When I opened my eyes I was a Superstar – Chapter 9: Official debut, An unexpected change (3)

“It hasn’t been that long since he joined, but it seems like he can dance as well as Jo Jung Min. No, on the contrary, he’s an even better dancer. I would say he’s a truly outstanding dancer. He’s also sincere and kind. He’s young so he also has more potential.”

“Potential? Potential is important but debuts are done by pros.”

There was silence again. Outside of dancing, Park Tae Hyung definitely had areas he was lacking in to be able to debut right away. In terms of competency, Jo Jung Min was superior. At the same time, Park Tae Hyung had a natural vibe that you can’t find in Jo Jung Min.

“He definitely had a freshness that was eye-catching. However, isn’t it a rash decision to change a member with the debut so close?

Im Sung Ahn’s worries grew deeper. It would be a different story if they were bringing him in to fill a vacant position, like in Kang Do Wook’s situation. Bringing in a new trainee as a debut member instead of someone who had been training for years is definitely risky.

Im Sung Ahn tapped the desk with her fingers multiple times.

About 10 minutes passed like that. The team members were in endless agony over whether to continue with Jo Jung Min or to substitute with this new person Park Tae Hyung.

Im Sung Ahn looked around at the team members’ expressions and was leaning towards a decision.

‘Regardless, the fact that there are no team members saying we should go with Jo Jung Min is a problem. The team members are people too, which means Jo Jung Min wasn’t able to win over people’s hearts in 4 years.’

It meant that Jo Jung Min’s skills and personality he built up over the last few years would come to an end here.

“What would it be like if we went with Park Tae Hyung in terms of member composition, synergy within the group, and various other aspects?”

“I think we’d have a younger team if we put in Tae Hyung.”

“He’s the same age as Kang Do Wook so it might be a good idea to promote the same age pair.”

The Assistant Manager added his opinion. Im Sung Ahn nodded her head.

Suddenly, Im Sung Ahn recalled the words from the fortune she read on Monday.

‘A new relationship…! Yes, I’ll bet my success on the new road instead of the road that’s too familiar.’

***

Inside HIT Entertainment’s building, a new announcement was posted on the bulletin in the 4th floor hallway where the rehearsal hall was located. It was a schedule for the interview the trainees occasionally have. Interestingly, this was not a one-to-one interview but a multi-to-one interview. On top of that, the people in charge were the RDT Team Leader Im Sung Ahn and the Production Director Kwon Heung Jo.

Anyone could tell just by looking at the names of the people in charge, unless you were stupid, that the people whose names were on the interview schedule were in the debut group.

The trainees gathered in front of the wall and were abuzz. Among the 6 names on the list were Park Tae Hyung and Kang Do Wook’s names.

***

Team Leader Im Sung Ahn and Production Director Kwon Heung Jo confirmed the debut members through the final interview. Team Leader Im Sung Ahn spoke to the six people sitting in front of her.

“You will be preparing a group with the goal of debuting next year. The group’s name is KK.”

“KK…”

“Woah, debut!”

The people sitting down squirmed at her words. With a flushed expression, everyone thought about their debut and muttered to themselves. They expected it to a certain degree but now that it’s been confirmed, it was hard to hide their happiness. As soon as they heard the group name KK, they could picture it so clearly as if their debut was tomorrow.

Among them, Park Tae Hyung looked especially puzzled. On the other hand, Kang Do Wook maintained his composure. Just, the look in his eyes got a little darker.

‘It really starts from here on out.’

The Team Leader’s eyes met Do Wook’s, who had a sincere look on his face. She thought as she looked at Do Wook’s face.

‘He’s definitely a find. There’s a serious aura unlike that of an 18 year old.’

Im Sung Ahn wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Director Kwon Heung Jo, who had seen Kang Do Wook at the final audition, couldn’t help but nod his head when he saw him while looking for people who could be the future of HIT Entertainment. Kang Do Wook was a very good fit to become the face of HIT Entertainment.

