6 Reasons Why We’re Rooting For Sophia Laforteza At Dream Academy

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Sophia is on fire!

On HYBE’s survival show to form a new global girl group The Debut: Dream Academy, Filipino aspirant Sophia Laforteza shines like a light. Here’s why we’re rooting for her to earn a spot in the final group!

Related: 10 Things You Need to Know About Dream Academy’s Sophia Laforteza

If you haven’t been keeping up with HYBE x Geffen Records’ survival show The Debut: Dream Academy, let us catch you up on how the only Filipina trainee, Sophia Laforteza, has been doing in 3 words: she’s killing it.

The 20-year old is consistently getting top views on her solo fancams and got a high number of votes for the first mission, ensuring her safety the first round of eliminations. Dream Academy just dropped the performances of its second mission, featuring cover performances of girl group LE SSERAFIM’s hit songs ANTIFRAGILE and FEARLESS. For this mission, four teams, with two performing the same song, are pitted against each other. Sophia, along with Lara, Emily, and Yoonchae, made up Team A (or Team SLEY), and they were assigned to perform ANTIFRAGILE.

Naturally, they ate. And Sophia stays being a favorite, and not just because she’s Pinoy! Here are a few reasons why we’re rooting for the Filipina singer and performer.

SHE’S HILARIOUS

@lararajj the justin biebers of the #dreamacademyhq #HYBE #GEFFEN #HYBEGEFFEN #LARARAJ #SOPHIALAFORTEZA #SAMARASIQUEIRA #LEXIELEVIN #BROOKLYNVANZANDT ♬ original sound – LARA

One of the very first moments that endeared us to Sophia and the girls outside of Dream Academy promo was when they posted a TikTok acting like early 2010’s Justin Bieber clones. Sophia even pretended to pin Lexie to the wall! The contestants are active on socials, occasionally posting funny TikToks and behind-the-scenes looks at their life as trainees. We love a (soon-to-be) Gen Z idol.

SHE’S A GIRL’S GIRL

@lararajj TEAM SLEY 😝 (Sophia, Lara, Emily, Yoonchae🤭) our mission 2 performance comes out in 2 hours!! make sure to VOTE for us on Weverse!! #DREAMACADEMYHQ #HYBE #GEFFEN #HYBEGEFFEN #LARARAJ #SOPHIALAFORTEZA #EMILYKELAVOS #YOONCHAEJEUNG ♬ I Know (PR1SVX Edit) – Kanii

In line with all the TikToks and the snapshots with the girls, it seems like Sophia’s getting along with them well! And if the TikToks are anything to go by, Sophia’s clearly a joy to be around. She’s also sang praises for her fellow contestants, like Emily, and teammate Yoonchae praised her Sophia-unnie for her skills and vocals. While this is a competition, it’s so great to see the contestants root for each other and hype each other up.

VOCALS FOR DAYS

It’s a challenge to have clear, stable vocals while you’re performing an intense, complex dance routine. But Sophia’s been training in the performance arts since she was a child—and she comes from an artistic family—so it’s no surprise that she can sing well. Her vocals during ANTIFRAGILE as well as during the first performance of Paramore’s Still Into You have received praise from Dream Academy fans worldwide.

AND DANCE SKILLS TO MATCH

Speaking of intense, complex dance routine, Sophia and Team SLEY slayed ANTIFRAGILE, channeling the globally-renowned LE SSERAFIM whilst also putting their own spin on the song as only a fresh group of aspiring artists could do. Sophia’s been taking dance classes since she was in single-digit age, and her honed talents shines. The way she’s also barely out of breath after the performance? We could never.

BIDA ANG SAYA

In a dance practice released by Dream Academy, the trainee could be seen wearing a t-shirt with a Jollibee pocket. Sophia’s repping Filipinos in more ways than one!

SHE LOVES IT HERE

The Dream Academy contestants are driven beyond belief to show their talents and skills to the world, and Sophia is no different. She exudes such gratefulness, warmth, and bright enthusiasm that it makes perfect sense that she’s a top-performing contestant not just in terms of skill. She’s a joy to watch, and we hope we watch her reach new heights for a long, long time.

HOW TO VOTE FOR SOPHIA (AND YOUR OTHER FAVES)

After the voting round of this second mission, four contestants will be eliminated. Vote for your favorite Dream Academy girls by liking their solo fancams on YouTube. Ten likes on a fancam equals 1 vote for Mission 2. Then head on over to Weverse to manually cast your vote for a total of four contestants from each team that performed either of the songs. It’s a little confusing, but essentially you can vote for two contestants per song per day. You can vote for two members in the same team, but all four votes can’t go to the same group.

Voting runs from September 28 11:00 PM until October 3 2:59 PM Philippine time, so you can vote for a total of 5 times.

Continue Reading: Meet the Only Filipina Competing for a Spot in HYBE X Geffen’s New Global Girl Group

5 Reasons Why SEVENTEEN’s New Comeback Has Us Hyped For Their Upcoming Philippine Concert

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Say the name!

SEVENTEEN’s new album Seventeenth Heaven is getting us way excited for new songs, new promo, and fun visuals, some of which we’ll get to hear and see at their upcoming FOLLOW concert in the Philippines!

