Posted by : KPopRanter July 14, 2013

Throughout my years of knowing and loving K-Pop, I've came to acknowledge that every single idol goes through a varying amount of training (usually at least 2 years) prior to debuting, most companies and idols making it out to be an excruciating yet fulfilling process of disciplining the idol and improving their talents. Regarding this claim, I took the opportunity to look into training and it's correlation towards talent then realize that there is none--wondering exactly how this can be then coming to the conclusion that not only is training life not as excruciating as it seems (well, save companies like SM & Star Empire) but also, not as useful as it seems, as well--talent not even resulting from training but mostly resulting on the person's own ability because well, the training system sucks.

The ex-JYP trainee, donleebaby, explains a brief outline of not only JYP's training system but also giving a little peek to what other training systems are like being that many companies, though may not be the exact same when holding the training process may have a somewhat similar training pattern.
But what confuses me is how can people train for years but still lack talent as compared to co-workers and members of the same group and company who've trained for much less?
As known across the SONE fandom, Girls' Generation's Taeyeon trained for an estimated 3 years and 3 months prior to debut... whereas on the other hand, Girls' Generation's Yoona trained for more than twice that amount--a whopping 7 years yet still isn't the best at anything among the group other than looking pretty. Adding on, her talentless-ness is not even limited to vocals, Yoona, having the second longest training duration in Girls' Generation (after Jessica by 4 months), is the fourth best dancer in the group, not even a decent rapper and isn't fluent in any other language other than Korean to make up for it. What the hell? How can that even be possible with all those years of training? And really, if that is the case, what exactly is training for?

SISTAR's Hyorin and Ailee sound good naturally... but if they weren't, who's to say they would sound so good being that the only other decent singer in SISTAR is Soyu but she's not even relatively close Hyorin-level. And if there's supposedly 'experienced' vocal coaches among companies, how can trainees and entertainers who've trained 'longer',  'harder' while 'climbing so many walls and beating so many obstacles [insert fangurl crey hurr]' than these two women sound equivalent to dog shit? Shouldn't they, if they actually have the great resources and use the time like they say they had and did, be vocal powerhouses, as well? But why aren't they?

To me, it seems like in the entertainment company's dungeons, they don't even train people efficiently... if train them at all! In fact, the people who were naturally talented from birth are the ones who are acclaimed the "talented" ones yet not even near the height of their potential because they still have easily correctable problems with their voices (ex. Jessica and Sunny - nasality; Bom - bad high notes), whereas the people who suck just stay sucking and don't even get an acceptable amount of attention to better their suckiness.  Ultimately, if there was actually logic and proper training in the entertainment business, the ones who are talented would be even more talented and wouldn't have middle school level vocals while the ones who are untalented would at least be audible.
Likewise, if training is so bad yet so helpful, why isn't everyone be a main vocalist or main dancer? Why is there even space for a useless member when they've been training for years and should logically have enough skill and talent to be utilizing?
And it's not like they don't even have practice or have some sort of training post-debut, a live example being Wonder Girls' Sohee who started to improve her vocal skills after debut, near Be My Baby times. The overall problem is that they do, in fact have so many opportunities to just increase their talent throughout the years however, they don't. Why?

How could people like SISTAR's Bora even be a rapper when her raps tempt me to claw off my ears?
How could Lee Hyori even metaphorically exist--the epitome of untalented success in the Korean entertainment industry?
And how can people train but have dwindling talent rather than improving talent, I ask when looking at Park Bom's famous pre-debut singing clip when comparing to her vocals from before to now:

Isn't training to improve a talent--not decrease it? Or did I miss something?
Not to mention, idols like Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon, who still is an amazing dancer and is talented in dancing, used to have dance solos like in Into the New World however, now barely even gets enough screen time to show off her dancing skills, making her want to go solo. I'd call that dwindling talent, as well, because the talent is getting wasted.

Lastly, the biggest excuse I witness towards this topic though is: 
"Unnir and oppar didn't mean it! They're not singers, they're dancers/rappers."
Let me just drop this off:

  1. sing·er  

    A person who sings, esp. professionally: "a pop singer".
    songster - vocalist - chanter - minstrel - bard - poet
Everyone is a singer... you're a singer, I'm a singer--we're all singers whether or not we're 'professional' singers or 'regular' nobodies.  If they sing in a song even if it's one word, they're a singer. And from BoA to Yoona or from IU to Goo Hara... every single idol is a singer in one way or form... but aren't they all good singers? Likewise, if one the other side, every single idol does dancing from one point in time... but why aren't they amazing dancers when not only they have years of training, but they dance every single performance and most television appearances? And why are some rappers not even decent rappers even if they have been trained a plethora of years in the company?

