The Drum Awards Festival - Creativity

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By Webb Wright | Reporter

March 4, 2022 | 3 min read

Pepsi has launched a new show that will give eight contestants the opportunity to jumpstart their careers by appearing in a Pepsi commercial during this year’s Video Music Awards (VMAs). The show will be hosted by a panel of celebrity judges including Joe Jonas.

Pepsi has announced a new contest, launched in collaboration with MTV and TikTok, called ‘Becoming a Popstar.’ The project will be modeled on classic TV talent competitions like American Idol and The Voice. At the end of the competition, one contestant will win the opportunity to showcase their talent to a national audience.

The eight contestants for ‘Becoming a Popstar’ will be sourced from TikTok, a platform that – in addition to having become a major news source for gen Z – has also catapulted some performers into superstardom. With its massive global audience, it has provided artists with a new conduit through which they can showcase their abilities and gain legitimate fame.

Each week, the show’s contestants will be challenged to create an original song and accompanying one-minute videos using TikTok’s dynamic creative production tools. The videos will first appear on TikTok before the complete episodes air on MTV. Fans can vote for their favorite performances each week by searching #MTVPopstar on TikTok.

Each week will have a theme: in ‘The Duets’ episode, for example, contestants will be organized into pairs, challenging them to flex not only their creative muscle but also their collaborative skills. An elimination will occur each week until only two contestants remain, at which point the finalists will go toe-to-toe in a special finale. The winner will go on to star in a Pepsi commercial that will air during the MTV VMAs. Pepsi will also provide funding and additional resources to help boost the winner’s career.

The show will be hosted by a “star-studded panel of judges” – each of whom has their own considerable following on TikTok – including Joe Jonas (of Jonas Brothers fame), singer-songwriter Becky G and creative director and choreographer Sean Bankhead.

In its communications about the new project, Pepsi has underscored the supportive role that it has long played in the American music and entertainment industry. It has partnered with the VMAs since 1987, for example, and it has also famously been the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime show since 2012.

“Pepsi has an incredible legacy in music, having worked with a range of talent over the years, and one thing we have consistently heard from artists is how Pepsi played a key role in their journey as they went from star to pop icon,” said Todd Kaplan, vice-president of marketing at Pepsi. “This inspired us to concept ‘Becoming a Popstar’ to find up-and-coming musicians and give them an opportunity to become the next big Pepsi artist. We couldn’t be more excited to bring two other music powerhouses – MTV and TikTok – into this concept, as ‘Becoming a Popstar’ goes so far beyond a traditional music competition show, accelerating the artist journey from discovery all the way to popstar status in ways that have never been done before.”

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