The only 7 idols who passed SM’s Saturday public auditions and successfully debuted in the past 20 years

SM Entertainment has opened public auditions on Saturdays for 20 years, but surprisingly, only 7 idols have passed and debuted.

SM Entertainment holds a public audition every Saturday. This special audition has been carried out since the late 90s, and anyone, regardless of age, gender or nationality, can apply. During the Covid-19 pandemic period, Saturday auditions were conducted through videos.

kim heechul yoona red velvet seulgi shinee taemin

Many people there would be many chances for audition applicants to pass since the audition is held every week. But surprisingly, there have only been 7 idols who succeeded in passing the Saturday auditions and debuted under SM over the past 20 years.

7 idols who were selected through SM’s legendary Saturday open auditions and successfully debuted are Super Junior Hee Chul, Girls’ Generation Yoona, SHINee Taemin, Red Velvet Seulgi, NCT Haechan & Jungwoo, and aespa Giselle.

kim hee chul

After watching Psy sing on a 2002 K-pop program, Super Junior Hee Chul suddenly wondered, “Can I become a celebrity?”, then applied for the audition. However, he was late for the audition since it was the first time he went to Seoul. When Hee Chul was about to give up on the audition and return home, an SM official saw his face and offered him another chance. Therefore, he auditioned again and passed. At the audition back then, Hee Chul sang the national anthem.

girls generation yuri yoona

In 2002, when Girls’ Generation Yoona was in 6th grade, she went to the audition with her friend. However, only Yoona passed the audition while her friend failed. She sang Wax’s “Please” and performed a dance to the song “Oops I did it again” by Britney Spears. 

shinee taemin

2 years after Yoona became an SM trainee, SHINee Taemin is the next person to get picked in a Saturday audition. Taemin was an elementary school student at that time and he challenged the audition because his mom promised to not send him to academies. Eventually, he passed. 

red velvet seulgi

Red Velvet Seulgi auditioned in 2006 when she was in grade 6 of elementary school. Seulgi’s father, who once dreamed of becoming a singer, recognized his daughter’s talent early so he told her to apply for an audition. After training under SM Entertainment for 7 years, Seulgi made her debut as a member of Red Velvet in 2014.

nct haechan

NCT Haechan applied for the audition in 2013 thinking “If I don’t make it, there’s nothing I can do about it!”. He sang Huh Gak’s “Hello” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and joined SM as a trainee when he was in his first year of middle school. 

nct jungwoo

NCT Jungwoo became a trainee when he was in his second year of high school. He went to an SM’s public audition in 2014 with a friend but passed alone. Getting selected thanks to his dance skills, Jungwoo later debuted with visual & dance positions but also attracted fans with his clear and sweet voice. 


Giselle is the only member of aespa who joined SM through an audition. Although she’s Japanese, Giselle did not even try global auditions but came straight to Korea and applied for SM’s Saturday open audition.

Source: Daum

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