On August 29, the new idol survival show The Debut: Dream Academy (hereon Dream Academy), a joint venture by HYBE and GEFFEN Records, revealed its 20 global contestants who will compete against one another for a chance to debut in an international girl group.
The trainees are said to have been chosen from a pool of 120,000 applicants worldwide, beating an odd of 6000 to 1. Out of these 20, some faces stood out to be familiar to netizens, and Nayoung is one of them.
The 21-year-old is one of the only two Korean contestants on the show. In Dream Academy, she is the oldest participant, along with Iliya and Manon, but Korean netizens identified her as the youngest participant on Mnet‘s The Voice of Korea in 2020.
Nayoung left the public in awe of her vocal skill on the show with her rendition of BoA‘s “Only Once” at the blind auditions. BoA was sitting at the judges’ panel, along with Sung Si Kyung, Kim Jong Kook, and the Dynamic Duo, during this performance. Nayoung was able to impress all the judges with her powerful cover, and three of them, except the Dynamic Duo, turned their seat around, signalling that they would like to coach her and help her progress in the show. Her youthful visuals and charm also helped win the audience’s hearts.
The official video of Nayoung’s performance has garnered 1.5 million views in the past three years.
Now that netizens have rediscovered that she is the same person on Dream Academy, many have expressed their anticipation for her future.
Meanwhile, Dream Academy will start streaming on September 2 through its official YouTube channel, Japan’s ABEMA and the global fandom live platform Weverse. The show will last 12 weeks till November 18, when the final lineup of the debuting girl group will be announced through the “Live Finale.”