Chapter 38: When an Unexpected Event Occurs (2)
“Think of it as getting rid of your bad luck.”
Im Seoyoung said abruptly on our way back.
“The floor was really slippery. Imagine if we performed on it again, and someone else fell and broke their bone. What would we do about Next K-Star then?”
“Yeah. I was about to fall too.”
“It would have been worse if we got hurt, and if it affected our schedule.”
Each of the girls said something.
I glanced at Lee Songha, who was sitting in the rear seat, through the rear-view mirror. It wasn’t like Lee Songha was showing she felt guilty by crying or anything. However, everyone knew that she wasn’t in a good condition right now.
When we stopped at a rest stop, we told the girls to pick out their lunches, and Lee Songha bought 3 people’s worth of food. And she was currently in the middle of eating it all.
They said she used to order night time delivery when she was stressed. She wasn’t showing it, but there was no doubt she was stressed right now.
If she simply cried, the other girls could comfort her, but since she bottled it all inside and said she was fine, there was nothing they could do right now except go along with her.
It was the same for me.
At my call, Songha raised her head.
“Does it taste good?”
“Yes. Would you like one?”
“Is there still food left to give to me?”
She ate so ferociously and yet there was still some left?
When I looked through the rear-view mirror, Lee Songha was taking her time before holding something out. It was a chicken skewer coated with red sauce.
“… Do you want it?”
“No, you can eat it all.”
How could I take that from her?
Im Seoyoung stared at Lee Songha before saying,
“How can you eat so much and not gain weight?”
“It’s because she burns up as many calories as she eats, dummy. Since you don’t exercise, you gain as much as you eat.”
At LJ’s teasing words, Im Seoyoung widened her eyes.
“What, I exercise too!”
“What a joke. What exercise do you do besides breathing? What? Spoon lifts?”
“Hey, then what about you…!”
Im Seoyoung stuttered. She couldn’t say any more. LJ wasn’t a good opponent to ask, ‘How much do you exercise?’ since she boxed as a hobby. Im Seoyoung, wanting to say something, changed her target.
“What about Taehee unni!? Taehee unni always takes over the sofa and rolls around instead of exercising when we don’t practice, but she still doesn’t gain weight!”
“That’s unni’s nature, dummy. If you find it unfair, be born again.”
“Don’t call me a dummy, dummy!”
Because of the two, the mood didn’t have the opportunity to subside. When I glanced at Lee Songha, she had a faint smile as she watched their childish dispute.
Noisy shouts could be heard for a while until they gradually died down. Soon, a silence fell in the van. When I looked through the rear-view mirror, they were all sleeping.
“They fell asleep.”
“Since they were drenched in rain, let’s just let them sleep until we arrive.”
The traitor said, who was sitting in the passenger seat, looking at his phone.
Ah. Now that I thought about it, we still had something left to talk about.
“Didn’t you say you wanted to ask me something before?”
As if he now remembered, the traitor showed a strange expression as he looked at me. I was curious what words would pop out of his mouth. Why did he bring up my senses, and what did he mean by he wanted to ask me something for a while?
Just then, the traitor grinned as he said,
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
“Hey, I can’t concentrate on driving because I’m curious. What is it?”
“It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
Do you think it won’t bug me?
“It really isn’t anything.”
Since he himself said it wasn’t anything, it wasn’t like I could threaten him to open his mouth and spill whatever he was going to say. After complicating my thoughts, he coolly went back to his phone.
If I didn’t see what kind of person Choi Gunyoung was or what kinds of things he would do later on with my foresight ability, my heart would have been calm. It currently felt like I was walking around with a bomb I had no idea when would explode.
I didn’t know whether he would explode or if my nerves would break first.
When we arrived at Knet Studio, Kim Hyunjo was already waiting in the waiting room.
“Songha, I heard you fell. Are you okay?”
“Yup. I’m fine. I’m not hurt.”
Only after Kim Hyunjo confirmed she was alright was he relieved.
Unlike music broadcasts, the waiting time for Next K-Star wasn’t long. We used the 30 minutes of free time to give a strong impression to other teams and greet the judges we saw for the first time.
There was a total of three judges for Next K-Star. Producer Song Baekjin, who turned out many famous stars who could be recognized by name, Cha Suzy, who was a skilled vocalist of a former girl group, and a star songwriter Simon Lee, who often appeared on variety shows. I could easily tell what motives Knet had by casting these three.
All three of them were characters with a history of malicious remarks.
We didn’t have the opportunity to talk with the judges for a long time. There were 8 participating teams, and each team had their members and staff, tens of people were gathered in front of the judges’ waiting room so we were only barely able to greet them, let alone have a conversation.
A few team loitered around the judges, but we returned to our waiting room without any lingering feelings. We chose to have the girls practice their song once more before their performance instead of getting looked at one more time by the judges.
Soon after, an FD came to each waiting room and informed everyone,
“We are recording in 5 minutes! Please standby!”
The makeup artists and stylists were left to watch through the monitors in the waiting room while the rest of us moved.
