Follow TV Tropes


Series / Dream High

Go To

"Those who lost their dreams...
Who are chasing dreams...
Who stole dreams...
And who have their dreams stolen.
This is a symphony for them."

Dream High is a 2011 Korean Drama in which six aspiring arts students attending the famous Kirin Arts High School pursue their dreams of becoming stars. Most notable for being produced by two Korean Entertainment giants, Bae Yongjoon and Park Jinyoung (from here on out, JYP), and featuring a main cast consisting of mostly K-Pop Idol Singers. The drama begins with the news that a Korean artist with the pseudonym "K" has won a Grammy for the first time in 2018, and an interview with Bae Yongjoon's character reveals that K is one of the six. From there, the drama goes back to their time as students and tracks their growth. A pendant of a K in a circle becomes the symbol of the show, passing back and forth between the main characters as part of the mystery behind who is K?

Due to the popularity of the series, the show was followed by a sequel called Dream High 2 in 2012.


Dream High provides examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • Hyemi, who is rich, beautiful, and talented enough to be aiming for Julliard for classical operatic training. Her only flaw appears to be her nasty personality.
      • She becomes a Broken Ace early on once her father becomes bankrupt and she has to instead pursue a career as an aspiring Idol Singer, which she looks down upon, at Kirin Arts High School in order to quickly earn money and repay her father's debt.
    • Jason plays a straight example of The Ace.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Hyemi is forced into a sleezy songstress outfit in a Bad-Guy Bar once the Loan Sharks realize she failed her audition.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Hyemi starts acting like this to Pilsook, with emphasis on the "aloof". It especially shows after she tells off Jason about misleading girls with his "manners" which had won Pilsook over.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Subverted in that most if not all of the students attending Kirin have some sort of ambition to succeed, which is encouraged because this is what is driving them to pursue their dreams.
    • Played straight in the situation with Ahjung, Baekhee, and Professor Shi. Ahjung lies to her classmates about her mother in order to get the female solo uncontested, Baekhee sabotages Ahjung after finding out the truth so she can get the solo instead, and Professor Shi sees no problem with Ahjung's actions while nudging Baekhee towards hers.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Samdong. He issues a singing challenge to Jason, and later tells Hyemi he mainly lost because he didn't know the song they were singing in the first place. It turns out he had been predicting how it was going to go based on the beginning of it.
  • Bad Bad Singing: When Samdong realizes his mother is in the audience of a talent search program, he purposely sings poorly in order to fool her into thinking he still has no interest in singing. Luckily for him, the other audience members are supportive of his comedic performance, even if Hyemi isn't.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Ahjung, jealous due to being passed over for another showcase, invokes this trope by pretending to gossip over the phone about how everyone believes Baekhee was the one who dropped the flowerpot on Samdong when she knows Baekhee is in the stall next to her.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A big reason for Pilsook's crush on Jason. When Hyemi questions Jason about it though, he tells her he's just naturally that friendly to people because it's good manners.
  • Berserk Button: When Baekhee's mother tells her to stop practicing her singing because she's not as talented as Hyemi, Baekhee explodes at her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Baekhee.
    • Professor Kang as well, surprisingly. When Professor Shi finds out about the fake showcase, he locks her in a closet to keep her from disrupting it.
  • Big Eater: Jingook, which Professor Kang finds out once he's already promised to treat him to a meal.
  • Big Man on Campus: Jason is identified as such by Samdong, who then challenges him to a sing-off.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Baekhee deliberately sabotages Ahjung, one of her first friends at Kirin, by putting a tack in her dancing shoes right before their dance-off to see who will be able to have the female solo for their upcoming showcase. When Ahjung injures her foot, Baekhee is right there to act the role of the concerned friend.
