5dolls, bae seokbin, co-ed, gee, girls generation, heo chanmi, hwang bora, hyoyeon, jang hajin, jessica, lee hwanhee, lee yeonhee, m.i.l.k, park soyeon, pre-debut, roster history, seo hyun-jin, seohyun, sm entertainment, sm trainee, snsd, so nyuh shi dae, sooyoung, soshi, stella kim, sunny, super girls, super junior, t-ara, taeyeon, tiffany, yoona, yuri, zhang liyin
So I watched Ellie’s vlog about how ‘SNSD should be 4 not 9‘. I love Ellie and her K-pop vlog, as Cindy said, she always has interesting take on K-pop — this one is no exception. I obviously love all the nine girls as one group, but even I once thought about how… ridiculous, for lack of better words, it was for having nine girls on one group. I mean, really, nine girls. Back then, all I can imagine was cat-fights, lots of it.
Ellie said about making a smaller group, actually that was SM Entertainment initial plan. On Ya Shim Man Man, Sooyoung revealed how they were supposed to debut under smaller group, but under a collective group of some sort — namely Yeoja Danchae. I guess it’s like how 2AM and 2PM are under OneDay. Or rather, like how Super Junior has sub-units of Super Junior-M, Super Junior-Happy, Super Junior-T, and Super Junior-KRY.
I don’t know why SM changed the plan and stick to one large group of nine girls. People might say how SNSD would do better if they’re a smaller group and what not. But I have to disagree. I think one of their main charms is that they have nine members, with nine distinct charms and personalities ♥. Plus, it’s not like SM put nine random girl-trainees into the group… these girls went through a lot of audition and performed in a lot of showcases to be a part of So Nyuh Shi Dae.
You guys might have heard how some celebrities said that they were supposed to be in SNSD. The most notable ones are prolly actress Lee Yeon-hee and girl-group member Park So-yeon of T-ara. Well, for Yeonhee and Soyeon’s case, apparently they really were a part of SNSD, sort of. I read this post about SNSD’s roster history at SSF awhile ago, and I think today would be a nice time to look back at how SM Ent came up with the final line up of nine girls.
SM Girl Group Project – Showcase 1
Members: Lee Yeon-hee, Hwang Bo-ra, Bae Seok-bin, Zhang Liyin, Jessica Jung, Kim Hyo-yeon, Kwon Yu-ri, Choi Soo-young, Im Yoon-a, Seo Ju-hyun, Kim Ye-jin
Leader: Lee Yeon-hee (1988) | Maknae: Kim Ye-jin (1993)
In 2005, SM Entertainment debuted a large boy group Super Junior, and then proceeded to plan a similar large girl group counterpart. SM put together a showcase comprised of internal trainees; most were veteran trainees and the total number of girls featured was 11. Eleven! A lot more than nine, you guys!
However, this project group’s line-up didn’t last long. The line-up went through its first major revision. Out of 11 girls, only 6 of them stay in the group.
IN: Seo Hyun-jin, Park So-yeon, Stella Kim, Jang Ha-jin, Lee Hwan-hee
OUT: Lee Yeon-hee, Hwang Bo-ra, Bae Seok-bin, Zhang Liyin, Kim Ye-jin
Both Lee Yeonhee and Hwang Bora are now known as actresses. Yeonhee resume including movie ‘Millionaire First Love’, ‘Hello! Schoolgirl‘ (Sooyoung had a role as her bff in the movie), and drama ‘East of Eden’. Hwang Bora starred in upcoming movie, ‘Jumunjin‘ with Super Junior’s Kim Kibum. Zhang Liyin (also known as Jang Ri-in) debuted as solo singer in 2006. While ’93ers Kim Yejin is still listed as SM trainee, she also starred on SHINee‘s A.MI.GO music video. With the exception of Hwang Bora, they are still under SM Entertainment.
Interestingly enough, the six girls who stay in the group are Jessica Jung, Kim Hyoyeon, Kwon Yuri, Choi Sooyoung, Im Yoona, and Seo Juhyun. There were more line-up revisions coming, but we all know that those six made it to the final line-up. They pretty much had secured their place in the project group even from the get go.
SM Girl Group Project – Revision 1
Members: Seo Hyun-jin, Park So-yeon, Jessica Jung, Kim Hyo-yeon, Kwon Yu-ri, Choi Soo-young, Stella Kim, Im Yoon-a, Jang Ha-jin, Seo Ju-hyun, Lee Hwan-hee
Leader: Seo Hyun-jin (1985) | Maknae: Kim Ye-jin (1991)
There was five new addition to the group; Seo Hyunjin, Park Soyeon, Stella Kim, Jang Hajin, Lee Hwanhee. Prior to the project group, Seo Hyunjin was a main vocalist and maknae of disbanded SM girl group, M.I.L.K. Trainee Park Soyeon was plotted to be one of the main-vocalists of the group. While Korean-American trainee, Stella Kim, was not only part of main vocalists; but she also plotted to be the ‘face’ of the group (along with Im Yoona, that is).
