Have you ever thought about becoming a K-pop star, or even just a K-pop trainee? I’m sure most Korean music fans have! BUT… where do you start? Think about this: how did your favourite artist start? Were they scouted in a school, found at a competition, or did they just attend an audition?
Most idols attended auditions for each company and beat the odds. It seems like a one-in-a-million chance of even passing the first round of an audition, let alone add in the odds of debuting after training for a while.
Soul from JYP trained for 15 years, and G-Dragon trained for a total of 11 years (5 at SM Entertainment, and 6 at YG Entertainment). EXO‘s Suho, Girl’s Generation Yuri, JYJ‘s Junsu, Super Junior‘s Leeteuk and Eunhyuk, BigBang’s Taeyang, BEAST‘s Yoseob, and Wonder Girls‘ Sunye all trained for 6+ years in order to join the idol life!
If you would like to look at more idols who have trained for a long time check out this Soompi article!
There are plenty of idols who have trained for over 5+ years in the hope of debuting, but for those who want to try to become an idol you must realize that within those years of training, you are being constantly tested and watched for any little improvement.
Should you let the fear of not passing the training keep you from trying? NO WAY!
Having been a fan of K-pop for 5 years, and also a singer at the same time I decided to try my odds at attending some global auditions!
For me, I had a lot of people tell me at the start that I was at an extreme disadvantage because I was full Caucasian, and because I mainly spoke English. However, I learned Korean in a year and I worked extremely hard on my voice in order to wow the audition judges.
SM Global Audition 2014
My very first K-pop Audition was SM Global Audition 2014 (which I admittedly have a souvenir poster for!). I had an audition time of 1:30 pm, but I arrived to the audition place at 10:00 am in order to warm up and prepare my voice. What I didn’t expect was how many people would turn up to audition! Though my audition time was 1:30 pm, I wasn’t even able to walk to the audition room until 5:00 pm because there were so many people waiting to audition. I walked into the room with 9 other people, 5 of us stood in a line in front of the judges table and camera, then one by one we each stepped forward and sang a bit of our audition song.
This audition was before I spoke Korean so I picked the song “Somebody Out There” by David Archuleta to sing. I was able to sing the first verse and the chorus before they stopped me. After each of us had sang, we walked out of the room and then waited for a month. For SM Global Audition, if you do not hear back from them in a month, or if you are not asked to stay later and audition again, then that means you did not pass the first round. I wasn’t upset or anything by the results but more fascinated because I thought the audition would have a lot of Asian ethnicities, when it actually had a big mix of ethnicities which proved how global K-pop had become. I auditioned again in 2015!
JYP Global Audition 2014
My second audition was JYP Global Audition 2014! I had it extremely hard that day because my mentor had just passed away a couple of days before so I was still trying to deal with the grief, but luckily the audition did not last long! My scheduled audition time was 10:00 am, my number was 00001, and I changed my song last minute to sort of dedicate the song to my mentor. I sang “Someone’s Watching Over Me” by Hilary Duff and I was able to sing a lot of my song (basically up until the bridge).
That audition was extremely organized as they had you sit in your numbered order as soon as you entered, and so that made the audition process go by extremely quickly. Also, this audition had a lot of different ethnic backgrounds too which was amazing! Overall, the JYP Global Audition was extremely organized and while waiting, everyone was extremely nice and friendly (which was also cool).
K-pop Star Season 5
My latest audition is for *drum roll please* K-pop Star Season 5! I found out about this audition very last minute but I am glad I went! I showed up to the place at 12:00 pm, and I went into audition around 2:00 pm. The people who were also auditioning were extremely friendly and talented! (If you watch some of those K-pop Dance cover groups on YouTube, you may know some of them.) For sake of privacy though I will keep the name of the group and the names of the people anonymous.
For that audition we waited in the hall in groups of 5-10 and while waiting the volunteers offered extremely helpful advice and spoke to all of us in order to help us relax. At this audition I did sing in Korean! So, on my application I wrote that I know some Korean and one of the volunteers noticed and spoke to me entirely in Korean! It was actually quite awesome because at first they didn’t believe me, but I proved them wrong! Once they found out I spoke Korean, they only spoke Korean around me with some English (when I was a bit confused to what they were saying).
The audition itself was relaxed. I sang in front of a producer (I believe) and I sang one song, then after that they let me know that it’s unfortunate but I was unable to pass the first round. I was sad that I didn’t pass, but it was a fun experience for me. I had made some friends that day who actually passed the first audition and went on to the second round later that day, and I have my fingers crossed that they made it because I could hear them from outside the room and gosh… I must say they were amazing!
If you want to audition for K-pop competitions and for Korean Entertainment companies, go and do it! You have nothing to lose and you don’t want to regret not trying out for something you like. If you are afraid you won’t pass because you aren’t “pretty” or “handsome” enough, you don’t have the skills to compete, you don’t speak Korean, you aren’t Asian, etc. Don’t be afraid of that! Not everyone is born a star and some have to work extremely hard to become one. Also, by going to these auditions you will meet a lot of other people with the same interest, and you will sometimes even get feedback from judges on how you can improve. OVERALL, you won’t regret trying.