  • Blatant Lies: Samdong tells his mother he's the top student at Kirin (with Jason begging him for lessons and Jingook acting as his lackey) and Hyemi is madly in love with him so that she doesn't have to worry about him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Baekhee initially worships the ground Hyemi walks on, but when Hyemi shows she is willing to throw Baekhee away for a chance to get into Kirin and openly disses her in front of the judging panel when they admit they want to admit Baekhee but not her, things start changing between them. What the Hell, Heroine?
  • Butt-Monkey: Professor Kang. Professor Yang. Also, Jingook's friend Insung.
  • The Cameo:
    • Kim Hyunjoong appears As Himself, only as one of the most successful alumni of Kirin Arts High.
    • Soprano Jo Sumi also appears As Herself. Hyemi sees her as a role model and initially aspires to become the "Second Jo Sumi".
    • Chansung and Nichkhun from [[Music\Two PM]] both have cameo scenes, with Nichkhun appearing as Ri Ah's partner during the commercial shoot and Chansung as the man from Oh-sun's imagination.
  • Celebrity Paradox
    • Miss A's song Breathe is used during one of the episode 1 auditions. Miss A also happens to be the Girl Group of which Suzy, the actress for Hyemi, is a member.
    • Another example is when Baekhee dances to Miss A's song Bad Girl Good Girl in the third episode.
    • Jason sings 2PM's Heartbeat with Pilsook at a noraebang and dances to the same group's Electricity during the audition video. His actor is a member of that same group.
  • Chilly Reception: It's understandable that Hyemi, who was a bitch on the live-stream of her and Baekhee's audition, is treated this way when she's finally accepted to Kirin. However, Samdong and Jingook also receive this treatment as special applicant students.
  • Cool Loser: Samdong, Hyemi, and Jingook who are initially isolated from the rest of the school due to being special applicant students.
    • Pilsook eventually joins their ranks, having been demoted from the normal freshman class.
  • Cooldown Hug: Baekhee tries this on Hyemi the first time she sees her again after finding out Hyemi's family went bankrupt. It doesn't work, mainly because this is Hyemi.
  • Country Mouse: Samdong, in a genderflipped example.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Baekhee eventually becomes as spiteful and self-serving as she does because of her own inferiority complex and Hyemi's betrayal.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Professor Shi thinks giving the special applicant students any hope would be this. The special applicant students and their teachers don't think so.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jingook who was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage, only to be later taken in by his estranged father and ignored. He eventually ran away and changed his name, now living in poverty.
  • Dean Bitterman: Director Shi.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Hyemi to Samdong and Jingook.
  • Determinator: In an attempt to get Jingook to attend Kirin, Professor Kang bets he will be there when the doors of the elevator Jingook is riding in open, having to climb eleven flights of stairs in order to do so. He doesn't actually make it in time, but Jingook waits in the elevator so that it looks like he did.
  • Deus ex Machina: How Samdong, Hyemi, and Jingook get into Kirin, despite the first not even being present and the other two blowing their auditions. The director of the school intended to accept 100 new students, but only 97 passed the open auditions. Guess who fill the last three spots?
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Hyemi's father fled the country to seek financial aid from relatives living abroad. He comes back.
    • Samdong's father is also missing for reasons unknown.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hyemi outsings Baekhee during their midterm assessments, so Baekhee trashes Hyemi's locker with blood and attempts to drop a flowerpot on her. Even worse is that she hits Samdong instead when he tries to protect Hyemi.
  • Distant Duet:
    • While practicing getting the emotions right through first acting out song lyrics instead of singing them and then genuinely practicing with them, Jason and Pilsook both pick the same song.
    • Played with. While Baekhee and Jingook perform Someone's Dream at the real showcase while Pilsook and Jason perform it at the fake showcase in episode 7. The two performances are shown as happening at the same time in alternating styles.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme song Dream High is sung by Miss A's Suzy, T-ara's Eunjung, and [[Music\Two PM 2PM]]'s Taecyeon and Wooyoung. These Idol Singers portray Hyemi, Baekhee, Jingook, and Jason respectively.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Baekhee starts to once she has been accepted to Kirin and Hyemi has been rejected.
