Rich Kids Really Do Snatch Other Trainees’ Spots, According To A Former K-Pop Trainee

“The entertainment industry is about connections.”

The road to becoming a K-Pop trainee is paved with dedication, sweat, and toil — but for some unlucky aspiring stars, it may be cut short by finances. Bianca Zhou, a former trainee who once trained with SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment coaches, recently revealed what many fans have long suspected to be true: rich trainees do get preferential treatment. Here’s what Bianca had to say about the power of deep pockets.

YG Entertainment | Rohspace

Talking about why some trainees don’t debut despite their hard work and talent, Bianca explained that one of the most common reasons is that “a person with a lot of sponsorship money comes in and takes their spot.” Interestingly, this doesn’t just happen with smaller companies in greater need of investment.

According to Bianca, it can also pay out within K-Pop’s big four: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and HYBE. Some K-Pop group concepts require hefty funding for styling, technology, and shooting, so having investment from a trainee’s family is enticing even for well-off agencies.

This reason usually only applies to smaller companies, but it may also apply to the big four if their concept is really expensive.

— Bianca Zhou

In many cases, idols from wealthy backgrounds can be extraordinarily talented. Red Velvet‘s Wendy, for example, once attended highly expensive private schools in the USA and Canada, but that doesn’t mean she’s not one of K-Pop’s most-praised singers. Despite her background, there’s little doubt that stars like Wendy earned their place in their groups fair and square.

However, according to Bianca, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, a rich trainee can take another person’s spot even if they’re not exceptionally talented. The former trainee explained that a generally talented, modestly attractive, but monetarily affluent trainee may win favor over an extraordinary veteran trainee who lacks funds.

If a really rich trainee comes in who’s generally talented and kind of good looking, then the company might take that trainee over another trainee who’s been at the company for a long time just because that person has the funds to back up their debut.

— Bianca Zhou

Red Velvet Wendy’s pre-debut “Speak Now” cover. | SMTOWN/YouTube

Economic risk, according to Zhou, plays a crucial role in this dynamic — companies prefer the safer financial bet when uncertainty looms. There’s also another factor that comes into play: connections. Wealthy young people often know people in high places, and being part of a powerful social circle puts them in the spotlight. Connections matter in the entertainment industry, and companies certainly pay attention to them.

The entertainment industry is about connections, and if that trainee is involved in a powerful social circle, then the company will notice.

— Bianca Zhou

Ultimately, the best way to make money is to have money, and K-Pop agencies seem to know that well.

Source: Bianca Zhou