When the 2nd round began, MC Moon Kyung Min stood on the stage,
“The first top 10 stage progressed live a week ago. For the past week, something shocking happened. An instrumental topped a pop music chart for the first time in Korea.”
Tremendous applause exploded from the crowd. They were congratulating the win of the person they were rooting for.
“That’s right. It was Shin Hae Chul’s ‘From the Sun to the Boy’ that Jang Jun Hyuk performed. Jun Hyuk personally arranged a space rock song into a magnificent classical to sweep the charts. It was a moment for him to enter as a new music powerhouse. It became a hot topic when it was revealed that he had arranged all of the parts for the orchestra as well.”
He continued speaking after looking at the crowd’s reaction,
“To give you a hint, Jun Hyuk will not be singing today either. The surprising stage he will show is another point to watch for. And how far will Jun Hyuk be able to advance without singing?”
They were able to see Moon Kyung Min’s hint right away. The first stage was Jun Hyuk’s.
The stage was lit brightly with the atmosphere of a club, and six back dancers entered. However, Jun Hyuk stood in the middle of the stage and instead of moving wildly like a DJ, focused calmly on his performance.
“It’s a good thing we at least had the back dancers.”
The assistant producer spoke with a mix of self-chastisement. Producer Kim Ki Sik smirked as he watched the screen,
“It’s okay. It’s what I wanted.”
Producer Kim had prevented the music director and production team from trying to direct Jun Hyuk’s performance during the rehearsal.
Jun Hyuk would be out after the 3rd round. Now, they needed to start putting out a card that would replace Jun Hyuk. This was why they had made Jun Hyuk go first. It was hard to remember the first performance after all 10 people had gone.
The audience reaction was also as expected. The youths could not help but be taken aback. They wanted to enjoy the fun music they were hearing, but the stage they were looking at was calm. The imbalance between sight and hearing made it so that they could not move.
“Judges, please match the scores to low 80s.”
When the evaluation ended, MC Moon Kyung Min spoke again,
“Jun Hyuk who received the best score in the round last week was unable to receive a high score this time. It’s a situation we could not predict. I think this is the zest in a competition that is shown in a live broadcast.”
Jessica, who was Producer Kim Ki Sik’s new card, showed again that she was a strong candidate to win. Similarly Jang Na Rae, who was being pushed forward as a dark horse, went last and gave a performance that did not fall behind the quality of the recording she had done of Yoon Jung Su’s ballad.
As the judges gave high praises, the audience cheered. Tomorrow, there would be articles pitting the newly discovered Jang Na Rae against Jessica who is closest to the crown. Jun Hyuk could not even be mentioned. It is much easier for the public to forget someone than it is to keep thinking of them on their own.
“The arrangement hasn’t come out yet? I guess this mission song is hard. Ha ha.”
Jun Hyuk did not put his classic guitar down even when Kim Jong Suk said that it would be okay to go with a piano instrumental if he thought that he could not do it. He thought that if he were to play this song on the piano, it would be no different from the accompaniment in Lee So Ra’s song.
“It’s really hard to express Lee So Ra’s emotions without ‘speech’. Lee So Ra… is really an impressive vocalist.”
‘It’s probably hard to express ‘that day’ and not Lee So Ra.’
Kim Jong Suk did not think that he would be of any help to Jun Hyuk even if he spoke more. He confessed the last feeling that he had,
“Did you catch on to the fact that I’m trying to force you to sing?”
“Yes. I thought so.”
“There’s only one reason why I tried to get you to sing. I’m not expecting Mozart’s Figaro’s Wedding from you, but hoping for an oldie like John Lennon’s Imagine.”
He meant for Jun Hyuk to consider pop music as well and not just classical.
“Pop music has a shorter history than classical does. Mozart’s music has been played for 250 years, but is there something that says the Beatles’ music won’t do the same? It’s already been 50 years since ‘Yesterday’ came out. But doesn’t it still get a lot of love? I can bet it’ll still be popular 200 years later. When it’s only 2 minutes long.”
The reason why a 2 minute song with a simple melody was able to bring such emotion was Paul McCartney’s voice and lyrics.
“You don’t have to have amazing vocals. John Lennon isn’t an amazing singer. Look at Bob Dylan who is called a bard. He just throws the lyrics.”
When Jun Hyuk had given other participants help on the program, he had not paid attention to the lyrics. All he had done was help find the best way for them to express with the voice that they had.
“You need to see the emotion of a singer rather than the technical aspects of producing, composing, and directing. I wish you would try feeling that emotion while singing. That way, an oldie will come out. If you sing this with sincerity, you’ll know what I’m talking about.”
