Will Sophia Laforteza be the first Filipina Hybe idol in “The Debut: Dream Academy” finale?

Will a Filipina girl group trainee become label mates with the likes of BTS and Seventeen? It’s not as far-fetched a dream as we once thought. Earlier today, Nov. 6, Hybe Labels’ collab survival show “The Debut: Dream Academy” revealed the lucky 10 girls making it to the live finale. One of them is Sophia Laforteza, the show’s only Filipino candidate.

For the third and last mission, the candidates were tasked to showcase their artistry through different musical concepts. The 13 candidates were divided into three groups to perform songs by Demi Lovato, The Pussycat Dolls, and the Spice Girls. Laforteza performed “Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls along with Manon, Celeste, Nayoung, and Daniela. Fans were quick to point out how Laforteza was able to channel her inner Nicole Scherzinger, another artist with Filipino roots.

Prior to the ranking announcement, it was revealed that Laforteza was feeling under the weather throughout Mission 3. Despite missing practices and having to film her parts sick, she still managed to give us stunning vocals and stage presence with her teammates.

Laforteza maintained her position as the top-ranked trainee for the last mission, helping her secure a spot for the show’s live finale. Although the girls’ talent evaluations are based on their mission and the judges’ criteria, they can still be saved by their global fans. Fans can vote for their favorite candidate through Hybe’s application, Weverse. Sophia also ranks first in this term, with a whopping 45,184 fan votes giving her immunity from elimination.

Laforteza is the only Filipino candidate vying for a spot in Hybe Labels and Geffen Record’s first global girl group. The 20-year-old is well-known for her vocal prowess and is very proud of her Filipino roots. She has been a consistent ace throughout the program—earning second place during the first mission and first place during the second mission.

The “The Debut: Dream Academy” finale will air live on Hybe Labels’ YouTube channel on Nov. 18 at 12 a.m. The group’s name and its six official members will be revealed then. Here’s to hoping that Sophia Laforteza will make the cut!

Art by Ella Lambio

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Amrie Cruz: Amrie is a nonbinary writer who likes to talk about politics and viral animal videos. They have a dog daughter named Cassie who doesn’t go to school.