Related: Moments From Seventeen’s BeTS in Bulacan That Hit Different

SEVENTEEN’s right here once again as the world-famous, record-breaking 13-member K-pop group announced a new album, a new comeback, and a new Asia tour with a stop in the Philippines all in one month! Their 11th mini album, titled Seventeenth Heaven, will drop on October 23, 2023 in all its bright, funky, amazingly SEVENTEEN glory. Get ready for a month of teasers, promo, and killer visuals with the comeback calendar below! And no doubt, the album will feature new songs that they’ll perform at their biggest, grandest, most iconic tour yet: the FOLLOW To Asia tour, with stops in Bangkok, Bulacan, and Macao!

Seventeen follow to asia tour poster

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Seventeen seventeenth heaven comeback scheduler

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As their fandom CARATs marveled at the promise of the new comeback, the buzz of their much-anticipated concert grew louder and more intense. After three successful Philippine shows last year at their Be The Sun concerts in October and December, the supergroup is coming back big with their Philippine show at the Philippine Sports Stadium on January 13, 2024. Before then, though, here are some reasons why their new album is garnering so much hype around it and the upcoming concert!

A NEW AESTHETIC

Seventeenth heaven main album concept photo

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The promos for Seventeenth Heaven are bright, fun, and colorful, a different creative direction set apart from their previews albums such as FML and Face the Sun. It signals, perhaps, the comeback of “freshteen,” a fun, fresh, and upbeat branding they’ve been known to have. Regardless of the type of music or aesthetic the new album will have, and given that SEVENTEEN has excelled in the different genres they’ve explored, we predict that it’s going to be a banger in all aspects.

NEW SONGS ON THE SETLIST

The band already embarked on their new FOLLOW tour before the announcement of their 11th mini album, so we mostly know what the setlist is going to be at FOLLOW in Bulacan. The setlist echoes that of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour’s as it included a mix of songs from all of their past eras and albums, such as Pinwheel from their 2017 album Teen, Age and their 2015 debut song Adore U. Now, with Seventeenth Heaven giving us a handful of new tracks, we can’t wait to see how the setlist changes with a new title track and b-sides!

ALBUM INCLUSIONS

Who doesn’t love the little trinkets that come with K-Pop albums? Whether you’re excited about the usual inclusions like the photobook, photocards, stickers, posters, or the CD itself, or whatever idol groups cook up to include in their albums like bookmarks or keychains, album inclusions are a staple in the K-pop experience. This time, the members are giving CARATs another art project like the weaving kit in their Semicolon album in the form of a “paper art kit.”

MEANINGFUL REFERENCES

Seventeenth heaven album versions

If you’re a CARAT, you might find something familiar about the names of each Seventeenth Heaven album version. That’s right—they’re dates that mean something to the band, their fandom, and the album. 5/26 is SEVENTEEN’s debut date, May 26. 2/14, February 14, is CARATs’ “birthday,” the day they were given their fandom name. 10/23 is the release date of the album. It drops on 10/23/2023. What do you get when you add those digits together? 1+0+2+3+2+0+2+3 = 13, the number of members in the group. Intentional or not, that’s some Taylor Swift levels of easter eggs.

SEVENTEEN FESTIVAL THEME?!

Given the album art, the festival wristband teaser and album inclusion, and the copious amount of spoilers about “festivals” during the band’s FOLLOW concert in Seoul, Seventeenth Heaven seems like it’s going to channel big party vibes, outdoor music celebrations, and endless fun. With FOLLOW in Bulacan being held at the Philippine Sports Stadium, it’s sure to be a blast—rain or shine. 17-hour long Aju Nice encore anyone?

Continue Reading: How to Get Early Access to K-Pop Concert Tickets Using Weverse

8 Highlights from ATEEZ’s The Fellowship: Break The Wall Concert In Manila

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Big moments at the Big Dome.

K-Pop powerhouse ATEEZ came back to the Philippines for the finale show of their The Fellowship: Break The Wall world tour and shared some funny, heartwarming, and incredible moments with their Filipino ATINYs!

Related: And We’re Live: Concerts, Festivals, and Fanmeets Coming to the Philippines This 2023 (and Beyond)

When 8-member K-Pop boy group ATEEZ first performed here in the Philippines last year, they brought the house down. As a headliner for the 2022 K-Pop Masterz Ep. 2, ATEEZ brought their signature intensity to the stage and made it impossible not to want them back. And come back they did—in a huge way! Last September 16th, at their The Fellowship: Break The Wall concert, the band all but tore down the walls of Araneta Coliseum in an epic celebration of their first solo concert in the Philippines. The trends even included the epic hashtag #ATEEZBreaksTheBigDome!

The concert was the finale show of their third world tour, as they traveled all over the globe performing and making memories with their fans. From endless laughter to idol-audience interaction, Break the Wall in Manila was something special as Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, and Wooyoung (member Jongho was unable to make it due to an injury) exhibited their performance prowess and strengthened their bond with Filipino ATINYs at their first solo show, showing all of us that 8 (and thousands of loving fans) truly makes 1 team. Here are some highlights from the night.

