In its quest to find the next Latin boy band, La Banda (The Band), the reality show developed by Univision with Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Saban Brands, will add boy-band alum extraordinaire Ricky Martin as executive producer and judge of the reality music competition show.
La Banda is looking to build a new Latino boy band through a huge cross-country talent search that kicks off with Los Angeles auditions on March 7. The final band, which will be trained and prepped during competition, will receive a recording contract with Sony Music Latin.
“There is a generation in Latin America that is desperately hoping for something like this,” Martin told Billboard, when asked if the market was ripe for another boy band. “It’s a phenomena that happens every decade, and now is the time.”
In addition to serving as a judge during the entire run of the show, Martin will also be executive producer and will manage the band once it’s selected.
“It’s the first time I’ll be a manager and it’s the first time I’m an executive producer [for television],” Martin said with a laugh.
Martin, of course, came to prominence when he joined boy band Menudo at 13 years old back in 1984. At the time, Martin auditioned several times until he got accepted into the already-popular group.
La Banda will work differently. Here, says Martin, “Fans have the power. They will decide who moves forward with the audition and who will actually meet with the judges in the show.”
This system might or might not have worked for Martin back in the day. “But that’s how we play the game today, and I’m sure today’s generation of artists is ready to move forward and take it like it is, according to the rules of the game.”
Martin says the show’s production will “surround the artists with incredibly talented people that will guide them,” preparing them in all aspects of life onstage.
The situation is reminiscent of Martin’s days in Menudo. “I felt very protected by the team I had around me,” he says. “Going from riding a bike near my home to hopping into a private plane can be overwhelming. But the most important thing is the support system we create around them.”
La Banda will be co-produced by Fremantle Media and is set to premiere in September on Univision.