If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a K-pop group, look no further. Former CLC member Elkie Chong (庄锭欣) is here to instruct you on how to get one foot in the door, and how to prepare for what comes after.
The 24-year-old former idol recently took to her socials to share some tips and behind-the-scenes info on the trainee life. Previously, Elkie had been part of the girl group CLC before leaving in 2021.
According to Elkie, there are three ways of becoming a trainee. You are either drafted in, scouted out or you can register for it by yourself online! However, all applicants will still have to be screened. Elkie shared that there are several tests one has to go through before making it. Initially, applicants are expected to perform for the camera and some staff members. They can choose between singing, dancing, rapping or modelling. The performance is expected to be for about a minute.
If the judges are interested, applicants will be asked simple questions, expected to perform other talents or do a short self-introduction which will be recorded as a video. Elkie added that they will usually be filmed from all angles, and those with bangs will be asked to put them up. As for how to be prepared for the interview, “(Wear) natural makeup (and) decent clothes,” Elkie advised.
If you pass the interview sessions, congratulations! You are now a trainee! However, being a trainee isn’t all smiles and rainbows, Elkie shared. It’s mostly sweat, tears and a lot of hard work. The former idol stated that trainees usually had classes every day from 1pm to 10pm with Sundays being their off days. Trainees were also expected to take responsibility for their own preparation for training, managing their figures and scheduling in their own practice time.
Foreign trainees usually had accommodations prepared. And while they weren’t allowed to order takeaways, food and supplies could be reimbursed. “Most girls will choose to bring their own (lunchbox) to eat at the company, or they can choose the canteen which costs about 40 yuan (~RM26) per day,” she stated. “Occasionally, if they want to eat more, they can share the food expenses with the other trainees.” Additionally, the girls had to get permission to dye their hair. If they cut their hair, it had to be reported as well.
Their performances were usually reviewed either on a weekly or monthly basis. Trainees would be evaluated on their solo and collaborated performances. There would even be special themed events. For those, trainees were expected to edit their own music, plan dance practices and rehearsals, prepare their own costumes and more on their own. Afterwards, they would be evaluated and eliminated if necessary.
However, training isn’t the only level that determines if trainees will make it to the stage. Elkie claims that one can only debut if they have “strength”, match the company’s planned group style, and if they fit a role in the group. It certainly sounds like a lot!
Still, Elkie added that she was glad to have been an idol. “The happiness it brought me is far greater than all the bitterness,” she stated. “I used to cry every day while going to class, but I can say that I never thought of giving up. (Even) now I feel that everything is very worthwhile. So, if you have this dream, go for it.”
Well, after hearing all that, we can’t deny that becoming an idol is hard. But, like Elkie says, it is worthwhile. If you do desire to be an idol and are willing to work for it, we wish you all the best!