JPOP IN AMERICA
And said, send me a songwriter who's drifted far from home
And make sure that he's hungry, make sure he's alone
Send me a cheeseburger and a new rolling stone -Neil Young, Crime In The City
There is a phenomenon in Japan that is huge but hasn't taken off in America, and I can't figure out why not. The USA has boy bands and studio-created bands and carefully packaged entertainment figures, but nothing like Japan has created. This idea is in Korea as well, and does quite well. Here's a sample:
That band is called AKB48, and it consists of 68 girls (I think it originally had 48, thus the name). If you think that's a pretty huge group, you're right, but they have it down to a system. The manager and creator Yasushi Akimoto set the band up as an ensemble, with more of a theater in effect than a girl group. He's also created similar groups in Taiwan, Indonesia, and China.
The group is divided into three subgroups: Team A, presently with 22 members; Team K, with 23 members; and Team B, also with 23 members. The girls are trained to sing together and dance, and even do little story videos, and they select who'll perform or record a song by either a vote of fans or by a rock/paper/scissors tournament between members.
The girls are all cute and wear a variety of traditional or odd costumes, usually very colorful and often skimpy, and they play up their beauty in ads and appearances. The songs are bubblegum junk, but are very popular and catchy. There are a lot of these groups, although not as big, and most are called J-Pop or K-Pop (for Korea or Japan) and they all consist of pretty girls in their mid teens to early twenties.
What I can't figure out is why nobody (Simon Cowell for instance) has come up with this for America or England. Its not like the studios wouldn't love the concept - movies, advertising, music, videos, etc; kaching! - and if you tried to set up a group of singing and dancing girls, you'd get lines around the entire city of girls auditioning. The only hard part would be keeping the girls under control, but the choreographing and costuming is no big deal, and the songs are easy enough to do - you could even do covers of J-Pop songs.
By the way, another phenomenon is dance instruction videos. One such studio is from Korea, called Waveya, which does videos showing various dance moves. Because they wear huge high heels they don't have a lot of footwork, but they have nice moves. Here's one of them doing the bizarrely popular song "Gangnam Style"
It just seems like a missed opportunity for some producer or manager somewhere. Really pretty girls singing goofy songs and dancing, how can it go wrong?