AWESOME PERFORMANCES

When Filipino ATINYs sang their hearts out to Say My Name even before the concert started, that’s when everyone knew how hyped the show was going to be. And no one disappointed—ATEEZ and their fans matched energies as they performed a diverse roster of songs. Their setlist included the high-powered and anthemic Answer, fun and catchy Wave, and the emotional ballad Mist. No doubt, they proved to everyone exactly why they’re renowned performance kings.

MAKE IT BOUNCY

The likes of NCT’s Taeyong, SHINEE’s Minho, and Lapillus’ Bessie and Haeun have done the Bouncy TikTok challenge, but Filipino ATINYs ate as they moved like a flash mob, synced up to perform the dance challenge as ATEEZ cheered them on.

SUPPORT FOR JONGHO

Maknae and vocal powerhouse Jongho was unable to attend due to a leg injury, but ATEEZ and ATINYs offered their unbridled support for the singer, as seen in the loud cheers and singing of his parts during their opener HALA HALA. Get well soon, Jongho!

THE INEVITABLE TEASING

Honestly, what’s a boy group without all of their hilarious dogshow moments? The boys are no stranger to playful teasing and rousing laughter. When Wooyoung had a little slip-up during a quick ment during their performance of The Real, leader Hongjoong (mistakenly written in the original post as Mingi) teased him about it seconds after, and even after the show long ended.

UNREAL FANSERVICE

Many a K-Pop fan has dreamt of their idol taking their phone and filming themselves with it during a concert, so we can only imagine how this fan felt when Yeosang in all his glowing glory took their phone and filmed himself blowing a kiss. That ATINY’s life has forever been blessed!

MAHAL NAMIN KAYO

In an adorable mistake, the members took away “namin kayo” from “mahal namin kayo” and cheered it back to their fans as an expression of love. No one correct them, please. “I love you” in the ATEEZ and ATINY community is “namin kayo” now!

JUST KEEP IT UP

Sunrise is a beautiful, slower song by ATEEZ that encourages people to just keep it up—to keep going no matter what anybody thinks or says. With Seonghwa acknowledging that he almost cried during the performance, its heartfelt lyrics, and joined by ATINYs singing along, it’s clear that Sunrise made for a special moment between band and fans.

MAKING NEW MEMORIES

Member San has mentioned before that he went to Cebu with his father when he was younger, and while he’s forgotten that visit, he’s glad to have made new memories in the Philippines with his beloved ATINYs. Fingers crossed he and ATEEZ get to make many more in the future!

Continue Reading: 7 4th Generation K-Pop Boy Groups That You Need to Be Paying Attention To

How To Get Early Access To K-Pop Concert Tickets Using Weverse

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It's worth it.

Did you know that K-Pop artists on Weverse often offer a membership that can help you get early access to their concert tickets if they have fan club presales? Here’s how you can get ahead and secure those seats!

Related: How Philippine Concerts Became Everyone’s Go-To Source for Concerts in the Country

With concerts and music festivals back in full force, the clamor for seats, tickets, and chances to see their favorite artists rock the stage live has never been hotter. But with the desire of many to watch their faves live also comes the pressure and competition to secure tickets. Just look at how hard it can get to buy tickets to K-pop concerts. But luckily, there are ways to make the process easier. When HYBE introduced community platform Weverse in 2019, and added not just the artists managed by its subsidiaries like BTS and SEVENTEEN, but also other Korean and international artists, they were able to change the game of communicating with stars as well as buying concert tickets.

Weverse logo banner

ICYDK, being a paying member of an artist’s Weverse community gives you access to early ticket pre-sales and a better chance to secure tickets for a concert. Here’s how to do it!

WHAT IS A WEVERSE MEMBERSHIP?

It’s free to sign up for a Weverse account and join the community of your favorite artists, but there’s also a paid “fan club” membership tier where artists can post content (posts, media, etc.) exclusive to those who paid for the membership.

BTS, SEVENTEEN, ENHYPEN, TXT, and more have utilized the paid subscription to give fan club members early access to concert tickets. This means concert organizers and ticket outlets release a certain amount of tickets that can only be bought online if people have a registered membership number.

BENEFITS OF A WEVERSE MEMBERSHIP

Join Weverse membership screenshot

While a Weverse membership doesn’t guarantee a ticket, you’ll still be among the first to the sale. You will be competing with less people for the tickets, and you’ll have the entire seat plan available to choose from. It’s a great benefit to have for a membership that costs more or less P1000. Interested? Follow the steps below!

HOW TO GET AND USE A WEVERSE MEMBERSHIP

1. Sign up for Weverse and SM Tickets accounts.

You’ll need your email to sign up for a Weverse account on the website or the app (iOS, Google Play), as well as on SM Tickets (the ticketing outlet that usually offers and honors Weverse fan club presales here in the Philippines). On Weverse, join the community you want, then use your Weverse account to also log into the Weverse shop, which can also be downloaded as an app. You may also need to have an account on the concert organizer’s website since they may ask you to access the website for the presale link.

2. Purchase a Weverse membership in your idols’ respective community.

On Weverse shop, you can select English as the language. On the main menu, select the artist and their “GLOBAL” shop. Not all artists have memberships, so make sure you read your concert organizer’s instructions carefully. If the artist will have a fan club presale, select “Membership” under “Products” and choose the [Fandom] Membership listing. Read the Weverse instructions carefully. Buying it means paying a one-time payment for one year of membership.

