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The Path To Become The Next Big K-Pop Star: Trainee System And Global Auditions Pave The Way

By Staff Reporter | May 26, 2013 09:20 PM EDT

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As top K-Pop stars and big-name idol groups, such as Super Junior, Girls' Generation, Big Bang, and BEAST, achieve enormous success in Korea and overseas, millions of aspiring teens dream to become the next big K-Pop star.

One of the unique factors about K-Pop top idols that have contributed to their success is the industry's trainee system. Numerous idols, before becoming successful stars, go through long years of training in top entertainment companies.

From years of training under experienced instructors, the talent of idols as singer and dancer is refined through an intense training schedule, including voice classes, dance lessons, and also language courses. During this time, the company usually pays for most of the living costs for the trainee and also provides a dormitory for the trainee to live in. In return, the trainees are expected to practice hard and demonstrate their progress through periodic tests.

Although trainees work hard every day towards their goal of becoming a top idol, many trainees are oftentimes unable to debut due to various reasons. Entertainment companies may find that the trainee is no longer a good fit to debut as part of an idol group, or the trainees themselves may decide to quit due to the hardships of having to practice for hours while still studying at school.

Since trainees are obligated to sign a contract with the entertainment company before beginning their training period, the aspiring singers are bound by the contract for several years. Some contracts have been rumored to last as long as 10 to 15 years, and it is extremely costly for a trainee to quit and end the contract in the middle of their training period, as they would have to pay a large financial sum to the company.

Thus, if trainees do not end up debuting and fulfilling their dream to become a famous idol, they often turn to other jobs within the entertainment company, such as working as a manager or as staff.

Although Koreans are well aware of the hardships trainees bear in order to become successful idols, millions of teens still aspire to become a trainee, hoping that they could receive at least the opportunity to work towards their dream.

One of the most popular ways for normal students to become a trainee is through weekly auditions in Korea. Every weekend, hundreds of teens line up outside the doors of entertainment companies, hoping to give their best shot at proving to the audition judges that they can become the next top idol. Usually only given around 30 seconds of time, the aspiring singers and dancers are to show their talent and potential and to impress the judges.

Persistent towards their dream, aspiring teens come back to audition week after week, in order to demonstrate to the company that they are passionate about becoming a K-pop star.

Now that the influence of K-Pop and the Hallyu Wave has extended to countries around the globe, entertainment companies have begun hosting global auditions in various cities. SM Global Auditions for 2013 started off in Korea in January, took place in March in Thailand and then in the US in April, and will continue in China and Japan in July. Top idol groups within the company, such as SHINee, recorded promotional videos in order to attract more talented teens to attend.

Although companies such as SM, JYP, and YG have been open to foreign talents to join their company as a trainee, some smaller entertainment companies have not yet expanded globally. YMC Entertainment for example, houses singer Ailee who was raised in New York. However, since the instructions to audition for the company are written solely in the Korean language, foreigners who do not know Korean are prevented from applying and auditioning.

Getting into the top entertainment companies is extremely difficult, as rumors say that usually only one to two teens are chosen in each year's global audition. Nonetheless, individuals with great talent and potential are invited to audition and to pursue their K-Pop dreams.

The path to become a famous K-Pop star may not be easy, but through a well-developed system of selection, top stars and talented idols are successfully created.

Tagged :  Super Junior, Girls Generation, Big Bang, BEAST, SHINee World 2012, SM Entertainment

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