Even though a greater amount of girl groups are debuting by the year, it’s only a really small K-Pop world out there. With the limited number of entertainment companies, it shouldn’t be a surprise that trainees are somehow rotated from company to company. Just because individuals don’t get to debut with a certain company doesn’t mean that they can’t debut in another, hence a lot of these people we now call idols train in numerous companies.
Ideally, it’s better to train longer as this helps you hone your skills slowly and naturally, but with K-Pop being a fast-paced industry that considers a young age of 22 “old,” trainees are usually in a hurry to debut, and in some instances, they are able to after switching companies.
One of the most dynamic groups that could have been is Five Girls, a girl group that was supposed to debut in 2007 under Good Entertainment, which during this time, managed industry sunbaes Shinhwa and LYn. Their strong line-up included then-Cube Entertainment soloist G.NA (leader), former Wonder Girls member Yubin, former AFTER SCHOOL member UEE, then-SPICA member Jiwon, and Secret’s leader Jun Hyosung. They initially had a reality show that aired through MTV titled Diary of Five Girls, and their debut was all set, before things got tight and the company experienced financial troubles. It was a shame as all five have proved in their latter groups that they were strong performers. Good Entertainment also seemed to have a lot of gems kept during this time as UEE revealed in a Beatles Code guesting that prominent artists like IU, JUNIEL, and former 4Minute member Gayoon were trainees at that time too!
After the financial issue forced the girls to go their separate ways, Yubin immediately debuted as part of Wonder Girls a few months later. G.NA, UEE, and Hyosung all debuted two years later in their respective groups, while Jiwon was also supposed to debut in the same year as part of T-ARA. After leaving T-ARA, she finally debuted in SPICA early 2012. G.NA stated in a 2015 interview that she would like to have a Five Girls reunion in the future, so let’s hope that works out!
Little Big Mama
Almost debuting as a vocal girl group dubbed as the “Little Big Mama,” Hyorin, Jieun, Uji, and Hani left the company after the project was scrapped by the management. After leaving the group, Song Jieun was the first to debut in 2009 as a solo act and later through Secret. Hyorin debuted next in June of 2010 as a member of SISTAR. Uji and Hani both debuted in EXID in 2012, but Uji ultimately left the group after the two managements handling EXID split and debuted through BESTie a year later.
Another JYP Entertainment girl group that was set to debut around 2009-2010 was Sisters, dubbed as the “Chinese Wonder Girls.” The line-up for this group included Meng Jia, Feifei, Yi Pei, Sarah, and Lim. In 2009, they went to various Chinese variety shows and promoted their team, where they first got their “Chinese Wonder Girls” nickname.
Sarah and Yi Pei left the group during training, leaving them a trio for the time being. After Sunmi left Wonder Girls in 2010, Lim was taken off the group and earned her Wonder Girl status when she was added to the WG line-up for their “2 Different Tears” comeback. Jia and Fei continued training, but this time in a different group with the nation’s first love, Suzy. The three trained together before Min joined them, eventually forming the ever excellent miss A.
We have another girl group with an unbelievable line-up! Viva Girls was a girl group that was set to debut around 2011-2012 under MediaLine Entertainment, but, similarly to Five Girls, wasn’t able to because of financial problems. The group could have been made up of Nine Muses member Kyungri, Dalshabet’s Woohee, HELLOVENUS’ Lime, former Kiss&Cry member Soyumi, Stellar’s Hyoeun, and WJSN members EXY and SeolA.
Unlike Five Girls who had a final line-up before they were unable to debut, Viva Girls didn’t have a fixed line-up that was known to the public. Soyumi first left the project to debut in VNT, a girl group in the same company. Kyungri then left the company in 2011 to transfer to Jellyfish Entertainment, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she debuted in Nine Muses, which she was originally a part of already during the pre-debut stages. Hyoeun, Lime, and Woohee left in the same year as the Viva Girls project was scrapped and were able to debut the year later in 2012. It took Soyumi, EXY, and SeolA more time before they found new companies, but they eventually became part of Kiss&Cry and WJSN, respectively.
2NE1 is the most popular girl group YG Entertainment has ever put out, and their line-up has had minimal changes throughout the year as compared to a lot of girl groups. Park Bom, CL, and Minzy were training together the longest, and before Dara trained with them, a few other candidates were considered.
Actress Honey Lee once stated in Radio Star that she trained with Bom, CL, and Minzy around 2006 before Dara joined YG Entertainment in 2007. Apart from her, candidates such as former SPICA member Bohyung and FIESTAR’s main-vocal Linzy were considered for the line-up. Bohyung was reportedly cut from the line-up, joking in one of her reality shows that she probably didn’t have enough swag. Linzy left the company because of musical differences and eventually transferred to LOEN Entertainment months later.
Right before 4Minute was about to debut, Soyu was removed from the line-up. The former SISTAR member revealed that she “lacked in many aspects” and was replaced by maknae Sohyun.
Former Rainbow member Jaekyung revealed when she guested in KBS’ Full House that she turned down an offer to debut in KARA. She was tempted to join as DSP Media was then looking for member replacements after Seunghee left after the group’s debut. She was also contacted by SM Entertainment to become a trainee two months before Girls’ Generation debuted, but she ultimately turned it down. Jaekyung could have been an SNSD member!