With the undeniable lack of correlation between training years and talent, do you think K-Pop idol training is useless? Comment below.

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{ 10 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I've always felt that training is WAY over-emphasized in K-pop. Maybe it's partly a symptom of the Korean work ethic and the idea that working harder equals better results. The problem is - that formula only works to a certain extent when it comes to singing and dancing. The potential for both of those things is decided more by genetics than anything else. You can improve to a certain level but the sound of your voice, your muscle reflexes and coordination, and physical anatomy have limits that you can't overcome with training.

    I think another reason for the longer-than-needed training system might be that it gives the companies a way to claim that their idols' talent and skill is thanks to the company giving it to them (an additional reason to justify their long, one-sided contracts).

    However, in the case of idols that supposedly "trained" for 7+ years before debut - they are usually the ones that were just little kids when they started out. So, there was really no potential for a debut anytime soon. Their "training" was more along the lines of a kid taking after school lessons for many years. It wasn't like Yoona started taking lessons at SM at 10 years old and expected to debut in a few years.

  2. Ok, it's definitely not useless. They get trained in every little aspect from what they should eat to keep their bodies ass beautifully as they are to how to read and understand music.
    Even when it comes to dancing, yes I know not every idol is a great dancer but through their years of training they can quickly learn and perfectly execute the Choreography of a dance in a weeks time. Hyosung From secret once said that they recorded the music and learned the dance for a comeback in just 1 week. That is Ridiculous!!! What their training does is make them as efficient as possible in being idols. So no the training isn't useless, it prepares them for every aspect of their idol life.

  3. I see your point. It trains idols to be entertainers and role models.
    However, the question still remains: does how much talent each idol has play a role in training especially being that most idols lack talent?

  4. I agree--I think the overall 'talent' factor doesn't rely on training but more on genetics.

    Or maybe to find a group to place them in.

    True but even when the smaller hours of training, it's not impossible to train someone in vocals or dance while young... I mean, I wouldn't doubt Bang Yedam received training pre-KPop Star and even post-KPop Star where YG said he'll receive 'extensive training' despite him being 12.

  5. yellowslugreviewsJuly 16, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    As to the last point, I'll just say that the reason that a lot of singers (especially in K-Pop) sound worse as they get older is because their lungs are essentially busted after performing non-stop for 3-5 years straight. Taeyeon's voice circa 2009 is so much more richer than it is now. Same could be said of almost any idol who can carry a note. Some, like IU, are a bit smarter about it.

  6. True however, what about the other singers (Korean & non) who've been using their voice even longer than Taeyeon & Bom, yet is still unaltered? That's when the question flips to: Are K-Pop companies teaching their singers the best techniques to preserve a person's singing voice for even longer?

  7. It almost feels like they get 100000000 classes in media and public appearances, but minimal vocal classes.

  8. You are right. Their training should have fruits too. I mean, look at Suho (of EXO), who trained for the longest time (not bashing here) but he doesn't really stand out. I also don't get the "visual" labels they have within the group... usually, those are the people who don't have much talent... and also members like Xiumin (EXO) who's got potential, are being neglected somehow... They should train those people more so that they will be more talented people in the groups...

  9. I think that you're right that some people just have that natural talent that can not be obtained no matter how much training you do, but you have to understand also that training does not just target just those areas. If a kpop artist is weak in some areas, it is also the point of the kpop agencies to train and make them more successful on the skills they do possess. But I also believe that some people just can't sing or rap or whatever and no amount of training can help them because they are hopeless. In the case of Park Bom, I still believe that she is an amazing singer and I have always believed that her voice is truly unique. And looking at her pre-debut video only reestablishes that belief; her singing did not deteriorate over time, it just was not highlighted as much because she was not given that opportunity by yg. But YG should by no means be slammed for this because they have given her almost all the lead vocals in 2ne1 songs and solo parts in other YG artists' songs because they recognize that she is a powerhouse vocal. Furthermore, because that video is her audition video, of course she has demonstrated just has demonstrated her talent and her strengths because she was trying to get a spot at YG at the time. So you have to take all of those things into consideration.


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