When I opened my eyes I was a Superstar – Chapter 20: Prelude (2)

The 30 contestants’ performances passed by quickly. Before the end of each performance, the audience gave the contestants a score using the remote they were given.

The judges’ critiques were added in between like gamcho*, and interviews of unique participants were also conducted.
(TL note: gamcho is an herb very commonly used in herbal medicine)

After the 30 performances were done, MC Hukkae got the audience fired up as he introduced the special performance. Finally, three of the Season 1 candidates came on to the stage.

When the camera captured the three people’s faces one by one, everyone screamed at the top of their lungs. Most of the audience were fans of < Student Rapper >, so they had a lot of affection for the three people. Last season’s winner’s popularity was especially obvious.

In the previous season’s winner’s situation, he recently debuted with a release of a solo single album. With the full support of people in their teens and 20s, the last season’s winner was having success to the point that his song was playing on every street.

“Yoon Ki hyung! Hey, bro~!”

Kim Won got excited and called to Jung Yoon Ki who came onto the stage. Just before the intro started to play, with unbelievable timing, Kim Won calling to Jung Yoon Ki could be clearly heard resonating throughout the concert hall.

Jung Yoon Ki, who was standing and looking at the stage floor, heard Kim Won’s voice and looked towards where he and Do Wook were. He had said he didn’t know the meaning of nervous, but it was clear that he was trembling now that he’s actually standing on the stage. Jung Yoon Ki’s stiff expression at least loosened after seeing Kim Won, and they could see him smile brightly.

Jung Yoon Ki, who laughed at Kim Won, made eye contact with Do Wook who was standing next to him. When Do Wook nodded his head in support, he nodded back in understanding.

Soon, the lights turned on and the joint performance started.

The performance was missing one of the people they originally expected, but Jung Yoon Ki easily filled that empty spot. It was a song they had performed together before, so there was no awkwardness either.

The audience was one that had given a “thumbs up” to the preliminary performances’ outstanding participants. However, after the audience saw the performance, they could definitely feel how much better the three of them, who made it to the Top 4 in last season’s competition and had been putting in effort since then, were.
(TL note: For some clarification, “Thumbs up” meaning they already knew and liked the participant. Also, we used “candidates” for people in the current season and “participants” for this performance because they were in the last season and aren’t part of Season 2. Lastly, it’s saying that the three people performing currently were significantly better than the candidates who had been performing so far.)

The performance following immediately after was Jung Yoon Ki’s solo performance. While the two people went offstage to prepare for their own performances, they had to have Jung Yoon Ki continue directly with his performance. Jung Yoon Ki was ranked lower than the other two so he had nothing to say about the sequence.

Jung Yoon Ki started his rap, keeping the heat of the previous performance going.

He had picked a song that had an emotional melody and lyrics. It was also a song by one of the judges, and a song he had decided on after discussing it with Manager Oh because it’s filled with worries of youth that would fit well with < Student Rapper >.

Of course, they had also come to the conclusion together because it had a technique-wise incredibly fast rapping part mixed in the middle. Performing it would also be a good way to show how his skills had dramatically improved since the broadcast.

Jung Yoon Ki adjusted the microphone. It felt like sweat was leaking out of his palm.

He also knew very clearly that this was an opportunity to properly show them what he’s made of just before the debut.

“Awesome! Freaking awesome!”

“Who is that person?!”

“It’s Jung Yoon Ki from last season!”

“Was Jung Yoon Ki that good? It’s crazy!”

“With that kind of talent, he could do well even on Show You The Money.”

When Jung Yoon Ki’s performance was over, the hall was in an uproar. They knew that Jung Yoon Ki was also talented enough to get in the final 4, but he was not at this level at the time.

When the performance started, it was to the point that everyone couldn’t help but focus on him.

Listening to the accompaniment finishing, Jung Yoon Ki closed his eyes and felt the cheers pouring onto him for first time since the last performance on < Student Rapper >.

‘Yes, this is how it feels! The gaze on me, the cheers for me! To feel this, to stand on a bigger stage, is why I started as a trainee.’

Jung Yoon Ki caught his breath to savor this feeling for as long as possible. After the accompaniment was completely finished, he went off the stage as the audience applauded.

Shouting praises to Jung Yoon Ki, Kim Won and Do Wook were filled with pride as if it were happening to them.

“Wow…!”

Kim Won exclaimed with his mouth open. Jung Yoon Ki was a colleague who practiced with him every day, but he was impressed all over again.

“Yoon Ki hyung, good job~ Totally!”

“Haha. I agree.”

“I want to be on the stage soon too. You too, right?!”

“…..Of course.”

