Idols who made it through SM Saturday auditions

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One of the toughest auditions in K-pop, if not the toughest, is the renowned Saturday open auditions. What is this audition all about? SM Entertainment is one of the companies that has essentially made K-pop into the industry that it is today. It is the home of many well-known groups and soloists, and it has served as the reference for many other companies. Since agencies are trying to reach more people in the west and want to include artists who speak different languages, global auditions have grown to be particularly popular in recent years.

However, because these auditions are held less frequently, it makes people wait for them even longer because they feel more exclusive. The thing is when a trainee gets scouted by the labels casting agents or even cast through a private audition the company already has an idea of what they want to do with the trainee. Furthermore, there is no age restriction for contestants, even though the judges will likely weed out those who are too young or old to make their debut.

As a result, a huge number of contestants—all of whom are extremely talented in their fields—show up every weekend at the SM Entertainment building to compete. It is extremely difficult to even get into a second audition because of the overwhelming number of contestants.

Being selected as a trainee for one of the biggest entertainment companies in South Korea and making your debut in one of their groups through the Saturday open audition is a huge deal because the competition is so fierce, which explains why in the 22 years that the auditions have been held, only a handful of people have been successful. SM ultimately selects only about a hundred trainees for the second audition, meaning the chances of even getting a second chance at this are dangerously low as there are tens of thousands of auditions.

Yoona’s story of how she made it through the Saturday open audition in 2002 is equally fascinating.

Yoona was only supposed to accompany a friend who wanted to try out, but thankfully a staff member mistakenly thought she was the one auditioning and gave her a number. With no time to practise, Yoona did what she does best: perform like her rent was due.

She sang the song “Please” by Wax and also danced to Britney Spears’ hit “Oops..! I did it again” and passed the audition with one of the highest scores in the history of the company. You can tell that everything went well because in 2007, she made her K-pop debut as a member of Girls Generation, one of the largest girl groups ever.

Try not to be shocked when you find out that one of the most talented Idols in the entire business, Taemin, had an equally legendary audition. During his audition way back in 2005, he crossed the white line even though the judges had instructed all the auditioners to dance while attempting to stay behind it. Although this was technically against the rules and in different circumstances, it is said that he should have been reprimanded, but he somehow still managed to impress the judges with his incredible dancing skills enough for them to overlook this. This helped him advance to become the legendary dancer we know and love today.

Through an open audition, Seulgi of Red Velvet was accepted as an SM trainee. When she was in the sixth grade of elementary school, her father filed her audition application. When she didn’t hear from the casting director, she felt she had failed the audition. However, a year later, the long-awaited call finally arrived, and she started training in her first year of middle school.

She made her debut with Red Velvet in 2014 and impressed idols like Shinee and FX members.

Her bandmate Yeri entered the company through the Saturday open audition while still in the fifth grade. Following the audition, the judges invited her to participate in the 2010 SM Global auditions in Seoul, where she managed to pass too.

NCT’s Haechan made the cut as one of the select few idols to pass SM Entertainment’s most difficult “Saturday Audition.” He disclosed how he got the audition, but he recently divulged the specifics of what transpired there.

Haechan did start to get a little anxious when “the judges let other applicants leave, except him.” I could feel my heart thumping, he acknowledged. It came to light that he was doing fine.

The judges were eager to hear more from Haechan, who performed “Hello” by Huh Gak to display his low range and “Ugly Duckling” by Son Seung Yeon to display his high range. The judges then requested that he demonstrate some dancing movements after he had once more pleased them. Haechan didn’t back down from the challenge and broke out in awkward dance skills that he could now make fun of.

Although Haechan thought his audition wasn’t very impressive, the company was interested. They got in touch with him less than a week later and said, “We’d want to see more of your potential.” The rest is history.

The most recent Idol to pass the Saturday audition is Aespa’s Giselle in 2019.

Giselle demonstrated her rapping abilities during the audition and went on to become the seventh Idol to pass it. She performed NCT’s song Cherry Bomb and made a strong impression on the judges when she rapped Mark’s part in the song.

Giselle’s training period was also relatively brief compared to the others; she only trained for 10 months before making her Aespa debut. There have been rumors that Giselle’s Aunt is a well-known reporter who was dating none other than Lee Soo-man, the CEO and founder of SM Entertainment, though some people don’t really believe the story and believe that Giselle got into the company in a different way; specifically, they believe that she got in through her connections.

As far as most people are concerned, Giselle passed that audition with her own abilities and efforts, and those are just some disgusting rumors to undermine everything she has worked for up until this point.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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hi my name is Ang Ung and i am the Chief editor for
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