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we are the girls that dream (this is the moment we share them)

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[ Produce 101! Vote for your ideal girl online now! You can choose up to eleven girls for the first voting period.]

 

Lights up on Jang Keunsuk.

 

"One hundred and one trainees from forty-three companies are awaiting your votes. Their debut depends on you."

 

The set behind him falls away to reveal the 101 trainees, standing.

 

"National producers, please take care of us well!"

 

[The trainees enter the room…]

 

Son Yuji, 18, and Seo Minkyung, 18, enter first, of GH Entertainment. Yuji is obviously taking the lead. They look around nervously and laugh.

 

[Seo Minkyung]

 

"It was stressful going in first. For a second I was worried we were in the wrong place. We were in there alone for… ten minutes?"

 

[The awkwardness of being the first]

 

Long shot of the girls, looking very small as they choose seats 45 and 46.

 

A montage of Yuji's scenes from Baby Kara and K-pop Star 2 are shown on screen.

 

[Son Yuji]

 

"I had many chances to prove myself by going on programs. I'm really hopeful that this will be the last program I have to go on. It was really regretful not being chosen."

 

[Who will be the next trainees to enter?]

 

Five girls walk into the hallway and then into the large room, all holding hands.

 

[The five trainees from DoubleX Entertainment]

 

They introduce themselves, quickly establishing age order, and sit in the mid-thirties, directly behind the GH girls.

 

Pledis entertainment flashes onscreen.

 

[Kim Sungyeon]

 

"Seventeen…"

 

[Seo Minkyung]

 

"Seventeen."

 

[Son Yuji]

 

"I actually thought of After School first." She laughs.

 

[Kim Jihae]

 

"It was intimidating because Pledis is such a big company. I didn't realize there would be trainees from companies like these here, I thought it would all be smaller companies like mine."

 

[Choi Moonju]

 

"One of the Pledis dongsaengs came up and started talking to me very quickly. She was so sociable, it didn't seem like she was nervous."

 

Cut of Kim Yewon sitting next to Choi Moonju and smiling, chattering away.

 

A large number of trainees walk in the door.

 

[What company is this who has sent so many?]

 

It turns out to be Polaris Entertainment. The girls from Happyface Entertainment, Hunus Entertainment, and many others enter and their company names flash across the viewer's screen, eventually filling up the screen; however, they do not get screen time.

 

The two DSP media trainees, Somin and Jiwoo, enter. Somin immediately screans when she catches sight of GH's Son Yuji.

 

[Jeon Somin]

 

"Yuji-yah and I were on Baby Kara together. She left the company after that. We were close because of our time on Baby Kara and I'm excited to see her again."

 

Two more trainees enter, GlobalH's Soyeon and Jinye. Sudden cuts to the surprised faces of other trainees.

 

[Lee Jiyu]

 

"I was surprised because they had already debuted…"

 

[Han Dong]

 

"I think it's not fair to have idols who have already debuted on this show. It's for trainees… they've already had their chance."

 

[Jung Soyeon and Bae Jinye debuted as members of Laboum]

 

A clip of Laboum's debut song Pit-A-Pat is shown on screen. Arrows point out Jinye and Soyeon.

 

[Bae Jinye]

 

"Our debut didn't go as well as we wished. Our company wants to disband us, but they offered us a chance to go on this show so we could try and stay together."

 

The YAMA&HOTCHICKS trainees enter. Most of them stand apart from one other.

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"Song Hanhee unnie is an ulzzang, I thought? So why was she in a show for idol trainees?"

 

[In Hwa]

 

"It made me kind of angry, honestly." She laughs a little, but it's obvious her heart isn't in it. "It doesn't look like she'll have any talent. What if people vote for her just because she's pretty?"

 

[Song Hanhee]

 

"I really do want to be an idol. I'm afraid because even the other trainees from my company don't think I should be here." She starts to get teary. A staff member from offscreen offers her a box of tissues, but she doesn't take it.

 

[Many trainees have entered… but no one has sat in the top row of seats.]

 

The camera flashes around to empty seats. This is clearly before the YAMA&HOTCHICKS entrance, as some girls who reacted to Hanhee are not seated yet.

 

[Yang Sua]

 

"I thought maybe we weren't supposed to sit up there? That it was only for the girls who did well?"

 

[Jeon Heejin]

 

"The top row intimidated me. I wanted to sit up there but at the same time it was scary, so the trainees from my company sat in the row below them."

 

[Who will be the first trainee to sit there?]

 

Cut to the entrance of the independent trainees. Most of them sit further down the pyramid, with only Lee Nakyung venturing higher, up to seat 17. Suddenly, the camera cuts to Roh Jisun.

 

[Lee Sebin]

 

"I thought she was going to sit in the number one seat."

 

Roh Jisun ends up in seat 11. After this, some cuts of other trainees are quickly shown, with the trainees from Dublekick, HBrothers, and Happyface sitting in the top row as well.

 

The Jellyfish trainees enter - Shin Bora and Cho Hyeyeon. They make a beeline for the top row and sit in seats two and three with confidence.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I really love VIXX, so I was surprised when I saw the Jellyfish girls come in."

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"Jellyfish is going to debut a girl group?"

 

[Chong Tingyan]

 

"They were really brave going to sit up there… they didn't even question it."

 

[But still, no one has sat in the first place seat]

 

JYP's logo flashes on the screen and the girls gasp.

 

[Lee Luda]

 

"I didn't think any of the Big Three would be here. I thought the big companies would be us, Pledis, Fantagio, Cube…"

 

Hirai Momo and Chou Tzuyu enter.

 

[Kim Sion]

 

"I watched Sixteen."

