Volume 1 / Chapter 40
The producer gathered the production team and producers for an emergency meeting. The judges who watched Jun Hyuk play the drums on the conference room monitor had the same reaction,
“How many people in Korea can play the drums like that?”
“A monster in the music world is born. Can he play other instruments?”
“Guitar, piano, drum. That means strings, claviers, and percussions. If he does winds, he’s done all of them? He can’t play the trumpet or flute, can he?”
When the judges could not stop talking, Producer Kim Ki Sik felt more confident,
“What do you think? Don’t you think we need to put him in the top 10?”
“We as musicians agree, but do you think the everyday viewer will accept it? There’s still no singing. If you want to put him up there, you need to send that band too. There at least needs to be the validation that he created amazing music.”
No matter what anyone said, it was an audition selecting singers. How could they put a genius who could not sing in the top 10? Everyone had the same thought. It was a waste to eliminate someone like him.
“The judges just need to give him high praises. I’ll edit it somehow to make it acceptable.”
Producer Kim Ki Sik was the only one with confidence. Was it not the producer’s role to make fiction seem like reality?
“Producer Kim, do it well. Make sure there isn’t weird noise that the winner was pre-decided or that we chose based on looks again. In the end, we’re the only ones who get cursed at.”
Last season, when the handsome, ideal man won by an inch, it got to the point where Lee Sung Chul said that he would never be a judge on the show again.
However, the winner was an outstanding prize. He had female fans everywhere and he showed a sense for entertainment shows. A year later, he is on a popular variety show and he is worth a lot of money. Thanks to this, MV channel had been making a great profit.
“Sung Chul, Jun Hyuk doesn’t even have an agency. I’m saying I want to pass a kid like that. It’s not about money, so don’t worry about that.”
Producer Kim Ki Sik already had a picture of how he was going to edit the broadcast until Star Week.
The last of Star Week, the mission stage with the metal band, was going to become the most important component.
The last stage of Star Week. When the four members of Steel Blade and Jun Hyuk took their positions, the stage looked packed.
Once the arrangements were done, the order of how the performances would go on broadcast was up to the producer’s discretion, and the band was given the last turn because they had a lot of instruments to set up.
“I heard a lot of noise earlier. Did you set everything up well?”
Yoon Jung Su laughed while he asked as if he wanted to ease their nerves.
“Yes, it wasn’t really anything. The arrangement came out well too.”
“Jun Hyuk did the arrangement?”
They needed to keep reminding the viewers that the following music was Jun Hyuk’s work. No matter how little Jun Hyuk has, this song is his song. They needed to point this out.
“Great. Should we listen to it?”
While everyone was tense, Jun Hyuk’s gentle guitar stroke adorned the intro. Then the bass came in as if it had been waiting with the drum following.
Vocal Han Ki Su did lose the first beat in the midst of the heaviness, but none of the members paid him any attention. This was a performance where it was overwhelming to successfully carry out each of their own parts.
Until the 1st line sabi (chorus) ended, the four judges moved with the music as though they were feeling the drum’s beats.
The drum solo Jun Hyuk had worked with him on came out at the bridge. This was the 15 seconds in which the drummer had to show all of the talent he had not shown as he had been matching his band members’ standards up until now.
When the drum solo started, his three members and Jun Hyuk just stared at him intently. This was so they could enter the 2nd verse on time as soon as the drum solo ended.
When 10 seconds of the drumming that sounded like fireworks had passed, Jun Hyuk suddenly stood up with his acoustic guitar.
It was different. An entirely different deployment was unfolding.
The 15 second drum solo was not for the drummer to play as he pleased. That would be an ad lib. The drum solo needed to go as it had been perfectly planned and prepared. It needed to fit in with the complete song and it needed to fuse seamlessly. Had he not polished the 15 second solo to make it perfectly?
However, when 10 seconds passed, the drummer lowered the sound of the bass drum and started to use the tom-tom and snare. It was the type of sound that gives the audience suspense right before a ghost or demon appears in a horror movie.
Due to the change in the drum, the vocal, guitar, and bassist were caught by surprise and the four judges could sense that something was going wrong.
Jun Hyuk approached the drum set with an interesting look on his face.
The drummer did not even realize that Jun Hyuk was standing in front of him. No one could tell if he knew that he was performing something different because all of his focus was on the drum set before him.
