[Today] Idol dance trainer reveals what happens to trainees who don't debut

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Article: "If you don't get to debut..." a famous idol trainer reveals the reality for trainees

Source: Wikitree via Instagram

Idol dance trainer and YouTuber In Ji Woong talked about the shocking reality that idol trainees face when they don't get to debut. "It's different with every agency but you're usually moved to a debut group after 7-8 years of training and then finally a debut after 1-2 more years of preparation. It's like a pyramid system. There are tons who don't even make it to the trainee stage. Big agencies receive over 10,000 audition videos per post."

"Once you break through that competition and become an actual trainee, you begin the process of commercialization. They don't let you go to the convenience store by yourself. There's no freedom at all. You're at a vulnerable age where you're discovering who you are and all you're surrounded by are other unnis and opps who have dropped out of school and are living a life of constant dieting. There are a lot who don't get to debut even after 7-8 years of training. Those who've still retained some autonomy will find a different path to pursue but most kids who relied on the company to tell them what to do every day don't end up doing so well on their own. They have no college education and lost their formative years so they lack a lot of common knowledge."

"Moreover, they've done nothing but follow a schedule from morning to night so once they're on their own, they start asking, 'What do I do now?' Other than singing and dancing, they literally don't know how to do anything else. They usually suffer from depression and either make bad decisions or end up working in the redlight district."

"Of course, there are some who are doing fine. There's one kid who became a famous dancer. The pyramid in the idol industry is really steep which is what makes K-Pop so competitive but as someone who sees all this from the inside, I can't help but feel heartbroken for them."

"There's a saying that idols are decided by the heavens because you could be so much pretier and more talented than anyone else but still not get to debut if you don't fit the overall group's image."


1. [+138] Nowadays, you don't necessarily have to stick with being an idol trainee if it doesn't work out. You can become a YouTuber, BJ, SNS influencer, etc. There are tons of other ways to became famous and earn followers. I've seen so many YouTubers who built their own fame and later took that to getting opportunities on TV shows.

2. [+74] I personally believe that careers like this... is just 90% something that you're born with and you either have it or you don't, and 10% of it is your own hard work. This isn't a career that hard work will carry you far in. It sucks to admit but you really have to assess whether you're born with a natural knack for this type of job or quit while you're ahead and find a different path. 

3. [+30] I think it's a problem that we see idols as products to be sold and bought. It allows companies to put out poor quality "products" in the hopes that the public will buy some, which creates a situation where way too many idols are being produced who never get to step foot on a music show stage. Bigger companies are pickier with what they release and do the proper market research to see what the public wants and is willing to buy... that's what makes them so successful. To beat the massive amounts of investment behind these big companies, it's not beauty or skills... just pure luck. 

4. [+31] Even after you debut, your success isn't necessarily guaranteed either.. Becoming BTS or Black Pink is a major minority case. Most debuts are never even remembered by the public and quietly disappear before they get any chance...

5. [+14] Nothing but having to hold on through pure will and brute force if this is what you really want..


Source: Original YouTube Video

1. [+2,800] I personally think the biggest sacrifice of the idol market system is Sulli. Months before she passed away, she was saying on Insta live how she doesn't know how to do her laundry or clean her own house because a maid comes in to do it all. I was shocked when I heard that. She was 26 years old at the time. Considering that she debuted at 9-10 years old and was dorming on her own as a kid before debuting with f(x), she basically never had a childhood or memories of her own....

2. [+790] Things I've felt as an idol fan for a long time are all basically expressed here in this video. Idols get flak for how much money they make but what we see isn't all there is to how much work they do. If you consider how they have to be 'on' for their job, they don't get paid much by the hour. I 100% agree that being in the top 1% as an idol doesn't make you as much money as being top 1% in any other industry.

3. [+1,400] Companies need to stop suppressing so much of their freedom. They should be allowed to go to convenience stores, or at least lay out your reasoning for why you don't like them going and allow them to make better-informed decisions. I personally think there are more pros than cons to the idol system since it's through this system that they earn the opportunity to debut. Most parents aren't able to pay for the costs that these companies are paying to train these idols. 

4. [+401] Irene debuted at 24 because she's pretty... If she had been nothing but a pretty voice with no visuals at 24, she never would've got to debut. There are tons of good singers in their twenties as it is...

5. [+483] As a SHINee fan of 15 years, I agree with a lot of the points here. SHINee's gained a lot of experience and age and are finally able to drive nice cars and live in nice homes now that they're in their thirties but that wasn't the case before then ㅎㅎ.. People have become more lenient with idols in the third and fourth generations but it's still a career with a severe lack of freedom where you're forced to do whatever your company orders you to do. You basically have to sit tight and hold on until you reach a level of experience where you're trusted with more freedom. It sucks having to watch that as a fan ㅠㅠ...

6. [+308] It's not just idols... any career where you're hoping to become the top 1% requires a lot of work and sacrifice. I do think idols are held to a higher standard than any other career along with more severe consequences.

7. [+170] I really do think calling idols "a decision made by the heavens" is perfect because even after trainees debut, they're still faced with an uncertain future, a lot of judgment, s*xualization, etc... and to still have to find yourself and develop an identity amidst all that scrutiny... they truly are a job deigned by the heavens. They are basically submitting themselves to the most rawest form of capitalism, and it's cruel that such young kids are learning all of this. 

8. [+718] It's true, idols are people decided by the heavens. I can't imagine the misery of working and suffering so much just to make it in only to fail to gain popularity and disappear;

9. [+571] That's why I think Jang Wonyoung is doing the right thing. She hides her struggles. She started at 15 and only became an adult this year... I can't imagine the level of strength and resilience it must've taken for her to reach this point in her career.

10. [+406] Definitely something that anyone dreaming of becoming an idol should listen to

11. [+583] To become an idol, you basically have to accept the fact that you will have no life of your own


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