Korean-American actress-turned-vocalist Megan Lee is featured in the trailer for the upcoming Nickelodeon show, “Make It Pop.” “Make It Pop” is a musical teen comedy along the lines of “Victorious” or “Hannah Montana” which is co-produced by Nick Cannon.
Lee debuted in supporting roles as a child actress before turning to YouTube to release music. After a career in the United States which included vocal appearances on the Kidz Bop series, she entered the Korean market by competing on the MBC show “Star Audition.”
The show, which has been circulating the internet as being an American K-pop show, draws on the genre for content matter. For this reason, many international fans of Korean pop expressed displeasure of the show, even before the title, cast, or previews were released.
The reactions from many K-pop fans is similar to early adopter audiences who enjoyed the music of indie artists like Phantogram before their songs were featured in movie trailers or the band performed headlining shows at Madison Square Garden.
Was “Make It Pop” described as a K-pop show in an attempt to cool hunt or were producers attempting to genuinely introduce American audiences to the genre? Before making a snap judgment, here are some facts about Megan Lee and “Make It Pop.”
1. Megan Lee is a former Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award recipient, who has appeared on shows such as iCarly and Disney's “Get Connected.”
Megan Lee may be known by many K-pop fans for her YouTube songs or her solo release through Soulshop Entertainment. However, she established an early career as a child actress with credits that include her role as Ji Sun in the television adaptation of the Academy Award-winning film “Crash.”
2. She leads the cast as Sun Hi, an aspiring diva, who attends an international boarding school.
With her role, she joins other female stars who led Nickelodeon shows including pop diva Ariana Grande who emerged from "Victorious."
3. “Make It Pop” is less like “Dream High” and more like “High School Musical."
The show is intended for younger audiences and is not being produced for Teen Nick, like the Wonder Girls film. For that reason, the content of “Make It Pop” may appear more juvenile than “Glee” or “Dream High.” The fact that the show will draw on K-pop for inspiration could be positive, when one considers the increased sexuality of many girl groups like AOA or Girl's Day. “Make It Pop” can introduce the genre to younger audiences who aren't ready for chocolate abs or sexy charisma.
4. This is the second time Nick Cannon will try to adapt K-pop for Nickelodeon audiences.
“Make It Pop” is not the first attempt by Nickelodeon to take on Korean pop. In 2012, before America was infected by “Gangnam Style,” Teen Nick, the network's subsidiary of teen-oriented programming, released the film “Wonder Girls World.” Produced by Nick Cannon, the film provided a look at JYP Entertainment's Wonder Girls but American audiences did not respond as favorably as anticipated.
5. “Make It Pop” is the latest example of a recent push by American television to incorporate more programming led by Korean and Asian Americans.
While John Cho's “Selfie” may have failed, shows like “Fresh Off The Boat” have sparked increased interest in television shows which feature Asian Americans. On the official trailer for “Make It Pop,” YouTube user Claymore007 focused on the potential of the show through the comment, “People have been talking about a Kpop show coming to Nickelodeon. But this show is all about pop music not Kpop. I might check this out! I am proud to see more Asians on television."