Today it was announced that the sub-members of S/mileage will have to undergo a “Smile Upload Campaign” to get full membership into the group!
The basic jist of it is similar to what S/mileage had to do to debut: Collect pictures of people’s smiles! They will be touring around Japan taking pictures of themselves with fans, and are also asking those fans to upload pictures of their smiles and send it to them via twitter.
At the end of this campaign on 10/16/2011, Tsunku will make a decision as to who will become an official member, based on everything thus far.
Part of me really likes the idea of making these girls work hard to get in. The publicity will be great for the group, and it will make it seem like the sub-members aren’t just going to get a free pass into a successful group without trying to prove themselves.
The thing I don’t really like is that the more popular girls will have a very clear advantage here. What’s popular might not be what’s good for the group, vocally. S/mileage has always had a high level of vocals (erm, DAWA is an exception? She has gotten better though). The new girls are kind of a mixed bag there.
If the reason for the auditions was Saki, these girls just don’t make sense to me, as replacements. S/mileage has lost a VERY talented vocalist in Saki. She brought a little more balance to the group with her voice. Kanon is an exceptional singer as well, and I also adore Yuuka’s voice, but there will be something definitely amiss without Saki’s slightly-less-helium voice. If the sub-members chosen to get in are the half that aren’t so great vocally, I’ll be pretty upset.
On the good side, we have Takeuchi Akari, who can definitely sing. She’s my pick… My only pick… I just can’t get past Rina’s broken face, Meimi’s glass-shattering voice, or Kana’s lack of staying on key. Great choices for Eggs, but without some vocal (or visual, har har) improvement, I don’t like them in S/mileage.
That brings me to another problem of the campaign though: Why don’t I like the new members? I usually come around to new girls once I get to know them… Well, it’s because I haven’t had enough exposure to them for one, and for another, because they haven’t been in long enough to have shown improvement. I don’t feel like I know them , and talent-wise, I still see them the same as I saw them in their audition, so I still have the same feelings as I did then. Akari = YES, others = WHY?
To be honest, I think the final result of this will end up being “EVERYONE WINS, YOU ARE ALL MEMBERS, YAY!”, but whatever. The campaign will keep things interesting for the next month. I’d send a smile to Akari, who has a great personality, distinct, on-key voice, and adds something unique to the group. The rest of ’em are on their own.