August 24, 2013

Congratulations! So Now You're A Trainee...: A Speculative Look At Your Future

[DISCLAIMER:  Like the title says, this is speculative.  I have made educated guesses based on what I believe are mostly reliable sources.]

For More Information:



Auditioning:
If I pass the USA audition, do they pay me to go to Korea?
No.  If SM asks you to Korea for yet another audition, you will be paying out of pocket!

How many audition rounds do I have to go through?
There is no set number of auditions.  Sehun had to go through many auditions over a year or so while some get in on the first try.

What do I do about visas?
Once you are signed as a trainee, SM will take care of the necessary visas.

When do I get signed during the audition??
Unless you're over 18, your parent and/or guardian will be the ones technically signing for you.  After your final audition in Korea, you will be invited back to sign a contract (unless your parent and/or guardian are with you).

I want to audition/sign, but my parents won't let me (or don't know).  [OR:  I have a test that I need to take, can I ask them to delay signing a contract?]
If you can't make it to an audition, SM will just move onto the next talent.
If you make it to the signing stage, SM might let you delay if they have a lot of faith in you, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  Don't audition unless you know you could commit to it right away.

Trainee Life:
What will my life look like?
Monday - Friday
6 am:  Wake-up
6:30 am:  Commute to school
7 am:  School starts (or sometimes 8, depending on your class load)
3 pm:  School gets out
3:30 pm:  Commute from school
4 - 11 pm:  Training!!!
Saturday - Training!!

Sunday:  Day off.

What do I do for money???
SM provides most things for their trainees like food (I believe, like YG, they have a cafeteria), room and board (in the dorms), and daily supplies.  You'll bring a lot of things with you too (like individualized clothing).
But don't worry.  SM provides an allowance of about $20 USD a week if you need any other personalized stuff.

Will I be able to meet SM artist?
Maybe.  SM does hold dinners for the trainees to meet the artists, but you have to be a while into training before you get to attend.  There is no guarantee you'll meet them.

How do I get from my dorm to the SM building?
A combination of walking and subway and/or bus.  Once you get to the building in Apgujeong, you'll have to fight through a throng of fans blocking the one way in.  After that, it's finger print access to get into the building.

Education:
What will I do for school?  Does SM pay for it?
SM provides education!  If you speak fluent Korean (or are a Korean citizen), you will attend a local Korean high school.  For fluent English speakers, you will be attending Kent International.

My country has a test that I need/want to take.  Will I be able to take it when I'm a trainee?
No.  You will be transferred to a Korean school to finish your education.  That means Korean tests.  If you are concerned about a test, you should wait to audition until after your test.

Maybe Debuting:
Do I get to pick my stage name?
No.

For More Information:

83 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hi!
    I'm from Philippines...
    I've already read about being a trainee/having audtion but...
    What if I'm in my college days and I go to Korea and i audition for SMent and let's just say I got accepted but my parents don't have any idea that I auditioned,(i'll tell them after that) am I required to not finish my college and instead start a new semester(?) in Korea?

    Thank you in advance for noticing my question...
    Sorry if it's too long ^^

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    1. If you're already in college and accepted, you would drop out of school. :/
      Training is really hard and as someone who would be older, you would be perceived as someone who would need to "catch up" with your younger fellow trainees. College schedules aren't as forgiving as high school.

      SM would probably post-pone your trip to Korea until your semester was finished. Then would "drop out" (not enroll for the next semester) and move to Korea. You probably would not resume college until you left SM or successfully debuted and got to a stable point in your career (like members of SNSD, 2PM, etc.)

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    2. ah...thanks for the further info :DD
      i really appreciate it :)))

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    3. What if you did an online college? Would you be able to still do college that way even in Korea after audition? I'm planning on (I promised my parents I'd do 2 years of college) doing one year of public to have more time to prepare, then one year online so I could audition without having to worry. Or, would I still have to quit? I'm already almost 18... so, I'd be cutting it really close to the age limit.

