A Complete Guide on How to Become a K-pop Idol


Due to the meteoric rise of K-pop over the years, more and more people are becoming curious about how to become a K-pop idol. 

Many individuals would love to experience the spotlight and therefore seek to be a K-pop star. 

However, it takes an immense amount of passion, dedication, and a little bit of luck to become a K-pop Idol. 

Aspirants need to undergo rigorous training daily that goes on for hours. Also, the average years of training in K-pop is 2 to 4 years. 

Jihyo of TWICE spent ten years of her life training to become a K-pop Idol. 

Not only that but being a K-pop trainee does not guarantee you a career. 

Many trainees have failed to debut because they were deemed unworthy by entertainment companies.

But, to all of you readers who are still wondering how to become a K-pop idol after we laid out some facts, here is the article for you. 

We will not only be answering the question of how to become a K-pop idol, but we’ll also be diving deep into the trainee culture.

How to become a K-pop idol

The journey to becoming a K-pop Idol starts with your dream and the “grit” to endure everything that comes your way to achieve your goals.

Every endeavor comes with its challenges, and choosing this path will certainly test your limits. 

But to become a fully-fledged K-pop Idol, you must first truly understand:

  • The steps to becoming one
  • What it takes to pass an audition
  • The hardships of the trainee life, and;
  • How to eventually debut

These are what an aspiring K-pop Idol needs to know before taking on the challenge. 

The Steps on how to Become a K-pop Idol

K-pop group BLACKPINK in dance practice
from BLACKPINK’s practice video

Contrary to popular belief, the steps to becoming a K-pop Idol are fewer than you might think. But this doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

There’s no straightforward path to becoming an artist working in the K-pop industry. There will be no shortcuts either. 

You will have to work hard and prove to the scouts, judges, trainers, producers, etc., that you are worthy of the spotlight. 

Although there might be further steps to fulfill along the way, here is the basic flow of becoming a K-pop Idol:

1. Audition to become a trainee or scouts may also cast you (if you’re lucky)

2. Signing a trainee contract (usually for 2 to 4 years)

3. Undergo hellish training, which typically involves;

  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Rapping
  • Acting
  • Language, etc.

4. Additional activities for image maintenance

  • Physical exercise
  • Lessons for proper manners
  • Sex education
  • Media training

5. Debut either solo or as part of a group

6. Release music and perform them for your fans

7. Hopefully, reach stardom.  

You have to undergo these steps to become a successful K-pop Idol.

Obstacles accompany each of them. You will have to persevere, but it will be worth it in the end. 

What are K-pop Auditions?

Auditions are your first step to becoming an artist in K-pop. Producers hold these events to help them find talented individuals.

A promising singer or dancer will shine on these auditions and pass the screening process. In time, they will become a K-pop trainee. 

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you showcase your strengths to pass the auditions and jumpstart your career.

There are two types of auditions:

In-person auditions

These are the most common type of auditions. You may join either open auditions or private auditions.

Live auditions are held in South Korea most of the time. But, entertainment agencies have recently branched out to other countries as well.

Judges let you perform on stage before them while they evaluate you. 

If you pass, they will ask you to come back for more assessment and eventually become their company’s trainee. 

Online Auditions 

As the name suggests, you will have to do these online. Online auditions are for aspiring artists that cannot be present in person. 

Agencies ask you to fill out a form on their official pages. They will also require you to send a non-edited photo of yourself, including video footage of you singing and dancing.

If you pass, they will invite you to go to South Korea and undergo their trainee program.

How to pass a K-pop audition?

As we’ve said earlier, passing an audition in K-pop is the key to starting your career as an artist. 

Therefore, it will be the most crucial part of the process. It will not be easy, but we’re hoping these tips might help:

  • Learn or improve your singing and dancing
  • Be physically fit
  • Learn the Korean language and familiarize yourself with the Korean culture
  • Don’t forget to highlight your strengths in every audition.
  • Carefully choose the company you’re auditioning for
  • Perform famous pop songs on your auditions
  • Improve your character and display a proper attitude

These are just tips on passing your auditions, and the rest is up to you. K-pop agencies look for talent and star potential so never quit if you think you have what it takes.

The K-pop Trainee Life

K-pop trainees warming up
K-pop trainees warming up

Once you’ve passed the thorough and exhausting process of auditions, you will officially become a K-pop trainee. 

The trainee process lasts 2 to 4 years on average but will sometimes take more time if needed. 

K-pop trainees are usually teenagers forced to live together with other trainees. Most of them are still attending school, while some drop out to focus on their dreams. 

After entering the system, agencies will control the trainees from personal life to physical appearances. 

There will also be strict regulations for trainees to follow.

Some of these strict regulations will include:

Undergoing a rigorous training regimen

Training in K-pop typically covers language, vocals, dance, acting classes, and extra homework. 

These classes are challenging and require an extra level of concentration. 

And on top of that, there will be hundreds of other trainees vying for a spot to debut. 

A typical trainee day starts at 5 am and ends at 1 am the next day while juggling their personal life and academic work.

Harsh weight and diet restrictions

K-pop Idols must adhere to Korea’s beauty standards. These beauty standards prioritize a slim figure.

Adherence to these acceptable standards entails trainees and even debuted idols to maintain a strict diet.

Some of these diets are borderline self-torture which often cause trainees to pass out from hunger and exhaustion. 

Loaded schedules

It can require a lot of time, from practicing songs, dance routines, and acting lessons every day to maintaining their diets. 

Training periods usually end late at night, depriving trainees of chances to mingle with other people and meet with friends. 

There will be monthly evaluations to determine who’s staying as a trainee and who will be off the program. 

Therefore, trainees invest more time in practice as it puts additional pressure on them.

Image maintenance

Even if you’re still just a trainee, you must maintain a “wholesome image” to debut. 

It may require you to stay private about your life and your thoughts. Due to this, most trainees shy away from social media to begin their careers with a clean slate.

Even if supported by false arguments, a small-scale scandal may derail your debut.

The K-pop industry is brutal.

It is ruthless and exploitative to the core. Critics and concerned individuals frequently condemn the K-pop industry’s dark side. 

The glitz and glamour of the stage conceal these unpleasant elements of K-pop.

Lighthearted media coverage of some K-pop stars’ discussion of the grueling process they endured before debuting further fuels this problem.

We only get to hear these stories when K-pop Idols admit them on talk shows and other tv programs.

Despite everything, dreaming of becoming a K-pop Idol is still an admirable endeavor. 

You just have to give it everything you have.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.