In the K-Pop world, there are many idols who spent a very short trainee period before debuting. However, there are also idols who had to stay being a trainee for many years, practicing at the company since they were very young. The longer trainee period, the higher the risk, because if you can’t manage to debut, then you’ll have to leave to start over, accepting a waste of time.
For female idols, being a trainee for a long time is even more risky, as their youth can never be returned. Even after debuting, nothing can guarantee that you will be famous. Recently, Korean netizens made a list of the most typical cases of idols being a longtime trainee – and not all of them have been able to reach big success.
MIYEON ((G)I-DLE) – 8 years
Miyeon used to be a trainee under YG Entertainment. Starting at the age of 14, Miyeon spent 5 years training at this company. She used to belong to Team Pink Punk – the line-up that would become BLACKPINK, and was even expected to debut. In the end, however, Miyeon was unable to debut with BLACKPINK and left the company. This is also the reason why she has a close relationship with the BLACKPINK members.
After departing the agency, Miyeon went to study vocal and composition at an academy for 2 years. She then entered Cube Entertainment and trained for another year, and finally debuted in 2019 with (G)I-DLE as the main vocal of the group.
SOOBIN (WJSN) – 8 years
Soobin became a trainee of Starship Entertainment at the age of 13 and is the idol with the longest trainee period at Starship.
Before her debut, Soobin made an appearance in a web-drama titled ‘High-End Crush’ from November 2015 to January 2016. In February 2016, Soobin officially debuted with WJSN as the main vocal of the group.
SUNGYEON (PRISTIN) – 8 years
At the age of 11, Sungyeon was recruited by Pledis Entertainment after performing f(x)’s song ‘Lachata’ in 2019. Before her debut, she had covered songs such as ‘Girl On Fire’ (Alicia Keys), ‘I Look To You’ (Whitney Houston), ‘Overcome’ (NU’EST). In 2016, her identity was revealed at the Pledis Girls concert with Ye Hana and Kayla.
From July 2016 to September 2016, the female idol appeared in JTBC’s singing competition program ‘Girls Spirit’. In 2017, Sungyeon officially debuted with PRISTIN as the main vocal of the group. However, in 2019, PRISTIN disbanded.
XIYEON (PRISTIN) – 8 years and 2 months
Xiyeon is one of Pledis Entertainment’s most famous trainees, known as the ‘Pledis Princess’ or ‘Princess Xiyeon’. She spent 8 years training at the company, since her 3rd grade, which means she dedicated half of her youth for Pledis. Before her debut, Xiyeon was also a child actress who regularly appeared in MVs of her seniors such as After School, Orange Caramel, NU’EST, etc.
In 2016, Xiyeon competed at the survival show ‘Produce 101’ but was unfortunately eliminated and only ranked at No. 25. After a year, Xiyeon debuted with PRISTIN as the main rapper of the group. However, in 2019, PRISTIN disbanded. Xiyeon’s case makes netizens sad the most because she wasted her youth under Pledis.
SEOLA (WJSN) – 10 years
Before joining Starship Entertainment, Seola was a trainee of Media Line Entertainment along with Exy. Counting both the years she spent at Media Line and Starship, Seola was a trainee for 10 years. Her trainee period was even longer than all the members of SISTAR – the senior group of her company.
Before debuting, Seola participated in commercials as well as appeared in the MVs of Boyfriend, Mad Clown and Jung Gigo. In February 2016, Seola officially debuted with WJSN as the lead vocal of the group. Currently, she is one of the most popular members of WJSN.
JIHYO (TWICE) – 10 years 3 months
In 2004, when she was 8 years old, Jihyo started her training period at JYP Entertainment after winning second place at the Junior Naver competition. She spent 10 years training hard at this company, from July 2005 to October 2015 – which means she spent most of her youth as a trainee. In 2014, she was scheduled to debut with Nayeon and Jeongyeon in the 6MIX project, but due to the Sewol ferry disaster, this plan was canceled.
After that, Jihyo participated in the show ‘SIXTEEN’ and reached 4th place in the end, earning her debut with TWICE. In 2015, Jihyo officially debuted as the main vocal and leader of TWICE. She is currently one of the idols having the longest but most rewarding trainee period in K-Pop.