Although I still have suspicions about this new “official rival idol group” to challenge AKB48, yesterday saw news that Nogizaka46 has now been confirmed as true. Open auditions for the idol group will start on July 20th. The auditions are open to any female in the 12-24 age range and even overseas people can apply.
Aki-P and Sony will hand pick the members of the group’s 1st generation. An explanation about the group’s name has also been revealed. Nogizaka comes from the location where the last auditions will take place – the “SME Nogizaka Building” and the 46 idea is “although there are less members than AKB48, they will not lose”! A rather lame explanation for the 46 part of the name I think.
The first auditions take place on July 20th with the second auditions taking place in 7 cities across Japan (Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Okinawa) on August 6th and 7th. The final round of auditions will occur on August 20th and 21st. The 1st generation of Nogizaka46 will have 20 members and Sony hope they’ll be starting in October. Those that succesfully pass the auditions can look forward to appearing on various variety shows and have a CD debut through Sony Records.
Nogizaka46 even have a website of their own: http://www.nogizaka46.com/
What do you guys think about all this? What is the reasoning behind Aki-P’s decision to create a rival group? Has he given up now on HKT48 or are they still going ahead? Is this a new trick to fool the fans once more? I’m sure we’ll find out in the coming weeks.