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2009–2013: JJ Project and formation
In 2009, JB and Jinyoung were cast into JYP Entertainment after passing open auditions. In 2010, Mark and BamBam were respectively scouted by JYP scouts in Los Angeles, USA and Bangkok, Thailand. That same year, Yugyeom became a JYP trainee after he was offered an opportunity at his dance school. In December, Jackson passed JYP's overseas audition in Hong Kong, but he did not start his training until the summer of 2011.
JB and Jinyoung, then known by the stage name Junior, made their debut as actors in the 2012 television drama Dream High 2. In May, they debuted as the pop duo JJ Project with the single "Bounce". The duo appeared again as actors for the 2013 drama, When a Man Falls in Love.
Meanwhile, Mark, Jackson, BamBam and Yugyeom prepared for their debut together as a group. The quartet made their first television appearance on the fourth episode of Mnet's reality-survival program Who is Next: WIN, which aired on September 6, 2013. Sometime after their appearance, they were put into Got7 with JB and Jinyoung. The seventh and final member to join the group was Youngjae, who had only been a trainee for seven months.