After training under SM Entertainment for several years, 19-year-old Kim Chaehyun is getting a second chance to debut as she competes on Mnet‘s new survival show, Girls Planet 999. Once presumed to be a possible member of the company’s new girl group, aespa, Chaehyun revealed how she felt seeing her friends debut without her.
The first episode of Girls Planet 999 has finally hit screens, and numerous contestants on the show have been wowing the judges with their skills—including former SM Entertainment trainee Kim Chaehyun. During her time at the company, Chaehyun trained alongside Karina, Winter, and Ningning—all of whom went on to debut in aespa back in November last year.
After videos of her Chaehyun’s singing skills surfaced online, many fans who followed news about SM Entertainment’s new girl group presumed she could end up being part of aespa.
Ultimately, however, she didn’t make the final cut and ended up leaving SM Entertainment. Now, she’s competing for another chance to debut on Girls Planet 999. On the show, Chaehyun talked about her experience as a long-time trainee.
“I started [training] in my second year of middle school,” revealed Chaehyun, going on to explain that she dropped out of her school in Busan and moved to Seoul to pursue her dreams. Before joining the survival show, Chaehyun says she trained for a staggering six years in total. While many would have given up after so long, the aspiring K-Pop star explained, “I don’t think I’d excel or enjoy a different line of work.”
Before Chaehyun showcased her cover performance of aespa’s debut song, “Black Mamba,” alongside fellow former SM Entertainment trainee An Jeongmin, Girls Planet 999‘s K-Pop Master judge Sunmi asked about her history. “I noticed you trained for a long time,” she told Chaehyun, asking, “How do you feel when you see your friends who debuted already.”
With an air of determination, Chaehyun told the judges, “I felt… a fire inside me.” After watching her fellow trainees go on to debut in aespa, Chaehyun stated that it makes her want to debut too.
I want to prove the years weren’t wasted.
— Kim Chaehyun
Watch Chaehyun’s performance of “Black Mamba” here: