On a recent podcast, K-pop star Grazy Grace discussed what she thinks are some of the biggest mistakes that rookie K-Pop auditionees make when trying to become an idol. She’d been getting a number of questions about how to successfully audition, and as someone that has been in the industry for a while (and who has also auditioned for SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and more), she had some useful tips!

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Here are 10 things she wished she would have known as a nerve-wracked teenager when applying to K-Pop entertainment companies.

1. Don’t overthink it.

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K-Pop companies don’t have a formula for what they’re looking for in a potential idol, for the most part. They’re just looking for talent. While some companies do have certain types of people they lean towards, overall, they are all just looking for someone with promising skills that stand out from the rest.

2. Don’t neglect your basic skills.

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Basic skills are something that are required for pretty much any occupation. Before you can be great at anything, you need to have a solid foundation of your basic skills, which often take years of training. It’s possible to get your basic skills (singing, dancing, etc.) through self-teaching, but it’s easier to get an instructor to help. It’s easy and often tempting to try to jump into something complex and difficult without the proper basic training, but that rarely succeeds. Even YouTube can be helpful for learning these basic skills!

3. Don’t seek perfection in your audition.

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Idol companies are looking for potential, not perfection. Don’t stress too much if you’re not absolutely perfect at dancing or singing — as long as the recruiters see that you have potential in your performance, that’s all that really matters.

4. Don’t be afraid of the judges.

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It’s much easier said than done! Just remember that they’re usually not the highest ranking employees in the company, but just staff members. They’re certainly important people to impress, but they’re not people to be intimidated by.

5. Don’t put in too much “personal color”.

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In Korean entertainment auditions specifically, the judges want to see a “clear palette”. This means no crazy colorful makeup, hair, clothing, etc. Because the K-Pop industry is about putting their own concepts on their artists, they need trainees and idols that can be obedient and willing to take on these concepts rather than invent their own (at least not until they’re very famous). So just keep things toned down and natural if you typically go for something more vibrant.

6. Don’t have too many high hopes/expectations.

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Don’t put too much hope into passing the audition, as though it’s the only thing you have to succeed in in your life. Just do your audition to the best of your abilities, and try to accept whatever the outcome is. Even if you make it past the first round, there is generally a lot more to go through, so you need to stay humble and continue to work hard without expecting everything to go as you planned.

7. Don’t be afraid of messing up even before you audition.

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Of course you don’t want to mess up your audition, but you can’t let these worries impact your performance. It’s important to be confident in yourself, and not to let your nerves and anxiety wreck your confidence even before you audition.

8. Don’t only cling onto K-Pop.

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This applies to people that live outside of Korea and are hoping to make it in the K-Pop entertainment business. If you live in another country and only aim to become a K-Pop idol and nothing else, you’re limiting your options as an artist. You want to see yourself as an artist first and foremost, and K-Pop might not end up being where your skills are most wanted or accepted. You have so many other options and routes you could choose!

9. Don’t get jealous easily.

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It’s important not to get jealous of others that end up more successful than you. It can mess with your confidence if you let it get to you, so it’s best to only focus on yourself and not others. If nothing else, let it fuel you to work harder and become better in your skills. While some people might naturally be skilled, others have to work hard to get to that level, and that’s okay!

Grace goes into more details about what kinds of songs to sing and other more precise tips on how to succeed in an audition in her podcast as well. You can watch the full video here: