Disclaimer: This is a totally bogus, satirical scenario, but probably not too far off from the real thing.Right, you lot,” an instructor calls from across the brightly-lit dance studio-turned-waiting room. “We accept talent, narcissism, and absolutely no bullshit, do you understand?” The group of anxious twenty-somethings nod their heads. “You’re all here because, by some act of God, you’ve been selected for our audition process probably in the hopes of becoming another washed out—excuse me— ‘celebrated’ K-pop star. Yes, that’s right.” He turns to his colleague and nods. “But before any singing or dancing, let’s take you all on a little tour of the premises.”
“This here is our maternity ward,” the instructor speaks again, raising suspicious glances. “Yeah, you heard me right. Here is where we breed our freshest rookie groups—we only let Baekhyun out of here a month ago, would you believe!” He turns to examine the hopefuls following him. “You, over there—” he points to a lanky nineteen-year-old with dyed blonde hair, “can you see through that fringe?”
“No sir,” he responds, “not really.”
“Brilliant.” The instructor writes a note under his name on an A4 register: perfect hair. Will be considered. They continue walking.
“Sir,” a petite girl standing keenly at the front of the pack asks, “what are those rooms down there?”
“Ah,” he responds, “those are the idol dorms!”
“Only to be opened with a key from the outside, under 24 hour surveillance while you are kept inside before any Mnet performances!” He nods to himself. “Now, that’s quite a tour I’ve given you all. You haven’t seen anything, but quite frankly, neither have I and nor will you until you’re employed full-time here.” Suddenly, an ear-splitting screech is heard from a room two doors down. “Oh no, no, don’t worry about that,” he interrupts before any more questions can be asked. “that’s probably Kris. Yes, we’re holding him hostage here until he signs with us again. That silly boy. It’s that or he releases a stream of embarrassing apology tweets to make us look good. Either one.”
The congregation is led back into the dance studio, where a panel of five judges sit. They shuffle in.
“Finally, the audition.” He clasps his hands together, running his eyes over the steadily growing number of people entering the room. He singles out a few; those who walk with confidence, and those who bow their heads solemnly. He knows who will be picked before any of them open their mouths or move to a beat. “You will all have 5 minutes to prepare a routine based on a song that’ll be played for you. No one is to communicate until after everyone has performed…and I mean everyone. You will sing, for no less and no more than 30 seconds, a song that you’ll have hopefully prepared for months in advance.” They all nod for the hundredth time. Without further hesitation, a song begins to play, one none of them recognise. The instructor smiles with glee, thinking: any one of them with a functioning brain would recognise one of H.O.T’s earlier numbers and know the dance routine— it’s simple! Pfft, this industry isn’t about idol creativity! He chuckles, watching the confused faces and aggravated attempts to piece together choreography.
Time was soon up. “NOW!” The candidates stop suddenly. “Can I please invite auditionee #1 to the centre of the room; if you remember, you were assigned numbers at the start. It’s pretty good practise, seeing as, if you are accepted, you will become valuable property—I mean, members— of our company. Quick!” A bespectacled 18-year-old makes his way to the middle of the crowded studio. “Dance number, please?”
Quickly the room is aflame with twists and turns. Each person takes their turn to light up the dance floor, met only by a few nondescript nods and smiles from the judges, welcoming and thanking each contestant coolly. No one is at ease. After an hour, the judges close their notepads and nod to one another. The instructor stands from his chair.
“May I ask anyone over 27 kg to leave the room, please?” Over half of the participants shuffle out again. “Anyone who needs over 4 hours of sleep, may I ask you to follow?” A few more walk away. “And finally, anyone with an opinion, an expectation to maintain healthy family and social lives, and anyone with natural coloured hair. Your work has been…appreciated.”
Six candidates remain in the room. Finally, the instructor breaks a welcoming smile.
“Welcome to SM Entertainment.”
Would you make it through a trainee audition? Tell us what you think in the comments, or tweet us @the_ONESHOTS!