Debut or Die Magazine
The judges looked like they were about to say something along the lines of, ‘Then are you guys saying that Raebin did everything wrong?’
So, I had to choose my words well.
‘I have to make it sound like I am listing facts, not trying to fix the situation.’
“Yes, Raebin… Since he could make an arrangement, we consulted with the arranger, and we all decided on the direction of the arrangement.”
Kim Raebin flinched.
‘He can’t open his mouth.’
Fortunately, Ryu Chungwoo came right in.
“That’s right. We’ll talk about the problem you mentioned and solve it. Therefore, on the day of the team match, we’ll make sure to show you the best performance.”
We saved it.
Ryu Chungwoo and I didn’t add anything else.
The judges looked thoughtful, but they soon nodded.
‘They probably thought that the opportunity to reprimand us already passed.’
It was a relief.
“Then you’ll have to start rearranging it again, but you’ll be far behind the other teams. Can you do it?”
“We’ll do it. We can do it, right?”
“We can do it!”
If only it wasn’t for the guy who threw his senses to the trash can and brought us all the way here, hopefully, he wouldn’t miss the answer again.
Fortunately, this time, the troll also came to his senses and answered vigorously.
Judge Youngrin nodded.
“Okay, but you have to know that it can be a reckless challenge in this time constraint, the consequences are yours to bear.”
“That’s right. There’s no guarantee that changing it will make it better than it is now.”
But if the stage wasn’t good because we didn’t change it, there would be a reaction like, ‘Why didn’t you change it even after getting feedback?’
And since it would include something like ‘you have no challenge spirit’, it was meaningless.
In the end, whatever we do, the process is edited and evaluated according to the results.
All the participants knew this implicitly, so there was a sense of discipline and tension in the team.
“Yes, we’ll keep that in mind.”
The moment Ryu Chungwoo’s answer seemed to end the situation, a voice interrupted.
“May I say something?”
It was the original singer with a microphone.
“Oh, yes… Go ahead.”
With a slight reluctance, the judges answered the original singer who suddenly stepped in, and the original singer lifted the microphone with deep eyes.
“On your stage… I couldn’t feel the power of < Burning Like the Sun>.”
What are you saying out of the blue when everyone’s already done talking?
The original singer continued to talk over the people who were subtly bewildered.
“This song needs to inspire courage and passion in people’s hearts, right? But just because you guys are handsome and good at dancing doesn’t mean you can properly deliver that message.”
“When we were promoting, we really wanted to give off that feeling. You shouldn’t forget the respect for this kind of song just because you’re a little famous now.”
Aren’t you ashamed to say things like that to audition participants who haven’t even made their debut yet?
It seemed he mistook old-fashioned remarks as advice for kids. His ego also seemed bloated.
However, it was painful that we had to pay attention since our reactions would go into editing as well.
I still have to squeeze out an alternative arrangement, do I have to take that nonsense into account?
It was annoying, but if we refuted it, only the image of taking a song away from a ‘poor unknown idol original singer’ would come out, so everyone answered meekly.
“We’ll keep that in mind.”
Well… Social life is like that.
* * *
After all the other teams finished their midterm evaluation, the rearrangement discussion finally began.
The troll hesitated and spoke to Kim Raebin.
“Hey, I’m sorry….”
Is it okay to let him apologize in front of the camera?
Well, since the team setup was already covered, it was up to him to fix his mistake.
Kim Raebin was silent for a moment but he soon nodded.
“No, it’s fine. It’s true that I was in charge of the arrangement.”
In fact, it wouldn’t be strange if he answered, ‘No, fu*k you, you’re the one who told me to do it’.
Anyway, Ryu Chungwoo patted both of them on the back and ended the conversation.
“Great job, guys. Let’s talk about the arrangement again as soon as we’re ready.”
For reference, ‘ready’ here is referring to the camera setting of the production team.
During the interlude, the participants dispersed briefly in determination.
Their expressions weren’t very good because the midterm evaluation was close, but perhaps because it was settled at the end, they still had some hope.
‘But hope is useful only if we can come up with an alternative.’
Looking at the situation, no one had come up with the arrangement direction, and it seemed they just expected something to come out.
It meant that they wanted to turn it into a happy situation without having to do anything.
‘The future isn’t very bright.’
“Hey, Park Moondae hyung.”
As I sat in the corner and tried to think alone, Kim Raebin spoke to me.
He hadn’t talked much to me in the last three days.
…No, come to think of it, he rarely talked to anyone for the past three days in the first place.
I practiced so hard that I couldn’t afford to chat.
Anyway, Kim Rae-bin knelt next to me and said solemnly.
He was probably thanking me for cutting off the troll’s words earlier.
“It was the first time someone else helped me in such a situation…”
I see, I understand the situation roughly.
Kim Raebin was also worried.
If we fought because he couldn’t adapt to the team again, he was afraid that the public opinion of him wouldn’t be recovered.
‘No wonder you’re keeping a low profile.’
Sure enough, he slowly told his long story.
“I was worried that I would be criticized for lacking teamwork again after the first round, but thanks to Park Moondae hyung, I overcame the crisis. As expected, it was a wise choice to recruit someone with good teamwork first.”
Is it because of ‘teamwork’ that Park Moondae was picked first?
When I asked that question, he nodded.
“Yes, I saw you treat your team members reasonably. Of course, your singing skills were also great.”
“…Uh, yes. Thank you.”
