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Telemundo, Music Website To Re-Form Menudo

Latino boys from across the U.S. will soon have the opportunity to convince a panel of judges that they’re the next Ricky Martin or Robi Draco Rosa.

On July 1, online entries will be available to talented (and likely visually appealing) Hispanic boys between 10 and 15 who will be given the chance to land one of five spots in the newest incarnation of Menudo.

Menudo rose to global fame in the early 1980s, making Martin and Rosa into heartthrobs in nearly every Spanish-speaking nation. In New York, their fame was so strong that an English-language single released in summer 1984, “If You’re Not Here (By My Side),” earned airplay on Top 40 giant Z100 despite the song’s failure to reach the national charts.

Martin is now one of the world’s most recognizable Latin male vocalists, while Rosa has enjoyed a highly successful career as a songwriter and performer with an impressive fan base in Puerto Rico.

Newly launched digital music entertainment discovery platform Showpitch.com is leading the quest for the five individuals who will ultimately be offered a slot in the new Menudo. The rules allow prospective contestants, boys age 10-15, to build their own “Talent Stage” microsite and upload a three-minute video that showcases their singing and dancing moves.

While the competition is open to any boy, regardless of ethnicity, the online registration page first asks to select Spanish or English as their preferred language — a hint that band members will be Hispanic. For legal reasons, the parent or legal guardian of the potential contestant must complete and submit the required forms on behalf of their child.

Once the online entry process is complete, their “Talent Stage” will then be shared with Showpitch.com’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, allowing fans to vote for their favorite would-be Menudo member. Of the total contestants, the 25 with the most social media votes will be selected following August 30 as finalists and flown to Miami, where they will perform before a panel of judges for the chance to become the newest Menudo member.

While nearly every component of the search will be conducted online and through social media, Telemundo Station Group is playing a key role in what’s being dubbed “Menudo — En Busca de la Nueva Generación.” Viewers will be able to “fully engage and join in this unique production” by visiting the local websites for Telemundo O&Os across the U.S., TSG senior vice president of sales Mike Chico said.

“The Telemundo Station Group has a robust digital offering that allows our viewers to connect and engage with our local stations while they are on the go to get the latest news and information they need or learn about exciting new offerings, such as this presentation,” Chico notes.

On the website for Miami Telemundo station WSCV,  a promotion video with Spanish narration appeared on the top left-hand side of the page and began playing.

While relaunching the iconic Menudo brand is noteworthy in and of itself, it is interesting to note that Telemundo is putting its muscle behind an initiative that won’t lead to TV programming for the Telemundo broadcast network, TeleXitos multicast network, or the NBC Universo cable platform — at least for now. That hasn’t deterred at least one sponsor, the Local Honda Dealer Association, from signing on.

Telemundo owns TV stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, San Antonio, San Francisco, Phoenix, Harlingen, Fresno, Denver, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Boston, Tucson and Puerto Rico.