K-Pop idols having pre-debut appearances is nothing new, as plenty of idols have been shown before their debut. There are a few idols who were extremely famous pre-debut, as they made a name for themselves before their official debut. Here’s a list of 5 idols who were extremely popular before they made their official debut with their group.
1. Seunghoon (WINNER)
Seunghoon made a name for himself before his official debut as a member of WINNER. He first made headlines when he was on the audition program K-Pop Star. He was massively popular on the show, as he praised for his incredible talents.
Seunghoon would end up placing 4th on the show, and his elimination was a tearful one. Yang Hyun Suk couldn’t help but get emotional once Seunghoon got eliminated.
This wasn’t the end for Seunghoon, as YG Entertainment would soon offer him a spot in the company as a trainee, which he accepted.
Like a lot of the other members of WINNER and iKON, Seunghoon got a lot of attention when he appeared on the survival show Who Is Next: WIN. Seunghoon’s team would go on the win this show, which made him an official member of WINNER.
2. Ryujin (ITZY)
Ryujin had quite the amount of exposure pre-debut. She made headlines when she appeared on BTS‘s LOVE YOURSELF Highlight Reel. She was praised by many for her outstanding dancing skills, as well as eye-catching visuals.
Ryujin also had a minor appearance as an actress, as she had a small role in the movie The King.
MIXNINE was a survival show created by YG Entertainment, and Ryujin made some headlines when she appeared on the program. Ryujin was one of the most popular trainees on the show, as she not only won the hearts of viewers but Yang Hyun Suk as well. Yang Hyun Suk revealed during the show that he wished that Ryujin wasn’t a part of JYP Entertainment, as he wanted her to be a part of his company.
Ryujin ultimately got eliminated from MIXNINE, but she made quite the name for herself from her appearance. Almost a year later, Ryujin would make her official debut as a member of ITZY.
3. Ahn Yujin (IVE)
Yujin was quite well known before she debuted with IVE, and even before she appeared on Produce 48, which is the show that created IZ*ONE. Yujin was known because she had appeared in multiple music videos and CFs before Produce 48, with her most popular one being her contact lense CF.
Yujin would then go on to show her talents on Produce 48 and became a member of IZ*ONE.
4. Jennie (BLACKPINK)
Jennie had quite a lot of pre-debut appearances, especially when it came to showing her talents. When she was a trainee, YG Entertainment decided to give the audience a peek at her talents.
Jennie’s most well-known pre-debut appearance is when she featured in G-Dragon‘s song “Black”.
Jennie eventually debuted as a member of BLACKPINK in 2016, but she supposed to debut much earlier. Constant delays were made regarding Jennie’s debut, and the general public had to wait many years for her official debut.
5. Bobby (iKON)
While all the members of iKON were quite famous pre-debut due to their appearance on Who Is Next: WIN and Mix & Match, Bobby had another program where he made headlines. Bobby and B.I made headlines when they decided to appear on Show Me The Money 3.
This was huge news as idol rappers weren’t looked at positively, and the two were looked at as jokes by fellow rappers on the show. While B.I got eliminated midway through the show, Bobby shocked a lot of people when he went on to become the final winner.