Youtuber and former “Idol School” contestant Jessica Lee released a video on October 17 about her experience in the program. This video touched on the untold truths about the show.
She explained how it was true that only 4 out of 41 contestants made it through the first round of auditions where 3,000 people tried out. She sincerely apologized for being one of the contestants who skipped the first round.
Was I one of the four? No. I didn’t even know there was such thing. For me going to Idol School was just an opportunity that was given to me…I apologize to anyone who was negatively affected by this affair. I am so sorry.
One thing she stressed upon was that she thought “Idol School” was a reality show. The contestants were told that the premise was to have 40 contestants who were beautiful on the outside and inside try to reach their dreams.
For me, I thought “Idol School” was a reality show. It’s like a documentary. You just document what is happening. You’re not trying to eliminate anyone. It’s not a survival program where you survive until the end and you get to debut.
Jessica’s parents only gave her permission to go to “Idol School” because of this premise which was why everyone was so surprised a month into the show when they found out there would be eliminations.
This was when Jessica went to confront the Mnet writer and beg to be eliminated in the first round.
She made it clear that while this may not have been the reason she was eliminated—like fellow contestant Lee Hae In mentioned, the other contestants also didn’t know if the votes were manipulated—it was a possible factor.
I knew that after a month, I was just kinda like a prop on the show. I told her, ‘I have so much more important things that I have to do in my life instead of staying here for how many more weeks.
Besides this, there were a number of things that happened in the show that the contestants weren’t informed about before joining. These reasons were why Jessica felt betrayed by the show.
For one, they weren’t warned that the staff would confiscate their phones. Her phone was placed in a ziplock bag that Jessica wouldn’t see for another two months, cutting off her contact with the outside world.
The girls’ diets were also as extreme as the media reported it to be. If they gained weight during the weekly check, there would be corresponding consequences.
This was why Jessica was only able to eat one piece of french fry for one meal and one piece of meat for another.
The girls were so hungry, in fact, that they snuck in food from outside. This led to extremely uncomfortable body checks that they had to endure, especially considering that most contestants who smuggled food inside were minors still going to school.
The ones who went to school brought chocolate bars and snacks and hid them in their underwear and bra. Once the managers found out, they started checking their bodies. That act, when I think about it now, is violating human rights.
Jessica then mentioned that it was very much possible to be evil-edited on the show. When the contestants were interviewed, the staff would try to shift the conversation to what they wanted to hear. For instance, they were frustrated when Jessica said that she was happy to be eliminated even if this was her true feelings.
There were also times when they were told to pretend to act in front of the camera like they were in a drama.
Jessica was rightfully upset with “Idol School” and how it was presented as a reality show.
For me, ‘Idol School’ is just this tragic mirror of this world of media, this world where everything became a show-off. You just do something for the sake of showing it to someone.
She also confirmed that contract negotiations were present throughout the show.
She was approached by staff of CJ E&M to sign a contract with them, promising that they’d create a separate group from the debuting group of “Idol School.”
When Jessica asked the writer why she had to fake her reactions for the camera if she didn’t want to, they replied with, “Maybe the audience will like you if you smile.” Jessica, however, believed it was not true.
The audience is smart enough to distinguish what is real and fake.
As a message to future K-Pop aspirants, she stated that it may not be enough to work hard in this field as the higher-ups may either see you in a different light or not see you at all.
She was firm that this dark side of K-Pop should not exist at all.
This distinction between the strong and the weak is just so explicit, and that distinction is probably present everywhere.
Jessica ended by praising Lee Hae In for her courage in starting the conversation about “Idol School.” She hopes that her negative experience will not be replicated in the future.
In this world of media, in this age of materialism, probably this kind of issue is inevitable. By letting this happen, we are losing that human side of us.
Check out the full video below: