It is a new audition without the current KKS, as far as we know.
Make it YouTube material and it is up to you to stop before your head explodes
It is a quite clever move to hold these event. The girls that usually becomes KKS are far from finished as idols and each generation is pretty big. It is usually more about what they could become in the future... but now things change to a few girls that already got that special thing well developed.
Being someone like Kaoru doesn't mean instant success though
If that's the case there's the bigger picture and possible reason to make it an event to create more awareness. Funny that you mention Kaoru, I was thinking about her as well. This event could mean a more direct and immediate entry for girls to enter the group. If somehow the uncertainty of the KKS process was a deterrent for someone, this makes the path more reasonable for that possible member. Of course, unless they go into a special KKS status. But it is not the same for a girl to enter as KKS within a bundle of members within a KKS generation than to be picked, interest exposed and laid over her, and for them to know that it is just a matter of proving themselves, than to forever wonder if anyone really has any interest on them for a promotion.
You mention Kaoru. It could have been a different fate for her if she would have been picked by a captain, instead of going through the process of earning interest from fans. Leaves compromise and responsibility out of managements hands. If management would have given Kaoru a member spot, I bet a lot of people would have complained, and call out favoritism and AKB management doing hunts for popular members. Being this new event directed towards the purpose of a member entry, everyone, specially fans, would be receptive. And a relatively popular member like Kaoru, instead of looking like an imposition, would look like war spoils in a war of captains.
Yes, in the end it is all the same, and unpopular members may feel like they are getting overshadowed by more popular members, but management maybe trying to play with perception, and a lot of fans may just dance to the rhythm of their tune by their way of playing with our perception.
I like the YouTube talent exhibition, I dare give for certain that it will happen. Goes well along the concept of turning this event into something like sousenkyo.
I would be a little disappointed if actual KKS members are not included in. I thought one captain would try to troll Kaotan by calling her name.