From BTS to BLACKPINK, 7 things to know about becoming a Kpop idol 

There are 7 crucial elements for a trainee to become an actual Kpop idol. 

Training and auditions 

While many trainees have a story of being street-cast, most trainees have to undergo auditions to become an idol.

It is reported that it is usually common for a Kpop idol-wannabe to go through as many as 30 auditions from when they were 10.

Auditions can be online or in person, allowing kids and adolescents from all over the world to have a go at becoming a trainee. This also accumulates a bigger fanbase for a future group and upcoming idols.


BLACKPINK Lisa was the sole participant to pass the YG audition in Thailand. She was the first foreigner to pass YG evaluations and debuted with BLACKPINK. 

Currently, YG is branching out to other markets and training more foreign trainees. BABYMONSTER is YG’s next girl group with members from Thailand and Japan.

A demanding “idol’s life” 

To have a chance to debut, a company will evaluate whether a trainee can handle the pressure of an “idol’s life.” 


This can take longer than 7 years of contract as an idol. G-Dragon reportedly underwent 11 years of training (5 years with SM Entertainment and 6 years with YG Entertainment.) However, the result paid off when he was one of the first K-pop idols to make a foray into Western markets as a producer and singer.

Strict self-management 

Apart from dancing and singing lessons, trainees have to learn to behave and maintain an image in front of the public. This includes controlling one’s weight, regulating one’s behavior when there is an idol of the opposite sex, having basic manners in social events and in front of the media, and avoiding scandals at all costs – no drunk driving and no drug use. It is believed that “star training” to be an idol is a “comprehensive education” to be a better human. 

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However, as a trainee, one can experiment with different kinds of work that create a foundation for their future career. This includes doing CFs, appearing on MVs, or modeling.

Debut and return

A company will have periodic assessments of trainees to see if they are ready to debut. When some trainees are capable of making it big and debuting in a short time, others struggle to gain a spotlight.

Many idols spending too many years without an opportunity to debut can find new ones with survival shows.

Members’ role in a group 

Because each member in a group has different skills and abilities, they will be assigned different roles. The leader of the group may be the oldest in a group, the longest trained, or simply the most respected and responsible. BTS RM is not the oldest member, but he can speak fluently in English and is sharp in his interaction with others. 

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A group can also have a lot of vocalists, depending on the abilities of the members and the direction of the group. However, coordination between members is a must. Similarly, there are smaller divisions between rappers and dancers to ensure individual spotlight and overall coordination.

There are also faces of a group which are based on a member’s visual and popularity. ASTRO has Cha Eun Woo, and IVE has Jang Won Young

A “maknae,” or youngest member, is also an acknowledged position in a group. A maknae can have different treatments in a group and boast different skill sets. 


Apart from tours, fan meetings, and trophies, idol groups often appear on variety shows and interviews during their early days of debut to promote themselves and bring more attention to their individual uniqueness. This way, idols can form a connection with fans and garner a burgeoning fandom. 


A fandom is a crucial element in a group’s success. Bang Si Hyuk revealed the success of BTS came from their closeness with fans, according to an interview with Time. 


Idol groups are making more use of artist-to-fan communication platforms to get closer to fans. There are Weverse, Bubble, and Kwangya Club, which are popular platforms where artists can post and go on livestream to talk to fans.

Source: SCMP 

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