Upon checkout, fill out the necessary details and choose your payment method. If you choose Eximbay, you can pay through GCash. Here’s a trick: set your Weverse shop currency to Japanese Yen. The membership will cost way less than if you bought it in US dollars and a little less than if you bought it in Korean won.

Eximbay payment checkout screenshot

Once paid and confirmed, save your membership number. A membership number is usually 11 characters with the first two characters being letters and the rest numbers (XX000000000). The whole thing serves as your code for the presale. It helps to make a shortcut for it.

3. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to register your membership.

Sample presale registration confirmation for SEVENTEEN's Be The Sun Concert in Bulacan in 2022

Sample presale registration confirmation for SEVENTEEN’s Be The Sun Concert in Bulacan in 2022

Artists and organizers will have a registration period separate from the presale. This is usually a period of a few days where you will use your Weverse account to confirm registration for the ticketing presale. The artist and organizer will announce and post the link for registration on Weverse when it starts. If you have a Weverse membership but did not register for the presale, your membership number will not be honored during the presale.

4. Take note of when the Weverse presale is happening.

The Weverse fan/fanclub presale often happens a day or two earlier than the general sale of tickets. It’s the same process online as the general sale.

5. During ticketing, make sure your SM Ticket account details, payment method details, and Weverse membership details are locked and loaded.

There are instances where SM Tickets will log you out initially when you enter the site. Make sure your log in details are onhand (make a shortcut for them, too!). Once you’re logged in, select your concert day (if applicable) and seats. Once you click “ADD,” SM Tickets will ask for your code (the Weverse membership number with no spaces and no dashes). Proceed with checking out your tickets.

REMINDERS

  • A Weverse membership does not guarantee a ticket.
  • There’s a limit to how many tickets you can buy (usually 2) per Weverse membership code.
  • Stay updated on the concert organizer’s socials—they’ll post FAQs and respond to queries.
  • You can transfer ownership of the code. For SEVENTEEN’s Be the Sun concert encore in Bulacan, fans were lending their membership numbers to their friends or people who were willing to pay for it. You only need the number.
  • There are more benefits to a membership that just presale benefits, so make the most of it!

Good luck and may you secure those tickets!

Continue Reading: 6 Ways You Can Keep Yourself Safe at Your Next Concert

10 Highlights From HORI7ON’s First Concert in Manila That Made Dreams Come True

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Relive the voyage!

HORI7ON set the stage on fire with their passion at their first concert in Manila, and shared a wonderful night with their ever-supportive fans.

Related: All The Heart-Melting Highlights of HORI7ON’s First-Ever Fan Meet

In another grand milestone, seven-member all-Filipino global pop group HORI7ON held their first ever concert titled Friend-SHIP [Voyage To Manila] last September 9, and it was full of stellar performances, surprise appearances, emotional moments, and instances that made both the group’s and fans’ night one to remember forever.

“It was a dream come true,” the members said. Vinci, Kim, Kyler, Reyster, Winston, Jeromy, and Marcus gave their all into their first concert. As they made the night their own, they showed a love for music, each other, their identity, and their beloved ANCHORs. Whether you weren’t there or you simply want to relive the night, here are a few highlights from their epic #VoyageToManila!

A KILLER OPENER

These ANCHORs’ reactions say it all! HORI7ON performed the first song in their debut album Friend-Ship as their concert opening. The hip-hop track Meteor was intense and powerful, perfect for setting the stage on fire and an indication of how fun the show was going to be.

HYPED COLLABS WITH GUESTS

HORI7ON brought some guest stars to the stage last Saturday! From former Dream Maker alumni, members of boyband TFN, and Lapillus’ Haeun, Voyage to Manila was brimming with talent and friendship—as you can see from Jeromy and Marcus’ fun unit performance with the Lapillus member.

P-POP SOLIDARITY

HORI7ON surprised fans with K-Pop covers like SEVENTEEN’s Super, TXT’s Sugar Rush Ride, and Stray Kids’ S-Class, but they also paid tribute to P-pop boyband SB19 as they performed the hugely popular Gento, to the excitement of both ANCHORs and A’TIN.

FORMER DREAM CHASERS SHOWING THEIR SUPPORT

Former contestants on the reality show that formed HORI7ON showed their support for the band as they danced along to their song Take My Hand, proving a strong bond formed by their unique experience. And FYI, some of these former contestants are now trainees for Asterisk Entertainment’s upcoming P-pop group!

LEADER VINCI TRYING TO ROUND UP HIS MEMBERS

The stress of being the leader is evermore. HORI7ON leader Vinci tried his best to round up his members on stage as they were running all over the place, telling them “enough with this chaos!” Well, we’re glad they’re having fun. Good luck Vinci!

HORI7ON TRYING THEIR BEST FOR THEIR FANS

If you can’t distinguish the shape HORI7ON is trying to make just from those photos, that’s an anchor. The members tried their best to arrange themselves into the logo symbolizing their fandom, and they did pretty well!

ANCHOR’S OCEAN WAVE

The community aspect of concerts is one of the most enjoyable parts of the fandom experience! Doing the wave is such a concert staple, and even if it was their first concert with the boys as well, ANCHORs clearly had a lot of fun.

