Making your debut is every K-pop trainee's dream. The anticipation, the thrill of performing for a crowd drives trainees to work as hard as they possibly can in order for them to be ready when their time comes.
Here are idols that had the longest trainee periods before making their debut.
G. Soul: 15 years
G. Soul spent a whopping 15 years under JYP Entertainment preparing to become a musician. Park Jin Young took G. Soul under his wing at the age of 12 after seeing him on SBS show Talent Development Project 99%. G. Soul made his much anticipated debut in 2015 with the track "You”.
G-Dragon (BIGBANG): 11 years
G-Dragon was scouted as a talented child when he appeared in a dance contest at the age of 8. He started off training at SM Entertainment for 5 years and then moved on to YG Entertainment where he spent another 6 years at YG Entertainment. During his first year at YG his duties included getting water for current artists and cleaning the studio, which shaped him into becoming the respectable BIGBANG leader we all know today.
Kwon Kwang-jin (CNBLUE, N.Flying): 10 years
Kwon Kwang-jin spent 10 years training under FNC Entertainment. He made his first debut with CNBLUE in 2009 but left the group after a year due to musical differences and was replaced by Lee Jung-shin as the group's bass guitarist. He then became a trainee again until he made his second debut with N.Flying in 2013.
Jihyo (TWICE): 10 years
It took Jihyo a decade before she was able to make her debut, which wasn’t even completely certain with her still having to compete against other trainees to finalise her spot in TWICE through JYP’s survival show SIXTEEN. Luckily things worked out for Jihyo with her not only securing a spot in the group but also becoming the group’s leader.
Jiwon (T-ARA, SPICA): 10 years
During her early years Jiwon was set to debut as a group called 5 Girls with Hyosung (Secret), Uee (After School), Yubin (Wonder Girls) and G.NA but unfortunately due to the company’s financial issues the debut was cancelled. Jiwon then went to join T-ARA but wasn’t there for long due to her experiencing lassitude (a state of physical or mental weariness). Jiwon didn’t give up on her dream and finally became a member of SPICA.
Johnny (NCT): 9 years
Johnny passed the SM Global Audition held in the USA in 2007. He’s seen popular idol groups such as SHINee and EXO make their debuts in his nine years training for SM Entertainment. Johnny finally made his long-anticipated debut with NCT in 2016.
Xiyeon (Pristin): 9 years
Xiyeon was once a child actress and model appearing in small roles for dramas and advertisements. When she auditioned for Pledis Entertainment she got through and trained 9 years featuring in company artists’ music videos for After School and Orange Caramel.
Seulgi (Red Velvet): 7 years
Seulgi is known as one of the best dancers in the K-pop industry and there’s good reason behind it. She’s been training at SM Entertainment since 2007, roughly around the same time EXO’s Kai and f(x)’s Krystal joined the agency. While the two debuted before Seulgi, she continued to perfect her craft until the day finally came in 2014 when she made her debut with Red Velvet.
Yoona (Girls’ Generation): 7 years
Inspired by the girl group S.E.S., Yoona wanted to become a singer. She passed her SM Entertainment audition and spent seven years constantly training singing and dancing, Yoona didn’t have much self-confidence during her trainee days wanting to even quit at one point but was persuaded by a choreography teacher to stay on the path. Yoona debuted with Girls’ Generation in 2007 who are still currently one of the top female K-pop groups in the world.
Jo Kwon (2AM): 7 years
Jessica (Girls’ Generation): 7 years
Suho (EXO): 6.5 years
Min (Miss A): 6 years
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