Do Wook observed what kind of resolve Kim Won, who watched Jung Yoon Ki’s performance, would make. Jung Yoon Ki’s performance seemed to be a good motivator for Kim Won, who completed trainee life without much difficulty and was about to debut.

‘Good. Jung Yoon Ki is definitely a trustworthy person. He’ll probably continue to advance to become the top rapper. It’d be good if we could only solve the immediate lyrics problem…’

While Do Wook was pondering those thoughts, all the scheduled performances ended. The two of them got up from their seats as they listened to MC Hukkae’s ending comments and left the concert hall.

Do Wook’s concerns were unfounded. There was no need to worry about Jung Yoon Ki’s lyrics anymore.

Jung Yoon Ki, who had come down from the stage, ran straight to the waiting room and, before even wiping the sweat dripping down his forehead, took out the notebook and pen he carries in his backpack.

“You did great, Yoon Ki…”

Oh Baek Ho, who was approaching Jung Yoon Ki to praise him, promptly closed his mouth. Jung Yoon Ki’s hands were moving furiously.

He was pouring the energy and inspiration he had received on the stage onto the notebook. His hand couldn’t keep up with his thoughts. As he furiously dragged his pen across the paper, he laughed at the thrill.

Oh Baek Ho politely turned away the staff who came to check Jung Yoon Ki’s microphone and clothes so he could concentrate. The quiet waiting room was filled only with the sound of Jung Yoon Ki writing lyrics as he matched the rhythm with his feet.

***

After leaving the concert hall, Do Wook and Kim Won headed towards the parking lot where the 6 passenger vehicle they came in was parked.

There was a substantial crowd of people rushing out at once after the performance ended. Among the crowd were about 3 VJs*, each holding cameras and interviewing audience members that caught their eye about the preliminary round and the performances.
(TL note: VJ is video jockey)

Among them was the student with the bulky build who confessed his love to rapper Dool Lo.

“Was there anyone who was the most memorable among the contestants today?”

“Dool Lo! Dool Lo! Rap God Rap King!”

The students who came crowding around when they saw the camera burst into laughter. However, the male student who yelled ‘Dool Lo hyung’ was incredibly serious.

“Uh…Tell me which candidate you think will get the most points today. Candidate. Among the candidates.”

The female VJ emphasized multiple times to pick from ‘among the candidates’. The VJs had about three questions.

A review of today’s performance, the most memorable candidate, and the candidate they think will get the most points.

Since < Student Rapper > is on a score system, there was of course interest in the score which will decide who passes and who fails, but there was also a lot of interest in who is expected to get the most points out of all the performances.

“Dool Lo hyung is… Number one in my heart, but among the candidates, Candidate 1 is…”

The candidate the male student chose was, as expected, Candidate 1.

Most of the other students interviewed also voted Candidate 1 will get the most points because he was the most memorable. The next most mentioned was Candidate 20.

If Candidate 1 excelled in rap that almost everyone would like, Candidate 20 gave off a slightly depressing vibe. His bangs almost covered his eyes so just looking at him had a depressing vibe and his rap had a similar tone.

However, in contrast, the lyrics he had written himself had incredibly beautiful content. A story about outer space and stars; it fell short in appeal but artistically, it was close to being the best.

For top scorer, almost everyone picked Candidate 1 in unison. Those who were about to mention Candidate 20 promptly worried, ‘is my choice too unpopular?’ and ultimately chose Candidate 1.

“Baek Ho hyung, Yoon Ki hyung~ they’re late.”

Kim Won, who had gone past the people being interviewed and was waiting for the two of them at the parking lot entrance, checked the time and muttered. They were late because Jung Yoon Ki was writing lyrics in the waiting room.

“It’s probably because they have things to take care of.”

Do Wook consoled Kim Won, who was squirming out of boredom.

At that moment, the female VJ who had been interviewing the male student was coming towards Kim Won and Do Wook.

“Excuse me! By any chance, would you like to do an interview?”

The female VJ who had approached them with the camera asked with a cheerful tone. Kim Won’s ears perked up, reacting to the interesting situation. At the same time, the female students were brazenly stealing glances at Do Wook as they passed by in the parking lot.

“…an interview?”

“Yes. I’d like to get an interview. It’s just a few simple questions, so there’s no need to be nervous. I’d really like to interview you. You have a really good face.”

Without giving him a chance to decline, the VJ quickly picked up the camera and caught Do Wook’s face on the screen.

The VJ felt that her instincts definitely weren’t wrong when she looked at the screen. Kim Won, who was standing next to him, wasn’t bad either. He wasn’t good looking enough to draw in attention, but he had passably attractive features.

‘There was no need for me to ask Baek Ho hyung separately. Still, it’s better to be certain…Either way, it worked out!’