Due to various reasons, SM decided to replaced the oldest (Seo Hyunjin) and the youngest (Lee Hwanhee) members with two relatively new trainees, Kim Taeyeon and Korean-American Stephanie Hwang. At that time, both Taeyeon and Stephanie Tiffany had ‘only’ trained for about two years.
IN: Kim Tae-yeon, Stephanie Hwang
OUT: Seo Hyun-jin, Lee Hwan-hee
SM Girl Group Project – Revision 2
Members: Park So-yeon, Kim Tae-yeon, Jessica Jung, Stephanie Hwang, Kim Hyo-yeon, Kwon Yu-ri, Choi Soo-young, Stella Kim, Im Yoon-a, Jang Ha-jin, Seo Ju-hyun
Leader: Park So-yeon (1987) | Maknae: Seo Ju-hyun (1991)
This line-up is probably the most well-known line-up for the so-called female counterpart of Super Junior. At this point, netizens started calling this project group as Super Girls. In fact, SM Entertainment initially planned to debut this 11-member girl group. They even already took group picture of them.
The roster’s line-up had Soyeon as leader (as she’s the oldest among the eleven girls) and Juhyun as the maknae (the youngest). The main vocalists were Soyeon, Taeyeon, Jessica, Stephanie, Stella, and Juhyun. The main dancers were Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, and Yoona. While the ‘visual line’ (a.k.a the pin-up girls) of the group were Jessica, Stella, Yoona, and Hajin.
The new addition, Kim Taeyeon and Stephanie Hwang both scouted by SM in 2004. Taeyeon won the Best Singer Grand Award on 2004 SM 8th Annual Best Contest. Park Soyeon, too, scouted after won the same contest in 2005.
Despite the plan to debut this project group, SM decided to add more people to the line-up. In the other hand, Stella Kim and Jang Ha-jin ended-up being cut from the group. There was a rumor that it was because of their lack of dancing skills. As for Stella, some also said that her parents refused to let her debut before she get a degree. I think the later is more plausible as Stella Kim is supposedly one of most prominent and famous SM trainee, along with Jessica, Yoona, and Hyoyeon (yes, the current ‘least popular member’ Hyoyeon was known as one of the prominent one thanks to her dancing skills, nice vocals, and long time of training — I really hope this year is her turn to be heavily promoted shine!)
[Update] It was said that both Stella Kim and Jang Hajin had quit the project group to focus on their education. This was proven by the fact that both of them are now full-time college students. Stella goes to New York University (NYU) back in her hometown, while Jang Hajin enrolled to the prestigious Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). In 2011, Jang Hajin published an autobiography titled “소원을 말해 봐 (Tell Me Your Wish)”. The book told the stories about her trainee life with SM Entertainment and as a part of the project group, as well as her first impressions and relationship with the SNSD members; which puts the members in a good light. Hajin said that she doesn’t stay in touch with SNSD members.
IN: Lee Soon-Kyu, Lee Hwan-hee, Heo Chan-mi
OUT: Stella Kim, Jang Ha-jin
SM Girl Group Project – Revision 3
Members: Park So-yeon, Kim Tae-yeon, Jessica Jung, Lee Soon-kyu, Stephanie Hwang, Kim Hyo-yeon, Kwon Yu-ri, Choi Soo-young, Im Yoon-a, Seo Ju-hyun, Lee Hwan-hee, Heo Chan-mi
Leader: Park So-yeon (1987) | Maknae: Heo Chan-mi (1992)
The third roster revision had Lee Soonkyu, Lee Hwanhee, and Heo Chanmi as the newest addition. Soonkyu was recruited thanks to the rave recommendation from SM Towner Ahyoomi (now is better known as Iconiq) . Prior to her audition to SM Entertainment, Soon-kyu trained in Wheesung‘s company. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt. Lee Hwanhee was re-recruited to the group. Heo Chanmi joined the group as the youngest one.
This line-up has 12 members, unlike the initial plan of 11 members. At this point (somewhere around mid 2006), the group went a lot of trials to decide who got cut out from the group. Sites like Naver and Daum had posted this >>line-up prediction<<, with Lee Soon-kyu being the “mysterious trainee”.
As you can see, the last two picture are the closest one to final line-up. The second to last picture has nine members line-up, but unlike the final line-up, it’s Chanmi instead of Stephanie (Tiffany). In the last picture, both Lee Hwanhee and Heo Chanmi were being cut from the group. Some source said that SM actually planned to debut the group with this 10 members line-up. Unfortunately, one of the main vocalists and ‘leader’ Park Soyeon decided to quit due to “harsh” training. She wasn’t the only one who felt that way. You may have heard about how Kim Taeyeon, too, had thought about quitting. She even had runaway for one day before coming back to the training process.
As we have known, this project group debuted under the name So Nyuh Shi Dae (SNSD) in 2007, shortly after Soyeon, Chanmi, and Hwanhee left the group. However, two years later in 2009, Park Soyeon finally debuted under MNet’s Core Content Media (CCM) in the girl group T-ara.
