Former idol trainer turned YouTuber In Jin Woong revealed the truth behind the K-pop industry’s idol trainees who made it on the music scene and not.
Of many trainees who aspired to be the next BTS or BLACKPINK, only 10 percent made it to the limelight. So, what happened to those who don’t? Read on.
The Dark Side of the Idol Industry
In an interview with News 1 Entertainment TV, via AllKpop, the social media personality warned that the training process turned the trainees into consumer products—though it’s different for various agencies.
He said the trainee period usually runs for seven to eight years. When the trainees make it to the debut stage, it will take them another one to two years before they officially debut.
"It's actually a pyramid format,” he said.
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“There are many kids who don't even become trainees. When a large agency releases a recruitment announcement, more than 10,000 audition videos are sent in,” he continued. “After beating the competition and becoming a trainee, these kids go through the process of being created into a consumer product. Basically, changing their way of thinking."
Compared to other kids their age, they can’t go to the convenience store alone until they have completed certain years of experience.
They even need to ask their managers to buy them a cup of coffee, depriving them of their own freedom.
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“So, they are already trained so they become accustomed to that way of life or become overwhelmed with stress,” he added. "They are told, 'if you want to become a celebrity, that lifestyle is a given.' I feel it's a way to trap people into this well that's called the entertainment industry."
In Jin Woong unveiled that at the young age of 15 or 16, the idol trainees already see older girls and boys following strict diets, singing, dancing, and living their lives as a celebrity. Though it’s hard, it has become their norm.
What Happens to Idol Trainees Who Don’t Debut?
When these idol trainees don’t debut, the former trainer stated that the kids who just went with the flow didn’t turn out well.
“A majority of them haven't gone to college, and their life values haven't been instilled properly,” he said. “Also, a lot of them don't have the basic knowledge/social skills with people because their schedule was set from morning to night for them. They only lived the way they were told.”
He added that many became desperate and ended up in the “seedy redlight district industry.”
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But some succeed in life, becoming dance studio teachers. However, In Jin Woong called this business a “pyramid formation” that made things “really hard.”
Hence, amid the bright and glamorous world of the K-pop industry, he continued that the harsh truth behind it is that blood, sweat, and tears come with becoming an idol.
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