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“Rebel” vs. “Rebelde Way”: which version was better? The Mexican or the Argentine?

Clarification: This article was first published on August 31, 2020.

It is a popular idea: the copy cannot exceed the original. We have it in household appliances and even in comics where heroes sometimes face their copies to finally emerge triumphant. But in show business this is not always the case and one of the most visible examples is that of the bands Erreway and RBD, with the latter managing to match and even surpass its Argentine predecessor. Now that the phenomenon is about to return with a new Netflix fiction, we review the history of two groups that marked Latin America at the beginning of the millennium.

From fiction to reality. Erreway was a band made up of Luisana Lopilato, Felipe Colombo, Camila Bordonaba and Benjamín Rojas that was born from the youth soap opera “Rebelde Way”, Which was precisely about a group of boys who, despite the demands and rules of their prestigious academy, create a musical band.

The series, created by the producer Cris Morena, began airing on May 27, 2002 and soon became a sensation among the youngest not only in Argentina, but also in the rest of Latin America. Erreway, made up of the protagonists of the program, released its first album entitled “Signs” for July 29 of the same year. By the end of 2002 they launched their Signal Tour, which takes them throughout the Argentine territory.

The second album was called “Tiempo” and it came out on a par with the one that premiered the second and final season of “Rebelde Way”. This tour, entitled “Nuestro Tiempo”, began in July 2003 and took the young members of the band throughout Latin America and Israel, ending with a concert in Tel Aviv on April 8, 2004. “Rebelde Way” had already completed in November 2003, but this would not be the only audiovisual production in which they would be involved.

In mid-2004 they began to work on “Rebelde Way: 4 Caminos”, a film directed by Ezequiel Crupnicoff that closes the history of the telenovela, meanwhile the quartet worked on their third album entitled “Memoria”. For July 2004 both premieres coincide. A premiere is bittersweet for the group, which is on its farewell tour. With this, the original band formed by Lopilato, Felipe Colombo, Bordonaba and Rojas comes to an end and its members separate to continue their careers with various levels of success.

Despite this, the group had a resurgence of popularity in Spain thanks to the retransmission of the series on a cable channel. This is how Erreway, without Luisana Lopilato, returns to record a last album entitled “Vuelvo”, which in the end was not released. This, in addition to the recent addition of “Rebelde Way” to the Netflix platform, has been the most relevant part of the series that became the obsession of Latin American adolescents for two years.

Members of the RBD group during a press conference about their new album "Celestial", on November 21, 2006, in Mexico City (Photo: Alfredo Estrella / AFP)

The replacement was not long in coming. And it is that in the middle of the tour of the farewell of Erreway the existence of his successor was conceived in the Televisa studios in Mexico. Simply titled “Rebelde” – perhaps the “Way” was left out for sounding too much like ‘güey’ Mexicanism – the novel was released in October 2004.

Created by producer Pedro Damián using the idea of ​​Cris Morena, “Rebelde” maintains the idea of ​​a group of nonconformist teenagers who form a musical band against the rules of their strict school. Unlike Erreway, its RBD counterpart was made up of six members: Anahí, Alfonso Herrera, Christian Chávez, Christopher Uckermann, Dulce María and Maite Perroni.

The group’s first album was titled “Rebelde” and came out at the end of November 2004, where it quickly rose in the rankings of Mexico and the United States, where it occupied the first position of the Billboard Latin Pop Albums; certifying as a platinum record not only in Mexico, but also in the US, Spain, Colombia and Chile.

“Rebelde” lasted until June 6, 2006 and, like its Argentine version, culminated in a production outside the original program. In this case, it culminated in a 13-chapter miniseries entitled “RBD: La familia” released in June 2007, which mixed fiction and reality to give us a closer look at the life of the group.

In total the group released six studio albums: after their debut: “Rebelde” (2004), followed by “Nuestro amor” (2005), as well as “Celestial” and “Rebels” (2006), “Start from scratch” in 2007 and, finally, “To forget you about me” in 2009. During that same time there were also five international tours, concluding with the Goodbye Tour in 2008. The band broke up in 2009.

Although it is up to the fan to determine which band was the best, the truth is that certain data shows that RBD was more successful throughout its career, although, of course, taking advantage of the paths already traveled by the Argentines. Thus, in the absence of reliable figures on the sale of records by the two groups, we can see that the Mexican counterpart managed to collect more awards, including Latin Grammy nominations for their albums “Nuestro amor” and “Start from zero.”

Meanwhile, on the battlefield that is now Spotify, where RBD debuted in 2020, achieving 214,000 monthly listeners and 624,000 followers on its first entry. This contrasts with the 119 thousand monthly listeners and 66 thousand followers of Erreway, that same year.

Both series are once again on our horizon with the soon entry into the Netflix catalog of the sequel to “Rebelde”, which will seek to replicate the winning formula on its platform. Although we still do not know many details about the plot, it is known that popular youth figures are in its cast: Sergio Mayer Mori (son of Bárbara Mori), Andrea Chaparro (daughter of comedian Omar Chaparro) and Ana Paula (niece of Anahí). RBD and Erreway need to be saved from oblivion or loneliness, but that won’t stop any attempt to capitalize on fame.


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