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"Sixteen."

 

[Ha Sooyoung]

 

"I thought, weren't they already on a survival show? The one for Twice?"

 

[Yu Jungahn]

 

"I used to be a JYP trainee. I left right before Sixteen started - I almost joined it. So I was happy to see Tzuyu and Momo unnie."

 

The JYP trainees go to the top row and sit next to Dublekick Company's Yu Jungahn.

 

The SM logo flashes on the screen and a lone trainee, Kim Yerim, comes in.

 

[Park Seungyeon]

 

"My younger sister Jungyeon is in SM Rookies with Yerim, so I already knew her a little bit."

 

By now there are only two seats left - 22, next to the nine girls from Blockberry Creative, and 1. Yerim sits next to Kim Jiwoo of Blockberry.

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"I didn't want to sit up there. I was worried they would think I thought highly of myself."

 

[Kim Jiwoo]

 

"Yerim is really nice. I enjoyed talking with her and I think we're going to be friends."

 

[Jung Jinsol]

 

"I had a feeling that YG would be next."

 

[Hong Sojin]

 

"To build up suspense…"

 

True to their words, the final logo to show onscreen is YG's.

 

[Cho Hyeyeon]

 

"She's going to have to sit in the first place seat. She had no choice."

 

[Moon Chaesol]

 

"I felt kind of bad for her."

 

Jennie Kim enters and is shocked by the sheer amount of girls.

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"I didn't know I was going in last…"

 

She climbs the stairs confidently and doesn't look back at all until she's sat in the first-place throne.

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"I thought it was fate, you know? That I'm supposed to sit there. Hopefully the national producers will put me in that seat as well."

 

[Go Ahra]

 

"She didn't seem scared at all. Actually, she looked confident."

 

With that, Jang Keunsuk enters.

 

"National producers, please take care of us well!"

 

The Producers' Representative introduces the trainers, beginning with Kahi.

 

[Kim Nari]

 

"Kahi sunbaenim is like…. my role model."

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

"She's from my company so I hope she thinks well of me."

 

[Lee Jinsook]

 

"Everyone has heard of After School."

 

Cheetah also gets some accolades and shocked faces.

 

[Lee Jieun]

 

"She's such an amazing rapper."

 

[Kim Kyungmi]

 

"I'm excited for her to teach us."

 

Jang Keunsuk is at the front of the room. "We will now see your company performances and give you a grade from A to F. This doesn't affect your participation on the show - it's only so we can teach you better."

 

Fab Entertainment's Eun Yuri kicks off the performance with a disastrous single-person edition of 2NE1's I Am The Best. Her dance is alright and her rapping isn't bad, but her singing is a disaster. Cut to C9's Kim Chaeyoung looking shocked and a little disgusted.

 

[The pressure of going first]

 

"Your dance isn't bad," Bae Yoonjung tells her encouragingly. "And it's difficult to do a group song as a soloist, I understand that. But I don't understand why you didn't choose a song more to your strengths."

 

"You're nervous, right?" JeA asks. Yuri nods. "That's okay. You also do the sexy concept well, so that fits you. But your vocals…" She shakes her head. You can feel the disapproval from the screen.

 

"We will announce the grade for the Fab Entertainment trainee," Cheetah says after a moment. "Eun Yuri… D."

 

Yuri nods, an odd look crossing her face, and walks over to collect the D sticker that will be placed on her nametag.

 

[Eun Yuri]

 

"I wanted to set the bar high."

 

The C9 trainees are introduced by each of them doing aegyo. The older unnies (Heejin, Chaesol, Chaeyoung, and Nayoon) fail, but endearingly. The younger girls (Hyeonju and Hwang Jiwon) do it well. Kim Jiwon is saved for last. She goes all the way through Oppaya before shooting the camera a grin - an adorable gummy smile.

 

[Kim Hanbi]

 

"Jiwon unnie is adorable."

 

[Go Junghee]

 

"She reminds me of our company maknae, Ahra - she's so cute you can't look away from her. She commands attention well."

 

[Kwon Aeji]

 

"I'm so used to being the one who does aegyo well… is it weird if I feel a bit threatened?" She laughs.

 

The C9 girls do a version of Seventeen's Very Nice. Cut to Pledis' Kim Yewon nodding approvingly and Bae Sungyeon doing the dance.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"They danced it well. I'm close to Jihoon oppa of Seventeen and I'm kind of proud of them on his behalf. It was cool to see our company represented in the performances from other agencies."

 

[But what grade will cutie Kim Jiwon receive?]

 

"We will announce the grades for the C9 trainees," Jang Keunsuk announces. "A. **** Jiwon. And none else." A bleep has censored the surname, so the audience doesn't know which Jiwon has received the grade of A. "B. Song Heejin, Hwang Nayoon. None else. C. Jin Hyeonju, Kim Chaeyoung. None else. D. Moon Chaesol. None else. F…" A pause, even though everyone knows what's coming. "**** Jiwon."

 

Suspenseful music plays as the faces of Hwang Jiwon and Kim Jiwon are shown side by side."

 

"We will announce the grades for the C9 trainees. A… Hwang Jiwon." Cut to: "F. Kim Jiwon."

 

"You're very cute, Jiwon-ah." Jiwon nods, smiling, at Kahi's comment. "We want to look at you. But the thing is… when we look at you we see everything you're doing wrong."

 

Cuts of Kim Jiwon from the performance play. Her vocals are shaky and, while she doesn't make a mistake, she doesn't execute the choreography with the same position as her labelmates.

 

[By contrast…]

 

Hwang Jiwon, the main rapper, is shown killing the raps of the song. She's at the center for the first chorus as well.

