“If you leave school with a clique that looks delinquent or while cursing…”
Most fans now know that stepping into the spotlight of the K-Pop industry requires more than just talent and looks. Behavior, past and present, plays a crucial role in determining who gets to rise to the top and who gets left behind. In a recent revelation on the YouTube channel Future Step, a former idol casting agent delved deep into the selection criteria that casting agents use when scouting potential idol stars at schools.
One of them is definitely the appearance and behavior of potential candidates in their school environment.
If you leave school with a clique that looks delinquent or while cursing, it’s hard to get cast even if you have good looks.
— Former Casting Agent
On the surface, the avoidance of students who appear “delinquent” in behavior seems logical. After all, the repercussions of behavioral scandals post-debut can be catastrophic, not only for the individual artist but for their group and agency.
However, there’s more to this cautionary approach than just the fear of future scandals.
In 2021, former (G)I-dle‘s Soojin became the focal point of a major controversy when accusations of past bullying surfaced online. While the initial response might have been disbelief or defense, the seriousness of the matter was soon apparent. Cube Entertainment felt it best to suspend Soojin’s activities. After a prolonged period of uncertainty, she eventually left the group, an incident that left a lasting impact on both her career and image.
Another disheartening incident unfolded in 2022, when former LE SSERAFIM member Garam was accused of bullying just days after debut. The initial action was her hiatus, a break to perhaps assess and address the situation. However, the consequence was more permanent, with Garam being removed from the group entirely.
But what other thing could drive agents away from students who potentially look like the perfect future idols in appearance?
An unexpected reason behind the reluctance, as revealed by the former casting agent, is the immediate discomfort and apprehension these individuals might cause for the casting agents themselves.
It’s not merely the long-term reputation at stake but also the immediate reaction and atmosphere during casting. Casting agents dread the possibility of negative confrontations, the discomfort of the moment, and the potential scene it might create, drawing undue attention.
There are a surprisingly high number of employees who feel uncomfortable at the possibility of being embarrassed by the student’s reaction to being cast or by other student forming a crowd.
— Former Casting Agent
The role of a casting agent is multi-faceted. While they seek the next star who can sing, dance, and captivate audiences, they must also weigh the potential risks associated with their choices. And in an industry as competitive as the K-Pop one — where every debut is scrutinized, and every action is under the lens — the importance of impeccable behavior cannot be stressed enough.
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