This interview was actually what Do Wook had requested of his manager Oh Baek Ho.

It could be edited after the interview anyways, but he asked to record an audience reaction interview. Oh Baek Ho said okay after briefly thinking about it.

It wasn’t a very difficult request, and the purpose of the broadcast was to get exposure anyways so it seemed like they could make an even better opportunity. Part of the reason he said okay so willingly was because he knew very well that Do Wook wasn’t the type to say something wrong during an interview. On the contrary, Oh Baek Ho was amazed that Do Wook seemed to be able to paint a bigger picture than even he could.

However, the real thing wasn’t the interview appearance itself. It included the content of it too.

***

“First, what is your name?”

Actually, they didn’t have to ask his name, but it was a question that had the VJ’s selfishness mixed in. She wanted to at least know his name.

“I’m Kang Do Wook.”

“Even your name is cool.”

The VJ spoke honestly like she was talking to herself, then asked the next question.

“Among today’s candidates, is there someone who was memorable?”

“Hmmm…Number 20 and Number 26 were memorable.”

Do Wook purposely didn’t mention Candidate 1, whom everyone mentioned. Everyone who saw the performance today could already tell anyways that Candidate 1 was the favorite to win.

The VJ couldn’t hide her surprise when he said Candidate 26.

Even though she had researched the candidates ahead of time to prepare for the interview, it was a candidate she couldn’t clearly remember. He wasn’t bad at rapping, but he was so ordinary that he wasn’t very memorable.

“Candidate 26 seemed to have very strong fundamentals. He seemed like a talented rapper and I expect him to have good results on the stage in the future.”

When Do Wook added that, the students who were observing the interview nodded their heads as they recalled their memories. It was such a confident tone that when Do Wook said it’s so, everyone was thinking it feels like it might be true.

Among the people who were spectating, there was a female student filming Do Wook with her phone. Some of them took pictures.

“He looks like a celebrity. He’s so handsome.”

“Who is it? It’s even weirder that he’s not a contestant.”

Even Do Wook heard the whispers.

“Then among today’s performances, who do you think will get the highest score?”

Do Wook paused on purpose. Do Wook knew the content for < Student Rapper > Season 2 for the most part. It was such a popular program at the time that once the broadcast was over, articles about it would pour out almost daily.

“Candidate 20.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Even if he doesn’t necessarily get the highest score, to me, he’s already the best. It was a fantastic performance, like seeing a completed art piece. Candidate 20, I saw you for the first time today, but I want to keep cheering you on.”

Once Do Wook was done talking, the female VJ put down the camera she was holding on her shoulder. He wasn’t just good looking; he was also good at talking. It was also very useful for the broadcast because it was a slightly different answer than the other interviews.

“Thank you for doing the interview.”

“Not at all. I’m the one who’s grateful.”

The VJ who received a thank you instead laughed happily. Kim Won was also happy like a child saying he was also captured on camera since he was standing next to Do Wook.

There were quite a few trainees coming as audience members so the VJ was about to ask if he was a trainee. Right at that time, Oh Baek Ho and Jung Yoon Ki came to the parking lot. Oh Baek Ho made a surprised expression as he looked at the VJ.

“Oh? How?”

“Ah, ah~! By any chance, is this the person you’ve been talking about, Manager Oh?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“We already finished the interview. He’s a face you couldn’t just ignore.”

“Ah, is that so? Haha.”

Oh Baek Ho laughed at the compliment of Do Wook.

The nearby people who recognized Jung Yoon Ki grabbed their camera and started getting restless.

Jung Yoon Ki, it’s Jung Yoon Ki,

The voices looking for Jung Yoon Ki were unbelievable. He was already well known among teenagers, but Oh Baek Ho and Do Wook could already tell.

‘Once the broadcast goes out, getting his name out to more people is only a matter of time!’

Even people who were on their way to the subway station turned around when they saw the crowd gathered around Jung Yoon Ki and Do Wook, drawn in by curiosity.

Oh Baek Ho quickly wrapped things up with the VJ and got the members into the car.

Like that, after the broadcast, not only Jung Yoon Ki but also Do Wook’s interview caused a big sensation on the internet. Do Wook quickly became well known on the internet.

Translator’s Comments: Hello, it’s been a while since I put a comment! Thank you all for reading the series, I sincerely appreciate the support! I hope I didn’t go overboard with the clarifications in this chapter. Thank you for bearing with it!

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5 Replies to “When I opened my eyes I was a Superstar – Chapter 20: Prelude (2)”

  1. hotarucchi

    Thank you so much for the chapter! I just started reading this and I’m already so hooked. Can’t wait to see what comes next (๑>ᴗ<๑)

    Reply

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