He was very unique in the aspect that he believed the contents of the broadcast even after being crushed by editing on the said broadcast.
I can’t believe you trust Park Moondae’s teamwork ability even though I was edited as unsocial in the beginning…
It was really amazing. I would have understood it better if he had picked Keun Sejin.
‘Ah, you didn’t pick him because his role as leader overlapped with Ryu Chungwoo.’
I guess you have a standard.
As I was confused, Kim Raebin spoke again.
“Oh, hyung. I don’t mind if you speak comfortably.”
Well, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a high-ranked guy.
After I answered meekly, I realized that I had a question to ask in the current situation.
“By the way, do you have any idea about the arrangement?”
“…Actually, it’s a little difficult.”
Kim Rae-bin’s impression of a popular bully softened a bit, and his expression turned gloomy.
“Even if I start rearranging again, it’s a matter of which part and how much I should fix.”
So basically he didn’t know how many touches he had to do in order to meet the deadline, because he already practiced everything.
“I don’t think we should fix it too much… I don’t know what to do because there’s no unity in the corrections we have right now.”
So he meant he didn’t have any particular ideas and couldn’t decide what to fix.
It was the same as me.
Kim Raebin muttered his worries as if he couldn’t stop once he started.
“We should also reflect the original singer’s advice, but I’m not sure what it means specifically to ‘insert courage and passion’.”
That’s… really true.
It was hardly an advice.
‘How can idols inspire courage and passion when they’re not some sort of American superhero from the 1980s?’
Wait. Just now… I think I realized something.
I recalled my previous thought and realized that I had caught a strange idea.
But the more I thought about it, the more the idea… fitted perfectly with the situation.
A concept idea that can be arranged so that it can be digested even if the original key is used as it is.
We didn’t have to change the choreography of the cheering squad concept that we’d already practiced, and we could even catch the concept of ‘courage’ and ‘passion.’
It might be a wonderful solution. But the problem is…
‘…It’s too much.’
That’s right. Not only it was excessive, but it could also become childish. Then I couldn’t just fix it. It was clear that even if only one person made a mistake on the stage, it would be ruined.
“Wait a minute.”
I ignored Kim Raebin’s retort for now.
Instead, I shouted to myself as I saw the team members slowly returning after the break time.
And I quickly swept through the status of my teammates.
I didn’t know about the other stats, but all of their ‘Talent’ stats were above B-.
For reference, having the B stat meant that they could go for the main position with that level.
Indeed, it was a team made up of only high-ranking people.
‘This… Seems like this is going to work?’
No wonder the judges didn’t really care about the out-of-season cheering squad concept.
“Raebin. This arrangement.”
I spat out the idea I had to Kim Raebin who seemed a bit bewildered.
Kim Raebin seemed perplexed at first. However, as I added more explanation, he became calmer, and soon his eyes began to shine.
(TL note: the eyes are described with 삼백안 which means a type of eyes that shows the white beneath the pupils. It doesn’t translate well to English so I left it out.)
The response was better than expected.
“W-wait a minute.”
Kim Raebin ran to the keyboard installed on one side of the practice room and began to tap something out.
And I thought of Kim Raebin’s status window that I saw earlier.
[Characteristics: Maestro (A)]
: What you need is just a small opportunity.
When inspired, creative speed +120%
Just like Seon Ahyeon, there was also a separate golden spoon in his status window.
‘The ability to copy other people’s characteristics… Is there none? It comes out often in web novels.’
I wanted to lament, but I had to do what I had to do. I quickly called the status window.
And I invested the remaining points in the ‘Talent’ stat.
With this, my stat also entered B-.
‘All right, I match their figures.’
“Moondae, why did Raebin go to the keyboard all of a sudden?”
Ryu Chungwoo approached, unable to speak to Kim Rae-bin who was pounding the keyboard, and spoke to Park Moondae.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“I came up with a concept idea, and I guess he likes it.”
“What’s your idea?”
Behind the confused Ryu Chungwoo, Cha Eugene whispered to the person next to him.
“What is a transformation water tongue?”
(TL note: Here, Cha Eugene heard it wrong. What Park Moondae said = 히어로물 (hiromuri). What he heard = 혀로물 (hyoromuri).)
There were five days left until the day of the ccompetition.
* * *
And five days later, on the day of the competition.
It was crowded in front of the stage set building where the second team match of <Idol Inc.> would be held.
The number of audiences hadn’t increased much. It was only thanks to the soaring ratings and the increasing popularity index that there were more people wandering around and trying to listen to our voices.
It was terribly unsettling that some people were already giving out slogans and photo cards even though it was not the last broadcast.
‘Wow, it’s no joke.’
A woman stood in the line, avoiding the crowd with a sullen gesture.
At the request of a friend, both of them had applied to be part of the audience, however, she was the only one who managed to get in, so she finally canceled her class thinking ‘Shouldn’t I just go?’.
‘Because it’s so famous these days.’
Of course, this choice was greatly influenced by the request of the friend who appealed with tears and food, saying, ‘Please, tell me how’s Moondae doing.’
Still, in the back of her mind, she had this thought.
‘Is it that good…?’
She had also seen a picture of Park Moondae with golden brown hair on SNS.
He was quite attractive, but she thought he wasn’t handsome enough for her to like him.
Still, she entered the building, thinking that since she got treated to a meal, she should keep an eye on him.
She never imagined a future where she would beg her friend for a picture of Park Moondae after the audience was over.