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South Korean kids navigate rocky road to K-pop stardom

Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 01:24

Many South Korean kids pick being a K-pop star as their dream job, but behind-the-scenes there is often cut-throat competition and tough training. Rollo Ross reports.

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Becoming a K-pop star is now South Korea's most popular career choice among pre-teens. Hundreds of children across the country have joined bootcamps in a bid to become the next big music sensation. But the path to fame is exhausting, with hours of dance lessons, voice training, auditions and school work. Nine-year-old Kim Si-Yoon is just one of the girls hoping to reach stardom. Like many others, her room is decorated with posters of K-pop bands. She says she's willing to make sacrifices to become as famous as her idols. SOUNDBITE: Nine-year-old Kim Si-Yoon saying (Korean): "It's tough but this is what I'm doing for my dream so I'm trying to have fun and when I make efforts, I can perform better." Despite the pressure, Kim's mother says she's determined to see her own dashed dreams of becoming a singer fulfilled by her daughter. SOUNDBITE: Kim Si-Yoon's mother, Park Sook-Hee, saying (Korean): "I'm very worried about her because it's a very rocky road and competition is very intense and there are so many talented kids. But she's trying hard and she knows that she can't help but work harder." Although the gruelling programmes don't always lead to success, trainees who make it to the top receive the adulation of fans and book huge stadium tours. K-pop is currently all the rage in Asia, especially in China and Japan. Now the industry is eyeing new audiences in the West, so the pressure is on for these young wannabe pop stars.

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South Korean kids navigate rocky road to K-pop stardom

Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 01:24