    Baekhee: No, I will prove to you that [Director Jung's] decision was right.
  • Double-Meaning Title: While "dream high" could mean "dream big," the show takes place in a High School where the students can fulfill their dreams.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of Jingook's friends attempts suicide because he doesn't see his dream of becoming a lawyer ever coming true. Luckily for him, it doesn't work out, and the special applicant students come to cheer him up by performing Girls' Generation's Tell Me Your Wish.
  • Duet Bonding:
    • The first time involves Jason singing while Pilsook accompanies him on a keyboard. The second time is when they go to a noraebang. And the third time is when they perform for the fake showcase.
    • Jingook and Baekhee go through this at the real showcase.
    • Samdong and Hyemi go through this at the fake showcase.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Hyemi attempts to lure Samdong to Kirin this way, even hiding her own dislike for him and telling him she likes him so that he'll follow her.
    • This is also the reason why Samdong delays getting to Kirin once he has made it to Seoul: he finds a lost little girl and is determined to help her find her parents.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change / Important Haircut:
    • Baekhee starts off the series sharing not only the same clothing style, but the same hairstyle as Hyemi. Then Hyemi betrays her, and in the midst of clearing her room of any trace of Hyemi's influence in her life, Baekhee cuts off her two braids and next appears with bobbed hair.
    • Samdong gets two: one after he moves to Seoul, and one after he witnesses Hyemi and Jingook's kiss, and then finds out he's going deaf shortly afterwards.
    • Baekhee again, getting extensions after she resolves to stop cheating and do things the right way.
  • Fangirl: Pilsook is one for Kim Hyunjoong and even kisses a photo of him once she has been accepted into Kirin.
    • Later, it's shown that Pilsook's photo of Kim Hyunjoong has been replaced by photos of Jason.
  • Fan of the Underdog: Director Jung.
  • Fish out of Water: Samdong when he leaves the countryside to follow Hyemi to Seoul.
  • Flower-Pot Drop: Baekhee drops a flower pot from the top of the school building, hoping to hurt Hyemi. She hits Samdong instead and he is rushed to the hospital for a serious head injury.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Hyemi and Jingook met once as children. Hyemi had even cried for him after hearing that his mother was trying to find him so she could leave him at an orphanage. While Jingook is immediately able to recognize her when they meet again, Hyemi fails to remember him.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Hyemi and Baekhee's relationship in a nutshell. Played with in that originally Hyemi was the Alpha Bitch only to be displaced by Baekhee.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Baekhee goes from meek, but well-meaning Number Two to the Alpha Bitch willing to do anything to discredit and harass the girl she once looked up to.
  • Frozen Face:
    • Bae Yongjoon as Director Jung.
    • A common criticism of the actress portraying Hyemi. However, the drama itself used this as one of its plot points: Hyemi is the most trained and most talented of the special admissions students, but she lacks the ability to express emotion in the songs she sings.
  • Generic Graffiti: The other students of Kirin graffiti insults about Hyemi all over the school and in the special applicant students' classroom. Samdong takes it upon himself to graffiti over the insults with things like "I will protect you."
  • Girl Posse: Baekhee earns herself one comprised of fellow students once she's been accepted to Kirin. They even help haze and harass Hyemi once she's been accepted to Kirin as well.
  • Gratuitous English: Jason, although his character bio on the official website states that he primarily uses it to pick up girls.
    • Hyemi's "Winter Child" starts out in Korean, transitioning to an English language version of "Happy Birthday To You".
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Samdong after he follows Hyemi to Seoul and she gives him a haircut to end his worrying about sticking out.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Jingook invokes this trope by wearing earbuds despite not having an MP3 player so that he can ignore others. He shares this trick with Hyemi when he sees other girls gossiping about her.
