With the recent trend of K-pop auditions in the UK, including the 2012 YG Audition and SBS K-pop Star Audition, many fans were delighted to hear that JYP Entertainment were going to be holding UK auditions in June. Held at the Korean Cultural Center in the heart of London, the auditions pulled many hopefuls from all corners of the United Kingdom (and some of Europe!) who all tried their best to impress the judges. Here’s what a few of them said when we asked them about the day!
What prompted you to audition?
Akota – I’ve always wanted to audition for a Korean entertainment company and a friend told me JYP was coming to London to hold an audition and gave me the link for more info. I had some time off school at the time and so booked a plane ticket to London as I thought why not give it a try. I flew on the morning of the 8th of June from Glasgow to London, where I had to find the Korean Cultural Centre.
Magdalena – London is really near from France so why not. And while I was living in Korea I wanted to go directly to the entertainment to audition but I suddenly had to go back to France earlier than I wanted to so I didnt have the time to go there.
Sophia – Well what prompted me to audition would have to be the influence of my manager, as I am also apart of a Kpop cover group, called Bubble T. I was also influenced by my family who said it would be a great idea to audition. My friends also said it would be very good experience as I have never done such a big audition before.
Anon – Well to be honest like most of the people, I’ve always wanted to be a Korean idol. Even though my parents are against it, at every opportunity I was presented with I would go and try to make my dream into a reality. Now that I’ve moved to London it made it even harder for me to achieve my dream therefore this is why I didn’t want to waste any chance.
Could you describe the atmosphere at the auditions? How did you feel when you were waiting pre-audition?
Akota – The waiting room had a big screen showing JYP artist music videos. Everyone was quite relaxed and were dancing and singing along with a Wonder Girls’ MV playing on the screen. I noticed that a member of staff was running up and down the stairs to call out the next set of numbers to the audition room. Personally, I was quite nervous as I waited. I turned around several times to talk with a few people sitting behind me at the waiting room, I asked them if they were dancing or singing and most of them responded singing. There were a lot of people still arriving as I waited – most of them were Korean, though there were a lot of foreigners too! I felt like everyone was staring at each other at the waiting room and even though they looked quite relaxed, I think we all were feeling nervous. [When we were called to go into the audition] we didn’t go inside right away and had to wait for the last ones to finish, so we talked for a bit about our audition material and how we were really nervous to go in. We heard a shouting noise from the audition room and the staff guy said it was someone auditioning for acting. We also heard some singing coming from the room. I was getting even more nervous,but I was really excited to go in.
Magdalena – The atmosphere was just normal. I came alone so I just waited alone like almost everybody does. I felt a little bit stressed but it was okay. This wasn’t my first audition. I did the one for Cube and YG while I was in Korea and it wasn’t really different.
Sophia – The atmosphere was very relaxing, especially in the waiting room, I found that they had set up a wide screen with seats, where we watched recent JYP music videos, it was a very calm experience and everyone was very sociable.
Anon – Overall I think the atmosphere at the audition was a lot friendlier and more relaxed than the YG audition. I really shouldn’t make a comparison but to me it felt like during the YG audition everything was so strict and it just made you really nervous. However at the JYP audition, things were still strict but you felt like you were not pressured into anything. You’ve just got to go up there and do your best. While I was waiting pre-audition, I was really really nervous, but because there were MVs showing I just started to relax after awhile and enjoyed the music.
Did the atmosphere change when you went into the audition room(and how?) What impression were the judges giving off?
Akota – There were 2 judges sitting there and 5 chairs for us on the side. We had to sit down and a member of staff collected our application forms and gave it to the judges. I would say it was so quiet and awkward in the room, a lot different from the waiting room. The first girl went up and sang in front of them and got nervous,so forgot her lines a bit. The judges looked kind of disinterested and angry,that girl told me later after the audition that this had put her off from singing properly. I agree with her,they lacked to show any facial expressions and interest, they didn’t look friendly or nice at all. [When everyone had auditioned] they said ‘thank you for coming’. I expected more feedback than that, but they didn’t make any comments at all about our auditions. I feel like everything had happened so quickly,maybe because I was so nervous and didn’t concentrate on what was really going on inside the audition room.
Magdalena – I don’t think the atmosphere changed when I went into the audition room. I was just being focused and relaxed so I didn’t really pay attention to it. The judges are judges and a judge’s job is to judge and not to show emotion. They were just normal.
Sophia – I found that when I reached the audition room, my nerves started to get to me as we each had a candidate number and one by one, people were called up in groups of 5 people to do there audition, meaning 4 other people other than yourself would be auditioning. It was kind of pressurizing as you found that 4 other people and the judges would be watching you perform. Luckily one of the 4 people happened to be my best friend, and we helped support each other through the audition process. The judges to me were very emotionless, and from many others I heard, they weren’t very good at paying attention. They talked through one girl’s performance when I was watching the other 4 people audition alongside me. They also didn’t say much and were quite intimidating.
Anon – Yeah the atmosphere changed a lot when I went into the audition room. At the waiting room there was music and everyone was talking. However in the audition room it suddenly became a lot quieter and since there were only 5 of us, everyone performed so quickly it wasn’t enough to leave an impression. In the beginning I thought the judges were really bored since they didn’t say anything to the four people performing before me, even though to me some of them were really good. Especially during one girl’s performance, the male judges used his phone. The impression that they gave me was that they had seen the same acts for a 100 times already and none of them were strong enough to leave an impression. Therefore I didn’t expect much when I performed my dance but surprisingly afterwards they actually said something and asked me to sing a song. This made me notice that even though they seemed bored they are actually paying attention in some way.
Overall, how would you describe your experience of auditioning for JYP?
Akota – This was my first time auditioning for a Korean entertainment company and I would say it was an amazing experience overall because I learned a lot about how Korean auditions work. Now I know for next time how these kind of auditions work.I met a lot of people too and made new friends, so it was worth it. Though I regret some things I should have done better, it was a first time learning experience for me. I shall try to improve now and hopefully go next time a Korean audition comes to the UK again if I can. I am hoping for TS Entertainment to come to the UK soon to hold auditions as it’s my favourite company.
Sophia – Overall I found my JYP experience very helpful and useful, and this helped me become more confident and understanding of how auditions worked, as previously I had never done an audition as big as this. I wished that the judges had more feedback for us, as we would be able to learn from our mistakes and learn to improve our abilities as we can’t really fault ourselves.
Anon – Overall I would say that JYP audition helped me learn a lot about the auditioning process, what was required for the idols and about my own abilities. Because I got to the second round, I was asked to videotape my profile, introduction in all the languages I know, one slow song, one fast song, my choreography and dance to a random song. Through this experience it made me realize just how far I am with my abilities and the potential I could improve. My experience was a positive one.
It seems that a lot of people were put off by the stony-faced judges, but everyone who auditioned will have definitely learnt something and gained some experience. Congratulations to our anonymous participant, (who did not wish for their name to be shared) for making it to the second round! Sophia told us that there were four callbacks on the day, so good luck to all those who passed the first round, and well done to everyone who participated on the day. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more auditions taking place before the year is out!
//Thank you to Akota, Magdalena, Sophia and Anon for agreeing to be interviewed and sharing your experiences with us.