Caracol TV winning big with live competitions

Colombia’s Caracol TV has added a twist to the telenovela genre, literally.

Web has been staging live dance competitions across the country inspired by the heroine of its latest Latin sudser, “Nadie es eterno en el mundo” (Nobody Lives Forever in This World).

Contestants vie for the top prize by imitating the dance moves of heroine Wendy Jimenez.

“Baile con Wendy” (Dance With Wendy) comprises seven key steps and essential costume props including a cowboy hat, boots and, more often than not, a bare midriff. Toned obliques are not compulsory.

So far, five dance contests, (held at malls, parks or sports stadiums) have drawn a total of 100,000 spectators since June. The first competish held in Bogota attracted 21,000-plus when the web was expecting a turnout of only 5,000. Such was the interest that the mall had to shut its doors to more than 20,000 clamoring to get in.

More than 500 “Wendy” aspirants of all ages have come forward to compete. The grand prize: a television set and a good dose of fame, however fleeting.

Aud share of the telenovela is among the highest in Colombian television, with an average share floating between 40% and 50%. Caracol is expecting to become the leading network this year, thanks to “Nadie es eterno …” and another telenovela “Nuevo rico, nuevo pobre” (New Rich, New Poor).

Played by Adriana Bottina, Wendy is a struggling young singer and dancer who in true telenovela fashion, gets entangled in a love triangle. Bottina doubles as a juror in the competish.

This is the second time Caracol has paired a dance competish with a telenovela. In 2001, telenovela “Pedro el Escamoso” spurred “El Pirulino” dancing, which became a phenomenon that crossed into neighboring Venezuela and even the U.S.

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