The WACK Expo Fallout: We Are All Incredibly Easy Marks

I didn’t watch the WACK Expo. After the thing had been announced, and the overall shape of the auditions made, it was pretty obvious how the whole shebang would be conducted and concluded, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I allowed myself to selectively enjoy the auditions from extra-afar, taking it all in via Twitter and the occasional side conversation; once my girl Trivago was finally, mercifully euthanized, I didn’t care enough to even do that.

When I woke up today, the event was all in the past. Things had been done, reactions had, tears shed, etc. Was Twitter buzzing? It sure was! Were the takes flying? They sure were!

And all according to plan. Like any good wota, this is our moment to MIX, to respond to the ainote, to play our part in the interactive ritual that is being an idol fan. We happily separate ourselves from our money to experience closely controlled environments of put-on cruelty and manicured triumphs. We call out the things that are bad or stupid, and hand over cash, attention and appearances of generalized support in exchange. We are all incredibly easy marks.

Anyway, what happened:

If you want a succinct-er rundown, go to Natalie and skip the commentary, or read the WACK Idols Twitter stream

This time around, quite a few of the auditioners were semi-immediately added to existing groups; if there are going to be new groups, that’s down the line. I did (easily correctly) predict swapsies, so here is the sum total of change to the existing WACK roster:

GANG PARADE

Added: Lisoliso, Yokoyama Hina

Name change: Maika, to Can GP Maika; does this make her the leader now or something?

EMPiRE

Added: Michihayashi Rio, Yaya Eight Prince

Subtracted: YUiNA

BiSH

Absolutely nothing

BiS

Added: Cent Chihiro Tette, Gamiya Saki, Orangeko Vampire, Ayuna C, Choushouji Megumi, YUiNA

Subtracted: (ex post facto) Pour Lui

Oh and BiS, because there will be 12(!) members (of what used to be like this exclusive little club of idol outcasts), will now be split into two teams, with a single associated with one (or both?) of them arriving in June.

BiS 1st

  • Pan Luna Leafy
  • Gozeela
  • Momoland
  • Cent Chohiro Tette
  • Gamiya Saki
  • Orangeko Vampire

BiS 2nd

  • Peri Ubu
  • Aya Eight Prince
  • Kika Front Frontale
  • Ayuna C
  • Choushouji Megumi
  • Yuina EMPiRE

And just imagine the confusion for fans of a certain Scottish band!

With absolutely no effort, WACK has gained another unit (with the BiS brand, no less) and a whole set of new revenue opportunities idols for people to obsess over. Up goes the cry, This isn’t what Pour Lui wanted! This isn’t BiS!, and I assure you, strawman, that is very likely to have been engineered by Pour Lui as part of a bigger endgame. Mister Mister’s comment that WACK is AKB48 for hipsters continues to look ever more prescient.

And do you know why? Because we are all incredibly easy marks.

This is all stupid. In fact, it is all incredibly stupid. But look at how wota — being predictable merch-revenue machines that they are, supportive of the unit and the talent (“In spite of the dickhead manager!” they exclaim) in a way that surpasses even the one-note patriotism of otherwise detached people at the peak of an Olympiad, for hoarding collecting items related to people who could not possibly care less about our existence (in fact, are unaware of it, but are adept at pretending otherwise to our own vainglorious edification) — look at how they will continue to support, or even double down in their support. Hell, there are people out there right now, people who should know better and yet, trying to decide which of the new BiS units is the one they’ll support harder, understanding in a completely primitive, reptilian-core-of-the-mammalian-brain kind of way that it doesn’t really matter what — what what? exactly — as long as it is. It just needs to look right, sound (mostly) right and have the right set of associations.

The correct answer is BiS 2nd

It’s entertainment by assembly line, and as long as the people in charge of quality control are doing their job, everybody involved comes out ahead. There is no New Coke in this drama; it’s a world with both Diet Coke and Coke Zero and people like me buying cases at a time. Watanabe Junnosuke, the PT Barnum of idol, has managed to generate an annual spectacle of exactly what everybody who watches expects to see (for a small monthly fee!) that culminates in a must-see event that has, now in its second year, proven to be no different than any of the other Big Idol annuals that reset the stage. He has his fun and makes a ton of money; wota experience the high-and-low emotional gratification and happily separate their money from themselves. It’s Wrestlemania.

We really are all incredibly easy marks.

3 thoughts on “The WACK Expo Fallout: We Are All Incredibly Easy Marks

  1. Well he fooled me, I figured he would announce a new group or two that would be under the Wack record label he announced at the Wack elections.

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