Despite Indonesian fans consuming more K-Pop content than any other country, there are still very few Indonesian idols standing on Korean stages today. But now, a former SM Entertainment employee has revealed that there could be Indonesian members in the company’s upcoming groups.
This year, Secret Number‘s Dita became the first Indonesian member to debut in a K-Pop girl group. Until then, Loudi of since-disbanded group 14U was the only Indonesian idol in K-Pop altogether (though he is ethnically Korean and Chinese). Now, SM Entertainment may be joining the mix.
In a video with Indonesian K-Pop fan, model, and YouTuber Izzi Isman, a former judge who worked on SM Entertainment’s overseas casting for three years talked a little about auditions in the country.
SM Entertainment has been holding auditions in Indonesia for several years. The most recent were held in Jakarta and Surabaya in November 2019, and according to this ex-casting agent, there were a lot of applicants.
On average, the judge said there were around 2,500 to 3,000 auditionees in Indonesia per day for a total of 10,000 applicants. And, while they went on to explain that sometimes not a single applicant makes it through, that wasn’t the case for Indonesia.
In fact, the former casting agent revealed that four Indonesian applicants made it through—two boys and two girls. That gives the audition process a 0.04% success rate, so they must have been very talented.
The ex-judge couldn’t say much more about it, but they did tell viewers that the potential future starlets all came to Korea, meaning they likely already signed their trainee contracts.
With SM Entertainment due to debut a new girl group this year and a new boy group in 2021, that means some of the new members could well be Indonesian.
If any of the four trainees do debut, they’ll be the second Southeast Asian idol under SM Entertainment. The first was NCT‘s Ten, who is Thai Chinese. He joined the company in 2013 after passing a global audition himself, and made his debut in 2016 under NCT U.