• http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

    Hello there, Minho’s old nose.

    And I forever wonder how things would’ve been if DBSK and Super Junior didn’t debut the way they did. I would’ve liked to hear the Junsu-Eunhyuk-Sungmino trio, as well as the ridiculously epic Four Seasons that was composed of Heechul, Yunho, Kangin, and Jaejoong. Changmin and Yoochun were being thought to debut as soloists, and Leeteuk and Donghae were together in one group called SMILE.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      Too many groups. XD

      I just want a Five Girls special or something. :P

    • Mika_San123

      It’s too bad that JYJ left before SM started to really focus on collaboration between its acts (like with the special appearances in BoA’s “Only One” performances, and especially now, with the Younique unit). I mean, the sub-group idea wasn’t horrible, but having a mix of members from different groups would’ve allowed for the two fandoms to come together and probably would’ve generated even more success.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

    Pre-debut pictures are a rare aspect of idoldom that comes across as completely genuine to me. Nobody fakes embarrassing photos, they are just something that you took once and it sticks with you forever (I’ll never forget my elementary school coke bottle glasses years — if only because there is a stupid picture that won’t f*cking die). They also, as the article pointed out, give you a glimpse of what these “genetically superior” idols were like before they had access to an army of makeup artists, hairdressers and stylists. It’s funny how “human” idols can look without these people. 

    The way some fans fawn all over them, you would think idols just descended from Heaven on a big fluffy cloud all glistening, golden and flawless (OMG, oppa is so humble and sweet and honest and perfect and — wait, he used to get sh*tfaced drunk and irresponsible like any other ordinary person? But… That just makes him more perfect… Hehe ^_^; <—- Just a wee bit psycho). 

    Seeing these pictures adds one more thing to the "I wish entertainment companies did this" category: understanding of pre-debut connections. 

    If you know some people are tight and enjoy each other's company pre-debut, why not allow them to work together in a group? As a manager once, one of my most dearly held philosophies was understanding the chemistry of my team and knowing who worked better together, personality wise. Your team will deliver better work if they feel comfortable with their direction, their co-workers, and especially if they enjoy the camaraderie to an extent. Jigsaw-ing your people together into sub sets without considering their chemistry as people often results in good work, but not always GREAT work. 

    It is obvious idols make deep connections with each other in the trainee phase, but not everyone is as fortunate to find themselves in the same group as a person/people they made connections with like, for instance, Tiffany and Jessica. There are too many instances of "Best friendz-4evs, LOL" that get squashed when they find out they have been placed in different groups, released from the company or moved to a subsidiary label, or otherwise separated and buried under relentless work schedules that don't allow for much contact anymore. 

    Granted, I guess chemistry doesn't matter THAT much in Kpop when it comes to the finished product. Songs and videos are typically handled by people within the company, leaving the idol's task more about playing whatever role they are assigned and being able to be civil and project the appearance of brother/sisterhood with their other members when the cameras are rolling (even if I doubt it exists on that level in all cases), but that is just one more thing to add to the bonfire of things I dislike about the institution of Kpop. 

    If anything, pre-debut pictures do remind me that idols are cut from human cloth like everyone else — which actually just makes it a little more bittersweet when you see them hit the debut wall and suddenly they have to adjust to often unknown band mates and say goodbye to people with which they made great friendships. This does happen in real life, usually when you pass from grade school to Jr High, or Jr High to High School, but since idoldom becomes a business the moment you become a trainee and the companies start pumping money into your development, I think there should be a LOT more consideration for these idols not just as future moneymakers, but also as cohesive units that should be able to work well together above all.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      Although, friendship doesn’t always equal group chemistry. I have a super close friend that I simply can’t work with for group projects because we tend to argue a lot. I think it’s more important to find a group that works well together than a group that’s really close. Not that they can’t be the same thing, but they definitely aren’t always.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

        That is always a part of it (deciding whether friendly camaraderie will help or hurt a project), but in my experience, you need to be very alert to that chemistry because, even if best friends don’t always work great together, putting random people together and crossing your fingers that they mesh well is often too much of a crapshoot. If you put two people on the same team and find out they hate each other’s guts, nothing will get done. They’ll spend all their time bickering, coming to you with complaints about each other and trying to undermine one another at every turn. 

        That’s where maturity comes into play. I also have a friend that I sometimes butt heads with on projects — but we’re adults. Sometimes you HAVE to get something done and if you work in the same place, there is a good chance you’ll wind up on the same projects. When it’s over, we’ll go off on our own for a bit and wind down. Then it’s back to being buddies again. The benefit of having that friendly relationship is that when things go wrong, we may disagree on how it happened, but we don’t go out of our way to sabotage the other’s work. 

        The difference between that situation above and idoldom, however, is that groups have no choice but to coexist. For that reason, it really would behoove the entertainment heads to take careful consideration of trainees and their relationships with their fellow recruits pre-debut. 

        There is no free agency in Kpop unless your contract runs out (and that isn’t often considering the length of a normal contract), or the label cuts you loose or moves you to a subsidiary. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like each other in private, so long as you don’t let it show on camera if you can help it. Just look how long it took for the Hwayoung issues to surface. It’s part of their job description not to air out dirty laundry. Looking back you can see the signs, but at the time there was no way of knowing to what extent the T-ara members had excluded Hwayoung. I hardly think she is the only example of internal conflict within idol groups in all of Kpop — we just don’t hear about all of them.

  • leadaegyu

    no matter how those fans glorified their idols so much, sometimes they may feel insecure too about how “genetically gifted” these idols are. in fact, i believe there’s no such thing as genetically gifted. it can be contrived at some point. that’s why these photos are presented as proofs, that how much of an unattractive human being you are, if you work hard enough (and polish them with some make-up, treatment, or photoshop) you can be a “genuine” beauty. that’s why i think of it as a self-assurance for other people, that celebrities are just like them, now matter how much you call them gods or goddesses. it’s a way to regain their own confidence and feel much better about themselves.

  • leadaegyu

    no matter how those fans glorified their idols so much, sometimes they may feel insecure too about how “genetically gifted” these idols are. in fact, i believe there’s no such thing as genetically gifted. it can be contrived at some point. that’s why these photos are presented as proofs, that how much of an unattractive human being you are, if you work hard enough (and polish them with some make-up, treatment, or photoshop) you can be a “genuine” beauty. that’s why i think of it as a self-assurance for other people, that celebrities are just like them, now matter how much you call them gods or goddesses. it’s a way to regain their own confidence and feel much better about themselves.

  • samlun100

    I think Suzy looks the same now and before her debut.

  • samlun100

    I think Suzy looks the same now and before her debut.

  • Kaoru Takeshima

    who are those two lying on the ground? it looks like top and gd! ;p

    • Sophia_SB

      The one on the bottom is actually Sungmin but I agree, it does look like gd&top. Apparently Sungmin was cosplaying as Tony Ahn and things got a little crazy x)

      Looking back I realise how much easier it is to find quality pre-debut pictures of SM idols :o

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

    On the above pic of YG trainees probably only GD manged to debut.
    That pic with Yunho,Heechul and Donghae is really cute and I think the other guy is KiBum who looked awesome btw.

  • AGNS02

    The most ironic part of the before and after pics of females idols above  is that the girls in the “before” pics were much more distinguishable and stood out feature-wise compared to the “after” pics where everyone basically looked the same with the same make-up and (alleged)plastic surgery. 

  • black_rose45000

    Gosh I thought I was the only one who actually liked some of the pre-debut faces more than after-debut >.> I agree with you, the features were more distinguishable. I always wondered what happened, I guess this explains it.