  • Heroic BSoD: Pilsook has one due to her chances of being in the student showcase getting dashed because she's a member of the special admissions class, her diet not working out, and finding out Jason is usually nice to everyone, not just her. She almost withdraws from Kirin because of it, but a last minute remark from Jason about how he would like to sing a duet with her one day because he liked her voice from the first time he heard it during auditions has her tearing up her withdrawal papers in a heartbeat.
  • High School: Kirin
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Hyemi when she has to switch from classical opera to pop singing due to her father's bankruptcy and is even initially rejected from Kirin Arts High in favor of her overlooked Number Two.
  • How We Got Here: How the series is set up: It starts with the first ever Korean — an artist named K — winning a Grammy in 2018. The opening narrative is of an interview with the director of Kirin Arts High, who identifies K as one of the show's six leads. The rest of the show is essentially one huge Flashback to the group's start at his school and where K's career began. In the last episode, the artist's confirmed to be Samdong.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • Hyemi experiences one in which her life spirals downwards until she and her sister are living in cardboard boxes on the street and her sister dies because she refused to play along with Samdong on the talent search program and thus failed to bring him to Kirin. This encourages her to humor him when he drags her up on stage with him.
    • Samdong has one where he kisses Hyemi before she leaves the countryside.
    • There are three more in Episode 6 as Samdong explains exactly what he told his mother about his school life.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Jason holds an impressive one while singing a challenge duet with Samdong, who had been trying to prove himself to the rest of the school.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Professor Kang and his sister are keeping Samdong, Hyemi, and Jingook in their house. And Hyemi's sister.
  • Intertwined Fingers:
    • Hyemi plays along with Samdong's lie to his mother about how Hyemi is madly in love with him by holding his hand during their duet.
    • A different version, Hyemi do this palm-to-palm with Professor Yang when they are celebrating in Episode 14.
  • Ironic Echo: Professor Shi criticizes Professor Kang's decision to hold the fake showcase for giving hope to students doomed to fail. Professor Kang later uses it during his Rousing Speech and says it would be crueler not to give the kids a chance at all.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Baekhee.
  • Karaoke Box: When Jason tells Professor Shi he's more interested in enjoying music and having fun than focusing on the very important school showcase and singing with a partner he doesn't care about, she tells him he might as well go sing karaoke like an amateur since he won't take the showcase seriously. So then he invites Pilsook to sing karaoke with him and goes on to have a great time.
  • Kick the Dog: When Hyemi states that she would enter the school even if Baekhee failed, right after Baekhee had insisted she would reject if it was the other way around. She goes even further when Director Jung announces that Baekhee was the one who passed, despite the loyalty Baekhee had shown her.
    Hyemi: She's absolutely nothing! I'm first-rate and she's third-rate!
  • K-Pop: Most of the actors playing main students are actual Idol singers from various boy bands and girl groups.
  • Leitmotif: One of the background music riffs is a snippet from "The Olympic Theme" by John Williams, especially when they are planning to overcome an obstacle.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band:
    • Hyemi seems to have successfully convinced Samdong to follow her to Kirin, with romantic background music playing as she acts sweet and demure in order to gain his favor. When he unexpectedly refuses the offer, the music immediately fades and she lashes out, revealing her true colors.
    • As Professor Kang talks with Samdong after his performance at the fake showcase, Samdong suddenly finds himself both dizzy and unable to make out Professor Kang's words. The BGM fades into very audible silence to emphasize this.
  • Loan Sharks: Hyemi is chased by several of these and forced into auditioning for Kirin because they think making her an Idol Singer will make them fast money.
    • Fridge Logic: K-Pop Idol Singers are known for making very little personally, with most of their profits going to their management companies to pay for further training, company staffing, and promotional activities.
  • Lame Comeback: Episode 2 has this exchange once Hyemi has been rejected again despite kneeling down in front of the admissions board and begging for a spot in the school while all of the other applicants are watching:
    Director Jung: If not, then what did I just see?
    Hyemi: I only... only... only... only wanted to have a look at your nostrils!
