Trainees who join an entertainment company after overcoming tens of thousands of applicants must face another competition. It’s for the final debut
On Sep 12th, SHINee Key appeared on the YouTube content “Pinggyego”. He met Yoo Jae Suk and Ji Seok Jin and talked about various things.
On that day, Key revealed his fierce debut process. He said, “I can’t do it again. That was tough. Rather than a little brother we’ve trained together, (I thought) I had to beat him to go higher.”
The competition before debut is not unique to SHINee, as many other groups faced similar challenges. BLACKPINK, for instance, revealed various stories from their debut journey through Netflix’s documentary “BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky”.
According to the documentary, the oldest member Jisoo passed YG Entertainment (YG)’s audition in one go and endured about 5 years of trainee life. Similarly, fellow member Lisa was the only one to pass YG’s audition in Thailand but also had to endure a 5-year training period.
Jennie, known as the “study abroad student”, spent about 5 years in New Zealand before returning to Korea, where she auditioned and passed. She lived as a trainee for 6 years. Jennie had the opportunity to debut earlier but returned to trainee status after a project was canceled. Rosé managed to secure her spot by beating an astonishing competition ratio of 700:1. She made her debut after 4 years of training.
Rookie groups also underwent grueling trainee periods. The group LE SSERAFIM shared their entire journey on YouTube, attracting a lot of attention. Their videos documented intense training and the experience of witnessing fellow trainees being let go for not matching the team’s color.
Member Huh Yunjin, for instance, was released from the company a year and a half before joining the debut group. Due to the indefinite delay of her debut, she faced stress and ultimately failed the company’s monthly evaluation. However, a year and a half later, she received a call from Source Music, asking her to rejoin the debut group, and she immediately returned to Korea.
Similarly, girl group NewJeans debuted around the same time and was formed through a highly competitive selection process. CEO Min Heejin collaborated with Source Music to conduct the “Plus Global Audition” from October 2019 in 16 cities in 7 countries around the world. They received over 50,000 applicants.
The members selected through auditions and casting in late 2019 began their trainee life in early 2020. Originally, they were set to debut as a joint girl group under Source Music in 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their debut was canceled. After that, Min Heejin established the label “ADOR”. All the debut group members transferred to ADOR and finally enjoyed the joy of debut.