 

"You represented my company well," Kahi compliments. Hwang Jiwon turns bright red and a smile lights up her face.

 

"Th- thank you!"

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"It felt so nice to hear Kahi say that. I felt proud and like I was doing well… I felt confident that I would succeed."

 

A clip of Brave Girls' Yujin giving an interview is shown. "I have a younger sister… her name is Haeri." A picture of Jung Haeri with Yujin as children is shown, followed by a second picture of the sisters more recently.

 

[Jung Haeri]

 

"I want to do well and make my sister proud. I want her to be able to tell her bandmates, oh that's my little sister. I'm so so proud of unnie for being successful and I hope someday she can feel the same way about me."

 

She performs Brave Girls' Nowadays. JeA comments, "you look a lot like Yujin from Brave Girls. Not just when you dance or perform but just in general."

 

"She's my older sister," Haeri explains.

 

She receives a grade of A. Kim Sungeun tells her, "I think your sister would be really proud of you. Well done."

 

[Jung Haeri]

 

She doesn't speak. The shot is of her crying - out of happiness.

 

Brief clips of other performances are shown. You can hear clips of audio by Gfriend, Girls Generation, After School, Ladies Code, and 4Minute; other clips pass by too quickly for the songs to be clear. Then, there's some clips just of the trainers giving grades. "A." "F." "D." "A." "C." "D." "B."

 

[The company evaluations continue…]

 

Kim Yerim comes out and performs Red Velvet's Happiness.

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"I was cut from the final lineup and joined SM Rookies instead. This could have been my debut song so performing it is really regretful."

 

[Baek Daae]

 

"I was a little confused. She was from SM but her performance seemed to be lacking."

 

"Kim Yerim, A," Bae Yoonjung announces.

 

[Watanabe Rui]

 

"It didn't seem right. I would have expected her to get a B."

 

[Kim Seyoung]

 

"Did they only give her an A because she's from a big company?"

 

[Ju Minhee]

 

"It felt a little unfair…"

 

Next they show the JYP stage. Tzuyu and Momo perform Twice's first comeback, Cheer Up.

 

"Momo-ah." Bae Yoonjung says.

 

"Yes?"

 

"You dance well."

 

"Ah… thank you."

 

[Chou Tzuyu, A; Hirai Momo, B]

 

[Jung Jinsol]

 

"I don't think Tzuyu deserved the A grade."

 

[Yu Ju]

 

"It was like what happened with Yerim. I thought Momo deserved the high rank but Tzuyu should have gotten something lower."

 

Jennie Kim performs IU's Twenty-Three and kills it. She receives rank A.

 

The four girls from Luk Factory walk out and Jang Keunsuk's mouth instantly drops open.

 

"Wow," he says, "you guys are all so beautiful." They bow, looking somewhat awkward, and thank the national producer. "I'm excited to see you perform."

 

[Kim Sora]

 

"They were so pretty, it was intimidating."

 

Their stage, though, of Baby V.O.X.'s Dolls, doesn't meet expectations. The highest ranking any of them receives is a C.

 

"Hyunji-yah."

 

"Yes?" responds the group's eldest, under scrutiny from JeA.

 

"Your vocals… they're not at the level of someone your age and with your training. I'm really disappointed."

 

[Kim Hyunji]

 

"It was really regretful. To have someone I look up to tell me I was unskilled…" she starts to cry.

 

[Vote for your girl! You can choose up to 11 trainees to support until the first voting period closes.]

Chapter Text

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl online now! You can choose up to 11 trainees and vote once a day on each voting form until the first voting period closes.]

 

[Last week…]

 

We see a montage of scenes from the last episode: the C9 performance, the first girls entering, the room filling up, and the introduction of the trainers.

 

[The trainees were assigned grades.]

 

"Remember," says Kahi, "these grades aren't a label on your talent. We're only grading what we see from this one performance. You can rise if you take the next challenge well."

 

"A." "F." "D." "A." "B." "C." "C." "D." The trainers assigning grades flashes quickly across the screen. We see a few trainees whose evaluations weren't shown last week, such as the girls from Dublekick, Happyface, and Astory.

 

[What will the next challenge be?]

 

"Trainees," Jang Keunsuk addresses them. "Are you ready to hear what your next challenge will be?"

 

The girls chorus a loud "yes".

 

[Lee Jiyu]

 

"I didn't understand why they couldn't just tell us! There's so much suspense."

 

"You will be learning a song," announces Jang Keunsuk. "The first original song from Produce 101, 'Pick Me', will be your first evaluation for the national producers." The girls are confused. "Let's watch the demo," he says.

 

As the demo plays, many of the girls watch intently. There's a cute shot of Starship's Cheng Xiao mimicking the dance moves, to the amusement of her labelmates. Then, a cut of HBrothers' Lee Ahryoung doing the same, making the Dublekick girls next to her smile.

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"The song was very cute."

 

[Han Saebyeol]

 

"It seems like a style I can do well in and have fun."

 

[Kim Hanbi]

 

"I think it will show our charms well?"

 

"And with this song," continues Representative Jang, "you will appear on M Countdown."

 

Their gasps are audible. Yang Sua, Son Yuji, Go Junghee, and a few others are shown looking absolutely shocked.

 

[Jung Soyeon]

 

"I was scared…"

 

[Hwang Nayoon]

 

"It was like a dream coming true already."

 

[Park Chohyeon]

 

"I honestly couldn't believe it. Was this a joke?"