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  3. i dont quite understand. do you mean that if you get into SMent that you just want to continue or that they may make you restart that semester? Well if that was your question... It would really depend on your level of schooling. Because korea and the philippines have different levels and dont start the same topics and stuff at the same time you may have to start that semester again..... It would be like me moving from australia to korea trying to find my place on where i left off here. Most likely you would have to restart but the schools will usually decide and SM will too... i hope i helped!!

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  4. hi i'm from philippines,
    i'm just wondering,
    do sment accept pilipinos?
    and is there an audition through email in sment?
    thanks !

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    1. SM Entertainment accepts all auditions, regardless of race, age, and gender. Currently, I don't know of any Pilipino trainees, but there's always a first for everything!!

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    2. They do have email auditions. Check out "Popular Pages" and click on "A Useful Guide to SM Entertainment auditions" for more information.

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  5. What song/s do you recommend for the audition piece for singing?
    Can it be from other agency or K-drama's OST?
    What if the k-drama is sponsored by SMent., is it okat to sing the OST?

    Sorry for the questions, it really bothers me ~~
    thanks anyway :DD


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    1. What kind of range do you have? G.NA is good for most registers. If you have a higher range, Beige and IU are good and for lower ranges, Baek JiYoung.

      I would suggest trying to get a ballad song from a less-known singer. The judges will not be sick of it and won't be comparing you to the original singer.

      I would avoid anything SM-related. So no SNSD, The Grace, TVXQ, H.O.T., SES, f(x), Super Junior, EXO, SHINee, The Ballad, Trax, Zhang Liyin, BoA, or Kangta and no To The Beautiful You. UNLESS, you can rearrange the song and present something original and fresh, like SuPearl's jazz version of "The Boys".

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    2. Many of my friends are saying that I'm good at singing. But my problem is I'm not good at dancing. Then one of my friends told me that its okay because kris and chanyeol of EXO are really not good at dancing. And she said that EXO members are take time to teach them their choreography. So is it okay if I still audition even though I'm not good at dancing. I already email my recording audition in SMTown. And I'm not sure if I can pass. I sung Take a bow and its taeyeon's version. Is it okay? Because I really wanted to pass the audition. By the way I'm Aira. 15 years old. from the philippines.

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    4. I think you'll pass...if you're not good at dancing, might as well bawiin mo sa looks and singing skills mo...don't worry, pwede naman mag-improve pag naging trainee ka na :))

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    5. I'm really nervous that I might not pass the audition. But I really wanted to pass. What am I going to do?

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    6. While SM is dance focused, it's okay to get in as just a singer. Kris got in because of his good looks and Chanyeol got in because of his rapping. The key is, can you learn to do it well once you start training?

      Honestly, I think most people who audition are capable of passing the audition, but it's just up to what the judges like and what SM needs! Fingers crossed for you!

      Also, no, if you get an email back, that does not mean you've become a trainee. The least it will be is a generic email saying you should try out live. The most it will be asking for is a personalized email asking for more clips or asking you when you can make it to Korea for a live audition. So far, SM has not let a trainee in without making them do at least one live audition!

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    7. What if I pass the live audition? Will I be able to be a trainee? And what if I didn't pass the live audition? Am I going home with nothing?

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    8. if you pass the live audition, ipatatawag ka pa for 2nd and/or 3rd live auditon (not sure but mostly na nkita ko, oo) then trainee ka na if you passed. and if you didn't pass the live audition, might as well your going home with nothing OR try another agencies :))

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  6. Thanks ate. But I'm not sure if I'm pretty. Some are saying that I'm pretty but I don't think its true..... :'( do you think I'm pretty? Nakapag-audition ka na po ba?

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    1. i saw your picture and may hitsura ka naman, you have good looks :))
      as of now i'm just 14 and i'm planning to audtion at SM during my college days :))

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  7. Do you think I can really pass the audition?

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  8. Another question.
    I email my video audition clip at smtown. What if I received an email back from them, will I be able to go to korea as a trainee?

