The 1st place seat wasn’t 1st place for no reason.
Even sitting up straight with perfect posture, it was comfortable.
It’s amazing, really. Even chairs worth hundreds couldn’t achieve this level of comfort.
I’ve wrecked my back playing games, so I really want to take this chair home.
Thankfully, the trainees who entered after me didn’t aim for the 1st place seat and obediently sat in the 90th-place chairs.
If it were me, I would have at least tried to poke fun at the guy who looked so easy-going in the 1st place, but they lacked the spirit to do so.
And so, all 100 chairs found their owners.
Taking advantage of the break, PD Jo Insu, the main PD of Pick Your Heart (Pick Heart), came out and gave a long speech along the lines of, “You guys will probably struggle to death from now on, but after that, we’ll make you world stars, so don’t complain and follow us even if we push you really hard,” before disappearing again.
When I let my guard down and read the other trainees’ names hovering above the backs of their heads, the screen with the red heart logo changed.
[Pick Your Heart Mentor Team Leader]
The trainees, tensed at the PD’s appearance, let out exclamations.
They seemed to already know who was coming.
Don’t just tell them. Let me know too!
The sound of heels clicking echoed. Someone was coming up on stage.
Before the person’s appearance became clear, the trainees standing up shouted in delight.
The charming appearance, as well as the strong aura that emanated with every step, proved that Jena was an incredible person.
As the screen changed and the clapping from the trainees stopped, the woman in the stunning red suit, Jena, stood in the center of the stage holding a microphone.
“Hello. I’m Jena, the Director of Pick Heart Entertainment for Pick Your Heart Season 3.”
Another round of applause poured out for Jena. Whispers could be heard here and there.
“Wow… She’s really so beautiful.”
“Radiant Jena. God Jena.”
The participants’ reactions were great.
They probably did that because it’s hard to secure screentime otherwise.
“For Season 3, we’ve gathered 100 trainees. Nice to meet you all.”
“Nice to meet you!”
The trainees’ response was heated. The hope that they could become just as successful as their predecessors from previous seasons swelled within them.
“In Seasons 1 and 2, Pick Your Heart selected debut members solely based on the viewers’ wishes.”
“In this season, only the trainees selected by the fans, who have watched both their on-stage and off-stage performances closely, can survive the three rounds of elimination and continue to pursue their dreams of debuting.”
At the cold word “elimination,” the excited trainees hung their heads, sighed, or hardened their expressions.
Jena, who seemed to find their reactions pitiful, furrowed her brows and continued speaking.
“Every year, dozens of idol groups debut in the music industry, and just as many fade away. So, in Pick Your Heart Season 3, we have set two changes from previous seasons.”
As Jena finished speaking, the words “GLOBAL” and “SELF-PRODUCING” appeared on the screen.
“As you can see, the goals of Season 3 are ‘Global’ and ‘Self-Producing.’”
The trainees stirred lightly.
“First, with the goal of rapid overseas expansion, we have greatly increased the number of foreign trainees this season and extended the final debut group’s activity period to 2 years and 6 months to establish a solid foundation for smooth overseas activities.”
I suspected they just hastily auditioned and brought over foreign trainees because of the lack of domestic trainees.
But let’s just go with it for now.
“Please note that overseas fans can also vote through the app this time.”
I could already see it. A future where the app server crashed repeatedly and the app store rating dropping to 1-star.
The explanation for self-producing and expert evaluations continued.
I wondered what the expert evaluation mentioned in the quest explanation and articles was, but…
“To secure the skillset of the final debut group, we will add expert evaluations to the existing voting system to select one vocal, performance, and rap position trainee each to be the sub-leaders of that group.”
There was a commotion among the trainees.
“It means that even if you don’t rank high enough in simple votes to debut but have enough skill, you can still be chosen as a sub-leader and debut within the top 10 if you receive high expert evaluation scores. Every trainee should remember this and do their best in all evaluations.”
As I listened to the explanation, I couldn’t help but think it looked very easy to manipulate.
Was I the abnormal one here?
“Among these 100 trainees, no one knows who will debut yet.”
But the PD probably knew.
“Because all of you will grow dazzlingly during the filming of this program, just like your predecessors who have participated before. Now, let me introduce our Pick Your Heart mentor team, who will help you grow as much as possible from now on!”
As the phrase “Pick Your Heart Mentor Team” appeared on the screen, about five people came up on stage, receiving applause from the trainees.
The names were… Mook Hyeseong, Han Jihui, Seok Suyeong, Lee Changyeon, and Ju An.
Jena and the mentor team, lined up in a row, looked impressive.
The excited trainees whispered.
“The lineup is no joke.”
“Wow, I heard Mook Hyeseong hardly ever appears on shows like this. What’s with the casting power?”
“Everyone who was a hot topic in Seasons 1 or 2 is here.”
So, in front of those amazing people, I have to show my pitiful singing and dancing, huh?
I’m sorry in advance.
“Shall we all greet the Pick Heart Entertainment CEO together?”
They seemed to refer to the voting fans and viewers as “CEO.”
