How do k-pop agencies cast foreign trainee?
There are so many foreign idols these days who are active in the k-pop world such as Nichkhun of 2PM, Lisa of BLACKPINK, Tzuyu of TWICE, BamBam of GOT7 and Yuta of NCT 127. If you are a foreigner and you want to become a k-pop idol, yeah, they could be your good role models. So, let’s see how k-pop agencies cast their foreign trainees
Why they cast foreign trainees
Basically, k-pop agencies look for foreign trainees because they need to extend their business abroad. South Korea has a population of about 50 million, and the country has a small music market. So, to make a lot of money, k-pop agencies entered Chinese and Japanese market. You know, China’s population has reached about 1.4 billion, and Japan has a population of about 120 million. And to make a success in the countries, k-pop agencies needed Chinese and Japanese idols.
By the way, things have changed a little bit. There has been a “Anti-Korean Wave” in China and Japan in recent years due to a diplomatic conflict between the two countries and Korea. It could be a huge risk to k-pop agencies, and yeah, they began to look to other countries. For example, Indonesia has a population of about 250 million and Vietnam has a population of about 90 million, which are bigger than Korea’s population. Such countries could be very attractive to k-pop agencies because they’re bigger markets than Korea. Actually, in March, 2017, Lee Soo Man, the CEO of SM Entertainment declared that SM will hold its global audition in Indonesia. K-pop agencies are looking for foreign trainees from various countries.
How they cast foreign trainees
The most common way how k-pop agencies cast their foreign trainees is to hold their global auditions. Big and famous k-pop agencies such as SM, YG and JYP have been holding their global auditions in various countries to cast foreign trainees.
And k-pop agencies sometimes do thorough research on various countries before they cast foreign trainees in the countries. For example, they do research on the spread of population, current situation of schools, current status of academies, and the kinds of cultural festivals. They accumulate the data and use it when they cast foreign trainees.
How they train foreign trainees
K-pop agencies think the most important thing is to “Koreanize” their foreign trainees. It’s a matter of course because foreign trainees should be active in the Korean entertainment world as k-pop idols later. So, k-pop agencies teach their foreign trainees not only singing and dancing but also eating habits and manners.
And of course, foreign trainees learn Korean too. For example, Lisa of BLACKPINK, who began training when she was 14 years old took Korean language lessons every day for the first 3 years. And she could improve her Korean in a short period of time because she lived with the other BLACKPINK members. K-pop agencies usually tell their foreign trainees to watch Korean TV shows a lot because it helps them know about latest trends of Korean entertainment industry and what kind of words Korean people actually use.