After getting out of the confusion that was the waiting room hallway and sitting in the spectator seat in the open hall, I could see the entire filming site. It was completely different from the simple filming set from before. My mouth opened at the overwhelming scale.
Rails were installed on the high ceiling, and all sorts of different lights hung down and repeatedly flashed on and off.
“Please don’t step there! If the camera goes out, it’ll be big trouble!”
“Reset the judges’ table so that the product placement display nicely!”
“Put mics on the cast. Did you put them on standby?”
“Everyone besides Cha Suzy! She said she was changing her outfit!”
“She said that her outfit concept was completely different from the other judges so she was going to change her outfit! She said it’s almost here through an express delivery service and that she will be out in 10 minutes!”
“Ah, damn it…!”
Below the stage, the staff were busy shouting and running around. Since everywhere I looked was interesting, I looked around at my surroundings before stopping my gaze on Neptune. The girls had been busy looking around last time, but this time, they were focused with earphones in their ears.
“You both turned off your phones, right?”
Kim Hyunjo turned to look at the traitor and me and asked.
“It’s very troublesome if you move around down there and block or touch a camera so be careful. Don’t forget if a VJ asks for an interview to carefully think about each of your answers 2 or 3 times before answering.”
“Since there will be more instances where I leave it to you guys from now on, watch carefully.”
My ears pricked. Although I clearly knew that I had a lot left to learn, it was definitely exciting to be responsible for everything myself. Even though I would feel a larger sense of responsibility, the sense of achievement at the end of the day would be greater.
We were nodding our heads when someone said from behind,
“Watching the girls, teaching new recruits, you have it hard.”
When I turned around, it was Sugar Cats members and their chief. We passed each other a few times in our last filming, and maybe it was because Sugar Cats looked dishonest every time I saw them, but their manager didn’t give a good impression either.
The Sugar Cats chief glanced at Neptune and laughed,
“But Neptune’s working hard. Isn’t today a battle to see who gets the least criticism anyways? The production crew said they were going to go strong in the beginning, and all three judges are the types to say things without a filter.”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do about the judges coming on strong since the show needs a reaction from the start. Still, those who everyone thinks did well would be pumped up by the judges, so it all depends on how they do.”
The Sugar Cats chief grinned at Kim Hyunjo’s aloof reply.
“Do you think a lot of them will be like that? Those judge’s standards are so high. Well, I don’t care whether they come on strong or not, I just hope the ratings are good.”
It wasn’t only the two of them. There were many people around us who were worried about the ratings. Well, in variety programs like this, there was nothing more important than the ratings. The only person who was involved in Next K-Star and wasn’t worried about the ratings was me.
As for me, I already knew that Next K-Star would get a high rating and would get additional seasons. I wished that the first broadcast was released quickly so I could personally experience Neptune’s rise in popularity. Only then would the girls not experience the illogical events like this morning, and I could increase our area of activity.
“Seoyoung. Did you practice a lot?”
The Sugar Cats leader, Han Saetbyeol, suddenly leaned out. Im Seoyoung frowned slightly as she took off her earphones.
“Yeah. I did as much as I could.”
“Really? You had a lot of time. So lucky. We had so many other schedules that we didn’t make a lot of time to practice.”
If someone else had said it, I would have thoughtlessly glossed over it, but after bumping into each other a few times, I always heard her words through a translator. ‘We didn’t have enough time to practice because we had other schedules, but since no one calls for you, you had a lot of time to practice.’
If someone said I was a narrow-minded person, I had nothing to say, but I really wish they came down after being criticized by the judges to the point where not even ashes were left.
Just then, LJ, who was next to Im Seoyoung, mumbled,
“Then you should have practiced instead of staying in front of the judges’ waiting room.”
When Han Saetbyeol’s expression distorted, LJ shrugged her shoulders. That moment, both sides became busy, checking to see if there were any VJs nearby.
Even as I felt reassured after confirming the VJs were far away, I inwardly felt refreshed at LJ’s straightforward words. To be honest, it felt like a 10-year indigestion was cleared.
Im Seoyoung pinched LJ’s side.
“What?! Did I say anything wrong?”
“What are you going to do if there was a camera?!”
Fights between children would become fights between parents. Once it seemed the girls were getting in a fight of nerves, the mood between the chiefs became chilly. Kim Hyunjo and the Sugar Cats manager didn’t continue their conversation.
“Each team member put on your mics and sit at the very front seats! We will be recording soon!”
The production crew member’s voice resounded loudly.
The girls took their earphones off and got up. Kim Hyunjo patted each of their shoulders and said,
“You heard, right? Even if the judges criticize you harshly, just think that they are being harsh because it’s a show and don’t take it to heart.”
“Don’t worry, oppa. After getting wet in the rain this morning, my mentality has become incredibly strong.”
Im Seoyoung clenched a fist.
“I will come back after showing everything I couldn’t show this morning!”
 Koreans say this in a sense that since something bad happened to you, you have prevented any further bad things from happening. This is mainly used as a way to comfort the person. English equivalent is ‘It could have been worse.’
 Floor Director: A director who manages the stage.
 Video Journalist