  • Local Hangout: Jingook and his friends have one. Hyemi and her sister use it to crash for one night after their home has been repossessed. It later becomes the special applicant students' training room since they're barred from using any of the school's facilities.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Arguably Hyemi and possibly Baekhee.
  • Lovable Coward: Professor Yang, who is afraid to lose his job
  • Love at First Note: While he doesn't confess any feelings towards Pilsook herself, Jason tells her that he's wanted to do a duet with her since the first time he heard her voice.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Samdong immediately falls for Hyemi the first time they meet.
    • Pilsook is also immediately taken with Jason.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Samsong <-> Hyemi <-> Jingook
    • Baekhee -> Jingook <-> Hyemi
    • Insung -> Baekhee -> Jingook
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Director Shi, who has been heading Kirin in the absence of its headmaster Director Jung, feels disgruntled about having to hand back control of the school and schemes to get Director Jung out of the picture.
      • Director Shi opens the school showcase to the press and has the three special applicants — Samdong, Hyemi, and Jingook — be known and forced to come on stage. Unfortunately, Samdong is late, Jingook runs off, and Hyemi is left standing alone in the spotlight. Director Shi planned to open the showcase to the press to either force Director Jung to give up on the special applicants or make Director Jung resign himself.
    • Jingook's dad is also this.
  • Manipulative Bastard's Beautiful Daughter: Professor Shi Kyungjin is the daughter of Director Shi Bumsoo.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Jason appears especially nice to Pilsook — only for it to turn out he's nice to everyone. He goes out of his way to talk with her, only to walk off with another girl on his arm. While Pilsook's feelings towards him are very obvious, the most straight-forward he's been is when he told her he wanted to do a duet with her because he liked her voice.
  • Meganekko: Baekhee and Pilsook, although Baekhee quickly loses hers.
  • Meet Cute: Samdong and Hyemi run into each other, which results in Hyemi's cellphone breaking. Samdong immediately falls for her, but Hyemi carries on, not realizing he's the person she's been looking for.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The K pendant. It's first shown with the unknown Kirin alumni who has just won a Grammy at the beginning of the series, and is shown to have originally belonged to Director Jung.
    • He later passes it on to Baekhee when she asks him if she got in because of her talent, and the other students credit her successful first stage performance to its power.
    • Baekhee, however, loses it during a fight with Hyemi, who wonders if it's the reason she and the other special applicants had still been accepted despite messing up at the showcase.
    • It gets returned to Baekhee when the others accuse Hyemi of stealing it.
    • Everyone in the main cast gets a chance to own it at some point in the series.
  • Meta Guy: Hyemi mentions that she thought she was the main character in the story, but may in fact just be a peripheral character.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: The fake showcase
  • Missed Him by That Much: While Jingook is frantically looking for Hyemi in the fifth episode, she passes by underneath him.
  • Missing Mom:
  • Momma's Boy: Samdong, who pretends his reason for entering a regional talent search is to find a girl so his mother will stop worrying about him rather than because he actually likes singing.
    • Hyemi quickly realizes his weakness for his mother, and thus goes straight to her about the offer for Samdong to join Kirin, knowing that he would be less likely to refuse his mother even if he refused her.
  • Morality Pet: Hyemi initially has two: her little sister Hyesung and her Number Two Baekhee. She loses the latter by the end of the episode.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Samdong, Jingook, and Jason.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Samdong.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Jingook loses his Modesty Towel in front of Hyemi. The two of them start screaming.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: Interestingly enough, the Loan Sharks who harass Hyemi early in the series qualify. They could have just forced Hyemi into less desirable occupations rather than making her an Idol Singer, plus they help at with the fake showcase more than they have to (even if Professor Kang initially had to pay them to rent out the place). The boss seems to be striking up a romance with Professor Kang's sister as well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jason is perfectly justified in returning to the school in episode 7 to pick up something for a teacher so that said teacher doesn't find out about the fake showcase. But then he thinks it's a good idea to ditch the real showcase and help out with the fake one instead because it's more interesting to him. While he does help improve Pilsook's performance, because of his actions Professor Shi sticks around the school to look for him and finds out about the showcase herself.
