As competition intensifies, it’s becoming more common for them to receive financial support from their parents. It’s an open secret in the industry that entertainment agencies prefer trainees from stable family backgrounds even during the selection process. As social mobility becomes increasingly difficult overall, this trend is accelerating in the entertainment industry as well.
Recently, practice room photos of the so-called “Teddy Girl Group” were shared through an internet community, causing a stir among K-pop fans. The reason was that the global influencer Ella Gross and Moon, the granddaughter of Shinsegae Group’s Chairman Lee Myung-hee, were spotted in the photos.
Subsequently, The Black Label officially announced on Feb 6th that they are preparing for the debut of a girl group with the goal of debuting in the first half of this year. Ella Gross and Moon are rumored to be part of the debut lineup for The Black Label’s rookie girl group.
Accordingly, expectations among K-pop fans for the Teddy Girl Group have reached their peak. While trust in Teddy, who produced hit songs for groups like 2NE1 and BLACKPINK, may have played a role, there is also considerable curiosity about how Ella Gross and Moon will fare in their debut as part of a girl group.
In particular, the public’s interest has been piqued by the fact that Moon, the third generation of a conglomerate, is undergoing trainee life for the debut of a girl group. This has also raised curiosity about the world of trainees. Major K-pop agencies, including the Big 4 – HYBE, JYP, SM and YG, invest large sums of money to discover talent and provide training for stable and continuous debuts.
As K-pop continues to hold a significant position, the trainee market is also growing. Many aspiring idols undergo rigorous stages from auditioning to trainee life to debut. Moreover, recent debut decisions are often made through survival programs, adding another step to the process.
In this increasingly competitive debut landscape, trainees are required to have exceptional skills. As mentioned earlier, Ella Gross has already built a career as a model and is an influencer with over 4 million followers. Moon, too, is the possessor of an enormous background as the granddaughter of Shinsegae Group’s Chairman.
A music industry insider commented, “The saying ‘talent will shine no matter where you are’ no longer seems to apply to the K-pop trainee market. Since the competition is fierce even from the beginning of trainee life, popularity or background can also become competitive advantages. When there’s not a big difference in skills, agencies may naturally lean towards members who are popular or have a good foundation.”
Another insider explained, “In the past, many trainees came from difficult backgrounds where their families were not financially well-off, but lately, there seem to be many trainees dreaming of becoming idols who come from quite wealthy and unique backgrounds. As competition intensifies, it has become important for trainees to possess unique characteristics and features, rather than just wealth or privilege. ‘Silver spoon’ or ‘diamond spoon’ does not simply refer to wealth but also to having distinctive personality traits and qualities.“