A SWEET FATHER-SON MOMENT

Jeromy throwing confetti towards the audience was already adorable, but him running towards his dad with open arms and that expression and then his dad high-fiving him is incredibly heartwarming. It’s a wonderful indication of love and support in this life-changing moment in the boys’ life.

AN EMOTIONAL GROUP HUG

As Friend-SHIP [Voyage To Manila] marks their first concert, another major turning point in their career, it’s clear how far they’ve come together. A simple hug between members, between friends, between brothers who have gone through a lot, says a lot about what this concert means to them.

ENDLESS GRATITUDE

HORI7ON’s Salamat is a tribute song to their fans, and performing it at their first concert surrounded by people who love and support them is definitely a moment to remember for their entire career—and if this concert is any indication, it’s going to be a fantastic one.

Continue Reading: Who’s Your Bias in HORI7ON?

10 Filipino Songs We’re Manifesting To Hear BamBam Sing At His Upcoming Manila Concert

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Let’s get the prayer circles ready.

Thai international superstar BamBam is coming to Manila! A few weeks before his show, he took to X to ask what Filipino songs he should perform—and his fans gave him plenty of options.

Related: All the Times K-Pop Idols Were Obsessed With SB19’s Gento

Three things you should know about soloist and GOT7 member BamBam: first, he’s having a concert here in the Philippines on September 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with special guest Sandara Park! AREA 52 is his first solo world tour, with stops in Manila, Seoul, Bangkok, Macau, and more.

Second, along with Dara, he could also be an honorary Filipino with the way he partakes in our meme (and drinking) culture. He says “shot punoalmost every chance he gets! And third, BamBam has been immersed in OPM for a while now. He’s performed Filipino song Ngiti by Ronnie Liang several times over the years, including during KPOP Masterz Manila last year.

So, when he asked his fans on X for Filipino song suggestions to sing at his concert, Bammies jumped at the chance to recommend upbeat dance songs, emotional ballads, and even threw in some joke songs for the idol to consider. Below are some of the frequently-suggested and top-liked songs that we hope he performs at the concert!

GENTO – SB19

Following the trend of K-Pop idols dancing to SB19’S Gento, so many fans suggested the song to the idol, hoping for a full performance complete with the powerful choreo. If he does pick Gento, we know he’ll kill it.

RAINING IN MANILA – LOLA AMOUR

Clear skies or otherwise, a Raining in Manila performance will surely brighten up our day. We’d love to see the idol sing it with a stadium full of people screaming it at the top of their lungs.

I WANT YOU – SB19

Another SB19 song makes it to BamBam’s replies! The R&B track would 100% be right up BamBam’s alley, as the artist’s solo music, like his track Subliminal, is infused with R&B and just as smooth.

BIBINGKA – BEN&BEN

Kicking off the Christmas season, this fan suggested Ben&Ben’s Bibingka, a wistful song that will surely make the night just that much sweeter.

MABAGAL – MOIRA DELA TORRE & DANIEL PADILLA

This slow, nostalgic hit performed by Moira Dela Torre and Daniel Padilla in the 2019 Himig Handog music competition is soothing and romantic, and hearing BamBam sing it would totally be swoon-worthy.

CHUVA CHOO CHOO – JOLINA MAGDANGAL & NIKKI VALDEZ

The star, a jokester himself, is not safe from his own fans’ pranks, and suggestions like Jolina Magdangal’s upbeat Chuva Choo Choo would make for a hilarious moment in the show.

LEAVES – BEN&BEN

Leaves is beloved by a handful of K-Pop idols, and BamBam’s even heard the song himself! The fact that he already knows it gives this gorgeous track a leg up in the race.

IKAW – YENG CONSTANTINO

Ikaw is an emotional Filipino ballad by singer-songwriter Yeng Constantino, emotional and romantic. Actor and artist Seo In-Guk also covered the song during his 2023 Manila fanmeeting as did Stray Kids’ Bang Chan during the group’s concert earlier this year! We can already see BamBam wholeheartedly throwing himself into singing those scream-worthy lyrics.

PASILYO – SUNKISSED LOLA

This wedding-themed love song is perfect for the idol who’s known to be a big flirt as he matches his own fans’ energy. Once he sings a song like this with his signature playful charm, it’s over for everyone in that stadium.

CHRISTMAS IN OUR HEARTS – JOSE MARI CHAN

And of course, what’s an event in the Ber months without the Filipino Christmas song? Hopefully BamBam gets wind of our rich Christmas culture and he and his Bammies turn the Araneta Coliseum into one big caroling session.

Continue Reading: GOT7 is the Name: GOT7 Make Their Long Awaited Return With the Fun and Laid Back ‘NANANA’

10 Things You Need To Know About Dream Academy’s Sophia Laforteza

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She's about to be the it-girl.

Here are some fast facts about Sophia Laforteza, up-and-coming superstar and the only Filipino competitor on The Debut: Dream Academy!

Related: Meet the Only Filipina Competing for A Spot in HYBE X Geffen’s New Global Girl Group

In case you didn’t know, Sophia Elizabeth G. Laforteza is competing to become part of the newest global girl group formed by K-Pop industry leader HYBE’s collaboration with American record label Geffen Records! Using her talent in singing and performance, the 20-year-old Filipino artist will participate in K-pop survival reality show The Debut: Dream Academy.

