H!P Eggs: What Exactly do You do?

The new members of Morning Musume have been chosen, and I’m pleased for the most part. Four new girls have been added, the most that have been admitted since 2003.

Of the audition group, three members made the cut: Ikuta Erina, Sayashi Riho, and Suzuki Kanon. These three were my top three picks, so I’m more than happy they made it. Time will tell if they’re able to have a significant voice in the group, but it raises my hopes at least a little that they will change the Morning Musume dynamic for the better (a la 4th gen additions).

But that wasn’t all. Out of the blue, a H!P ‘Eggs’ member was promoted to Morning Musume: Fukumura Mizuki. Now, I support her addition, even without knowing anything about her. Because Fukumura is 14, she can at least play the role to bridge the large age gap between the audition winners and the current Morning Musume.

This promotion brought up a few questions for me: What exactly is going on with Hello Pro Eggs? I know it started as a free training program for girls with potential. Girls would have to go though mass auditions just to get into Hello Pro Eggs, and would receive training to potentially debut . There are over 20 girls receiving training; learning dances, getting their foot in the door with small gigs, and performing in Hello Project concerts as background dancers.

There are members of Hello Egg that have been around as early as 2005, but haven’t gotten their break. Maybe I’m crazy but why is it that these girls ‘with potential’, who have been trained, funded and supported by Hello Project for years seem to be doing a whole lot of nothing?

Perhaps I’m used to the AKB Kenkyuusei, which basically follows the same concept as Eggs, who are group of girls that are consistently being streamlined. Getting into a Kenkyuusei group doesn’t guarantee anything, the same as Eggs, but every so often the Kenkyuusei are always being streamlined and trimmed, as it’s clear not everyone who made it in is cut out for idol work. Hello Pro Eggs on the other hand seems like some kind of exclusive club where girls can stay however long they damn please, whether or not they show true potential.

Half of the girls in Hello Pro Eggs are 18 and older—in the fast-lane world of idols, and seeing how nearly all the Eggs that have been promoted have been 16 and younger, it means the chance of you getting anywhere by staying is Eggs is almost zero. While it’s true that not everyone makes it in the end, it’s almost ridiculous how long some Hello Egg members have been around. Do they stick around because Eggs is all they have? Is it not a matter of being promoted anymore, and more about being content? Or do they still hope for their big break? And on UFA’s end: Why are they still keeping them? Not trying to sound cold-hearted, but looking how UFA has been promoting only very young girls, it’s weird that half of their ‘training students’ are college-aged.

Other questions also arise from having just one Egg join Morning Musume: Are the current Eggs so bad that they had to get most of the new recruits with a whole new audition?  Hello Pro Eggs are specifically for those who train for a future in H!P, so how is getting three girls based on a brand new audition a better bet than getting three trained girls from Eggs? How much money is UFA spending to keep these Eggs? Do they need to have Eggs at this point? Do they need background dancers THAT badly? I’m just confused.


About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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