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    1. it depends, if they're interested in you, you might have a greater chance to be a trainee....
      if they want for example, send more of your singing/dancing videos...mas malaki chance na mapili ka just do what they expect from you and maybe mkapunta kang korea for live audition :))

      i just found some answers in the internet so i'm 20% not sure of that :))

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    2. If you receive an email back it just means they are interested! SM has yet to pass a trainee by email alone. They will have you come out to LA or Seoul for a live audition before signing you a trainee.
      Most people get a general "Thanks for auditioning, please consider our Global or Youth Star Auditions". Others get personalized responses asking for more talent clips, for a Skype talk with an SM rep, or asking when you're next trip to LA or Seoul is so you can audition.

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  10. Is there any set of rounds of audition if i audition live in korea?

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    1. As I've known, yes. I'm not sure but I think they'll have 3 rounds...I'm not sure but I think it's like an elimination round...

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    2. No. There are no set rounds. Most people have to audition at least twice though (once during the Saturday auditions and once when you're asked back for a private audition on a different date, usually the day after).
      Sehun is really good and even had to audition four times in two years before he was picked while BoA was signed on the spot. It's different for every case.

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    3. Thank you for the answers I hope that i can pass ><

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    4. Another question If i finished my college degree then i become a trainee would i send to school in korea or not?

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    5. If you're planning on completing college before auditioning, I would say the idol life is not for you! Unless you're a child genius like my friend Sam who graduated college with Honors when she was 17, you'll be 21-24 when you finally graduate. That's pretty old in idol years, especially for someone just starting training who's going up against 16/17 year olds who have 2-5 years of training already under their belt.

      But if you were finished with your college degree, you wouldn't need to go to school in Korea because you'd already be done^^ (Unless you were looking for a Masters, in which they would ./really/ tell you to put it off).

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    7. nope i'm not looking for masters and i will graduate in college bachelor's degree next year. I decided to audition immediately because I worry at my age btw I'm turning 20 next year.

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  11. So you mean, If they like me or they're interested in me on my singing they can just pick me through a online audition?

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    1. Not really. SM hasn't picked a trainee solely through online/email auditions. If they are interested, they'll ask for more clips or ask you for a live auditions. For now, you must attend a live audition before being signed. Online/email auditions are a way for you to get noticed and so they'll look for you at the live auditions.

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  13. What if I pass the audition when I'm already in college? Will SM still provide my education in learning korean language?

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    1. If you're in high school, you get to continue your studies. If you're already in college, you'll put your studies on hold and train in Korea to "catch up" with your 14-16 year old trainee peers (you'll most likely be 18+).

      ZhouMi, Henry, Victoria, Amber, Tao, Kris, and Lay had no prior experience with Korean when they joined SM, so yes, SM teaches Korean.

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  14. Am I going to attend school to study korean?

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    1. Nope! SM has language instructors / tutors "on campus" to help you. If you end up going during high school, you'll attend Kent International (attended by the Jung sisters, Tiffany, Stephanie, and Amber) where your primary instruction will be in English.

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  15. i think there'll be school for foreigners. (i forgot the name) and i think so, you mean school for only teaching korean language?

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  16. Yes. I was just wondering if I'm going to study at school or they will teach me like I have a tutor. I'm already in 4th year high school. Grade 10 in korea. And next years I will be in college.

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  17. For now, I'm still in high school. And I will be graduating on march next year. What if I passed my audition at around april. Will I be studying as a high school student in korea or as a college?

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    1. They teach you like a tutor! ABC's "K-Pop Boot Camp" gives an excellent look how your language lessons will look (it's at the end of the clip with John Seo.)

      Say you passed in April. You'd fly out to Korea to start training immediately. If you have a graduation certificate saying you'd finished high school in your home country, you wouldn't have to go back to school in Korea.

      As for the college, you'd put it off until after you debuted or dropped out. SM will be debuting a girl group in about a year-3 years and the pressure is on for any new female trainees to catch up with the other prospects (you can see three of SM's female trainees - including Seulgi - in the K-Pop Boot Camp clip).

