9 K-Pop Idols Who Debuted Before Joining Their Current Groups


Which K-pop stars debuted with another group before joining their current one? Although some of these may come as a shock, the following idols actually did not make their debut as singers with the group they are currently in. Instead, their first step into the limelight came much earlier than most fans think.

4Minute – Hyuna


Hyuna was originally a member of Wonder Girls, but she withdrew from the group in July 2007 due to health issues. However, she was a part of the group’s debut music video for “Irony.”

Hyuna later joined 4Minute as the main rapper, debuting with them in 2009. She has also debuted as a soloist and as part of hip-hop duo Trouble Maker.

Bestie – Haeryeong, Uji, & Hyeyeon

bestie Uji haeryeong Hyeyeon

Three members of girl group Bestie — Haeryeong, Uji, and Hyeyeon — were originally members of EXID in 2012, when it was a 6-member group. After collaborations between agency YNB Entertainment and Shinsadong Tiger went south, the group was split in half, with three members staying with EXID and the remaining three joining YNB Entertainment.

The members that were signed to YNB later debuted as Bestie after adding a fourth member, Dahye, to the group.

Hani, LE, and Junghwa stayed with EXID, and  two more members were added to make up the current five-member group we have today.

Girls’ Generation – Sooyoung


Although now universally recognized as a member of Girls’ Generation, Sooyoung actually made her debut at age 12 as part of a Japanese idol group duo named Route-O. The group released three singles before disbanding in 2003.

Sooyoung and the other member, Marina, lost touch over the years, but thanks to helpful Sones, they were able to reunite and contact each other through social media in 2014.

2NE1 – Sandara Park

sandara park

Sooyoung isn’t the only member of a massively popular girl group on this list. 2NE1 member Sandara Park made her initial debut in the Philippines, releasing a six-song album. The title song, “In or Out,” was sung in Tagalog and even has a music video featuring a much younger Dara.

BEAST – Kikwang


Kikwang is currently a member of BEAST, but he first debuted as a solo artist under the name “AJ” in April 2009, six months before BEAST made their debut in October of that year. Hyuna, who is also part of Cube Entertainment, is in the music video as well.

Hello Venus – Alice

Hello venus 10

The leader of Hello Venus, known as Alice, made her singing debut 2 years before joining her current group. In 2010, she debuted as a solo singer under the stage name “Ora,” releasing a music video for her song “Naughty Face.”

DIA – Seunghee

DIA Cho Seunghee

Cho Seunghee joined girl group DIA for their debut in September 2015 after her original group 5dolls disbanded in March 2015. She is the only former 5dolls member to join another girl group.



MAP6, known as Girl’s Day’s little brother group, has five members, four of which were part of the now-disbanded A PrinceMinhyuk, J.Jun, Sun, and J.Vin debuted with A Prince in 2012 and promoted for a year and half before joining Dream Tea Entertainment. They finally debuted in November 2015 with “Storm.”



JYJ is a trio formed by former TVXQ members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu, after they left SM Entertainment. The group has released multiple successful albums since their formation and is now managed by C-JeS Entertainment.

Can you think of any other idols that debuted before joining their current group? Comment below!

kafox is a K-pop addict and avid viewer and subtitler of Korean dramas on Viki.