 

"I'm sure everyone wants to get known to the public, right?" Of course they all say yes. "However, the stage will not be fair to everyone. There are only three minutes onstage, so your position and part distribution will go according to your level." The girls gasp. "A will have the most parts and the best position, and B, C, and D will follow. As for F…" He pauses. "For the girls who aren't ready to stand onstage, they will be backup dancers and will not sing."

 

[Roh Jisun]

 

"Now, this really wasn't fair."

 

[Kang Soeun]

 

"I was so disappointed."

 

[Lee Jinsook]

 

"I felt like going home right then."

 

[Go Ahra]

 

"If that's the case then I'm happy to be in A," she laughs.

 

"However, don't give up just yet. In three days, we will be reevaluating the levels, after you learn the dance and vocals and have time to practice Pick Me on your own as well. Your final level can change. This will be an opportunity for many of you and a crisis for others."

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"I have to go up."

 

[Lee Gahyeon]

 

"Of course it has to change…"

 

[Noh Hyojung]

 

"I was hopeful that Soeun unnie and I could rise to another level and show our charms."

 

"For the F ranked trainees, this is your opportunity to stand out. Our training team will try their best to bring everyone to A level. I wish you all the best of luck."

 

[Chou Tzuyu]

 

"I have to stay in A."

 

[Choi Yuna]

 

"Is it bad that I think I'll be comfortable in B? I want to be seen but I know I have work to do before I can rise, so I want to stay where I know I can do well."

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"I have to go up. I want all of my labelmates to be in A so we can do well…"

 

[At the dorms, a present awaits them...]

 

Kim Hanbi grins at Lee Jieun. "Unnie, they gave us shirts!" She holds up the pink shirt of A class against her.

 

"This is a good color on me," comments Watanabe Rui in another A class bedroom.

 

"It's a good color on all of us, Rui unnie," Jung Jinsol shoots back. They laugh.

 

Next, cut to a couple scenes of the B class dorm. Cheng Xiaoxiao looks satisfied in her yellow shirt. Jeon Heejin and Song Heejin are in a room together, and they pose cutely with their shirts as their labelmates Ha Sooyoung and Hwang Nayoon respectively giggle.

 

"I like yellow," says Cho Hyeyeon to the camera. "Warm tones, you know."

 

C dorm is next. Kim Jiwoo makes a face at the blue shirt. "I look so bad in this…" she complains. "I hate wearing blue."

 

"It's such a cold color," Lee Ahryoung grumps.

 

"It could be worse, unnie," Kim Sookyung tells her. "The colors get worse the lower your class is. And we only have to wear these shirts for three days anyway."

 

"I want to wear pink," Kim Jungeun shouts to her room. "Let's all wear pink together in A class!"

 

In the D class rooms, Eun Yuri lets out a frustrated scream at her shirt that's obviously more humorous than malicious.

 

Choi Yerim tugs at her labelmate in the hallway. "Kahei unnie… Kahei unnie! Why aren't there any purple shirts?"

 

A third Blockberry girl, Chaewon, pulls down the hem of her green shirt, seeming almost self-conscious. "I love the color green, but I don't understand why I have to wear it."

 

And, of course, F class. "Unnie!" Noh Hyojung whines to Jo Haseul. "Haseul unnie! I don't like this!"

 

Kim Jiwon and Kwon Aeji do aegyo cutely together. "Jiwonnie does not want to wear gray!" says the one in a baby voice.

 

"Aeji doesn't want to wear gray either! Please vote for us, producer-nim!"

 

"I'm so embarrassed," says Bae Jihye. "But I think that's sort of the point, also."

 

[The girls gather the next morning…]

 

"Good morning!" says Jennie Kim brightly to the camera. She's holding hands with Happyface's Han Dong on one side and RollingCulture's Yoon Daeun on the other. "We are some of the 1996 girls from A class!"

 

"We're going to go learn the song now," adds Daeun. "Please support us well, producer-nim!" Han Dong just grins and makes a quick peace sign.

 

The camera comes up behind two girls from D class, Blockberry's Kahei and Cube's Tingyan. They're talking to each other not in Korean, but in Cantonese. When Tingyan notices the camera, she turns. "Hello, we are the girls from Hong Kong," she greets.

 

"I'm very excited," Kang Soeun whispers shyly to the camera. She's holding hands tightly with her labelmate, groupmate, and faithful dongsaeng, Noh Hyojung.

 

"Good! You should be excited, unnie!" Hyojung says loudly, letting go of Soeun for a moment to dance a quick mock of Pick Me's moves, clearly only remembered from the demo video the day before.

 

A camera shot from above shows a fast-forward of the girls filing into the large room by class. Lyric sheets are passed ppallippalli down the rows.

 

"We are learning the song," whispers Jeon Somin of DSP. "Finally!"

 

"Let's hear the A class do it," Jang Keunsuk announces from the front of the room.

 

The A girls skillfully sing through Pick Me.

 

[Lee Jieun]

 

"The song was harder than I thought… I was worried."

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"My strength is vocals so I sang this well. I think, if the dance isn't too hard, I'll be able to stay in A…"

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"To hear the A girls in front of us was really burdensome, especially because I'm a rapper… the unnies from my company are both talented vocalists but I'm worried."

 

The A girls move to the back and the B girls come to the front. They sing through it as well - there are also some clips of the A girls in the back singing along.

 

[Lee Jinsuk]

 

"It made me so nervous, they were all practicing in the back and seemed so confident."

 

Hwang Nayoon, Song Heejin, and Bae Sungyeon are standing in the middle of the line, looking at ease as they practice.

 

[Hwang Nayoon]

 

"Sungyeon and I are the same age, and Heejin unnie and we are vocalists. We're all very comfortable with the song."