“The company will do everything it can to make KK’s debut a success. You all became debut members because you worked hard but from here on out your competitors will be pros, not other trainees. You’ll face things a hundred times, a thousand times harder than what you’ve encountered so far. Do you all think you can do it?”

Director Kwon Hung Jo asked for their resolve.

“I’ll work hard! I look forward to working with you.”

Do Wook answered without wavering. He even added a mature response like “I look forward to working with you.”

“I’ll work hard!”

“I will too…!”

The other trainees followed suit and yelled, as if they were making a promise to themselves. Im Sung Ahn and Kwon Heung Jo smiled proudly.

After they received the general debut schedule, the six trainees gave a deep bow and left the conference room.

Inside the conference room after the trainees and Director left, RDT Team Leader Im Sung Ahn had the following memo written on her paper.

Ahn Hyung Seo (19) – Vocals, unique voice, lots of talent…variety show?

Jung Yoon Ki (21) – Rap, previously auditioned for < Student Rapper >…

Kim Won (20) – Rap/Dance, studied abroad in Canada, genius with 138 IQ! For media promotion…?

Suk Ji Hoon (17) – Vocal, child actor experience in children’s drama, aspiring actor…

Kang Do Wook (18) – Vocal, to be placed as a leading member

Park Tae Hyung (18) – Vocal/Dance, to be used for image, observe further and follow up

***

Less than a week after the members were confirmed, the 6 members started their dormitory life.

After telling his parents, Do Wook packed his bags and left the house. He also arranged to commute to school from the dorm. If his original school were far from the dorm, they planned to transfer him to a nearby art high school.

The dorm was a 2 bedroom 18 pyeong* newly built villa near the company.
(TL note: 18 pyeong is about 640.5 square feet)

It was cramped for 6 guys to live in, but they’ll spend most of their time at the company rehearsal hall anyways. The dormitory was just for relaxing for a bit at night or for sleeping. Also, compared to the dormitory their senior groups like Monster or Milky Way stayed in before their debut, the newly constructed villa was a step up.

“The CEO said he’ll move you guys to a better place if your first album is successful…”

RDT’s youngest employee Ahn Young Mi told them the day the members moved in. She said that because she thought the members might be disappointed with the small dormitory. However, the members were excitedly looking around their small dormitory, thrilled that they got to leave their house and live on their own.

“Geez. This is heaven compared to the goshiwon* I used to live in.”
(TL note: A goshiwon is a very small room that students live in while studying for an important test, or if their normal home is far from their school)

Jung Yoon Ki, who grew up in the countryside and endured living in a goshiwon alone, exclaimed to her.

Once they moved all the luggage, the six of them sat in the living room and figured out room assignments with Ahn Young Mi.

Each of the two rooms had a bunk bed and a single bed. Contrary to Ahn Young Mi’s concern that an argument might break out over the sleeping arrangements, figuring out the arrangements went smoothly.

It was thanks to Ahn Hyung Seo, who volunteered to take the top bunk even though it’s definitely the most uncomfortable, saying it was his dream to sleep on a top bunk. Kang Do Wook also said he didn’t care which bed he gets and let the other members choose.

Afterwards the younger members let the older members have the single bed and the room arrangements got sorted out naturally. It wasn’t a big deal but they were off to a good start. Ahn Young Mi had been watching the trainees the closest. They were skilled, but she was content that it seemed like only people without personality flaws were gathered.

On one hand, she was relieved that Jo Jung Min was left out of the group. She felt bad for saying it, but if Jo Jung Min were here it would have been hard to create a warm atmosphere like this.

“Then good luck getting settled in…There will be a lady that comes once a week to clean and make you food but…You guys take turns cleaning too so it won’t get too piled up.”

“Ok!”

“Yoon Ki, you’re the oldest so…”

“Yes! I understand~!”

He was not only the oldest, but also the most energetic. Under his leadership, the six of them divided the chores.

