Our Say

Published on September 29th, 2013 | by porninja


So you want to be a K-pop star?

On September 15, 100 over hopefuls turned up at Bugis+ for a shot at K-pop stardom. Yup, K-pop Star Hunt has come around town again, this time for its third season after producing two winners who have since begun their training period at Cube Entertainment. This year is a little different though – the contestants are competing for a chance to debut with FNC Entertainment, home to idol bands such as FT Island and CNBLUE.


To begin with, auditions will first be held across the regions including Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. After more than six hours of talent auditions and three rounds of elimination, the two picked to represent Singapore in the competition were Yvonne Chua, 23, and Stephanie Koh, 21. Congrats to the ladies! The pair will join 14 other winners from other countries, who will all then fly to Korea to battle it out for an incredible opportunity to sign with FNC and make their debut as a K-pop star.

Okay, even I got a little starry-eyed looking at the list of benefits that the Season 3 winner will get:

  • A contract with CJ E&M and FNC Entertainment
  • Intensive K-pop training in Korea
  • One collaboration song with an FNC artist
  • Solo debut in Korea and/or their native country
  • 2014 Global MCountdown performance

It is also mentioned that the overall winner will be offered an opportunity to be trained within the Korean vigorous artist development system for a 6-to-12-month period, prior to debuting with his/her own album. It’s a chance of a lifetime, but it also got me thinking… just what exactly does it take to be a K-pop star? A lot, it seems. After watching hours of audition after audition for our Singapore leg, here are some takeaways from the day – especially if you’re planning to go ahead and realise your superstar dreams the next time a competition like this comes along again.

Have you chosen the right song?


When it comes to auditions or performances, song choice is everything. It’s one of the most difficult things to overcome and it can be the be all or end all for you. Not all of us can belt like Ailee, and it’s likely we can’t sing every song under the sun so choose the one that best showcases your type of voice. It’s best if it’s something that other people have complimented you on before – just because we think we sound great, doesn’t exactly mean the rest of the world thinks so. (Come on, we’ve seen enough terrible Singapore Idol auditions to know this…)

Lee Hi‘s ‘’ and ‘It’s Over’ were popular choices that day and while I understand that it’s a great song to showcase one’s upper and lower range, some diversity is good too because you don’t want to go up there and a sing something that several others before you have already sung, some possibly even better. At the same time, going with too obscure a song choice probably won’t bode too well for you either.

Do you have what it takes?


It’s best if you’re able to sing and dance, and if you’re able to do them both at the same time, then even better. It seemed the judges were particularly impressed with the contestants who could sing whilst dancing without losing their breath – so build up on that stamina! But it’s okay if you can’t because ultimately, they always end up looking at one’s potential and attitude. When asked about this year’s competition and the winners, guest judge and homegrown singer, Derrick Hoh, remarked, “Yvonne and Stephanie were outstanding to us as they exhibited the full package of potential stars, showcased through their performances and dominating stage presence, two important factors we often look out for.” So even if you aren’t so great at either talents but have the basics somewhat down and show that you’re eager and willing to learn, then you’d probably have made the right impression.

Are you willing to change yourself?
Ah… and this is where it gets a little tricky. Two contestants that day were faced with this very question, with the judges asking somewhat blatantly if they would consider losing weight and changing their appearances if they won, adding that they should “think about your answer very carefully”. I thought they handled it pretty well and answered something along the lines of how changing how you look on the outside is okay within reason, because it’s what’s inside that matters the most. After all, you can’t fake talent.


If you don’t conform to society’s standards of beauty (much less Korea’s crazily high and sometimes unreasonable ones), then I’d suggest having a think about whether your dreams are worth subjecting yourself to such intense scrutiny and pressure all the time. Is there another way you can go about achieving these dreams? For last season’s Top 16 finalist, Anthea Wang, she went in with the mindset of simply learning as much as she can. “Have fun and don’t get too pressured by everyone,” she advised.

How much do you want it?


[left: Stephanie Koh, right: Yvonne Chua]

If this is want you’ve dreamed of all your life, be willing to fight for it. I watched another two contestants who were particularly close battle for one spot – one couldn’t help but start crying as she hinted at what she’d gone through in order to pursue music, and the second one admitted that she probably didn’t want it as much as the former. While sincerity usually wins out, be careful that it doesn’t appear as though (1) winning won’t make a difference to you or (2) you’re begging for your spot because it can easily turn the judges off instead of moving them. Earn that one spot using your talent, and wow them so much that they can’t not pick you.

Do you still think you have what it takes? It was excruciating watching the contestants’ faces fall as they realised one by one that they hadn’t made the cut. If you harbour dreams of becoming someone in the entertainment industry and bringing what you love doing to the masses, then you’ll have to prepare to face rejection after rejection. But keep looking for opportunities where you’ll be able to shine and show people what you’re capable of. Best of luck to everyone!


To witness the contestants’ journey to stardom, stay tuned to Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3 which will premiere on Saturday, 30 November on channel M, SingTel mio TV Ch. 518 (HD) and StarHub TV Ch. 824/ 874 (HD).

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About the Author

When I’m not writing, I spend my time watching dramas and cooing over my beloved OTPs. Some of my favourite things to do outside of the Internet include singing and dancing, though I’m not particularly good at either.

One Response to So you want to be a K-pop star?

  1. Pingback: dinoseoul // K-entertainment editorial and musings » Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) 2013 – catch it on channel M today!

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