SM Rookies (임팩트) was a pre-debut team created by SM Entertainment in South Korea, running from 2013 to 2020. Members of SM Rookies were trainees that performed in live performances, music videos and variety shows, but had not yet debuted formally in an idol group. 24 of the 30 members eventually made their debut in SM groups, including Red Velvet, NCT, NCT 127, NCT Dream, WayV and aespa.
III. 2013: The First Rookies
SM announced the formation of SM Rookies in December 3, 2013, adding 12 members over the course of the month. Seulgi, Jeno and Taeyong were introduced on December 3, 2013, while Irene, Jaehyun and Lami were introduced on December 9. Mark, Hansol and Jisung were introduced on December 16, followed by Johnny, Ten and Yuta on December 23.
Although all members were SM trainees, the length of their time with the company varied - Johnny had been a trainee since 2008, while Jeno had been cast the same year he was announced as a rookie.
IIII. 2014: More Rookies and Red Velvet
Yeri was introduced on March 11, 2014, and Wendy on March 13. Although not officially debuted, some members still released songs on soundtracks or appeared as dancers or actors in label mate's videos. In April, an official website and YouTube channel were launched. Members continued to sing and dance at performances and in videos released online, including a series about the rookies. On August 1, 2014, Seulgi, Irene and Wendy debuted in Red Velvet.
IIIII. 2015: Mouseketeers, SR15B and SM Rookies Show
Donghyuck was introduced on July 17, 2014.
Doyoung was introduced on January 16, 2015, and became MC on MBC Music's Show Champion with Jaehyun. Yeri was introduced on March 17, 2015 and then joined Red Velvet. Members Hansol, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Ten and Jaehyun released a video dancing to "Bassbot" under the name SR15B. Jaemin was formally introduced on April 22, 2015.
On July 8, 2015, Kouen, Hina and Herin were introduced. They became mouseketeers on Disney Channel Korea's The Mickey Mouse Club with Mark, Jeno, Donghyuck, Jaemin, Jisung (all future members of NCT Dream) and Lami.
The SM Rookies boys performed a series of live shows, some of which was documented in the reality/variety show NCT Life in Bangkok.
Jaehyun and Herin on the Mickey Mouse Club
Bassbot - SR15B
SR15B in NCT's video
Mickey Mouse Club:
IIIV. 2016: NCT
On January 5, 2016, Winwin was introduced. Taeil, Taeyong, Ten, Jaehyun and Mark debuted under NCT's first sub-unit, NCT U on April 8, 2016. In July, Yuta, Winwin and Donghyuck, now professionally known as Haechan, debuted in the second sub-unit, NCT 127. In August, Jeno, Jaemin and Jisung debuted in the third sub-unit, NCT Dream.
Yiyang and Ningning were introduced on September 19, 2016, after appearing in an online reality show. Johnny made his debut in December in NCT 127.
IIV. 2017-20: WayV, aespa and End of Rookies
Although SM Rookies was not officially disbanded, they were no longer featured in SM content and social media channels were not updated after December 2018. In February 2020, Koeun and Lami left SM, while Hina departed in October. Ningning was the final SM Rookie to debut in November 2020 as part of Aespa.
- All of the members of NCT 127 were SM Rookies.
- All of the members of WayV were SM Rookies.
- Joy is the only member of Red Velvet who was not a SM Rookie.
- Lami and Jisung were the youngest girl and boy rookies.
- Irene and Taeil were the oldest female and male rookies.