#FIRSTLOOK: A VISIT TO THE SET OF “MAKE IT POP” WITH XO-IQ!
Quietly filming in Toronto since last year is a tween-geared Series which rapidly is taking the world by storm! MAKE IT POP since airing on star-making Nickelodeon in the U.S. this past March, quickly catapulted itself to the top of network ratings and soon after, YTV in Canada would air it.
The Series follows the trials and tribulations of three talented teens – one-part K-Pop Fantasy, one-part Glee, one-part Telenovela. Sun-Hi (Megan Lee), Corki (Erika Tham) and Jodi (Louriza Tronco) despite their initial differences go-on to form a strong bond of friendship in their time at a boarding school, Mackendrick Prep, after discovering their own musical talents. They would become known as XO-IQ and joining them is their DJ, Caleb (Dale Whibley).
Although initially we weren’t sure what to make of it when their Publicist reached out to us – okay, we admit we felt a bit old (!) – we’re glad we opened our minds to the spirited EDM-Pop sounds of XO-IQ. Unlike your average TV Series, these girls are balancing schooling with choreography and recording in their schedule above acting responsibilities. Fresh off an appearance in which they helped Series Creator Nick Cannon with hosting duties on the Nickelodeon Awards (airing later this month), we visit their Toronto set just one day after season two finished filming.
I walk through the halls of the studio, which shares a space also with famed Degrassi, admiring the attention to detail from teen girl wall decor down to old class photos in purple hallways of the school. I get even a sneak peek of the backlot where a colourful painted school bus sits parked, holding the key to some spoilers for its upcoming second season. I then am led upstairs to the green rooms where a lovely Tham and her friendly mom come out to hug me.
“I’m not good at being goofy”, soon-to-be-16 Erika Tham admits to us as she poses for a couple snaps in the light on a green room couch. She is mature beyond her years and tells me on her impending downtime she’ll be catching-up with her Chinese-Malaysian father, following him through Asia as he works. Born in Singapore, she has traveled the world and received the best education at several international schools. “I’m off to Hong Kong next”, she tells me after her mom learns that I too am from there. Coincidence.
Despite filming together, getting the Series’ three stars together in a room isn’t always an easy feat with their busy schedules, but fortunately our timing was perfect in the Make-Up Room as each entered one by one successively. This day the Trio were filming promos for their upcoming line of dolls modeled after their respective characters.
A pink-haired Lee, who originally had K-Pop aspirations – a perfect fit actually for the Series itself – gushes about how much she loves her doll after we watched her Film a spot where she meets with the creation modeled after her just minutes before. Winnipeg-born and Vancouver-based Tronco – her hair with blue streaks – chimes in also, excited too. “I can’t wait to hibernate for a couple weeks!” she tells me after a hectic filming and promo schedule of late.
Together the girls take celebratory Selfie on Tronco‘s phone to mark the occasion. After all isn’t it everybody’s dream to have a doll made after them? It is said the dolls are set to hit shelves early 2016.
In case you aren’t caught-up on your MAKE IT POP, know that the girls essentially are taking over your Holidays with a couple marathons on YTV here in Canada and also a new album featuring music from its second season. Click here for more on that.
Although we’re waiting on announcement of a third season, the Series’ popularity has cemented the likelihood of XO-IQ being around for a while.
See some Snaps from our time together with the Girls of MAKE IT POP!
Mr. Will + XO-IQ
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong)