After months of waiting, and a hands on audition experience, the new S/mileage 2nd generation members were finally announced at the Hello! Project 2011 Summer ~Nippon no Mirai wa Wow Wow Live~ concert.
The 5 members who were selected are:
Rina is 13 years old and her nickname for the group is Rinapuu. I have to say I am completely excited that Rina passed the auditions. She was one of my favorites and I was rooting for her. She has a cute voice, and seriously is mini Nono to me. A lot of people seem to think she's ugly. My poor Rinapuu is getting haters already.
Fukuya is 13 years old and her nickname for the group is Fuu-chan. Now, I'm not really the biggest fan of Fukuya. I didn't like her voice in the auditions. And it wasn't bad or anything, it just lacked energy. That's something she really needs to work on.
Kana is 14 years old and her nickname in the group is Kanana. I am actually at lose for words about Kana joining the group. I absolutely did not like her one bit. She had the worst voice in the entire audition. I can't fathom why she joined. Her personality didn't pop to me, like Zukki's did. Zukki was the worst singer in the 9th gen but her energetic personality sold her to me. Kana did seem to smile a lot suring the auditions but she didn't seem to burst with energy to me. It seems she was only picked because she's pretty. And she is, she's absolutely adorable. Hopefully, her personality makes up for the things she lacks. Because right now a KonKon moment happened with her.
Meimi is 12 years old her her nickname for the group is MeiMei. I am ecstatic that 13 made it! She was an obvious fan favorite, and was one of my personal favorites. Her voice was so cute and kind of strong. Her whole image just fit S/mileage perfectly. I couldn't be happier that Meimi was picked. The only real draw back for Meimi is she isn't that great at dancing. Hopefully, something like that won't effect her chances of joining.
Akari is 13 years old and her nickname for the group is Take-chan. And Maimi's cousin passes the audition. I wonder if things like that helped her pass? Maybe I'm just being cynical. And if it did she probably would have debuted a while age. Akari wasn't really my favorite auditioner. But her years of Egg training has put Akari at such a high level of singing and dancing that she deserved to join the group.
Even though these girls were announced as the winners of the auditions they are not out of the woods yet. Every single girl, yes every single one of them, are not official members of the group yet, instead they are all sub-members. They will appear in the S/mileage's upcoming 7th single and will take part in S/mileage's fall concert. And their performance in the concert will determine their permanence. Apparently the new members have the chances becoming a full member, entering the Eggs, making a new unit, or being dropped completely. Which is a complete 180 from what Tsunku had originally said. He said that if 6 members joined 2 would become members, and the other 4 would become trainee members. It seems Tsunku (or conceivably who ever is really in control of H!P) changed his mind and decided to have the new members tackle yet another hurdle. At first I thought this was a bit harsh, and even a slap in the face. But after I think about it more it almost seems fitting. S/mileage themselves had to get 10,000 smiles just to be able to make their major debut. So, why not make the new members go through a similar ritual? And besides that, it's even more press for S/mileage. Regardless of the outcome, you can be sure it's going to be mentioned somewhere in the media if the members are becoming permanent or not. Which just shows how Tsunku is handling the auditions perfectly to give S/mileage maximum exposure.
As for my reactions to the winners themselves, am I 100% happy? Of course I'm not. I wanted first and foremost, the lovely Miyamoto Karin to win. That girl seriously had everything. She was the best singer, the best dancer, and she is absolutely adorable. I am completely devastated that Karin didn't win. But there's nothing I can really do about it. As a fan, you can't expect to have your favorites picked every single time. Anyone who watched the Morning Musume 8th gen auditions knows that. I am honestly lucky that Suzuki Kanon got picked at all. Having my favorite picked again would obviously be incredible, but obviously incredibly unlikely.
After Karin my favorites were: Miyazaki, Yamaga, Rina, and Meimi. So, I actually didn't make out too bad. Since there were so many good singers in the auditions I secretly hoped that they would add 5 members, and I am actually thrilled they did. I can also hold out the hope that my other favorites auditioned for both the S/mileage 2nd gen and the Morning Musume 10th gen. Karin was talented enough to make it to the finals of both. Despite the general consesus of the fans, I actually don't think she would work that well for Morning Musume. She just fits S/mileage better. But that ship has sailed, and I'd rather have her in Morning Musume than not in a group at all.
And here's a completely unpopular opinion, but a part of me actually wants all the girls to get kicked out. Not for any malicious reason. I am actually really excited by the possibility of another group being formed. Ever since S/mileage first formed I've always wanted S/mileage to be in a Berryz Koubou and C-ute type of situation. Where the groups were formed a year apart and are pretty similar to each other. However, as time keeps passing that possibility gets further and further away.