When I opened my eyes I was a Superstar – Chapter 8: Official debut, An unexpected change (2)

Monday, the start of a new week. Team Leader for HIT Entertainment’s Rookie Development Team, Im Sung Ahn.

She was well known as a workaholic who came to work earlier than the new hires despite being the team leader. She was also a key figure in discovering Monster and Milky Way’s major members. Her abilities were acknowledged and 3 years after starting at the company, she became a team leader.

Sung Ahn was the first to arrive at the RDT office today as well and got situated at her desk. As soon as she sat down, she turned on the computer and opened the box that was on the desk. The box was full of individually wrapped fortune cookies.

“Let’s see. Today…..”

Every Monday morning, she would open a fortune cookie, calm her mind with what was written, and make predictions for that week. She had been doing this since her days as a new hire. It wasn’t to the point that she blindly believed what was written in the fortunes, but it was true that it influenced her decision making since it got things right so often.

She grabbed the middlemost fortune cookie and opened the wrapping.

[A new relationship will find you. Leap into a higher place with a new mindset!]

Im Sung Ahn brooded over the words written on the paper.

‘Is it talking about an ex? It’s been over a year since we broke up so that’s probably not it.’

She wouldn’t know what the fortune means until the day is over anyways. Sung Ahn straightened out the fortune, placed it on the desk, and put the cookie in her mouth.

***

The HIT Entertainment trainee dance evaluation started at 5 p.m.

Since it’s impossible to have a normal school life as a trainee, Do Wook also had to submit a formal document to the school. With the school’s cooperation, he was attending just enough regular classes to fulfill the attendance requirement and was excused from the rest.

Yoon Jin Sun was extremely jealous of Do Wook, who left school around 3 o’clock. It looked like he was more jealous of Do Wook not attending classes than he was of Do Wook becoming a celebrity.

‘Simple-minded punk.’

The initial awkwardness had disappeared a long time ago. He didn’t feel awkward at all being friends with Yoon Jin Sung. Although, there were often times when Yoon Jin Sung told Do Wook not to act like an old man. He had the body of an 18 year old but the mind of a 33 year old, so it was understandable to be called an old man.

‘I tried to speak as little as possible so it wouldn’t be obvious but….’

Do Wook, who was in the middle of that thought, turned his neck and looked around. All the trainees who were to be evaluated were present.

Jo Jung Min stretched for no reason next to Park Tae Hyung and moved his body like he was going to hit him. Park Tae Hyung was crushed under Jo Jung Min’s spirit and had his head down.

‘The more I see it, the more unbelievable his actions are.’

As Do Wook approached with a frown, Jo Jung Min looked like he wouldn’t back down either. Whether Jo Jung Min fell for Do Wook’s provocation or not, it had been said in front of everybody. Jo Jung Min and Park Tae Hyung’s individual scores were the hottest topic of interest besides one’s own scores.

The three evaluators were sitting on the sofa prepared in the rehearsal room. The atmosphere was similar to the one during auditions.

During today’s evaluations, a total of five groups, from Group A to Group E, will be evaluated in reverse order. Since the evaluation was to find debut members, the evaluation included not only the dance instructor, but also the RDT Assistant Manager and Team Leader.

The production director will have the final confirmation over the debut members, but what was most important before that was to catch the eye of the RDT Team Leader. Im Sung Ahn’s position within the company was more solid than anyone else’s. For those who want to debut, she was a straw they had to grasp.

The dance instructor yelled.

“Group E, come on out first!”

Their cover songs for the evaluation were Monster’s ‘TOP’ and ‘WILD FACE’. ‘TOP’ was a song where flow and flexible movement is important, and ‘WILD FACE’ was a song with a fast tempo where you have to express power and unpolished beauty well.

It’s good if you can perform either one of those songs outstandingly, but it is also important to perform both these songs better than average. That way, you can take on anything no matter what the song or concept in the idol world that is constantly pursuing change.

The music started flowing out, and Group E started to dance in a line.

‘It’s a mess.’

They were barely imitating the choreography sequence they were given. It looked like a mess even to Do Wook, and it looked even worse to the evaluators. However, maybe it was because they didn’t have much expectation, but the three evaluators recorded each person’s score with a calm expression.

Anybody not in Team A was not ready to debut right away anyways. They were talents to be nurtured with time.

‘Currently, Group A has a total of 7 members. KK had 6 members. What most likely happened in the past is Park Tae Hyung gets cut from here on.’

Do Wook looked at Park Tae Hyung who was still just looking at the floor.

‘If he just does like he normally does, Park Tae Hyung’s individual score will be much higher. Jo Jung Min is also a good dancer, but he’s not on the same level as Park Tae Hyung. Park Tae Hyung definitely put in a lot of effort on top of being naturally talented.’

What he was worried about was Park Tae Hyung messing up the dance because he’s scared of Jo Jung Min.

‘You have to overcome this amount of fear yourself to be able to debut, and to deal with things well even after debuting.’

While he was worrying, it became Group A’s turn. They filed into a line. In the center was Ahn Hyung Seo, who had a lot of talent, followed by Jo Jung Min and Park Tae Hyung on either side.

“Park Tae Hyung. Let’s debut together.”

Do Wook, who was standing behind Park Tae Hyung, whispered to him right before the music started. He did not get a reply back from Park Tae Hyung.