Regarding her past trainee days with SNSD, Soyeon explained, “Back then it was tiring. And I iwent through much hardship.” Thus, she dropped out of her training. She also said, “Even now, I’m still in contact with the SNSD members. I’m really happy that SNSD is doing well. Going forward I will try my best as a member of T-ara. Although we’ll be in competition with SNSD, I would like it to be a friendly competition between us.”
[Update] It’s quite interesting that after Park Soyeon debuted under CCM, Heo Chanmi also debuted under a CCM “mixed” idol group called Co-Ed (Nam Nyuh Gong Hak) in 2010. Co-Ed is consisting of 5 male members and 6 female members. The female members, including Chanmi, debuted under a sub-group called 5dolls in 2011.
Chanmi, who was once designated as SNSD’s youngest (maknae), spoke her thoughts about being a part of the SM Girl Group Project, “I was a trainee for a long time. I had participated in the recording for SNSD’s title track, and even completed the photoshoot. Since I was young, I was upset at not being able to debut with them.” She continued, “However, I was understanding because I knew that it hadn’t been that long since I started training. I supported the SNSD unnis and hoped for the best.”
OUT: Park So-yeon, Lee Hwan-hee, Heo Chan-mi
SM Girl Group Project – Final Roster
Members: Kim Tae-yeon, Jessica Jung, Lee Soon-kyu (Sunny), Stephanie Hwang (Tiffany), Kim Hyo-yeon, Kwon Yu-ri, Choi Soo-young, Im Yoon-a, Seo Joo-hyun (Seohyun),
Leader: Kim Tae-yeon (1989) | Maknae: Seo Joo-hyun (1991)
Well, we are all know very well who made it to the final line-up. The group of nine girls then named as ‘소녀시대 (So-nyuh Shi-dae)‘ which literally means ‘The Era of Maidens’. No joke. Even the girls themselves were taken aback by their old-fashioned, grandeur name. When the group name was announced, Koreans bewildered and amused at the odd choice of name. Thankfully, they have ‘Girls’ Generation’ as their English name instead of the literal meaning. (Well, anything is better than ‘The Era of Maidens’..) The name itself was taken from Lee Seung-chul‘s 1989 hits… ‘So Nyuh Shi Dae’. I found it interesting how the song was a hit in year 1989, the very year where most of SNSD members were born. And who would have thought that they managed to live it up to their name, leading the pack of girl-group domination, two years after they debuted.
Even though having people like Soyeon and Stella in the group is very… tempting, but I’m glad they are what they are now; a group of nine amazing, hilarious, and hard-working girls. Seriously, I love all the nine girls to the point I can’t even pick any favorite. I might be very biased, but I think all nine of them make great entertainers. They’re talented in their own ways, but it’s just typical SM Entertainment to have hard time to showcase its artists’ talents to the fullest, imo.
The fact that this group of nine girls, SNSD, is where they’re now is beyond amazing for me. They have surpassed everyone’s expectation like no joke. If you think I’m overreacting (well I might be am), take a look at this >>’SM New Girl Group – (SNSD)‘<< thread over at Soompi. I’m not joking when I said how many people have doubts on them, or rather the idea of a big group itself.
Ellie’s Vlog about SNSD gained a lot of interesting comments both from fans and non-fans alike. Nobody can blame anybody to think that SNSD should be a smaller group and what not. Everyone entitled to their own opinions. However, all the so-called S♥ne talks about how a certain SNSD member didn’t belong on the group, or how some certain members stealing the spotlight out of the other members are just kinda frustrating to hear. Sure, the girls themselves have admitted that the idea of debut in a big group was devastating. But in the end, they are now one big loving family of So Nyuh Shi Dae. Sooyoung said too during their acceptance speech on winning their first ever Daesang.
“Nine people who are very different from each others, have now become one.”
- Choi Sooyoung (GDA 091210)
As for the popularity ranks thingy, I’d say that it’s bound to happen. It’s almost impossible to have all nine of them loved equally. There will always be the more popular and the less popular ones. But come on, even the least popular in SNSD has more fans and get more attention than most of other girl group members! That’s the fact. Yes, girl like Hyo and Seobaby obviously less promoted compared to other members… but they, too, obviously stole the spotlights during the year-end special stages. Is it a sign that they’ll be the next ones to be heavily promoted on the next album? I hope so. Oh, FYI, it’s rumored that they will comeback with a new album at the end of this month! LOL so fast… I hope the girls still have time for a proper rest before their comeback.
Anyway. Let’s cut down the complaints, enjoy the fandom. Fandom suppose to be a fun thing you know (:
PS: I’m really sorry if this post is so all over the place. I’m kinda down with fever while making this entry.. so yeah.. I didn’t even bother to re-read this LOL. Sorry if I’m not making any sense =P Oh well, actually I made this roster post like last year month but then it’s forgotten and then Ellie’s vlogs made me changed the articles quite a lot to make things… relevant XD
Oh, this is random but, do you guys know that today is exactly one year after SM released the video teaser of Gee? Haha I remember spazzing out over the 30 sec video. I even made a SWF file out of it so I don’t have to bother to replying it over and over again lolol
PPS: Thanks for Ajussi at Soshified for letting me use his translation for this article!