Volume 2 / Chapter 84
“Hello. I am MC Moon Kyung Min of Tomorrow’s Star. We have come to the 5th season of ‘Tomorrow’s Star’. This season, with a lot of news and raised standards for participants…..”
The MC’s cheesy praise of the program and introductions of the judges continued. Once each of the judges relayed their greetings to the audience, the MC explained the assessment criteria.
“I will tell you the evaluation regulations. Until the top 5, judge scores will be 50%, text message votes will be 45%, and the audience vote that we are introducing this season will be 5%. The sum of the results will decide which finalists advance to the next round.”
The atmosphere on the field was clearly different than with TV viewers. There was a difference in the sound quality between a music hall sound system and a TV speaker. This is a new formula to reflect that difference in the scores.
“Those of you in the audience can use the button that you were given when you came in, to enter your vote. There are three opportunities to make your vote. You can vote during the performance and you can vote after you listen to everyone’s songs. Please choose the three people that you would like to see in the next round and press their numbers.”
Lastly, he instructed them on audience participation which is a way to raise viewer ratings,
“Viewers can enter their votes by texting the number at the bottom of the TV screen. #5700, press #5700 and send the text after typing the participant name and participant number.”
He introduced each of the 12 participants and got the audience to cheer. When he introduced Jun Hyuk last, the audience showed that they had already decided their votes.
It was almost impossible to proceed with the broadcast because the audience was cheering and chanting ‘Jang Jun Hyuk!’ so loudly that the other 11 participants’ families had twisted expressions.
Young women cheered him for his looks, young men for his rebellious temperament, and older people out of compassion.
MC Moon Kyung Min was trying to abate the audience’s fervor and was finally able to return it to its normal state with the staff running around to calm everyone down.
When Moon Kyung Min’s introductions ended, a countdown began on the TV screen, further creating suspense.
“Okay, the texting votes begin now. People of Korea, we ask that you think carefully about who you would like to see in the next round and participate in the vote.”
Fanfare sounded to indicate that an elaborate show was soon to start, and the competition began.
“The first participant to grace the stage is…..”
A junior assistant producer came running to a Producer Kim Ki Sik who let out a breath of relief thinking that everything was proceeding smoothly.
“Senior, we’re in trouble.”
“What is it now?”
“We’re overwhelmed with text messages.”
“What? We just started.”
“It can’t be Jun Hyuk?”
Not even Producer Kim Ki Sik had not expected the reaction to be to this extent.
“Yes. The broadcast’s board is no joke either. They’re saying forget everything, it’s Jun Hyuk. What should we do?”
“How about the audience?”
“It seems members of the audience are all giving one out of the three votes to Jun Hyuk. Over 95% of them already voted for Jun Hyuk at least once.”
They did not need to see that the remaining 5% were related to the other participants to figure it out.
“You have records of internet preference statistics, right? Which group has the lowest participation rate?”
The assistant producer went through vote statistics.
“30 year old men.”
“Then adjust the preference graph a little for people who aren’t Jun Hyuk.”
The assistant producer could not understand Producer Kim Ki Sik’s intention.
“You don’t understand?? I’m telling you to put out the graph showing the other kids as the preference of 30 year old men. Then, 30 year old men who were watching TV will send in their text votes for Jun Hyuk.”
“Oh, I see.”
“And give me a real-time update on the texting usage data.”
“Okay, I will.”
Backstage was as frantic as the control room. People from the sponsorship companies were walking around checking to see if the makeup was okay and if there were no problems with the clothing.
Jun Hyuk was looking at a tuxedo hanging on one wall and thinking of an excuse not to wear it.
Last night, Yoon Kwang Hun had come to the dorm for the first time.
Jun Hyuk was surprised that Yoon Kwang Hun had appeared without calling ahead, but also thankful.
“Hey. Are you eating well? You have to rest well tonight since the first stage is tomorrow.”
“You’re not coming tomorrow?”
“No. It’ll get noisy if I go. The lawsuit isn’t over yet. Reporters are going to come swarming. Don’t worry. I’ll watch you really carefully on the huge screen at the cafe.”
Yoon Kwang Hun pulled a black outfit from the car.
“I prepared this so you could wear it for your performance tomorrow. You’re performing with an orchestra, so you should do them this courtesy.”
“Is this a suit?”
“It’s a tuxedo. The conductor will be wearing this too, so you need to match it.”
“Tuxedo? Are you talking about those penguin clothes?”
He had not imagined that he would have to wear penguin clothing, but he could not express his aversion. He could in Yoon Kwang Hun’s face the heart of parents buying suits for their children when they graduate from high school to go to college, or when they land their first jobs.
“Jun Hyuk, what are you doing? Hurry up and change. You have to start getting your makeup done. There isn’t even an hour until your performance.”
One of the staff members brought two people in charge of makeup to Jun Hyuk.
“Has Teacher Hwang Suk Min arrived?”
