A question many K-pop fans have is how does one become a K-pop idol, and how can I become one. I hope after you have read this post that you will be able to understand the process of becoming a K-pop idol and decide if this is something you want to do.
All K-pop idols have been a trainee before their idol life. A trainee is a person under a company that wants to debut in a K-pop group or as a solo artist, and where they get their training under professionals through the company. A trainee works and trains extremely hard to achieve their goal. Some trainees train for years before their debut like Jihyo who trained for 10 years before debuting in TWICE, but you also have those exceptions who are talented and lucky enough to debut in a few months.
Being a trainee will never be easy. Being a trainee is very much like being a full-fledged athlete at top level. Training everyday, going through constant evaluation, working towards a dream that might not happen because of small missteps or some things that are not under your control. Even when you make it to a top club or your K-pop debut you still have to perform to people’s expectations. Being a trainee will be equally mentally draining as physically.
I think it’s important to understand what it’s like to become a trainee and a K-pop idol, because it’s not lovely and easy people would like to believe it is, and everyone who dares to take a step towards their dream deserves praise.
Table of Contents
How does one become a trainee
Entertainment/K-pop companies hold auditions on different occasions where anyone can sign up for. It usually says in their signup information if they are looking for people for girl groups or boy groups. While most auditions are in Korea, there are also companies that hold auditions in other countries. Auditions information can be found on the company’s website.
Most people become trainees through auditions, but companies also go scouting in various events where they will go up to people who they think have the potential to be great idols. As the scouts don’t know a person’s abilities they are looking solely on looks.
- Apply for a company through auditions
- Perform songs in the role you want or exceed in
- Be accepted or try again
What are companies looking for
Companies want people that are talented and have the potential to become amazing. They want various people that excel in one area; singing, dancing & rapping. Every or most groups have a main vocal, main dancer and main rapper.
Having skills and being talented is great, but one thing that companies care more about is looks. If they don’t think you have the looks to become an idol they will never invest their money on you. Call it shallow, superficial, wrong or whatever, but the reality is that they choose people based on what they think people will like and who will make them money. I don’t think this is going to change for a while if ever. The beauty of K-pop idols is a huge reason for why K-pop is so popular.
Sorry to tell you but anyone that has features that are not Korean, east asia and southeast asia will have close to zero chance to make it as a K-pop idol.
Deciding which company to apply to
It’s very important to go for a company that is well known for being good. There are many horror stories of bad environments, dorms and straight up being scammed to do other activities that don’t involve becoming a K-pop idol. Even though the competition is hard for getting into big companies, it’s better to be safe than take the risk of going to a company that isn’t known at all.
Each company has their own style and ways of doing things. YG is known for being on the rebellious side with their hip hop, girl crush, fiercy type of concepts. SM is known for having artists with amazing vocals. Research and find the company that suits you the best.
Other things to know
No salary – K-pop trainees do not get paid, and some companies make you pay back for the money they spent on you (classes, rent & etc). Debuting doesn’t guarantee being paid either as the group is not making profit.
No private life – Companies control the majority of trainee’s and idols’ lives. Trainees are not allowed to have a social media account.
No Dating – Dating is forbidden and can get you kicked out of the company.