NHK announces lineup for 'Kohaku Uta Gassen' on New Year's Eve
NHK on Wednesday announced the lineup for its popular New Year’s Eve program “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (Red and White Song Contest). The contest is being held for the 65th year.
Of the 51 acts, three will be making their debut for the Red (women’s) team—HKT48, May J and veteran Hiroko Yakushimaru. May J will sing the popular song “Let It Go” from the monster Disney hit “Frozen.”
Other notable acts for the Red team include model-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, E-girls, AKB48, its sister groups SKE48 and NMB48, Seiko Matsuda and Perfume, along with veterans Sayuri Ishikawa, appearing for the 37th time, and Akiko Wada, in her 38th appearance.
One notable omission is pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki, absent from the lineup for the first time in 15 years. She told fans on Twitter that she preferred to focus on projects she wants to do, rather that on what she feels obligated to do.
Two acts will be making their debut for the White (men’s) team—V6 and Sekai on Owari. The White team also includes Arashi, SMAP, Exile, Hiromi Go, Sexy Zone, American Chris Hart, Golden Bomber, Tokio and Kiyoshi Hikawa, along with veterans Shinichi Mori, making his 47th appearance, Hiroshi Itsuki for the 44th time and Takeshi Hosokawa (38th time).
Actress Yuriko Yoshitaka, 26, and Arashi will host the gala.
Arashi will be hosting the gala show for the fifth consecutive year, while Yoshitaka takes over from Haruka Ayase for the women’s red team.
Yoshitaka continues the recent trend for NHK to choose a host from its popular drama TV series. She played the lead role in “Hanako to Anne,” the 90th Asadora series that aired Monday through Saturday mornings from March 31 until Sept 27 this year.
Though it has lost some of its luster in the past 10 years, “Kohaku Uta Gassen” is still considered the most prestigious TV music program to be invited to appear on.
See full lineup here.