The more they delay the auditions the more I'm getting worried for Ichioka. She's 19 (and probably will debut at this age). Not that I am against older idols, I see no problem here in general, maybe they could be even more free since at least Ichioka's not in school anymore. But I see two problems with this:
1. The rest of the group might be awkwardly younger than her. I bet they won't be allowing anyone past the age of 16 to take part in the general audition and the only Kenshuusei older than her is Horie Kizuki at 19, Inoue Hikaru is close with 17 years. That being said in late summer, when the group will hopefully debut, the two will be 20 and 18 respectively. But they will never make a group out of only 3 members for H!P (at least not atm). Considering they want this one to be the "performance group" I can see them adding older members to give it a kind of K-Pop feel. However, as said, I doubt they'll allow anyone older than 16 in the audition - and they'll probably add a 12 year old just to spite me.
2. When Yuuko and Kei joined they did not really join an idol group, in fact Yuuko didn't audition to join any girl group lol. That being said, back then being in MM - or H!P - was a job with somewhat of a future. It was the door to entertainment business. Nowadays H!P is irrelevant and I mean, they don't even do talento stuff anymore. They perform on stage, both concerts and stage plays, like 98% of the time. Being an idol doesn't really work as a first step into a whole big industry and most of those who are still with Up Front post graduation have made enough money during their active time or are close to getting married or anything. What I'm saying is Ichioka hasn't had a real job yet, there have been no news about her going to university, and "idol" is an insecure job especially if you start that late. I worry that she might simply say bye bye after a year or two because your early twenties are a really weird time and you have to make a lot of decisions for your future. You're constantly under the mood that you're losing time if you don't do something that secures your future.
It's totally possible to work with Up Front after you reached 25 years of age, but I'm not sure if that's a good job. I'd say people like Takahashi Ai, Michishige Sayumi or even the Kids have made enough money in their life not to care too much about smaller jobs. I guess the biggest things you can do are stage plays, but considering that Ichioka has only played side roles that's not something that's open for her yet. Becoming a model is also pretty much out; even active members rarely get good photoshootings. Hell, considering her popularity you would guess Sayumi would've gotten more modeling jobs but I only remember that one where she wore office fashion or something. Writing books... on what? Dawa has art, Ai had fashion, Ichioka is a nobody, nobody would buy her book aside from maybe wota. I mean being in H!P you do have some kind of salary but it definitely isn't much if you don't have side stuff like photobooks or single TV appearances or photoshoots. I honestly can't see her going post 25, and then what?