AKB48 Group Draft Kaigi
The AKB48 Group Draft Kaigi (AKB48グループ ドラフト会議, AKB48 Group Draft Meeting) is an AKB48 event. It was founded with the intention for teams "to find new talent that is missing from their current roster."
The event is a semi-public audition, where instead of progressing through the standard auditions for AKB48 Group Kenkyuusei, participants are selected by Team Captains directly to become "Draft Members". This selection serves as the applicant's final audition, and as such, applicants are referred to as "finalists" during the event. The event is broadcasted, and representatives from each domestic AKB48 Group team evaluate the pool of finalists in singing, dancing, and performance appeal. Team Captains are permitted to chose any number of finalists to join their team. The most finalists picked by a single team in a draft was six, by Team M in the 3rd Draft Kaigi. However, not all finalists are selected to join teams, and those not selected are not admitted to any group.
Once selected, draft members are bound to the team they are chosen for. In 2013, drafted members became regular members as soon as they were selected in the draft. This changed in 2015, with drafted members becoming Kenkyuusei bound to their selected team instead. This meant that they performed in Kenkyuusei stages and events, and also as understudies exclusively for the team they were bound to. Drafted members are eventually promoted to the team they were selected for, barring graduations or Team Shuffles.
Draft members do not have a choice of what group or team they will join, since they are chosen by that respective team captain. They can either accept the offer or decline it. If the member has multiple nominations, her team will be decided through lottery.