by Deanna Maria R.

Have you ever wondered how K-pop bands are formed? The answer, idol trainee instruction. In Beijing China, at the idol trainee center, girls and boys as young as nine, train and compete to become pop idols. It isn’t free, families pay over $5000 annually for their children to participate after the initial try-out to see if they qualify for trainee instruction. Idols have a ‘life expectancy’, they are only as good as their last move or song, thus the training.

Having to keep up with the times, so to speak, training is non-stop, grueling, and competitive. Once such candidate, Yang Jingxin, entered an audition at the age of nine, when talent scouts came to her school. She is now twelve and wants badly to be an idol, to whom she looks up to. She says it is very glamorous to be an idol. Yang’s family never complains about fees or anything else, when it comes to her, her family feels that is ‘why they work’. They just want their daughter to be happy.

When trainees pass the initial audition, they enter on a scaling system, from F to A, F being the lowest rank and typically reserved for brand new trainees. The goal is to get to the top and be in the A group. Training consists of dancing, singing, muscle strengthening and balance. Also, very important, is the look. Yang’s family went as far as to pay someone to instruct her on the application of cosmetics and finding the right look. And that is how it is done.