Are YOU Ready for Stardom?
The route to stardom is not as easy as it seems. To be very honest, it is a long term battle, be it physically or mentally. Starting from the auditions to the training and then finally the long awaited debut, it is not all about the glitz and the glam. The time, the effort and the energy spent on preparation and practice after a day’s schedule is seriously not for the weak-minded.
Let (x)clusive take you through what it takes to be part of the Cube family (with famous Kpop names like 4minute, Beast and G.Na) and Cube’s Trainee Programme through an exclusive interview with Mr Park Jae-Hyun, General Department Head of Rookie Development Division of Cube Entertainment.
Q: How many trainees do Cube have now?
There are 25 now – Half of which are boys and the other half girls.
Q: Describe the training a regular trainee goes through and how their schedule is.
The trainees still go to school. In the morning at 6, they will attend school and after classes, they will start their training. Training basically takes place from Mondays to Saturdays, with Sunday being a rest day.
Q: What kind of training programmes does Cube provide?
There is training for vocal, dance, language, weight, acting and also counselling services (psychological advisors) in the event whereby trainees encounter any problems and issues during their stay at Cube.
Q: Does every trainee goes through the same training routine or is there a customised training programme for every trainee?
At the beginning, all the trainees start with the same programmes. However, after a few months, the trainees will undergo a test to see if they can advance to a higher level or class and then move on from there.
Q: From what age does Cube take in their trainees?
From 11 to 28 (Korean age).
Q: What expectations do trainees have to meet? For international trainees, are there any extra expectations? Are they expected to know Korean?
No, international trainees do not have to know Korean. Cube will provide language classes for them. In addition, since they are amidst other trainees who are Korean, they pick up the language very fast.
Q: Do foreign trainees have to fork out their own money to be a trainee at Cube?
No, Cube pays for their food and accommodation. Their basic needs such as daily necessities are covered for. The trainees only need to pay for their personal spending. In addition, if the currency exchange rate is really different between their country and Korea, Cube will provide them allowance since the standard of living is pretty high in Korea.
Q: How many foreign trainees are there in Cube currently?
5. But we have 3 more coming in soon.
Q: Any plans to recruit more foreign trainees?
At present, all of Cube’s existing groups only consist of Koreans. As Cube has the intention to expand and move globally, this is a possible direction in which we will look into.
Q: Does Cube mostly scout or are trainees purely chosen through auditions?
80-90% are casted while the other 10-20% through auditions.
Staff from the casting department would go to different countries to scout and pick out those whom they like and think have the potential to shine. However, those who are scouted still have to go through auditions and are expected to sing, dance or perform on the spot. They don’t just get in without showing what they have got.
Q: Do all the trainees who get casted or passed the auditions debut at the end of the day? How does Cube choose who to debut?
When Cube wants to debut a group, for example if we want to debut a 6 member group, we would choose 10-12 possible trainees and pair them up according to what they are good in, to see who is better. We will then drop one and pick one, so basically half of them make it and half of them don’t.
Q: What happens to those who don’t make it?
Next group or bye bye. These trainees either get dropped from the training and move to another company or basically stop being a trainee altogether. Else they train more, practice more and get to the next group.
Q: How to audition into Cube? Any auditions at the moment or any plans to hold one?
No, there aren’t any ongoing auditions at the moment. However, Cube is currently in the midst of planning K-Pop Starhunt Season 2, which will most probably take place in the second half of 2012. Online auditions will start somewhere between July to September and thereafter, I will head down to those countries for the audition (just like in Season 1). Selected contestants will thus undergo training at Cube and then the actual broadcast. Interested candidates can join when online auditions for K-Pop Starhunt Season 2 starts.
Q: Any audition tips to provide?
Most importantly, they must be able to sing well. Since ultimately they are going to become a singer, it’s important that they can sing well. It is okay if they can’t dance well as they will undergo dance training. If you can sing well – OK. If you can’t, bye bye.
Q: What do you look out for at auditions?
As I’ve mentioned, vocals play a very important part. The other criteria are body proportion and age (as selected ones have to undergo 2-3 years as trainees at least, so if they aren’t young/fit, it may be a little hard on them).
Q: What is your impression of Singapore’s talents (since tvN Kpop Starhunt Season 1)?
For Jasmine and Maressa, I think they did very well. Singapore was the first country we had the audition at so I didn’t expect much as I didn’t really know a lot about Singapore. So I just went to Singapore without much idea, but I was really shocked and surprised as all did really well. It sort of surpassed my expectations and to be honest, I was really shocked (in a good way) and impressed.
Q: What are Cube’s future plans?
It’s a secret. (Not sure if the pun was intended – BTOB’s title track, 비밀, which also means secret.)
Q: Any advice to those who want to become a star?
There are so many people these days who watch television and upon seeing the celebrities on stage, aspire to be one because they are impressed by the fancy lifestyle, fame and money. But if you really want to be a true star, you shouldn’t be going after fame or money but possess that passion to reach to your goals and dreams.
In reality, stars have really busy schedules. For example if they have a schedule that day, they have to wake up at 6 o’clock and go to the salon to style their hair and have their makeup done. After which, they would have rehearsals. By the time rehearsals and the actual schedule end, it is would probably be like 11 at night and they have to head back to Cube to practice for the next day’s schedule. By the time they head back to their dormitory, they probably only have 2 hours of sleep and they repeat their schedules again. it is really tough so you have to be strong mentally and physically.
Cube’s New Boyband?
Above all, (x)clusive managed to get a glimpse of Cube’s upcoming 5-member boyband that is tentatively set to debut in 2013 and in all honesty, they look really promising. This will probably be Cube’s first group that would have a mixture of both Koreans and Non-Koreans – 2 from Korea, 1 from Taiwan, 1 from Hong Kong and the last 1 from China. With Cube’s newly debuted boy group BTOB setting high standards, we’re looking forward to what is in store for the upcoming group!
The blood and the sweat given during each training is not to be under-estimated as the trainees treat each practice session seriously, aiming to execute each move to perfection. The gruelling road to stardom is something outsiders won’t usually see as it is usually being over-shadowed by the glitz and the glamour.
Through this article, (x)clusive hopes to bring you readers new insights behind the makings of a star and how the perfect dance moves and live performances are the results of hours and hours of practice and training.
Share your thoughts and feelings about this article, and if you have any questions related, feel free to post them in the comments below!