Former SM Entertainment Casting Agent Reveals What The Company Looks For In Its Idols

Here’s what SM looks for in vocals, dance, and visuals.

There’s no doubt that SM Entertainment has some of the most talented idols in the industry on its roster, but how do they choose them? Every star is different, from exceptional dancers like SHINee‘s Taemin to incredible vocalists like Red Velvet‘s Wendy, which is why so many fans have long been wondering exactly what SM Entertainment looks for in their idols. Now, we have an answer. K-Pop fan, model, and YouTuber Izzi Isman recently sat down with a former SM Entertainment casting audition judge who spilled everything.

What SM Looks For In Singing

When asked what SM Entertainment’s audition judges are looking for in terms of singing, the former casting agent revealed that they prefer auditionees who sing songs that are high in pitch.

That because alongside basic singing abilities, SM Entertainment places a high priority on vocal range—the amount of notes a person can sing.

If they can’t get higher than [one octave], it might be a problem.

— Ex-SM Entertainment audition judge

While many higher-level singing techniques can be taught through training and practice, it can be difficult to extend one’s vocal range beyond their natural capabilities. So, it makes sense that SM Entertainment—a company known for great vocals—likes to cast trainees who can sing high-pitched tracks.

Red Velvet’s Wendy and Irene, for example, both have a vocal range of around 4 octaves.

What SM Looks For In Dance

On the dance side of things, SM Entertainment doesn’t look for auditionees who are good at specific types of dance. In fact, the ex-audition judge said that “everyone can dance if they learn“.

So, the main thing they look for is “how well they can follow the beat“. Dancing is all about rhythm, so trainees with a great sense of natural rhythm are more likely to become great performers on stage.

Take SHINee’s Taemin or EXO‘s Kai, for example. No matter what style they tackle, both dancers always know how to follow the music.

SM Entertainment probably looks for a little body confidence in their idols too, as the judge revealed that auditionees who wear tight-fitting clothes have better chances when it comes to dance.

If you wear clothes that are too baggy, we can’t see your dance properly.

— Ex-SM Entertainment audition judge

What SM Looks For In Visuals?

Given how gorgeous many SM Entertainment idols are, many people assume looks come first when casting idols. However, according to this casting agent, the company doesn’t actually consider beauty to be that important.

To be honest, [being attractive] is not that important. The company is skill-focused so we look at skills first.

— Ex-SM Entertainment audition judge

The ex-judge went on to say that even if a trainee is not attractive, they won’t be forced to have plastic surgery “if it’s not necessary“. Instead, the company focuses more on providing skin care and other non-invasive beauty essentials.

They need to grow so we need to watch first. For example, Shindong [of Super Junior]. He came in through dance. We would just give them the essential care.

— Ex-SM Entertainment audition judge

He also added that the casting agents don’t have a specific visual look in mind. So, perhaps it’s just coincidence that the company has a lot of idols with similar vibes—such as the “SM dinosaur line” members, SHINee’s Jonghyun and f(x)‘s Amber.

| @hydrayuge/Twitter

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Source: Izzi Isman (YouTube)