“Let’s all try our best, together.”

Jung Yoon Ki said playfully before they went their own ways after dividing the chores. The tone was playful, but everyone knew the sincerity in it.

Do Wook nodded his head without a word. It felt like some sort of camaraderie had formed among the six of them just because they were tied into ‘one team’. It was interesting.

“Also, Park Tae Hyung…!”

Everyone was surprised when Jung Yoon Ki suddenly singled out Park Tae Hyung. Park Tae Hyung, who was shy and had been silently following along all day, was the most surprised and looked at Jung Yoon Ki.

“It’s late but I’m sorry. About Jung Min. At least I should have stopped it. I just watched it happen.”

Jung Yoon Ki wasn’t part of Jo Jung Min’s group, but he had maintained a good relationship with them. He wasn’t involved in harassing Park Tae Hyung, but he didn’t step up to stop them either. He always felt bad because of it, and he felt sorry towards Park Tae Hyung.

During that time Kang Do Wook stepped up and said something harsh to Jo Jung Min. And Park Tae Hyung beat Jo Jung Min with his skills.

After the debut members were confirmed, Jung Yoon Ki seeked out Kang Do Wook, who had acted more mature than himself, who was an adult. When he told Do Wook he was ashamed to see Park Tae Hyung, Do Wook replied.

“Apologize to him. All it will take is one word; sorry. It’s Park Tae Hyung.”

He wondered if that would really be enough but Kang Do Wook was certain. And while looking for the opportunity to do so, Jung Yoon Ki decided to apologize today.

Following Jung Yoon Ki’s words, the other members also apologized. Because just watching it happen wasn’t the right thing to do either. Kang Do Wook quietly observed the scene.

“It.it.it’s ok. Really.”

Park Tae Hyung’s face was drenched with embarrassment then promptly turned into a tearful face. Not one of the members was directly involved in harassing him, but since they apologized he was both embarrassed and thankful. It felt like even the pain he felt from everything Jo Jung Min put him through was getting washed away.

With that, the first night of their dormitory life was coming to an end.

While everyone was heading to their respective rooms, Ahn Hyung Seo approached Do Wook and quietly asked.

“Hey Do Wook. Have you heard any news about Jung Min?”

Ah Hyung Seo seemed concerned about what happened to Jo Jung Min after he left the agency.

***

December was busy with award ceremonies in the entertainment world.

After coming back from practice, the KK members were gathered in the dorm watching the music award ceremony on cable TV.

“Wow, when will we get to go to that kind of event.”

Ahn Hyung Seo watched Milky Way on stage with his mouth open. He was actually a fan of Milky Way. Do Wook would have normally watched Milky Way with his mouth open too, but he was preoccupied with a different thought.

‘Is it today…?!’

Ara Entertainment was a big agency that produced lots of outstanding stars.

Thanks to that, M2M’s debut, the group Seo Kang Jun was in, was on a different scale than anyone else. They had their debut stage at the end of the year award ceremony after a singer from Ara Entertainment’s performance.

There was a huge reaction since it was a stage even established groups had a hard time getting to but ‘woosh’ a rookie group was having their debut performance here. Fans of medium sized groups that didn’t get to perform at the award ceremony or were only able to sing one verse even if they got to perform stood up, saying it was tyranny from a large agency.

They got anti fans the same time they debuted. However, compared to the positive effect of the explosive interest they drew in, some negative voices were easy to deal with. From the day of their debut, they dominated trending topics and M2M started to take their place as an enormous star.

That incredible debut was scheduled to happen today.

As one performance ended, the actress that was MCing the award ceremony came out wearing a red off-the-shoulder dress and grabbed the mike. As expected, the actress was a part of Ara Entertainment.

“The heat on stage is very hot! Continuing this heat, a hot new group is waiting to take the stage next. Man.To.Man!”

At the actress’s words, the stage became dark again, and an intro started to play.

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