Actor Kim Ji Hoon recently appeared as a guest on SBS‘ Strong Heart. He used to be a part of SM Entertainment, and shares stories of Leeteuk and Donghae’s pre-debut days in group Smile, before they joined Super Junior.
Ji Hoon shared, “I think Leeteuk and Eunhyuk are amazing. Before Super Junior was created, a group named ‘Smile‘ was formed. Ultimately, it didn’t come to fruition but Leeteuk and Donghae were members in that group.”
Leeteuk followed, “Smile’ was supposed to be the match to TVXQ. I always greeted people brightly and said, ‘Hello, I’m Smile’s Jungsu.’ We were just about to debut, but we didn’t. We didn’t know that South Korea would make it to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup. The soccer passion was so hot that we figured we wouldn’t gain attention even if we debuted.”
Ji Hoon continued, “It was actually for the better. There were five members, and Leeteuk along with Donghae stayed but the other three members couldn’t stand it and left the group. So in the end they became Super Junior.”
Ji Hoon feels thankful that Leeteuk and Donghae are able to join Super Junior, and become as successful as they are today. He added, “There was no past history in Korea indicating that a 13-member group could succeed, so I had a serious talk with them. Lets say they make 100 million KRW (approximately $90,000 USD), then they’d split half of that with the company, and then split it 13-ways once again with all the members. What would they do in terms of transportation? Would they use a tour bus? I sincerely worried about them. I had no idea that they’d one day be 1st place in Taiwan for 110? 117 weeks.”
Fate really works in special ways. It’s really fortunate that Leeteuk and Donghae were able to persevere until they joined Super Junior, to be where they are today. Imagine being an idol anticipating your debut, and then suddenly having the group disbanded and the chance taken away, because of something totally uncontrollable. They’ve endured so much that they really deserve the success and love from ELFs that they have today!
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