S'porean Fifty Fifty finalist, 16, trains 4 hours a day, inspired by Michael Jackson & K-pop idol Wonyoung

Officially a Joye Cai stan.

Celeste Ng | March 02, 2024, 10:56 AM



Becoming a K-pop idol might be an aspiration shared by a few, and seen as a pipe dream by many. But for this Singaporean teen, it might just become a reality.

About to turn 16 years old this 2024, Joye Cai is one of the three participants who emerged as finalists from the Fifty-Fifty global auditions that took place in Singapore just last February.

In case you're not familiar, Fifty-Fifty is a K-pop girl group, renowned for their TikTok-viral song "Cupid". The group is currently left with just one member after alleged contractual disputes, and it is currently in the midst of auditions for their next-generation members.

The auditions were held in-person in Singapore, as well as online. The grand finals are set to take place in Bangkok on Mar. 2, 2024.

Cai will be competing against close to 30 other participants for her spot in the group.

Four hours of dance training every day

As a Singaporean teen, academic pressure is undoubtedly a given. Yet, Cai somehow manages to squeeze in four hours of dance practice every day, on top of school.

The youngest of the three Singaporean finalists, she shared in an interview with Mothership, "When school ends, I basically just stay in the studio dancing from, like, 4pm to maybe 7pm or 8pm. [...] Probably four hours a day, on average."

Having only been notified about her audition results just one weekend before the grand finals, Cai has spent the past week dancing all day. She admitted that dancing isn't her strongest suit, so she spends the most amount of time on it, compared to singing, and other aspects of becoming an idol.

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A post shared by Joye (@9kaze_joye)ย 

"I [am] actually really scared, because there's a lot of talents [going to] Thailand.

I'm really uncertain if I can, you know, outshine everyone and, of course, make Singapore proud."

In the midst of this all, Cai is also fluent in three languages, soon to be four. She can speak in English, Mandarin and Korean, and is currently learning Japanese.

Inspired by Michael Jackson and IVE's Wonyoung

Being an idol wasn't an idea that conspired for Cai overnight, but something she'd dreamed about even as a child, and a goal she's been taking conscious steps towards.

"I loved Michael Jackson. Like, my mom always inspired me a lot with music. I used to grow up with Michael Jackson, and all that. He was a really big influence in me heading for music.

I [want] to do something in this field and be a great figure [whom] people can follow and, like, learn from."

Her decision to venture into K-pop was also deeply influenced by her idolisation of IVE's Wonyoung.

"She's so pretty! I love Wonyoung. She's perfect," Cai gushed. "She's the most perfect K-pop figure I've ever seen in my life."

When we asked how long she's considered the idol life as a possible career path, we were surprised by Cai's answer โ€” this has been a dream in the works since she was just six years old.

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A post shared by Joye (@9kaze_joye)

Some Singaporean families would have dismissed this as a childish ambition but Cai's parents seem to be unwaveringly supportive of their daughter's aspirations.

"I love singing.

Every single day, I took up a few hours just singing โ€” I would sing when I'm eating, showering and all that. I loved singing. All of my friends and family, they all know how much I love doing this."

Her mother also has her back, literally. The supportive mum accompanied her during the auditions as well as thisย Mothership interview.

A "double-edged sword"

When we asked Cai if she was ready to leave for Korea on the off-chance she advances past the finals, we were frankly surprised by how much thought she'd seemed to have put into her answer.

"If I could get in, maybe it's like, fate," Cai smiled, "maybe I'm supposed to go. Maybe this is the path I'm supposed to be going [towards]."

There was a pregnant pause before she continued, "It's like a [double-edged sword]. [My family and friends] want me to shine, they want me to go for what I love. But at the same time, they also want me to stay. So yeah," she nodded in resignation, "it's gonna be quite tough. But if I get, like, a 'pass' to this new journey, of course I'll just go."

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A post shared by Joye (@9kaze_joye)

We then asked the question that's probably been on the minds of many: what if it doesn't work out?

To that, Cai responded with certainty:

"Even if I don't make it [into] Fifty-Fifty, it's still a good experience. It's, like, the first time [I'm] walking out of Singapore.

Even if I don't make it, you know, as a Singaporean, moving [towards] this path is also a really big change. Most people don't think that Singaporeans can make it into K-pop.

I want to make my friends, my family and my country proud [of] me."

If her idol ambitions end up falling through, Cai said that she'd go into finance and take over her family's business.

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A post shared by Joye (@9kaze_joye)

Regarding the negativity that's bound to be received by anyone in the public eye, Cai also seems ready to cope with it, displaying a level of maturity beyond most of her age:

"I feel like bad comments can come [in] two [forms]. They [might be] trying to give you advice; the other [stems from] jealousy, like, imbalance in their own minds and all that.

The reason why I'm not so cautious of comments is because most of the time, I know what I need to do. And if something's wrong, I'll obviously change it. So like, yeah, I do appreciate [when] people give me comments, because that's like, new ways that I can improve myself."

And to our readers who are fellow aspiring idols, Cai has a message for you:

"Just do what you want to do, and be who you want to be. Never hesitate to try stuff that you love to do. It's never too late to do anything. Be brave. Figure out the best thing for yourself in life, and don't get too [hung] up [on] what people want you to do."

@mothership.nova all the best for tonight Joye ๐Ÿฅณ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿคž #tiktoksg #fiftyfiftyauditionsingapore #kpop #WhatToPlay #fiftyfifty #kpopidol #kpopauditions #ํ”ผํ”„ํ‹ฐํ”ผํ”„ํ‹ฐ #์–ดํŠธ๋ž™ํŠธ #์˜ค๋””์…˜ #๊ฑธ๊ทธ๋ฃน์˜ค๋””์…˜ #kํŒ์˜ค๋””์…˜ โ™ฌ suara asli - Ik4n ashine โ“

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Top photos from Joye Cai's Instagram page