Former BIGHIT MUSIC Trainees Reveal How BTS Members Reacted To Their Departure

It wasn’t easy on them either!

Given BTS‘s worldwide popularity, it is hard for people today to imagine that they started from scratch with a bankrupt agency. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they built the legacy of BIGHIT MUSIC, which, in turn, created the empire called HYBE.

BTS | Weverse

But BTS didn’t start with just seven of the current members. The company was training multiple potential youngsters in search of the perfect lineup for the group. However, according to BTS’s book, Beyond The Story, BIGHIT had to let go of all trainees in order to redirect their limited investments to BTS’s debut. Kim Jihoon and Hwan Jihwan were two of those BIGHIT trainees who had to walk away from their idol dreams.

(Left) Hwang Jihwan and (right) Kim Jihoon

The two recently sat down with Korea Now and talked candidly about how it felt when they had to leave the trainee life. Kim explained that when the company informed him that he would be sent back home, BIGHIT was actually in the process of letting go of trainees almost every week. But he wasn’t surprised to be one of them.

Kim also mentioned Jungkook, explaining that after witnessing his genius, he realized he wouldn’t be able to achieve that level of skill. This realization made it easier for him to accept BIGHIT’s decision.

Hwang Jihwan also had a similar disposition about him leaving BIGHIT as a trainee. He revealed that the agency mainly focused on his vocal training, which makes him believe that he was probably not going to be a part of BTS anyway, but in some other group that the company might have been planning. So, when BTS debuted, he ended up leaving BIGHIT, presumably because the company was streamlining all its resources on BTS’s debut.

Talking about the members’ reaction to them leaving, Kim shared an anecdote. He said that despite not telling anyone after getting the news, RM somehow got wind of it. While Kim was at dance practice, RM walked in, asking if he was going to leave.

Kim Jihoon and RM were apparently pretty close as they spent a lot of time together during the one year he trained at BIGHIT. In Kim’s words, RM was “upset” at the news of his departure, given that he had said goodbye to many trainee friends during that period. Since he and Kim were close friends, it was even more painful.


Hwang, too, said that when he got the news, all his trainee friends comforted him, which presumably included some of the original BTS members.

Though the idol life might not have worked out for these two trainees, both of them have established themselves in their professional fields, with Hwang working as a vocal trainer at prestigious institutes and Kim making a name for himself as a fitness trainer.


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