Volume 1 / Chapter 22
The broadcasting station received over a million application video clips, but the number of people who actually qualified was under 1%.
Of this already small number, it was the ones who were already known on the internet or known by word of mouth that had the most spots on the list. The anonymous applicants were just checked casually to see if they had anything unique in their resumes and weren’t really given too much attention. They started by choosing the applicants with unusual histories or funny videos. Because this was entertainment. More than talent, it was important to find something they could sell.
After filtering through the 1st round, thousands of applicants went to the gymnasium or auditorium in their respective areas. These locations were filled with booths set up for each applicant to show off their talents and try to make it to the next round. The broadcasting station’s goal was to find qualifying participants in each area who were cool, admirable, or funny. Search for any real musical talent or ability was a farce. If it could sell, they wanted it – whether they could sing, dance, perform, or not.
On the day of the preliminary area qualifier, Jun Hyuk went to the auditorium with his acoustic guitar. When he arrived, the young writer he met last time came running out.
“Welcome Jun Hyuk. Come this way.”
It was obvious he was drooling at the marketable young boy.
In the waiting room the young writer led him to the main writer, Production Chief ,Kim Ki Sik and a well-dressed middle-aged woman who looked as though she had made countless men cry in her youth. The two had been holding a meeting.
“Producer Kim, this is the piano genius we told you about. This is Jang Jun Hyuk.”
Producer Kim Ki Shik was already at a loss for words. He could not take his eyes from the long curly hair, tall height, and well proportioned body. Now this. This is he could sell. This would bring viewers!
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m the producer in charge of ‘Tomorrow’s Star’.”
Jun Hyuk awkwardly shook Producer Kim Ki Shik’s hand lightly and let go.
“We have great expectations for you because you most definitely stand out. Anyway, we’re going to make you and the top 10 the main focus until Star Week. Of course the top 10 varies, but the candidates we predict usually make it into the top 10.”
Jun Hyuk seemed to be half-listening, but Producer Kim kept chatting.
“Since you can’t sing, becoming one of the finalists will be difficult. This program does run on singing.”
Jun Hyuk only nodded his head. A person’s voice was just another instrument, but he could not understand why they made such a differentiation. Songs with lyrics just had text that made it easier to deliver. Ultimately, it was just a relaying of emotion and this could be fully accomplished with a melody from an instrument.
“And since you don’t speak very much, what do you think of going with a chic concept?”
“Meaning when you’re going through screening and when you’re with the other contestants, you act indifferent and a little annoyed. Maybe even a little snobby?”
The writer next to him pitched in,
“With your image, you have to act a little snobby to look more attractive. We should go with a rebellious image and not that of the kind protagonist in a romantic cartoon.”
Jun Hyuk had no idea what these people were talking about. It wasn’t like they were filming a soap opera, but what was all of this with concept and protagonist?
“Jun Hyuk is naturally chic. You won’t have to worry about it. Jun Hyuk, just be yourself.”
The young writer sensed Jun Hyuk’s discomfort and spoke up again.
“But why the guitar? Aren’t you playing the piano today?”
Producer Kim had already placed a grand piano in the screening room, but there was a guitar case hanging from Jun Hyuk’s back.
“No, I’m going to play the guitar today.”
Producer Kim could not hide his inconvenience. He had already imagined him playing the piano, and a guitar did not have as much impact.
He did look forward to the expectation that Jun Hyuk would sing since he brought out an acoustic guitar.
“What’s the song you prepared for today?”
“I haven’t thought about it yet…..”
“What? Didn’t you bring the guitar to sing a song?”
Producer Kim thought that it was an error in judgment to hang their expectations on a kid like this who did whatever he wanted. He even had the thought that with one mistake, they might have to edit out all of Jun Hyuk’s air time.
All that was remaining was to see how they could sell his looks.
After sending Jun Hyuk from the room, the middle-aged woman who had been silent turned towards Producer Kim.
“Producer Kim. Now that I look at you, you have an eye for seeing talent. How did you find him?”
“Our youngest writer found him. What do you think? You think he’ll be any good?”
“Any good? You’ve hit jackpot. Great, our XOR will sponsor on the condition that he makes it into Star Week no matter what.”
The Marketing Director of Korea’s representative casual brand XOR was already thinking of how to use Jun Hyuk as the model for their new line.
“Oh, Director. How can I decide that? There are other kids who can be used so…”
“Are you crazy? We just found a kid who could stand on the runway now and you want me to use something recycled?”
In contrast with the smiling Producer Kim Ki Sik, she held a straight face and waved her hand as if he said something ludicrous.
“Let’s do it like this, Producer Kim.”
“If you don’t think that child can make it to Star Week, pass him over to us now.”
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make him our exclusive model altogether. He’ll need to have talent as a model of course.”
“So you want to have priority over him?”
“Then the sponsorship?”
“If that boy signs a contract with us, we’ll go through with the sponsorship. How does that sound?”
Jun Hyuk’s opinions were unimportant. No teenager in Korea would turn down this opportunity to be made into a model or celebrity.
“As is expected of you, Director. I’ll arrange for a meeting with the legal team.”
Producer Kim Ki Sik gave her a thumbs up.
But Jun Hyuk was not other kids. How would he react to this new idea?