelodeon days, that’s when content and entertainment mean the most,” he says. “That’s when you’re the most inspired and informed by things. It more important to you because that’s all you have. Adults use entertainment to escape, but when you’re a teen or tween it’s helping shape you.”
Make It Pop airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.