Once the dance started, the people watching the evaluation’s eyes became big. Everyone was in a state of shock, as if they had been deceived.

“Who is he?”

“Oh, he’s Park Tae Hyung who passed the recent audition ma’am.’

“Ah! Now I remember. But was he that…..!”

She heard the Assistant Manager’s response but looked like she still couldn’t believe it and mumbled.

“Was he always that good?”

Team Leader Im Sung Ahn’s eyes sparked as she looked at Park Tae Hyung.

***

End of Month Dance Evaluation Results

Group A

.

.

Kang Do Wook 81

Jo Jung Min 87

Park Tae Hyung 94

.

.

A few hours after the dance evaluations, the trainees swarmed up against the wall to check their scores as soon as the results were posted.

Contrary to Do Wook’s concerns, Park Tae Hyung danced well with passion as he normally does. No, he moved his body with even more astounding focus than usual. Sure he had been practicing, but his dancing was beyond what had caught Do Wook’s eyes during the audition.

It might be that he had braced himself, or that his body moved on its own once the music and dancing started despite his dispirited state.

Park Tae Hyung received the highest score in the evaluation. On the contrary, Jo Jung Min’s score fell below 90. It was still a high score, but it was a low score for Jo Jung Min whose main weapon was dancing.

“Shit!”

Jo Jung Min started to cuss after checking his score. The trainees glazed at him. Everyone was scared to speak freely in case they got caught in the crossfire.

“You lost. To Park Tae Hyung, the very person you disregarded.”

The atmosphere became more hostile at Do Wook’s words. He only spoke the truth. Do Wook paid no attention to it and left the rehearsal room.

Crash!

The sound of something breaking mixed with Jo Jung Min cussing could be heard from inside the rehearsal room. It was the sound of Jo Jung Min, unable to keep his anger in check, tossing the phone he was holding.

Although Do Wook’s dance score was also high considering he had just started dancing, Do Wook was disappointed about his score. For vocals and composition, he was practicing on his own, but for dance he only practiced through the agency so it wasn’t enough.

“It’d be nice if there were more time until the debut…..’

Park Tae Hyung followed Do Wook out, who was walking while lost in thought.

“D..Do Wook.”

Park Tae Hyung was scared of Jo Jung Min but was also happy that he beat him on his own with his dancing. It wasn’t quite a full-on confrontation, but regardless, his fear and pressure towards Jo Jung Min lessened after beating him. This was a place where talent was important anyways.

“The dance evaluation…..you worked hard.”

“Based on the scores, it’s you who worked hard.”

Park Tae Hyung smiled shyly at Do Wook’s words. It might be because he always had his head down but his shy expression was very cute. He was the type to bring out maternal love in women.

***

Members of the RDT, including Im Sung Ahn, sat around the table and continued with the meeting. KK, the ambitiously planned new boy idol group. The general framework was all planned out. Now they had to decide on the members and focus on the details of how to highlight each member’s unique characteristics.

Of course they had a general picture of the member composition. They just didn’t have a suitable visual member, so they held an audition and the exact picture-like face they wanted came in.

“It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was close to perfect…..’

Riddled with anxiety, Im Sung Ahn sighed deeply. She thought it was all finished, but one of the selected members, Jo Jung Min, was on her mind.

Jo Jung Min scored 84 points on the last dance evaluation. It wasn’t first place, but it wasn’t a huge problem to him debuting. Additionally, since she became aware that someone like Park Tae Hyung exists, the evaluation was worthwhile.

However, Jo Jung Min was a troublemaker. He had pride in his dancing and it might be that his pride was hurt after the dance evaluations. He regularly created hostile atmospheres with other trainees, and there were even rumors that he harassed one of the trainees. To a certain degree it could be said that boys will be boys, but bad rumors constantly came up and it was hard to make a decision on whether it would be ok to let him debut.

In the meantime, Jo Jung Min was habitually late to practice or had a bad attitude.

“Have you talked to Jo Jung Min? Doesn’t he want to debut? Or does he think he’s already guaranteed to debut?”

Im Sung Ahn raised her voice. The youngest person in the Development Team, who was in charge of working with the trainees one-on-one, was hesitant.

“Well, I tried talking to him but….”

“I was always concerned because he’d often be rowdy.”

The Assistant Manager interjected without missing a beat. Honestly, the Assistant Manager disapproved of Jo Jung Min’s personality. He was just hanging on to Jo Jung Min because there was no trainee that danced better than him and didn’t cause big problems.

However, it’d be a different story if problems had come to surface. Also, currently there was a trainee who danced better than Jo Jung Min.

This meeting was actually no different than an open meeting since an alternate option called Park Tae Hyung appeared. If there were no alternative to Jo Jung Min, he probably wouldn’t have been able to think of any other solution except trying to fix his attitude and debuting him after a proper education.

Im Sung Ahn looked at her team members.

“It’s a group that needs to lead our company for at least 5 years. We have to decide carefully. Jo Jung Min’s debut, are you ok with it?”

It was a serious problem. They couldn’t approach it rashly and everyone kept their mouth closed.

“Park Tae Hyung….”

Eventually Im Sung Ahn said Park Tae Hyung’s name. The Assistant Manager carefully opened up the discussion.

Translator’s Comments: They called 33 years old an old man……..I’m in my 30’s, does that mean I’m old too T.T

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