“Yeah. He’s with the orchestra members. Why? Do you need to meet him?”
“No. Have you seen the clothes they’re wearing?”
“Clothes? All of the orchestra members were wearing suits and the conductor was wearing a tuxedo. Why? You have a tuxedo too.”
“Oh… I see.”
He had no choice but to wear clothing like a penguin. And the torture of having to paint his face was waiting for him.
The performances continued in turn. Jessica showed a performance great enough for her agency to push for her to become the winner.
She showed that she had gone through rigorous training by releasing colorful vocals, and her stage manners did not fall short of established artists.
The judges praised her highly and only Lee Sung Chul pointed out a small flaw as had been indicated on the script.
“If the variation is too excessive in R&B, it feels forced. You don’t sing to show off.”
Lee Hae Jun who was the only other participant the same age as Jun Hyuk showed new potential with the dancing skills he had learned in training.
When there is someone who shows new potential, there’s also someone who is unable to show even half of their skills. Nam Seung Hee could not show the fortes of her voice while she was trying to express the merriness of the original song. She was caught up in the thought that she needed to sing easily and lightly and was unable to show her true colors. As she kept singing in a way that she herself could not be satisfied with, her voice grew smaller further into the second half. It felt as though she had stopped singing in the middle.
Nam Seung Hee had been expecting a low score, but wanted to cry when judge Lee Eun Jin commented that the song selection might have been a miss. The broadcast station had chosen the song to make her sing. She also thought of Jun Hyuk’s view that she fit better with ballads.
As a result, she left the stage after receiving a score that barely reached over 80.
“The next person is Kwak Hye Sung, who has an explosive voice. The song he will sing today is Kim Kyung Ho’s The People Who Make Me Sad.”
When the MC’s introduction ended, footage was revealed while Kwak Hye Sung stood on the center of the stage, refining his breath.
The sad lyrics of the song that made Kim Kyung Ho famous were overwhelmed by his knife-like treble. There was a point that everyone anticipated from Kwak Hye Sung – instead of Kim Kyung Ho’s treble that was like a fine knife, his heavy and explosive voice. The judges and audience did not have different expectations.
But as the first verse ended and the chorus began, Kwak Hye Sung’s sound began to change little by little. When he reached the high-pitched part, he burst out in a delicate high tone that did not fall behind the original singer’s.
The audience and judges were surprised by the voice that did not seem like it would ever come from the large body. There was another person who was most surprised.
“Is that jerk crazy? What is this?”
The very first person to be surprised was the music director. A completely different technique had come out than he had shown in rehearsal and while recording the track.
“I don’t know. I think he’s improvising…..”
“Is he stupid? He should’ve practiced like this in rehearsal. The broadcast isn’t a joke.”
However, there was also a person who had to be cool-headed in this situation. Kim Ki Sik left the sound to the music director and was keeping an eye on the video.
“Camera 3. Take 2 seconds. Get Lee Sung Chul’s face – his surprised expression.”
The image of Lee Sung Chul sticking his tongue out filled the monitor.
“Okay. Number 1 main again.”
When the chorus was repeated, Kwak Hye Sung’s heavy tone overwhelmed the audience. It was a performance that made everyone feel as though there were two people singing.
When the song finished, the audience sent lavish applause and Kwak Hye Sung looked bright. He had no regrets left. He knew that he had shown the skill he already had along with everything he had learned until now. He was able to listen to the judge’s evaluation calmly.
Lee Sung Chul held the mic and hesitated for a moment,
“Um… Kwak Hye Sung showed a completely different color from what was expected with this song. We had been expecting an explosive and heavy vocals, but we did not know that we would get to hear unrestrained trebles of various techniques.”
As Lee Sung Chul’s expression looked as though he was going to keep praising Kwak Hye Sung, Producer Kim Ki Sik reminded him,
“Sung Chul, Hye Sung is going to be eliminated. Wrap it up.”
Lee Sung Chul heard Kim Ki Sik’s desperate request and continued,
“However, it was apparent in the second half that you were singing without the ability to handle the sudden change in technique. If a singer can’t digest it perfectly, it results in it comng out awkwardly. My score is…..”
“Senior Lee, give him praises.”
Lee Eun Jin followed the producer’s request that he heard in her earphone.
“I actually received it well. It was inexperienced and there were mistakes, but I would like to praise Kwak Hye Sung just for showing potential. My score is…..”
The score was low compared to the audience reaction, but Kwak Hye Sung did not care. He was more satisfied with this song than he was with any of the other songs that he had shown until now.
MC Moon Kyung Min refined his voice as he looked at the audience full of excitement,
“The 1st live broadcast of Tomorrow’s Star. The last participant to grace the stage is the famous Jang Jun Hyuk. The next stage is a completely different type of performance that has never been seen in the 5 seasons of Tomorrow’s Star. It’s an instrumental, without singing.”
“Cue footage insert.”