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  18. if I want to practice singing,should I practice songs that are in my vocal range? how to know my vocal range?

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    1. Yes! One way to know your vocal range is to ask a vocal teacher (and a good way to practice singing). If you do not have access to a vocal teacher, grab a piano (real or virtual) and sing scales.
      Start with the lowest you can reach without going into falsetto and sing until you reach the highest you can without falsetto. [If you can't tell the difference between falsetto, know that people usually have a half octave to 2.5 octaves without falsetto. You can have a much higher range with falsetto!! I currently have a two octave range without falsetto.]
      If you don't know what singing scales are, check out this YouTube clip of pre-debut Seohyun. [[NOTE: do NOT try and strain your voice like she is at the end without the supervision of a professional! You could permanently damage your vocal cords!!!!!!]]

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqeMngIn_Nw

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  19. Can I sing Baek Jiyoung's songs for the audition? I want to sing 'I won't Love (Sarang anhae)' by Ji young...Would it be okay?? :))

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    1. Yes! That's an excellent song! Make sure you capture the mood of the song and you're solid :)

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    2. Can I send an audio of me singing not a video? Cuz' on smtown site it says there that I should email them my video file (dancing), music file (singing) , and photos.. But I'm only auditioning as a singer.

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    3. Please send a dancing file!!! SM has no soloists who can't dance. While Kangta and Zhang Liyin don't usually dance with their songs, Kangta was a part of H.O.T. and Zhang Liyin was in the running for Girls' Generation (meaning she can dance!)
      Also, the website asks for all three. :)

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    4. haaaa....i'll start to practice that song :D
      thank you for the response :DD

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  20. But I can't dance.. :'( I'm not really good at dancing.. :'( and I'm planning of learning it when I become a trainee... :'(

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    1. i suggest u go for a dance lesson/ look for tutorials in youtube :))
      SMent is more on dancing so i suggest u should prepare urself for dancing ^^

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    2. You can check out various clips on YouTube on how to dance.
      The best tip for the audition is to string some of your best moves together. They don't have to jaw dropping - SM is looking to see if you can feel the beat and move to it and if you have any charisma while doing so.

      I suggest checking out their debuted singers' audition clips. Obviously, Taemin and Shindong are bad examples, but the clips of Krystal, Hyohyeon, YoonA and Yuri are good examples. They're not jaw droppingly awesome, but you can tell they keep a beat well and know how to show charisma through their movements.

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  21. But I thought its okay not to dance if I'm only auditioning as a singer?

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    1. Nope! It's always a good idea to dance when auditioning as a singer. If you really dislike/cannot dance, then I would suggest maybe Jellyfish or LOEN since they have ballad singers under their belt. Otherwise, as an idol hopeful, you should dance!

      Like I said before, SM doesn't have any artists under their label that can't dance (unless you play an instrument really well like TRAX and J-Min). Even they received some dance training while in their trainee years.

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    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u4njjcUkro is this krystal's audition?? :))

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    3. I actually not sure. I've never seen this in any SM related videos. However, I do know this is Krystal's camera test. This is from "Amazing f(x)". Skip to the 7:40 mark.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9QxnYrFM7E

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  22. Oh....BTW, Can I sing more than 1 song? (1 korean song + 1 english song)
    :))

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    1. Yes! Just make sure you string all the clips into one when you're finished!

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    2. i mean in live auditions? 1 korean, 1 english and 1 rap english?? :))

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    3. For live auditions, you should pick your best piece, regardless of language. You literally get about 30 seconds to sing!

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    4. I would have a second one prepared just in case, but expect to only sing one song.

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  23. What if you don't have a good voice? But I can rap and I think I can dance well. Lol. Will I still pass?

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    1. That's okay. As long as you can do two of three (sing, rap, dance) well, you're fine!