 

[Hirai Momo]

 

"It's too high for me, I know I'm only in B for my dance skills… eotteokhae…"

 

The girls from the lower classes are skipped over. Probably for good reason.

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"My strength is vocals. I might be able to climb ranks with this song."

 

Now, we go to the practices. First is F class dance with Kahi.

 

"So," says the trainer. "This is the F class. You all want to rise, right?" A resounding 'yes' from the girls. "Good. If you work hard in the next three days I'm sure all of you can rise. Just because you are in F doesn't mean you're untalented."

 

Kahi briefly goes through the dance. Then she goes through the moves one by one, the girls seeming for the most part able to keep up (with a little help from standout Noh Hyojung. The F class maknae and second-youngest in the entire show is a skilled dancer, it turns out).

 

Everything is going relatively fine until Kahi hits the chorus.

 

[The trainee who suddenly can't keep up with the moves…]

 

Roh Jisun - the independent trainee who took the eleventh place seat - is struggling to mimic Kahi's hip movements.

 

"Jisun-ah." Kahi calls out.

 

"Yes?"

 

"Come to the front, please."

 

Jisun goes shyly to the front.

 

"Do the move for me, please, Jisun-ah." The trainee still looks reticent. "Don't be afraid. It's so I can help you." Jisun attempts. It fails. "It's like this," Kahi persists, moving her hips up and down. It takes a few moments, but Jisun finally gets there. "Hyojung-ah!" calls Kahi.

 

"Yes?" The tall, young girl from Fantagio asks, head up instantly at Kahi's request.

 

"Could you come and help Jisun with this?"

 

[Noh Hyojung]

 

"I felt awkward when she asked me to help. I was worried the other girls would think badly of me."

 

[Kang Soeun]

 

"I'm proud of her. She's doing so well… hopefully she'll move up."

 

Hyojung teaches Jisun well, and they seem to get on alright - Jisun has a very obviously quiet personality, and Hyojung is bright, a mood maker. Different though they are, they balance each other well, at least it seems that way from the shots of the two working together.

 

[Noh Hyojung]

 

"Jisun unnie reminds me of Soeun unnie. They're both very quiet."

 

[The trainee who became the teacher]

 

A brief clip of A class learning the dance with Bae Yoonjung. The girls in fact have enough time to joke around at the end… but most of them practice the dance anyway, even though Kim Yerim and Go Ahra put a little too much into it (it's most likely to amuse their unnies, anyway).

 

Then the A girls go to vocal practice. They arrive before trainer Kim Sungeun and begin dancing in the practice room.

 

"Already learned the dance, I see?" Kim Sungeun announces as she comes in.

 

"Yes!" Chorus the girls.

 

"Alright. Well, you're only halfway done, now it's time to sing the song. Let's sing it all together first," she starts off. They do this. It goes fine. "Now individually."

 

Ji Suyeon starts off. "Well, this is a promising beginning," says Kim Sungeun. "Suyeon, you have a very clear tone. You hit the high notes well. Good job." Suyeon blushes with pleasure and returns to the other girls, hiding almost behind Jung Jinsol.

 

The other girls, however, are not nearly so promising. Lee Jieun's voice continually cracks, Hwang Jiwon keeps slipping into head voice, and even Go Ahra - who had received praise for her vocals in her company evaluation - slips up.

 

Kim Sungeun shakes her head. "We have some work to do," she sighs. "Jungahn, please come back here again."

 

B class's dance lesson seems to be going well. "Wow," comments Bae Yoonjung. "I wouldn't be surprised if many of you move up to A in the next few days." She especially compliments Hirai Momo and Cheng Xiao. "You two did amazing today. You're both dance focused?" They nod. "And both foreign." Another nod. "That doesn't matter. You don't need to be Korean to debut in the nation's girl group."

 

[Kim Kyungmi]

 

"I really thought that wasn't fair. It's supposed to be Korea's girl group, and Bae Yoonjung trainer is talking about them like they'll make it far, but they aren't even Korean! Why are non-Koreans here to be in the nation's girl group?"

 

[Chou Tzuyu]

 

"It's because we want debut," she says, almost in answer to Kyungmi's question - surely the producers intended this. "I want to debut just the same as the other girls do. And Dong unnie and Rui unnie do as well, and Momo unnie, and the other foreign girls in the lower classes."

 

[Cho Hyeyeon]

 

"A lot of the unnies were angry about what Bae Yoonjung trainer said to Seongso unnie and Momo unnie. I didn't really care. They helped those of us who were struggling with the dance. And we're all here for the same reason anyway so why does it matter?"

 

"Tell us about your class leader," a staff member asks from off-camera.

 

The A girls go first.

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"Bora unnie has good leadership."

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"She has a lot of experience. And she takes care of the younger girls well. The maknae of the show is in A class, Hanbi… Bora unnie is good like that."

 

[Kang Sehyung]

 

"Unnie is good at taking mistakes as well. She told us all that things would be okay after we had problems in the vocal class."

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"I could never do that. It's admirable how she takes charge."

 

[Shin Bora]

 

"I'm a leader among the trainees at Jellyfish as well. It's a position I'm comfortable with and I'm glad they seem to like me…" She laughs.

 

On to B class.

 

[Kim Nari]

 

"I had wanted to be leader, but Byeol does it well."

 

[Park Seungyeon]

 

"I think that if I were leader I would try to keep the kids under control and calm, but Byeol doesn't do that. Instead, she plays around with them, and I think that's better almost, because then they feel more comfortable around her. They're so young," she adds, looking almost scandalized. "Three of them were born in the millenium."

 

[Seo Yujin]

 

"Byeol unnie is a really talented dancer. She and one of her labelmates used to dance backup for T-ara and Exid."

