The One SM Rookies Member That Never Debuted With NCT

He ended up debuting elsewhere!

For those not as familiar with the SM Entertainment pre-debut group SM Rookies, the unit was formed in 2013 and comprised of young male and female trainees at the label that hadn’t yet debuted in a group or as a solo act. The first members of SM Rookies to debut were IreneSeulgiWendy, and Yeri in Red Velvet, while all of the rest that eventually debuted ended up in NCT (aside from NingNing, who debuted in aespa).

NCT members while in SM Rookies | SM Entertainment

There were some members of SM Rookies, however, that never ended up debuting under SM Entertainment for various reasons. Out of these six former trainees, only one was a male pre-debut idol: Ji Hansol.

Ji Hansol | SM Entertainment

Hansol was expected to join NCT at some point. Born on November 21, 1994, he is around the same age as Taeil which would have made him one of the oldest members of NCT.

| J-FLO Entertainment

He was first introduced as a member of SM Rookies on December 16, 2013, and he was seen alongside many trainees who would eventually become members of NCT. For example, he appeared in the pre-debut song “Switch” as well as some of SM Rookies’ most well-known pre-debut dance practice videos that also included TaeyongJaehyunTenJohnny, and Yuta.

However, Hansol never ended up debuting with NCT, and actually ended up leaving SM Entertainment in 2017 for unknown reasons. He then signed with J-FLO Entertainment and later participated in the idol reboot show The Unit, where he placed 6th and ended up in temporary group UNB.

Hansol while in UNB

Finally, in 2019, he ended up debuting as a member of J-FLO Entertainment’s boy group NewKidd in April 2019. He acts as the group’s main dancer, vocalist, rapper, visual, and center, and is currently in the process of completing his military service as a public service worker.

There’s little information known about why Hansol didn’t end up debuting with NCT. It’s a strongly debated topic to this day, since he seemed so close to becoming a member. The fact that he was the only male trainee in SM Rookies to not debut with NCT was recently discussed on an online forum, where a lot of netizens shared their opinions on why this could have happened.

Others just talked about Hansol in general, and discussed their fondness for him!

We’re glad, at least, that Hansol was able to debut as a K-Pop idol eventually since it seemed like something he really wanted to pursue, and we hope that he returns safe and healthy from his military service to continue releasing music with NewKidd!

Source: Instiz and Pann Choa

NCT