Kim Jong Suk’s slow and concise tone indicated that he would no longer interfere.
“Fine. This is my last piece of advice. Play the accompaniment on the guitar. Calmly.”
“I’m going to try to sing it.”
“Why? You think I can’t sing? I’ve been making a living off of music for over 30 years. I bet I’m better than you.”
Jun Hyuk saw Kim Jong Suk laugh, and calmly played the guitar while Kim Jong Suk delivered the lyrics.
When the song ended, Kim Jong Suk took the guitar from Jun Hyuk’s arms.
“This time, I’ll play the accompaniment, you try singing.”
“Why? What’s wrong? Just think of it as if you’re at karaoke.”
Jun Hyuk sang quietly to Kim Jong Suk’s guitar. When the song ended, he must have seen how Kim Jong Suk felt on his face because he turned bright red. He had not sung well, showing how uncomfortable and unconfident he felt.
“You’re just singing to show me. Singing for others to hear are professional singers. You’re singing for the first time today. Don’t think about showing it to me, but show it to yourself. Let other people hear it when you do the broadcast.”
Kim Jong Suk pat Jun Hyuk’s shoulder and left. Talking about it any more would be unnecessary nagging. He felt relieved, but also sorry to Producer Kim Ki Sik.
“Producer Kim, it’s me.”
– Oh, teacher. Is it going well?
“Yeah. He might sing. I heard Jun Hyuk sing just now.”
– Is… that for real?
It was a voice of disbelief, and he could feel the great anticipation. Kim Jong Suk replied cautiously,
“Um… His singing isn’t very good. Don’t expect too much.”
– ….. I see. There’s nothing we can do. You worked hard.
Kim Jong Suk had thought that Producer Kim would make a fuss, but when he heard how resigned he was, he could guess that the future rounds had already been decided.
After hanging up the phone, Kim Ki Sik yelled out,
“Hey! Production team gather. It’s an emergency meeting.”
The production team that had gathered in the conference room was curious as to what had happened, but they did not speak when they saw Kim Ki Sik’s stern face.
“Everyone needs to listen to me and come back with an answer within 30 minutes. If not, you’re all dead.”
What could it be that he’s starting with a threat?
“Jun Hyuk just sang.”
The production team had not expected these words to come from Kim Ki Sik and waited for the next.
“Apparently it’s not good.”
“It’s just average.”
Everyone was disappointed. It seems there would be no surprise or reversal.
“Well I guess he seems more human. If he could sing well with that face and that talent, he would really be a mistake from God. I’m starting to feel affection for him now that I know there’s something he can’t do.”
Assistant Producer Pil Jae could not hide his sinking feeling and laughed.
“Stop talking nonsense and think about it. What do you think we should do?”
“Jun Hyuk’s singing is a total mess?”
“I told you. It’s at an average level. Why do you have so many questions?”
If Jun Hyuk’s singing had been a hidden treasure, they would have found some way to advance him to the win. But they had lost control of the situation and Jun Hyuk himself did not have the will to keep going. The result was decided.
“Senior, let’s go with the singing.”
“He said it’s not good.”
“If we go with an instrumental, what could be different? Jun Hyuk’s performance can’t become a hot topic anymore. You saw how bad his 2nd round EDM track sales are? When Jang Na Rae was in 1st place, Jun Hyuk was above 50.”
“Well that’s a difference between a song and electronic. The consumer is different. More than a best seller at clubs, it’ll go as a steady.”
It was not only that. It would be sold to various entertainment programs and CFs.
“Isn’t Jun Hyuk done with the 3rd round? And we got a lot of track sales from the Star Week songs he did in the preliminaries. Not to mention the 1st round orchestra.”
“So what are you trying to say?”
There were only two objectives for an audition program. Track sales and viewer ratings.
“He’s finally singing in the 3rd round. With this, we don’t have to worry about viewer ratings.”
“What does it matter if he can’t sing? I would actually be happier if he was tone deaf. That’s an incredible reversal. I’m sure he would gain even more popularity.”
The production team were agreement as if there was nothing left to contemplate.
“Fine. Let’s go with the viewer ratings. Send out the press release. Don’t be obvious, just let it slip.”
“Okay. There’s a rumor in the broadcasting station that Jun Hyuk might sing. You mean at this rate?”
With this, Jun Hyuk’s 3rd round elimination was decided. Jun Hyuk’s musicality was a waste, but an audition program does not exist to protect the dignity of music. It is a commercial show. They needed to be true to their field.
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