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  24. I have some questions :) what if I have a good voice, but I'm not good in dance? and How about pimples in my face? I have many pimples on my face, will they prefer me? :/ sorry, if my english bad :D thanks before :)

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    1. That's okay, but you should at least try dancing. SM is heavily dance-oriented. If you find you really just can't do dance, I would recommend JYP (still dances, but not as emphasized as SM) or Jellyfish.

      Pimples are okay as long as your personality and general looks can have the judge overlook that. (Key, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, and Lay have very noticeable acne scars - pits are easier to cover with makeup than active acne). Once again, if talent and looks over come it, that's fine. I will ask you how noticeable they are (it matters more for girls than boys).

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    2. Thanks for your info..It's helpfull :D

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  25. but wait, I have more :D
    If I have an online/email audition, so, I have to prepare a passport and VISA, right? (preparation if they ask me to attend live audition in Korea) cz I don't have a passport and VISA...but what if my passpot and VISA unfinished until they ask me to attend live audition? will they prefer me?

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    1. Not necessary! However, I always recommend having a passport handy no matter whether you dream of being an idol or not! Having a passport opens all sorts of doors and opportunities!

      However, visas are time (and sometimes agenda) sensitive [unlike passports - adult US passports are good for 10 years]. Do NOT apply for a visa until you know exactly when, where, and what you'll be doing in South Korea. :)

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  26. Thanks before :) I don't have a passport because I never go aboard :D hehehe...
    I have a plan to sign for a scolarship 2 years later and register for a weekly audition in SM Entertainment (because I haven't prepare for online audition) In that time I'm 18 years old...If i accepted and being a trainee, how about my college? Thank you so much before...sorry if I have to many question :D

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    1. College will have to be put on hold until you debut or drop out. As you'll be 18, you'll be perceived as needing to "catch up" with all the younger trainees (look at SMROOKIES, they are 17, 18, and 13, all with at least a few years of training under their belt).

      It's okay! I don't mind!

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    2. Thanks before :D so, it's possible for me to be receive? or not?

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  27. hello, im a filipino and im 14 years old..im short like 42 cm im in grade 8 and will i be accepted? like how? or do i have a chance?

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  28. hello, im a filipino and im 14 years old..im short like 42 cm im in grade 8 and will i be accepted? like how? or do i have a chance?

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    1. I apologize right off the bat, but I suck at math and conversion and here in the US, we're backwards and don't use the Metric system...so you mean like 1 foot, 3 inches, right?

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  29. Hello , I'm Chinese-Indonesian , 16 y.o , and I would like to ask some questions , and I'm really sorry if my english's very bad .
    1. Is it true they only accept someone who's 12-17 year old ? Since I'm 16 now , In 3 years from now I'll go to college in Korea and I'll try taking an audition there , but I'll be 19 , is it too old already ?
    2. Will they judge me if I have a large bone ? Because my friends said that I'm not fat , I just have a bigger bone than them .
    3. Are they interested to a girl who can rap ? You can listen my rapping in this link , even it's not so good > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnajWUiN76k , and I've attended S.M Global Audition before in Thailand :)

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    1. Ah , and I have a little tomboyish look like Amber , but not as handsome and as cool as her . Will they accept a tomboyish - a little bit feminime girl ?

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    2. 1.) No. Victoria and Onew were some of their artists who were accepted at an older age. 12-17 is just the most ideal age. Both Victoria and Onew had to rely more on their youthful looks and talent than their age in their audition.
      Honestly, if you're planning to audition, audition /now/. Don't wait.
      2.) Talent matters more than looks initially. But it is the entertainment industry (which, by nature, is shallow), so it really just depends on which judge you get that day.
      3.) Yes. The judge really perked when I rapped for my audition.
      You're rapping speed is good (and so is your enunciation), but work on putting more 'tude or character into it, since it sounds very flat. G-Dragon, CL, and the American group Karmin are good examples of 'tude (attitude) in rapping. :)

      What your style is before doesn't matter! Chances are SM will totally remake it! (YoonA was strongly believed to be a tomboy before debut).

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  30. hi i am from India idk that whether SM accepts Indians as their trainee

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