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Babymetal to Debut in Kōhaku Music Contest

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba theme song artist LiSA also returns to the program

NHK revealed the lineup for the 71th Kōhaku Uta Gassen ("Red and White Song Contest"), Japan's most-watched music television program, on Monday. The yearly New Year's Eve contest pits two teams of female singers (the red team) and male singers (the white team) against each other. The lineup reveals that the Japanese heavy metal idol trio Babymetal will be participating in the program for the first time.

Babymetal popularized the "kawaii metal" genre that also includes groups like Deadlift Lolita, Ladybaby, and Doll$Boxx. The group initially formed in 2010 as an offshoot of the Sakura Gakuin idol group. The trio of performers, Su-Metal, YuiMetal, and MoaMetal, appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote their album Metal Resistance. The album went on to rank on the U.S. Billboard's Top 200 at #39 in its first week, the first time a Japanese artist broke into the chart's Top 40 in 53 years.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Sword Art Online theme song singer LiSA, who debuted on the program last year, will also return for her second appearance.

The news comes in the wake of LiSA's recent milestones: her new single "Homura" (the theme song for the Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train film) made her the first artist to top the ranking for three consecutive weeks in 12 years and 10 months, since the band SMAP achieved the feat with their "Dangan Fighter" single in January 2008. Her earlier single "Gurenge" (the theme song for the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba television anime) became the third most downloaded song in the history of Oricon's digital single ranking chart in June earlier this year.

The full lineup for the 71th Kōhaku Uta Gassen includes:

(Note: The number in parenthesis represents how many times the singer/group has appeared on the program, including this year.)

RED TEAM

WHITE TEAM

In this year's contest, actress Fumi Nikaido (Tezuka's Barbara) is leading the red team, and TV personality Yo Oizumi is leading the white team. Comedian Teruyoshi Uchimura is the MC for the fourth consecutive year, and NHK newscaster Maho Kuwako is announcing. The theme this year is "This Time We'll Sing And Yell Together," expressing a message of hope and togetherness during the uncertainties of post-COVID Japan.

Sources: NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen's official website, Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web


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