 

[Park Chohyeon]

 

"Unnie isn't usually a leader, so I think she was surprised when we voted for her. But she does a good job anyway."

 

[Han Byeol]

 

"I'm glad that they all think I'm good at this," she admits, "because I worry I keep messing it up. But we were successful today, so I think things will be okay."

 

C class's leader is Jung Soyeon of Laboum.

 

[Kim Jungeun]

 

"We voted unnie leader because she had experience."

 

[Lee Ahryoung]

 

"She's really talented and she knows how to push through when things get difficult."

 

[Jin Hyeonju]

 

"Sometimes I think we should have made it Yoomin unnie…"

 

[Kim Sookyung]

 

"To be honest, there aren't really people in C class who have potential to be leaders. I could see it being Yuji unnie, maybe, but she's only two years older than me."

 

[Jung Soyeon]

 

She laughs awkwardly. "I mean, there's a reason I wasn't made leader of my group, you know? I'm not well suited for it. I was really shocked when they made me leader. But we're all doing well anyway, no one is really struggling or has gotten in a lot of trouble, so it's really okay."

 

D class is next, and they have similar things to say.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"It was hard to choose a leader. Jinye unnie said she didn't want to do it, so it couldn't be her."

 

[Bae Jinye]

 

"I would be too afraid of messing things up for us."

 

[Lee Gahyeon]

 

"Because all of us were deemed lacking by the trainers, we chose someone who was talented instead. Someone who could teach us."

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"Ahyeon unnie was a good leader, especially in the vocal class. She took time to talk to Kahei unnie and Yuri unnie who were struggling."

 

[Wong Kahei]

 

"She was really helpful."

 

[Kim Ahyeon]

 

"They say I taught them well, but I'm really not the best dancer. They have Hayoung to thank for that… and I don't think I could give emotional support very well…" Ahyeon begins to look a little sad. "We're all so down because of the results. My roommates cried. I wish that I couldn have helped that way."

 

F class is rather more optimistic.

 

[Noh Hyojung]

 

"Haseul unnie is like my mom."

 

[Lee Jinsuk]

 

"She's really good at making us laugh and keeping us upbeat when we need it. She also gave me help with singing…. which is really appreciated."

 

[Song Hanhee]

 

"She listens when we need her to."

 

[Kim Jiwon]

 

"I think if anyone moves up a level it will be unnie… she works hard and she sings well."

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"They all call me their mom… even those who are my unnies. It's actually really nice. There's a girl at Blockberry who didn't come on the show who calls me eomma as well. It's a role I fit into."

 

Now we see one more cut of the training classes - D class's dance session.

 

Everyone is learning the dance at the front. Tingyan, Chaesol, and Gaeun are being commended by Kahi, even. But there's one girl hanging around in the back.

 

[Kim Yewon of Pledis in D class?]

 

There's a very brief shot of Yewon as the center for Pick Me. Then, back to Yewon standing despondently in the back of D class, doing the moves lackluster.

 

[How does Kim Yewon become the center for Pick Me in this manner?]

 

Offscreen, the staff asks D trainees, "who do you think will go down a level?"

 

[Lee Dasom]

 

"I think it will be Yewon."

 

[Jung Mirae]

 

"To me she seems unmotivated. How is she going to move up like that?"

 

[Kim Gaeun]

 

"She received praise from JeA trainer for her vocals, though, so I don't know."

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"Yewonnie… I worry about her," she admits. "We've always been close friends. She has a reputation at the company for being the sunshine, but now that she's on her own without anyone she knows…" She starts tearing up.

 

Next, the girls start to film their evaluations. First up is Lee Saerom from A class. She gets all the way through the dance, but she gets a number of the moves wrong.

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"Saerom unnie made a lot of mistakes."

 

[Yu Jungahn]



"I'm worried that she'll fall down really far."

 

A number of girls from D class seem like candidates to go up. Choi Yerim of Blockberry goes through the dance almost flawlessly, with Chong Tingyan, Park Chaewon, and of course Pledis' Kim Yewon following suit.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"A bunch of us stayed late last night. Tingyan unnie, Chaewon unnie, Yewon unnie, Gahyeon unnie, Sehyung unnie… and Bae Yoonjung trainer came in to help us. She said that she would spend time helping us because we were working hard and we had the commitment to get better. That made me feel really proud."

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"I think Yewon unnie found her confidence this time."

 

[The trainers will now reassign the levels.]

 

The trainers, as well as Representative Jang, sit at a table with a television in front of them.

 

"This is an interesting task," says Cheetah, "because we can see how they do under pressure."

 

Sungeun nods. "We don't know how long they had been practicing those routines. And they were all different. Now we can see how they do the same thing in the same amount of time."

 

As the trainers watch the girls, sometimes they'll throw comments out, like: "Why is she in that class?" or "Up, up, up!", but we never see the tapes themselves. We only get shots of their faces, looks of either enjoyment or displeasure.

 

Then, a few shots of them stamping papers with a new level. A, B, C, D, F, in a nice pretty order.

 

[The next day…]

 

Kim Sungeun in A class. Cheetah in B. Kahi in C. JeA in D. Bae Yoonjung in F.

 

"Now we will reveal which trainees have moved levels and which will stay where they are." There are cuts of each of them saying it. Their sentences overlap. "When I call your name, please come up and look inside your card. Remember your grade, because you won't be keeping the card. Then, when we're given the cue from the staff, I will leave and you will go to your levels for the Pick Me stage."

 

They call a few names.

 

"Kim Yewon." The girl in question goes up, peeks inside her card. She remains expressionless.

 

"Jennie Kim."