CEO, huh? It seemed like a title that would give viewers a sense of power.
“Pick Heart Entertainment CEO! We look forward to working with you!”
The mentor evaluations that followed were the first round of assessments, where trainees from each agency would come out and present their prepared songs, dances, and raps to the mentors.
As a result, the groups were divided like that.
“Choice Entertainment trainee, Na Yunjae, you’ll be with Mentor Seok Suyeong. Trainee Kim Sejong, you’ll be with Mentor Ju An.”
“Let’s do our best together.”
Pick Heart divided the trainees into groups by mentor.
First, Han Jihui chose trainees with decent overall skills that needed more detailed polishing.
Seok Suyeong chose trainees with average skills that weren’t bad but needed improvement in dancing, while Lee Changyeon picked trainees who were similar in level but lacking in vocals.
Ju An selected rap position trainees and trainees who had some basics but were not skilled enough to be chosen by Seok Suyeong or Lee Changyeon.
Lastly, Mook Hyeseong was taking trainees who were in serious condition, regardless of their dancing or singing.
If one aspect was disastrously below the standard, they were all chosen by Mook Hyeseong.
Dividing groups by their weaknesses seemed quite efficient.
I can see where I’m going.
After all, I’d forgotten even the basic skills I learned as a trainee, and my stats were in this state.
This time, Japanese trainees took the stage.
“Hello! We are Star Production’s Nagase Ritsu.”
“And Azumi Ren!”
After introducing themselves with accents that weren’t too hard to understand, Jena warmly spoke to the Japanese trainees.
“Let’s get right to the stage.”
While the trainees prepared for the stage, the mentors, who had been looking at the materials, whispered something to each other, but I couldn’t hear it clearly.
“So, they’re not trainees who practiced in Korea but just came straight from Japan, right?”
Sitting in the 1st place seat was not always great. I couldn’t hear what the mentors were saying at all.
Those sitting closer to the bottom could probably hear everything the mentors said.
It must be interesting.
Not that I was saying I wanted to risk my life by sitting in the 90s.
After a while, the music started playing.
I couldn’t see the mentors’ expressions, but it wasn’t difficult to notice the cold atmosphere on the spot in real time.
A performance that definitely wouldn’t fly as a Korean idol.
At the end of each part, both trainees and mentors sighed, “Aigoo, aigoo.” Some couldn’t bear to watch and turned their heads.
Seok Suyeong lamented.
“What can we do with this?”
Having already heard rumors about the Japanese idol survival program, I could maintain enough composure to clap silently along with the beat.
After the stage ended, heavy sighs erupted from the mentors.
After a heavy silence, Jena, who held the microphone as the representative, spoke first.
“To debut as an idol in Korea, you still have much to work on.”
“Right now, we don’t see anything properly put together.”
“All Star Production trainees, you’ll receive guidance from mentor Mook Hyeseong.”
Star Production trainees, who knew who Mook Hyeseong had taken so far, became gloomy.
Nagase Ritsu, who seemed like the leader, regained his composure faster than the other two and bowed.
Although the Japanese trainees who were leaving the stage looked down, considering that a considerable number of trainees were already exhausted from Season 1 for males, the overall level of the foreign trainees was quite good.
Not bad enough to be criticized by the public in terms of average skills?
“Aren’t you tired?”
During the break between stages, Seo Chanbin, sitting in 2nd place chair, leaned toward me and asked curiously.
Why would I be tired?
[The bed is a spade bed, but the chair is the 1st place chair.
Instead of getting tired as time passed, I was recovering my stamina just by sitting here.
Thanks to that, I felt more alive than ever since the possession.
My mind felt relaxed because my body was comfortable, and a gentle voice naturally flowed out.
“There are so many interesting stages to watch, so even though my body is tired, my mind isn’t.”
“Wow. You haven’t performed yet, right?”
“Yes. I’m a bit nervous because I don’t know when I’ll perform.”
“Yes. Good luck to you too.”
Just as we were warmly cheering for each other, the staff signaled from below.
“True Entertainment’s Oh Hyeonjin, independent trainee On Raon, and West Music’s Kim Junwu and Yoon Myeongsu, please come down and stand by!”
Finally, it was my turn.
But was it a coincidence that I was performing with Oh Hyeonjin?
“I’ll do my best.”
I was only at level 3, so I couldn’t say I’d do well.
My walk down appeared relaxed, and I could feel the trainees’ gazes.
The guy who wrote 100th place on his prediction and took the 1st place chair was finally performing, so it’s natural that they’d be curious.
The staff explained various things as I headed to the back of the stage at the bottom.
“Oh Hyeonjin, On Raon, and West Music, in that order. Oh Hyeonjin, stand here. On Raon and West Music, please come here and wait. You can practice a little; just be careful not to make too much noise.”
While another trainee’s evaluation took place on stage, I put on my in-ears.
Of course, I couldn’t even dream of custom earphones, and I had to use old earphones that were held in place with a band-aid.
Oh Hyeonjin, who seemed to want to say something while looking at me, closed his mouth and turned his head at Jena’s call for the next trainee.
Why, what’s wrong? Say something.
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