The show’s first episode aired on September 1 along with the competitors’ introduction videos. While we’ll definitely learn more about Sophia during her The Debut: Dream Academy journey, for now here are some fast facts about the up-and-coming it-girl.

She’s the only Filipina to make it to the final 20 of Dream Academy.

Out of hundreds of thousands of applicants all over the world, Sophia Laforteza is the only Filipino performer who made it to the top 20 finalists competing for a spot in the new girl group. With her style, talent, and pride in her Filipino roots, Sophia is blazing a trail for the new generation by taking the chance to be a world-renowned artist under one of the biggest K-Pop companies in the world.

Talent is in her blood.

As the daughter of actress and performer Carla Guevara Laforteza and chef and former performance artist Godfrey Laforteza, Sophia’s very genetic makeup is filled with talent and ambition. Her parents have also been constantly rooting for her on social media since the Dream Academy lineup was announced.

She’s an ARMY—just like her dad!

In an Instagram post, Sophia showed off her purple blood as she posed with her father after watching supergroup BTS’ Permission to Dance in Seoul livestream. Dressed to the nines, with an ARMY lightstick in hand, we can plainly see her love for the boys, and we can only guess how excited or nervous she was to audition for the company that houses her idols.

The Debut: Dream Academy isn’t her first time in the spotlight.

At the young age of 5, Sophia made a guest appearance with her family in the Philippine talk show She Said, She Said where she talked about how she wanted to be a pediatrician and a performer. She also showed off her pipes by dueting with her mother!

She’s been singing since she was 3, and she’s been dancing for around the same time.

@sophialaforteza #duet with @clintonkane ib: @ysawitha_y ♬ original sound – clintonkane

Sophia’s been showing her talent on social media for years, and let us tell you—this girl can sing. We’ll let her TikToks speak for itself. Also, at five years old, she was already taking a variety of dance lessons at Julie Borromeo’s dance studio! She mentioned in She Said, She Said that she loved dancing and wanted to be an artist just like her mother.

Her confidence took a hit after an ankle injury—but she bounced back stronger than ever.

In her intro video for The Debut: Dream Academy, Sophia revealed she had to sit out some of her work due to an ankle injury and that it really affected her confidence. “I need you to give your everything,” she told herself. Once recovered, Sophia bounced back tenfold and performed well in one of her “strongest months in the program.”

Being nurturing and practicing self-love are integral to her character.

Sophia believes being nurturing is a special characteristic of Filipinos, and that it’s a big part of who she is, as well. After her ankle injury, she pushed herself to do her best and told herself that she deserves to be where she is. Self-love, no matter how “cheesy,” as she said in her introduction video, helped her “a lot” and allowed her to continue pursuing her dreams.

She graduated in 2021 with high honors and adorned with medals.

Sophia is a graduate of the Humanities and Social Sciences strand from Multiple Intelligence International School. She won 10 awards and 7 medals, proving that the young trainee is not just a superstar in the talent industry, but also in school! Bonus: she was also accelerated in school at a young age.

She has a killer fashion sense.

One look through Sophia’s Instagram and you’ll see how trendy and stylish the 20-year-old is. From pink pants to sequined dresses, her clothing pieces are always styled to perfection. She exudes an effortless, genuine charm through her fashion, and we’re this close to spamming her with questions as to where she gets her collection of boots.

She’s going to be performing Paramore’s Still Into You with fellow competitors Lara, Celeste, Samara, and Nayoung.

@dreamacademyhq Are you ready for Mission 1? ✨Your first chance to watch and vote for your Dream Academy fav is coming Sep 6. Watch the announcement now on YouTube! #DREAMACADEMYHQ #HYBEGEFFEN #HYBE #GEFFEN ♬ original sound – Dream Academy HQ

The girls’ first mission on The Debut: Dream Academy was revealed on September 1. Split into four teams—two dance and two vocal teams—the competitors will perform their assigned songs to secure their spot in the next stage of the show. Sophia’s team, Vocal Team B, will be performing a special arrangement of Paramore’s Still Into You.

All of the performances will premiere on September 6, 11 PM Philippine time on YouTube. After the missions, two girls will be eliminated, so be sure to stay in-the-know about voting by joining the Dream Academy Weverse community and checking on their socials!

Stay tuned on the Dream Academy website, socials, and HYBE LABELS+ on YouTube to be updated with the show and Sophia’s journey! Voting also begins September 6th on Weverse and YouTube.

Continue Reading: All the Major Announcements From HYBE’s Community Event Briefing

How BLACKPINK Is Taking Over Gaming, One Platform At A Time

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BLINKs in their gamer era.

BLACKPINK is dominating the gaming spaces, collaborating with one fun community gaming platform after another!

Related: BLACKPINK is Holding a Virtual Concert in PUBG Mobile This July (2022), and It’s Free

BLACKPINK is in your area—your gaming area, to be precise! Aside from slaying in the real world, the YG Entertainment girl group made up of superstars Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé have also made their way to the digital realm. The group has collaborated quite a few times with both PC and mobile games, proving that wherever they go, they always bring their signature musicality and impeccable style. Whether it’s a set of avatars with stylish outfits or an immersive storyline, each BLACKPINK game experience is cute, fun, and totally unique. Here are a few of those times where the ladies took over gaming like a boss.