 

"Jung Jinsol."

 

"Choi Moonju."

 

"Bae Jinye."

 

A voice offscreen says, "those of you who have been assigned to A class, please go to the A practice room now." The trainers leave, followed by girls who have been blurred out to the point that they're unrecognizable.

 

[Who will move up? Who will go down? Find out next week!]

 

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl! You can vote every day for up to 11 trainees until the end of the first voting period.]

Chapter Text

[Produce 101! Vote for your ideal girl online now! You can vote every day for up to 11 trainees until the end of the first voting period.]

 

[Last week…]

 

We get a montage of last week's scenes - the level classes and reevaluation videos.

 

[Which trainees have moved levels?]

 

The first girls to enter the A room are three trainees from B class.

 

"Unnie!" shouts Chou Tzuyu, running to entrap Hirai Momo in a hug. Cheng Xiao and Jeon Heejin are the two other girls who have been moved to A - the camera points them out with a cartoon arrow on the side.

 

[B -> A: Hirai Momo, Cheng Xiao, Jeon Heejin]

 

Next come the four girls from C class. They don't walk straight in like the B girls had - instead, one of them knocks on the door. The A girls chime, "come in!", and the girls enter.

 

"Suyeon unnie," sings Kim Sookyung of Fantagio. "I have arrived!"

 

[C -> A: Lee Nakyung, Seo Minkyung, Kim Sookyung, Jin Hyeonju]

 

They eagerly anticipate the D class trainees. There are four of them again - two are Jeon Heejin's fellow Blockberry trainees Yerim and Chaewon. Squealing and hugging, of course, ensues.

 

Another is Pick Me's center, Kim Yewon. Again bereft of her labelmates, she looks around, a little bit lost - at least until the F trainee comes in.

 

[D -> A: Chong Tingyan, Choi Yerim, Park Chaewon, Kim Yewon]

 

[Who is the trainee that rose from F to A?]

 

"Hello," greets Choi Moonju of DoubleX. Kim Yewon grins and waves hello.

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

"Even though Sungyeonnie and Ila weren't in A class I knew Moonju unnie from the first day of filming… she was a familiar face. And Yerim from Blockberry is also really sweet. So I felt more comfortable then."

 

[F -> A: Choi Moonju]

 

The announcement for trainees to move to B rank is made. A large number of trainees from A get up to leave.

 

[Which A trainees have moved to B class?]

 

Jung Jinsol, Jung Haeri, and Kim Hanbi are the first girls to come in from A. Kang Sehyung, Kwak Heeoh, Yu Jungahn, and Ryu Hyeonju follow. And, then… Kim Yerim of SM.

 

[Cho Hyeyeon]

 

"It was scary seeing so many of them come down."

 

[Kang Sehyung]

 

"Although it was shocking that so many A class trainees fell to B I was at least glad it wasn't just me…"

 

[A -> B: Jung Jinsol, Kim Hanbi, Kang Sehyung, Kim Yerim, Yu Jungahn, Jung Haeri, Kwak Heeoh, Ryu Hyeonju]

 

[C -> B: Kim Sungyeon, Lee Hayoung, Kim Chaeyoung]

 

[D -> B: Jung Mirae, Kim Gaeun]

 

[No trainees were moved from F to B]

 

Four trainees in pink shirts enter the C class practice room. Everyone is shocked by the girl who enters first.

 

[Lee Ahryoung]

 

"I thought, no, this can't be right."

 

[Son Yuji]

 

"Jennie unnie…"

 

Yes, it's YG's Jennie Kim who moved from A to C.

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"I made many regretful mistakes in my evaluation video. I got distracted and couldn't perform well."

 

[A -> C: Jennie Kim, Lee Haena, Lee Jieun, Watanabe Rui]

 

[B -> C: Ha Sooyoung, Kim Sohee, Kim Seyoung, Kim Sion, Song Heejin]

 

[D -> C: Lee Gahyeon, Kim Ahyeon, Bae Jinye, Ju Minhee]

 

Everyone is waiting on the F girls - then the door slams open. "I'm here!" sings Fantagio's Noh Hyojung.

 

[F -> C: Han Saebyeol, Noh Hyojung, So Yujin]

 

The D class room looks rather empty… until two girls from A class push open the door. "Hello?" asks Yoon Daeun shyly. Go Ahra follows her in.

 

The D practice room contains, in fact, just one D-ranked trainee - Song Hayoung.

 

"Unnie… is it just us?" Ahra asks Daeun. Daeun looks like she's about to answer, but they're both startled by the door opening and four girls from B class moving in.

 

[Park Chohyeon]

 

"I was absolutely shocked. Did all the girls from D move up? Or down?"

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"I hoped they all went up. I think I replaced Yewon unnie in the D class," she laughs.

 

[A -> D: Yoon Daeun, Go Ahra]

 

[B -> D: Kyla Massie, Park Chohyeon, Han Byeol, Kim Nari]

 

There's a large number of C trainees.

 

"Didn't anybody stay in D?" Kim Jungeun asks, before even greeting anyone.

 

[C -> D: Kim Jungeun, Na Yoomin, Lee Sebin, Go Junghee, Jung Yeeun, Kim Jiwoo, Jung Soyeon]

 

[F -> D: Roh Jisun, Kang Soeun, Kim Jiwon]

 

When the C trainees enter, Ahra immediately runs and wraps Sebin in a hug, dragging Kyla with her. The three of them laugh together as Ahra chants, "2001! 2001!" When the F girls come in, Ahra immediately pulls Soeun into the group. Soeun initially seems apprehensive, but Kyla whispers something to her that makes her relax into the group hug.

