Is There Trouble Brewing Between JYP and Their Female Trainees?
Over the years, JYP has been known for the top notch quality of their girl-groups, from Wonder Girls and Miss A to Twice and the recently debuted ITZY. They have all been classified as monster rookies that dominate the K-Pop scene right as they step in. Due to the popularity of such groups, it’s no wonder that fans of the company have started following not only their favorite idols, but also trainees currently in the company who are set to debut in the years to come. Especially after the debut of ITZY in February of 2019, longtime fans of the company have started questioning the state of JYP’s female trainees who they’ve previously seen on JYP’s many survival shows, such as Sixteen and Stray Kids.
Compared to their debuted counterparts, trainees sign a different kind of contract that tends to be renewed every year are not allowed to be active on social media. This makes updates very scarce and fans have to be particularly careful to find any piece of information that can be found online as to the status of their favorite trainees. What came to a shock for most is the fact that in early 2019, news came out that Jeon So-mi, a JYP trainee who was previously the center of the Produce 101 group, I.O.I, and rumored ITZY member, has left the company along with several other female trainees who were spotted being active on social media.
So what exactly went down between JYP and their female trainees? Let’s take a look at former female trainees who has left JYP in recent years, starting back in 2015!
Female Trainees Who Have Left JYP in Recent Years
Lena and Cecillia
Before the announcement of JYP’s flagship survival show that birthed girl group Twice, there was 6 Mix. The group consisted of Twice members Nayeon, Jungyeon and Jihyo, as well as Sixteen contestant Minyoung, and former JYP trainees Lena and Cecillia. The lineup was popular with fans as the group had done a stage together for JYP’s annual trainee showcase that was open to some lucky fans and industry insiders. Not only that, it consisted mostly of members who are promoted by JYP externally through other groups’ music videos and concert VCRs.
As we know now, Nayeon, Jungyeon and Jihyo debuted in Twice instead of this supposed group, so what happened with the remaining members? Firstly, we will focus on Lena and Cecillia, as Minyoung left later and will be covered with the rest of the Sixteen contestants. Lena was most known for her stint in Sunmi’s ‘Full Moon’ track as a featured rapper, which was a big hit circa 2014. Due to this, fans of the company kept a watchful eye for her possible debut in the near future. Cecillia, on the other hand, was very mysterious and had no exposure outside of the showcase, keeping fans speculating as to her origins and role in the future girl-group.
Sadly, by early 2015 it seemed that both Lena and Cecillia had left the company, as fans were greeted by teasers for the upcoming survival show, Sixteen. At the time before the show’s airing, Lena was to renew her contract as a trainee under JYP Entertainment, but she ultimately decided to just return home to the U.S. since she was more interested in pursuing an acting career. This was revealed in a documentary that was done centering around Miss Korea contestants, as Lena became a contestant in the pageant. She added, “After I left the agency, I just wanted to go back to the U.S. and act, but this opportunity of Miss Korea came along, so I grabbed the chance. I thought that this was one way to help me achieve my dreams.” As for Cecillia, she successfully made her debut in a Chinese movie titled, Braveness of The Ming, alongside Korean actress Park Min-young.
Minyoung, Chaeyeon, Jiwon, Natty & Eunseo
As mentioned before, the next round of female trainees were revealed through the survival show, Sixteen. This show was made in order to form the next girl-group to debut under JYP Entertainment, which was original promoted as a seven-member girl-group, and was ultimately expanded into a nine-member lineup. Aside from the nine members that made it to the final debut lineup, other notable trainees included former 6MIX trainee, Minyoung; IZ*ONE’s Lee Chae-yeon, Fromis_9’s Park Ji-won, I.O.I’s Jeon Somi and Idol School’s Natty and Eunseo.
None of the trainees that were just listed made it to the final lineup, except for Somi, whom we will discuss later, and all decided to leave the company shortly after the show aired its last episode, over the course of several months. In an interview later conducted with each trainee in their followup activities, such as Idol School and Produce 48, they left because they just didn’t see having a feasible debut under JYP after the success of Twice. Not only that, they also stated reasons like wanting to train more outside of JYP, in the case of Natty, and wanting to experience a normal life outside of training, as is the case with Ji-won.
The first to have activities after their separation with JYP were Ji-won, Natty, and Eunseo through another survival show broadcast on Mnet, titled Idol School. They appeared on the show as unsigned trainees, one of the requirements to enter the show. This came as a big shock since all three was hugely favored by fans during their time on Sixteen. Unfortunately, only Ji-won made the cut this time and debuted with Fromis_9 under Stone Music Entertainment.
In Chae-yeon’s case, she joined Produce 48 under WM Entertainment, home to Oh My Girl and formerly, B1A4. She was a front-runner since the very start of the competition and was a fan favorite for her skillful dancing. Not only that, she showcased her outstanding singing, too, throughout the competition. She made it into the group, barely missing the cut line, ranking at the 12th spot.