SM Entertainment’s International K-Pop Academy will finally open its doors to a select group of chosen artists and students in 2017, an insider close to the mega company claimed. SM Entertainment is one of the largest entertainment companies in South Korea and presides over multiple aspects of the entertainment industry, including celebrity management and music production. The K-pop idol super company has decided to evolve their recruiting tactics in how they obtain SM Entertainment idols.
The International K-Pop Academy has been in talks for about a year, and many are excited to see which young hopefuls get accepted into the school first. On February 16, an insider close to the project revealed the task force has plans to accelerate the project, however, the K-pop idol trainee school has plans to open its doors to K-pop idol hopefuls this upcoming September. The school will not only focus on the arts but on academics.
The highly talked about K-pop academy will also prepare students for middle school and high school qualification exams, as well as programs to receive middle school and high school certification from the U.S., according to AllKpop. The academy will also accept foreign transfer students, which would bring the school body to 70 percent foreigners and 30 percent Koreans.
“After the corporate body is founded either the end of this month or the beginning of next month, we will accelerate the process of establishing the school. We plan on opening before the second semester (of the Korean school year) begins after finalizing details such as the courses available, the faculty members, and the selected incoming students.”
In 2017, approximately 50 to 100 students will be accepted. The source said the academy will eventually reach 300 to 400 students. According to Soompi, the selection process will include both domestic and international students and will happen in the summer of 2017.
The insider claimed that the K-pop school is working on creating ways to encourage and support the dreams of accepted students who are interested in other things besides performing arts.
Rumors of the International K-Pop Academy continued to pick up speed in May of 2016 when the media outlet Yonhap News reported that SM Entertainment was planning to create an international K-pop school in the middle of a Gangnam neighborhood. According to Soompi, the Gangnam-based Academy is a collaborative venture with the private Jongro Sky Academy. The two entities will teach standard courses such as Korean, English, and Math while providing additional studies of applied music or dance.
The “Move” building is located outside of Seoul and is a place where potential idols can choose among different singing and dance classes held each week. In 2016, a three-month semester at the building costs nearly $1,000. This includes several nights of classes every week. Students range from as young as 6-years-old to well into their teens, according to Mashable.
For many, the biggest draw is the opportunity to stand out at one of the auditions the school organizes with the major entertainment agencies. SM Entertainment and YG talent scouts regularly visit in search of potential candidates for their intensive trainee programs.
Before becoming K-pop idols, most K-pop performers undergo several years of grueling training with their management company and live in dorms with other trainees. At the time of the Mashable interview, Chu Dan-bi was 13-year-old and had several unsuccessful tryouts.
“The first time I did an audition, I was so nervous. But I have gotten used to it now, so it’s OK.”
After homework is finished, many teens practice hours of singing and dancing — the skills needed to become a K-pop star.
“I like performers who are strong dancers. I want to join a girl group like ‘Girlfriend’… I want to dance.”
Kim Chae-young attends cram school five nights a week and studies the latest dance moves and lyrics to become like the Korean rapper, Psy, of the viral video “Gangnam Style.”
“I want to become a K-Pop icon, one like Psy… All these hours I spend here are my investment for that dream.”
If SM Entertainment’s International K-Pop Academy becomes a success, the company in partnership with Jongro Academy may open branches of the school abroad.
Are you excited about the 2017 opening of SM Entertainment’s International K-Pop Academy? Will you audition?
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]