  • Odd Friendship / Odd Couple: Jason and Pilsook, especially as Jason is kind to Pilsook immediately rather than after She Cleans Up Nicely.
  • Only One Name: Jingook when he changed his name from Hyun Shihyuk
  • Parental Abandonment: Jingook's mother leaves him at an orphanage.
  • Parental Neglect: Jingook's father ignored him even after taking him in from the orphanage and Baekhee's mother ignores her as well.
  • Performance Anxiety: It's implied Jingook experiences this when he is forced to step on the showcase stage, and hastily makes his way off of it.
  • Pet the Dog:
  • Precocious Crush: Hyemi's little sister, Hyesung, has a crush on Jingook, even stealing a kiss.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Hyemi's story.
  • Princess in Rags: Hyemi, who refuses to even let Baekhee know she is now both penniless and homeless and has yet to let up on her arrogant attitude.
  • Punch a Wall: After Professor Shi tells him off for only being interested in music and dancing for the fun of it and telling him he wouldn't be a good performer on his own, the normally laidback Jason punches his locker a few times in frustration.
  • Put on a Bus: An in-universe example. Jingook's politician dad aims to do this to him by sending him out of the country so that no one can find out he abandoned Jingook and his mother.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The special applicant students.
  • Rescue Romance: Jingook saves Hyemi from a bunch of Loan Sharks in the first episode.
    • When he tries to do this again in the second episode, she's already been rescued and he ends up beaten up.
  • Rich Bitch: Hyemi starts as one, although seeing as she is the female lead, it can be assumed she got over the "bitch" part.
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: One of the six students eventually goes on to become the first Korean to ever win a Grammy in 2018. This story is about how that particular student got their start. In the last episode, it's revealed that "K" is Samdong.
  • The Runaway: Jingook when he left his father's house
  • Sadist Teacher / Stern Teacher: Professor Shi
  • School Idol: Due to the nature of Kirin Arts High, there are students who have already risen to fame in the real world despite still attending. These celebrities are thus widely popular in the school itself as well.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: In the Korean language, Jung Ahjung's name would be read the same backwards and forwards. She mentions this in her own introduction.
  • Secret Test of Character: The director of Kirin offers Hyemi a second chance at passing her audition by asking her to identify the songs he is playing on the piano. She is immediately able to identify one of the songs in the mash-up as Gershwin's Summertime because of her classical training, but has difficulty identifying the second, which she assumes to be a classical piece as well. Her inability to identify it as a humble, but still famous, Korean trot song that most people would be able to identify on the spot reveals her prejudice against different types of music and her own superiority complex.
  • Self-Deprecation: JYP's role as Professor Yang makes fun of his own looks, talent, and personality as hilariously as possible.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In episode three, Hyemi sings Mandy Moore's Only Hope because Samdong is her only hope of entering Kirin.
    • Jingook's friend Jo Insung shares his name with a popular actor.
    • Episode 6 has parodies of the Korean adaption of Hana Yori Dango and the Korean Drama Cinderella's Sister in Samdong's Imagine Spots, including theme songs.
    • Episode 7 has Pilsook and Jason performing 2PM's Heartbeat. 2PM is the group to which Taecyeon and Wooyoung, the actors portraying Jingook and Jason, belong.
    • The preview for Episode 10 is intercut with JYP (dressed in a MC Hammer jumpsuit) dancing Too Legit 2 Quit
    • Episode 12 has a Shout Out to Winter Sonata with a tender scarf-wrapping scene with the Theme Tune "From The Beginning" in the background.
    • Star Wars is given a nod in Episode 15 with an R2-D2 reference and a short reprise of the Star Wars Theme Tune.
