Here’s How SM Picked Which Trainees Would Be In EXO

EXO’s Lay revealed how SM Entertainment chose the original 12 EXO members.

Lay is currently the MC and mentor on Idol Producer, China’s version of Produce 101.

GOT7’s Jackson, PRISTIN’s Kyulkyung, and Cosmic Girls’ Cheng Xiao are also mentors on the show.

Following the initial evaluations, Lay felt the same emotions coming from these trainees as he felt many years ago.

“How big is the distance from becoming a trainee to an idol?

No one knows, but even still, so many people chose this path.”

— Lay

To determine the EXO members, S.M. Entertainment took 120 trainees at the start, and eliminated 20, bringing the number down to 100.

Then they eliminated 40 more, bringing it to 60.

After eliminating 36 more, it was down to the final 24.

Finally, one trainee was eliminated per week until the final 12 EXO members were decided.

Because of this, Lay knows the same emotions the trainees are feeling, many of which will end up being eliminated at some point in the show.

“The struggles that they all feel, I understand how they feel. I really do.

I’m touched.”

— Lay

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