BLACKPINK X ROBLOX: THE PALACE

The latest BLACKPINK game collaboration, BLACKPINK THE PALACE, launched August 25th on popular online game platform Roblox. The immersive experience allows fans and players to gather in a BLACKPINK-themed setting, decorate it, and host parties and games within the palace and the grounds. The members’ avatars will also pop up here and there for photo ops and interactive opportunities.

BLACKPINK X PUBG

The girl group has collaborated with hugely popular battle royale game PUBG twice: first in PUBG: Battlegrounds where they released a huge number of themed customizations that can make the gaming experience completely decked out in BLACKPINK gear such as outfits and supply crates. For the second time, they collaborated with PUBG: Mobile to hold an in-game virtual concert called BLACKPINK: The Virtual where the group’s special avatars performed. They also released a special track Ready for Love with an animated music video in collaboration with the game in July 2022, their first Korean release since The Album in 2020. Ready for Love was also included as the 8th track in their second studio album Born Pink (2022).

BLACKPINK X ZEPETO

We as a society simply can’t resist making little avatars and dressing them up, can we? When Korean metaverse app Zepeto blew up social media, people were able to do just that very thing—customize their avatars, dress them up, take photos with their avatar friends, and get creative. During the height of the pandemic, BLACKPINK partnered with Zepeto to hold the “world’s first virtual fansign” on the platform. BLINKs could interact with the girls’ avatars, win prizes like outfits and badges, and also watch a special Ice Cream performance with Selena Gomez!

BLACKPINK: THE GAME

Lastly, of course, BLACKPINK launched their own mobile game BLACKPINK: The Game earlier this year, where players can play as the girls’ producer and agency manager, complete puzzles and objectives to level up their own BP members, play minigames with friends, dress up the member avatars in cute little outfits, collect photo and video cards, and more!

The group also dropped a banging OST for the game, The Girls, on August 25 with an adorable and stylish animated video. They also celebrated the release with a party and fun games. The members revealed that they played the game themselves, and Jisoo even shared that she’s spent money on dressing up the other members in the game and interacted with several fans (even though no one recognized her in the game).

Though unusual, it’s not unheard of for artists, brands, and personalities to collaborate with games. For instance, multiplayer obstacle course game Stumble Guys recently collaborated with the Barbie movie and Mr. Beast, and Nicki Minaj is now a playable character in Call of Duty! In the end, you get to have fun playing a game and feel even more connected to it as you play as, with, or alongside artists you love. Who knows, you might just run into one of the members in an online game.

Continue Reading: 9 Filipino-Made Video Games That Are Worth the Download

The Asia Artist Awards Will Be Held In The PH For the First Time—Here’s What We Know So Far

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Get your lightsticks ready.

You read that right. The Asia Artist Awards, one of South Korea’s biggest awards ceremonies, is being held in the Philippines for the first time ever! Here’s what we know, who’s coming, and how you can watch!

Related: Meet the Only Filipina Competing for a Spot in HYBE X Geffen’s New Global Girl Group

Have you ever watched a Korean awards show and wondered what it would be like if the Philippines was chosen as a host nation? Well, wonder no more because one is finally coming to the Philippines. The Asia Artist Awards, organized by Korean newspaper Money Today and media brands StarNews and MTN, celebrates the best of the best in music, film, and television. And on August 30, StarNews dropped the, well, news that the ceremony will be held in the Philippine Arena on December 14!

The first edition of AAA were held in Seoul in 2016 while subsequent ceremonies have been held in South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. This year, its 8th iteration will land in the Philippines for the first time, and undoubtedly to the shock and joy of countless Hallyu fans all over the nation. The event will be hosted by the AAA organizing committee, TONZ Entertainment, and PULP Live World.

Happee Sy-Go confirmed the development by reposting the news on her X (formerly Twitter) page and sharing with Manila Bulletin that PULP is “very honored to have been chosen as the Philippine partner to host this year’s Asian Artist Awards.”

The Awards sees a mix of Korean idol groups, artists, actors take the stage to accept awards, host, or perform. Last year, the star-studded attendees included NewJeans, SEVENTEEN, TREASURE, IVE, Han Sohee, Bona, Lee Jae Wook, and so much more. Other most-awarded artists include BTS, SEVENTEEN, Lim Young-woong, TWICE, and Kang Daniel. International artists have also won awards, such as MAX and Anne-Marie winning the Best Pop Artist Award in 2020.

Social media is already buzzing with anticipation for this year’s awards as it’s a massive moment in K-pop culture that is sure to have incredible performances, fun interactions, friendly competition, and a grand celebration of Asian culture—and it’s going to happen right here in the Philippines!

To kick things off, the first lineup for AAA was announced on September 2 by Starnews. So get ready to see world-renowned girl groups LE SSERAFIM, NMIXX, and NewJeans, as well as 5th generation boy groups BOYNEXTDOOR, and ZEROBASEONE at the Philippine Arena this December!

Next up, the hosts of the awards! Wonder no more who’s going to take the red carpet interviewer gigs as IVE’s Jang Wonyoung, Kang Daniel, and ZEROBASEONE’s Sung Hanbin are here to host the grand event!

