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If you dream about being a K-POP idol you should know how difficult it is to become one. If you’re a K-POP fan and you live in the US, Europe or Russia you probably imagine that you could be a part of band like BTS or BLACKPINK. Is it as easy as it seems?

Steps for debut in Korea: Audition and the “trainee” periods

The Entertainment system in Korea is unique as compared to other countries. Most of the entertainment companies open auditions to select trainees who have the potential to be a singer, a dancer or an actor. However, there are times when entertainment companies first approach people with good looks and talent or famous in social media to gain the interest from the public. After the training process, which generally takes an average of around 2 years, and depending on their progress, the trainees debut as girl groups or boy groups. Most of the entertainment companies do not want to expose their trainees on social media before they debut to make the public curious up until they come out on TV. Also, sometimes trainees must end their contract with the company due to personal or internal reasons.


Unlike entertainment companies in other countries, Korea has strict regulations for the trainees to avoid issues when they officially debut. Examples are having relationships, showing violent behavior, not participating in training diligently, smoking, drinking and many more. This is very common in Korea because, when they become a celebrity, every action idols take influences the public who view them as their role model. Having relationships is also not welcomed since they gain fans, who imagine them as being their ideal partner.

Who wants to be a K-POP idol should understand the strict system coming from Korean culture


There were many celebrities who were engaged in scandalous issues, which also greatly damaged the image of the company and affected their revenues. Korea is very sensitive in criminal and immoral acts which bring bad influence on the public. We should understand Korea with this point of view because of the differing culture.


Recently, SG Entertainment was targeted online for dismissing their Kazakh trainee, which some fans regarded as an act of discrimination. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are many trainees in Korean Entertainment companies who don’t go to the end of their contract due to not complying with the company’s policy. This is very common in Korea and trainees should remain aware that they can get dismissed when they don’t have the capacities to become an influential celebrity.


Maybe because of strict contracts, this trainee system doesn’t suit west culture because it’s very restrictive and demanding discipline and humility. Young people in the US or Europe aren’t ready for this kind of sacrifice. They are used to living more freely. If you dream about being a K-POP idol and you’re planning to move to South Korea, remember that you will work hard and nobody will make any exceptions for you.

Public Relations Manager, Trainer, Author, Talent Scout in the A&R Scout Training Program by GREATERTHAN.

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