Becoming a K-pop idol takes time, determination, and even childhood. Some K-pop idols start training at an early age and get to debut early, which means the period when we are playing around, having homework every day, the idols have to go through stress, anxiety, monthly evaluation along with their academics. Here are some icons who get to debut early and become one of the youngest idols ever to debut.
Starting with a solo career at 13, in 2000, under SM Entertainment, BoA became one of the most successful solo artists in South Korea, trained for only two years. The Queen of K-pop was initially scouted by SM Entertainment while accompanying her older brother in an SM Entertainment talent search. She is the first-ever idol to enter Japan charts and market successfully. She is also a member of 7 members female unit GOT THE BEAT.
Born on August 31, 2004, Wonyoung made her debut at 14, in 2018, with the group IZ*ONE through Korean Survival Show Produce 48, placing first overall. On the show, she represented Starship entertainment with her fellow two labelmate trainees. She got scouted by Starship Entertainment on the streets. However, the group disbanded in early 2021, and she made her re-debut with the new group IVE along with one of her former IZ*ONE group mates, Yujin.
Taemin made his debut in 2008 at 14, in one of the most successful 5-member K-pop groups, SHINee. The “Move” singer was only 12 when he got signed by SM Entertainment through the Open Weekend Audition casting in 2005. Trained for three years as a trainee and known for his smooth yet elegant dancing skills. The “Danger” singer made his solo debut, in 2014, with his first EP, Ace. He debuted as a member of the boy group SuperM in May 2019. He is called Idol’s Idol due to his influence. He is currently inactive as he is serving in the military.
Debuted on August 25, 2016, at 14, in the sub-unit of the NCT, which is NCT Dream, he eventually became one of the youngest successful idols. He got contacted by SM Entertainment after they saw his audition for the show Dancing 9. He trained for three years in the group, releasing the first single, Chewing Gum. He is the dancer, sub-vocalist, sub-rapper, and maknae(youngest member), in NCT Dream and NCT U. He joined SMROOKIES, SM Entertainment’s trainee group, in 2013.
Hyuna made her debut with the 5-member girl group “Wonder Girls” in 2007, at 14, under JYP Entertainment. However, she left the group due to health concerning reasons. She returned to the K-pop industry as she debuted with the 4Minute K-pop group and signed with a new agency CUBE Entertainment. The “Bubble Pop” singer made her solo debut in 2010. After achieving success and becoming famous, she has been part of several acts like Trouble Maker and Triple H. She is currently an artist in PNATION.
Krystal, who debuted with the girl group f(x), was the lead vocalist, maknae, visual, and center of the group. She made her debut at the age of 14 and got trained for three years, from 2006 to 2009. She and her older sister Jessica were scouted by SM Entertainment. However, at such an early age, her parents only allowed Jessica to join the agency, and Jessica got to debut with Girls’ Generation, the most legendary and iconic girl group. After f(x) disbandment, she remained signed under SM Entertainment for her activities. She also appeared in dramas, including The Bride of Water God, The Heirs, and many more.
Debuting with the girl group Wonder Girls in 2007, Sohee was the dancer, maknae, vocalist, visual, and face of the group. Wonder Girls was among the most successful and widespread groups of the 2nd generation. Group’s lead single, Nobody, which entered the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, made them the first-ever K-pop group to join the Billboard charts. She gave an audition for JYP Entertainment and successfully became a trainee at the age of 12. However, she left Wonder Girls in 2013 and chose to focus on acting. She also starred in the movie “Train to Busan.”
Jiheon debuted, at 14, with a girl group fromis_9 through a reality survival show titled Idol School, launched by Mnet. Jiheon finished in eighth place, making her in the debut lineup. Her position in the group is the vocalist and maknae. She trained for two years. Right now, fromis_9 is under Pledis Entertainment, the home of groups like SEVENTEEN and NU’EST.
Trained under the company named BigHit Entertainment, he made his debut with the boy group Bangtan Sonyeondan, a worldwide sensation. He got scouted by seven other agencies, but decided to become a trainee in BigHit Entertainment. He trained for two years and debuted in 2013. Right now, he is one of the most successful idols.
Ni-Ki is a Japanese rapper and singer who debuted with the boy group ENHYPEN. He made his debut on November 30, 2020, through a reality survival show, I-LAND, where he finished in fourth place. He trained for eight months before becoming a contestant in I-LAND. He gets praised for his mesmerizing dancing skills.