K-Drama enthusiasts—get ready! The next wave of attendees have confirmed they’re walking the carpet in the Philippine Arena: actors Kim Seon Ho (Start-Up, Home Town Cha-Cha-Cha), Ahn Hyo Seop (Business Proposal, Dr. Romantic), Kim Se Jeong (Business Proposal, The Uncanny Counter), and Moon Ga Young (True Beauty, The Interest of Love)! And to add, more attendees include artists Lee Dong-hwi, Lee Jun-hyuk, Cha Joo-young, and Lee Eun-sam.

You won’t believe who else is coming. K-Pop groups ITZY, Stray Kids, THE BOYZ, soloist Kwon Eunbi, and Japanese boyband &TEAM have confirmed their attendance at AAA 2023!

The second musical lineup revealed groups Dreamcatcher, KARD, STAYC, Kep1er, TEMPEST, Lapillus, as well as soloists and rappers Kim Jae Joong, Dindin, Lee Youngji, Ash Island, and YAOCHEN will be in attendance!

Next up! The star-studded lineup includes SEVENTEEN’s sub-unit BSS (BooSeokSoon), ONEUS, KINGDOM, ATBO, LUN8, Filipino groups SB19 and HORI7ON, EXO’s Suho, and chart-topper Lim Young Woong! And if that’s not enough, local big names joining them will be Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, and Melai Cantiveros.

Ticket selling starts November 12! Stay tuned for more news about the Awards, and get ready for a great December.

Bookmark this page for updates as we learn more about AAA in the Philippines!

Continue Reading: 9 International Music Videos You Didn’t Know Were Shot in the Philippines

Meet The Only Filipina Competing For A Spot In HYBE x Geffen’s New Global Girl Group

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Class is in session.

Twenty-year-old Sophia Laforteza has made it to the Top 20 finalists that will compete in new reality survival show The Debut: Dream Academy.

Related: All the Major Announcements From HYBE’s Community Event Briefing

K-Pop industry leader HYBE, home of global supergroup BTS, is teaming up with American record label Geffen Records to find the next global girl group that’ll take the world by storm! Twenty finalists chosen from hundreds of thousands of applicants have made it to the “Dream Academy,” where they’ll compete for a spot in the final lineup of the group. And one of them hails from the Philippines. Here’s what you need to know about the young Pinay hoping to make her idol dreams come true.

dreamacademyhq/X

dreamacademyhq/X

MEET SOPHIA

Sophia Laforteza, 20, is the only Filipina to make it to the finalist lineup alongside other international competitors hailing from the USA, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Argentina, Thailand, South Korea, Switzerland, Brazil, Belarus, and Slovakia.

Sophia Laforteza

dreamacademyhq/Instagram

She and the other finalists will showcase their skills and talents for 12 weeks on the reality competition and audition program The Debut: Dream Academy, which will air on YouTube and Japanese platform ADEMA starting September 1st to November 17, which will be the live finale.

The Debut: Dream Academy Contestants

Photo courtesy of HYBE/Geffen

In Dream Academy’s social media reveal of the finalists, Sophia, or Sophie/Fifi/Sopheezy, describes herself as “hysterical, caring, and diligent.” She is the daughter of actress and singer Carla Guevara Laforteza and Chef Godfrey Laforteza, who, like her, is a proud ARMY.

She graduated senior high school in 2021 with high honors from Multiple Intelligence International School after studying in the Humanities and Social Sciences strand. Her Instagram is filled with stylish outfits, travel pictures, and fun, sun-drenched adventures.

Sophia is also proven to be a talented vocalist, having posted singing videos to her Tiktok. With her talent, style, looks, and poise, Sophia looks to be a strong contender in Dream Academy, and we can’t wait to see how well she does.

@sophialaforteza singing on here again after months 🫶🏼 vanessa’s trick for ya #thelittlemermaid #vanessastrick #singing @halle ♬ original sound – sophia laforteza

GOING GLOBAL

John Janick, chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M, says of the contestants, “Each candidate is incredibly talented, dedicated, and driven, making this an exciting moment for music fans worldwide.” To introduce the finalists and their talents, HYBE and Geffen released an art film on YouTube, and we can already tell it’s going to be a tough competition.

Dream Academy was born out of HYBE chairman Bang Si-Hyuk’s desire to form an international group based on “K-Pop methodology.” Upon collaborating with Janick, they got started on developing the concept and process for forming the next diverse, world-class music group, which led to where we are today.

Once the final lineup and the name of the new group is revealed on November 17, Billboard reports, the group will undergo further training and development, a process that will be documented for a Netflix docuseries to be released in 2024. Meanwhile, The Debut: Dream Academy will see these 20 trainees showcase their skills and talents through challenges and performances to earn evaluators’ praise, the public’s votes, and a spot on the group.

If you want to support Sophia as well as your other faves, you can join The Debut: Dream Academy Weverse community or vote on Tiktok. Voting starts September 1st. Stay updated on their website and socials (@dreamacademyhq on X and Instagram) to see how far Sophia goes and how the next big global girl group will be formed!

Continue Reading: Meet R Rules, the Half Pinoy, Half Japanese P-Pop Girl Group All About Empowerment