  • Sleep Cute: Hyemi falls asleep while leaning against Samdong in episode 7.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Hyemi. Later, Baekhee.
    • Professor Shi also calls out Jason on this when he tells her he would rather perform something he actually likes with someone he actually wants to partner with at the school showcase and blows off his rehearsals to practice whatever he wants.
  • Snow Means Love: Done twice. First Hyemi walks in the snow with Samdong while in the countryside, and later she shares an Umbrella of Togetherness with Jingook.
  • Spit Take: Jingook accidentally does one at Hyesung when he overhears Hyemi criticizing him.
  • Spoiled Brat: Both Hyemi and her sister Hyesung.
  • The Starscream: Baekhee
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Hyemi's "Winter Child".
  • Take Me Instead: Director Jung gives up his position as head of Kirin to Director Shi in order for Professor Kang and the three special applicant students to stay.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Hyemi's initial problem with singing — she has terrific technique, but can't emote or engage the audience to save her life.
  • Throwing Your Shoe Always Works: Hyemi throws a shoe at the Loan Sharks after herself and Jingook in order to deter them.
  • Title Drop: Dream High refers to the plan Professor Kang came up with as a high school student for an arts high school where teenagers would be encouraged to pursue their dreams. It somehow comes into the possession of Director Jung who used it as a blueprint for Kirin itself, but he later returns it to Professor Kang after his resignation as the headmaster.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Yoghurt drinks for both Hyemi and Jingook, who actually fought over them as kids.
  • Training Montage: Pilsook has one in episode 8, resulting in a prettier look.
  • Turn Coat: Jason ditches his performance at the real school showcase and ends up teaming up with Pilsook for the fake one because Jingook has ditched the special applicant students as per his father's request.
    • Jingook ditches the fake school showcase and ends up teaming up with Baekhee for the real one because Jason ditched the real showcase and there's no opening act.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The original special admissions trio: Samdong, Hyemi, and Jingook
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Jason and Pilsook choose to practice 2AM's Can't Let You Go Even If I Die while in different classes.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Jingook holds one out for Hyemi while they're in the snow.
  • The Unfavorite: While there is no mention of if Baekhee has siblings, while asking if she truly was picked for her talent Baekhee tells Director Jung that her own mother referred to her as "defective" after having a dream of cockroaches before she was born. Her character bio also mentions that she is treated as invisible by everyone including her mother.
  • The Unfettered: Baekhee aims to be this while Professor Shi is this.
  • Unknown Rival: Jason's singing talent and dancing talent threatens Samdong and Jingook, respectively. He doesn't care about competing though, just enjoying himself and music.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Jingook's friend Insung is having a Potty Emergency, he asks Jingook to buy him time as he uses the restroom since he's the next auditionee up. Jingook obliges by harrassing the other applicants and the staff with a mop and a fire extinguisher and blowing his chances of an audition.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Hyemi and Baekhee. Each girl gives reconciliation a shot at least once, but unfortunately the other is usually too blinded by anger to accept it.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Samdong to his mother and Jingook to his estranged father.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Hyemi gives Samdong a haircut after noticing he has pretty eyes that he keeps hidden behind his Messy Hair.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jingook ditching the fake showcase, and then agreeing to help Baekhee in the real one.
  • When She Smiles: Samdong finally sees a genuine smile from Hyemi after she gets a phone call from her missing father, and later refers to this as a sign of her opening up to him compared to Jingook.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Jingook's father does this to him, telling him he doesn't want to neglect Jingook in favor of his political career anymore right after hitting him and using this to convince Jingook to give up music. It doesn't exactly work out.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Baekhee initiates a fight with Hyemi in the girls' bathroom, and when the other students come to investigate, pretends she lost in order to gain their sympathy and turn them even more against Hyemi.
  • Your Favorite: Pilsook presents Jason with water bottles and lollipops almost daily, which he casually accepts. He never actually says anything about the presents though.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: