So far, the reason why these SM trainees left when it was almost certain that they would debut under the company is still a big mystery.
It is not a coincident that many people say getting to debut at SM Entertainment is more difficult than all the survival battles on ‘Produce 101’. It is difficult to be accepted as a trainee at SM, and you have to surpass a lot of other competitors to debut under the company.
Korean netizens recently recalled 6 former SM trainees who left the agency, leaving a lot of sadness in the hearts of the audience, even as of today. They are all famous trainees of SM, introduced in the big projects and made many people think that they certainly were able to debut. But in the end, everything was not as smooth as what fans thought.
As a trainee who has been with SM for 10 years, Koeun was introduced to the SM Rookies project early and became acquainted with the audience through a variety of entertainment programs such as ‘Mickey Mouse Club’. There were even rumors that she almost debuted with Red Velvet. Many viewers believed that Koeun would definitely be the leader, the eldest sister of SM’s next girlgroup, which is expected to debut this year. But in the end, this famous trainee left SM in the fans’ shock. There are rumors that Koeun has joined Big Hit and may soon debut in a new girlgroup under a subsidiary managed by Min Hee Jin (former creative director of SM).
Like Koeun, Lami was introduced to the SM Rookies project early on. Originally a child actor with films like ‘Five Fingers’, ‘A Wife’s Credentials’… this 2003-born girl was also considered to be the most famous SM trainees – the “treasures”, “princess” of this company – when there are many similarities with sis Sulli. Everyone was sure that SM will keep Lami at all costs, and she would become the visual in the next girlgroup of this company. But along with Koeun, the news that Lami left SM was spread since the start of this year, causing the audience to be really shocked. It is not clear if Lami has planned to join other entertainment companies or will give up her celebrity career.
Those who have been following the SM Rookies project since the first days will definitely not forget Ji Hansol. He was once believed to debut in NCT as he appeared in many reality shows with the other members. However, in the end, Hansol left SM in 2017, 1 year after NCT’s debut, and participated in the survival reality show ‘The Unit’. Ji Hansol then won his debut with UNB but the boy group couldn’t made their name known to the public and disbanded. Currently, Hansol is a member of New Kidd – a boy group under J-FLO Entertainment, but up to now, New Kidd is still a strange name to K-Pop fans.
Seo Herin was also a name introduced early in the SM Rookies project, a familiar face in the program ‘Mickey Mouse Club’. But despite being considered one of the best bets for SM’s new idol generation, Herin left the company. In 2017, she participated in the reality show ‘Idol School’ but did not win her debut with Fromis 9. Currently, she has returned to England to live and study, almost completely giving up her idol career.
Jinho became a SM’s trainee in 2008, after winning first place in the ‘SM Everysing Contest’. In 2010, he debuted in the SM the Ballad project with Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Jonghyun (SHINee) and Jay (TraxX). Everyone thought that this was a sign that he would definitely debut in a boy group of SM, but Jinho suddenly left the company in 2015. In 2016, Jinho debuted with PENTAGON, a boy group under Cube Entertainment. The former SM trainee recently enlisted in the army on May 11.
Kim Moongyu, stage name Timoteo, is currently a member of boy group HOTSHOT. But before that, he was once a trainee at SM, where he became close friends with Taemin (SHINee) and Kai (EXO). There were even rumors that Moongyu was set to debut with SHINee or EXO, but he eventually left the company for personal reasons.