Jun Hyuk sat in front of the drum set. The judges now had to look at his back. They did not know when this confounding situation would be over, but Producer Kim Ki Sik did not stop it.
Producer Kim was so thankful that Star Week was pre-recorded that he did not know what to do. This would have been an extreme accident if it had happened during the top 10 live broadcast.
Since the producer in charge was staying still, the judges had no choice but to keep watching. Though they had been caught off-guard at first, as they listened to the drum solo – no, now it needed to be called an ad lib, it gave them marvel.
While the tom-tom and snare had crept in, the hi-hat took over. As the hi-hat steadily released the suspense, a refreshing race began. Jun Hyuk was still on the floor tapping his fingers on the body of the drum, relishing in the rhythm of the drum.
8 minutes passed like this and the drummer held the drumsticks he had been wielding like a whip still. He was out of breath and wiping the sweat off of his forehead when he froze.
It was only then that he realized what he had done.
It was as if time had stopped. Jun Hyuk who was sitting directly in front of the drum set was laughing, and he could see his three members looking devastated. He could also see two judges looking surprised and the other two laughing as though they were having fun from afar.
The drummer was certain of two facts.
They did not finish the mission song and he ruined this entire performance. Once he realized this, he could not lift his head again.
The drummer sat in a silence that seemed to go forever.
“Lift your chin. Why are you like that when you gave such an incredible performance?”
Judge Lee Sung Chul broke the silence.
“I forgot what the mission song was. I don’t know why you hid such talent up till now… You may not be able to become ‘Tomorrow’s Star,’ but you can become the best drummer representing Korea. I’m guaranteeing it.”
The drummer lifted his head at Lee Sung Chul’s compliments. When Yoon Jung Su saw the drummer’s face, he asked,
“Why did you start an improvised performance? It was completely different from what you practiced, right?”
“I don’t really know what I played. I could only see the drum set in front of me and… it felt like my head was empty…..”
Yoon Jung Su burst out in laughter at the stuttering drummer.
“Seems like you were possessed by a god. Ha ha.”
“That’s right. That does happen to musicians at times. Though it is a pity that it happened during a competition. It would have been great if it happened during a show.”
However, the relentless commentary did not fail.
Judge Son Ji Young spoke with a bad expression,
“You would receive evaluation from the audience if it were your own concert, but you need to be evaluated on how well you digested a mission song. You realize that it’s a situation where you stopped playing the mission song in the middle even if you did keep playing, right? That’s something that cannot happen. It was a performance that showed what an amateur you are.”
Lee Eun Jin’s following assessment was the same,
“The evaluation could have been different if the song had been completed when the drum ended. However, when the solo was over, everyone stood there blankly. How could you make such a mistake? Even if it was a great performance, you all need to know this stage was ruined.”
The members of Steel Blade lost even the slightest bit of hope they had. The drummer who had brightened up at the compliments hung his head again. What had he done to his members?
The evaluation ended at Producer Kim Ki Sik’s sign and the results were revealed.
Son Jin Young was holding the mic,
“This mission… there isn’t a winner. Jang Jun Hyuk and Steel Blade are both eliminated. You worked hard.”
The drummer who stumped back to the waiting room could not lift his face and kept repeating his apologies,
“Shit, just beat me up. If I hadn’t done something so stupid… I’m really sorry. I have nothing to say.”
“It’s okay. As he said, we were just included to sort the range of genres. I’m happy that you were able to show your full talent. That’s enough, right?”
Vocal and leader Han Ki Su pat the drummer’s back. On the one hand, he was also envious. It was not an easy feat to get compliments from Korea’s best singer.
The drummer who had been engulfed in the drum’s aftertaste, his busy thoughts, and the regret, picked up his things and approached Jun Hyuk,
“Thanks. I’m relieved because of you. I’ve gained the confidence to say that I’m a drummer wherever I go.”
“Don’t be too disappointed that you were eliminated from the auditions. You’ll get famous anyway.”
“Do you want to give me your phone number? Let’s keep in touch. Can I go to the cafe you work at?”
“Sure, mister. I want to perform with you again somewhere down the road.”
The drummer spoke to Jun Hyuk who saved his phone number,
“Hey! Why are you calling me mister? Call me brother.”
“I’ll see you later.”
He reaffirmed that this young genius did not open up his heart easily.