 

"So," says Jo Haseul to six other girls in the F practice room. "We're still here."

 

"I hate this system, unnie," complains Kwon Aeji. "It's so unfair!"

 

"It's just the way it is," Aeji's labelmate Hyunji reprimands her.

 

The door bangs open. "Oh!" says Haseul, surprised to see Lee Saerom of A class of all people.

 

"Hello," Saerom says quietly, seating herself next to Hwang Hyojin.

 

More girls file in.

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"Every time someone new came in the door I felt a little bit hopeful. I wanted everyone to fall!" She laughs, yelling out, "feel the way I've been feeling! Yah!"

 

Cut to backstage.

 

[The day of the long-awaited M Countdown performance!]

 

The girls giggle and laugh backstage.

 

"I like this outfit," Ha Sooyoung says. "Hyojung-ah! Come here and show the national producers how sweet you look!"

 

Hyojung skips over. "Unnie," she singsongs, throwing her arms around the shorter girl. "National producers, please appreciate how cute I am!"

 

Sooyoung pokes Hyojung's cheek. "You're adorable."

 

Hyojung instantly lets go and gives Sooyoung a murderous look.

 

"You're not scary, Hyojung-ah," Sooyoung tells her.

 

Other girls are eating snacks, probably trying to keep hidden from the managers - but the cameras find them anyway.

 

"Aren't you supposed to be dieting?" a staff member asks Kyla Massie, who's eating junk food with Lee Sebin in a corner. Kyla gives the camera a sweet smile and holds a finger to her lips, shushing.

 

"The girls in A have these - I don't know what they're called," says Lee Jiyu. "On the shoulders."

 

"Look at these!" Kim Sookyung shows off her silver A class epaulets to the camera. "Ah, really, look at them…"

 

"I'm jealous," Kim Jiwon pouts cutely.

 

The girls are shown rehearsing their stage well. Then, Jang Keunsuk appears.

 

"The most important position for you girls is center, right?" He asks them. "The center gets to stand out and will get a lot of love from the national producers. Now, will the center that you trainees have chosen please raise her hand?"

 

Because this is television, of course the audience can't know the answer that easily. So, cut to the girls standing in front of a box holding slips of paper.

 

[They voted for an A class trainee to have the center position]

 

[Yu Ju]

 

"I vote for Chou Tzuyu of JYP."

 

[Kim Hanbi]

 

"My vote is for Yewon unnie."

 

[Kim Sungyeon]

 

"Tzuyu unnie."

 

[In Hwa]

 

"Kim Yewon."

 

Kim Yewon's and Chou Tzuyu's pictures flash up next to each other on the screen.

 

[Which trainee is the center the trainees picked?]

 

Back to Jang Keunsuk. "Will the center chosen by the trainees please raise her hand?"

 

Kim Yewon's arm shoots up from her position at the center of the triangle.

 

By contrast, you have the F girls. "I don't even have a spot," Song Hanhee informs the camera. "I have this place." She kicks at the wires next to her assigned position at the edge of the triangle.

 

"I'm glad I'm at least at the front," says Lee Yukyung. "They're not going to film the sides as much. But since I'm in the front the producers might see me."

 

"Your rehearsal went really well!" Jang Keunsuk congratulates the trainees. "However, before the stage starts, I must inform all of you of something very important. Three trainees have left the show."

 

Cut to everyone's shocked faces.

 

"Dublekick Company's Baek Daae, Polaris Entertainment's Bang Suji, and Stoneship Entertainment's Lee Dasom are no longer part of Produce 101. Bang Suji really wanted to do this show, but she couldn't. So I would like to remind you all of how lucky you are to be here. And if you really do not want to be an idol, you should leave."

 

[Song Hanhee]

 

"It scared me, because I thought he was talking to me. But I really do want to be here. I was supposed to debut in a group called Littles but it disbanded predebut… one of my members is at C9 now, her labelmates should know that I really want to be an idol… but everyone is treating me like they want me to leave. Even, I guess, Producer Jang."

 

Blackout.  

 

Jang Keunsuk stands in front of the first triangle of girls. You can't see their faces - they're indistinct. "Produce 101! Vote for your girl," he says. "My name is Jang Keunsuk, the representative of all you national producers. Today, you will see the first M Countdown stage of our 101 trainee girls. Are you ready? Okay. It's… showtime!"

 

The first note drops. The synthy octave that, by now, everyone knows.

 

The girls step out. Long shot.

 

Pick me pick me pick me pickmepickmepickmepickme

 

Overhead shot. They push out.

 

Pick me pick me pickmepickmepickmepickmepickmepickmepickme

 

The other triangles move away. Focus on center Kim Yewon as she does the arm wave. Overhead as they place their hands on their thighs, swing around, low angle when they push out again.

 

Okay, boys and girls.

 

We are the girls that dream

this is the moment we share them

I look at you, you're my shining light, hey baby, show you my paradise

 

Because of you I feel nervous and weird

my heart beats fast as though it will explode

it's racing, racing because of you, hey, feel me, show you my secret, boy

 

Enter B class sliding in.

 

Can you feel me, feel my heartbeat?

Can you touch me, hold onto me?

Can you hold me, hug me tight?

I want you, pick me up

 

The girls are flashing by too fast for anyone to name them, unless they're someone's pick.

 

The beat drops. The iconic pointing-jumping dance begins. As the drumroll closes out the first post-chorus, the C class girls enter.

 

Please don't let go of today, tell me now

that we're sharing secrets in this moment

if we don't seize this time I'll leave you, hey baby, show you my paradise.

 

My heart beats at the sight of you

when we stare at each other it's electric

get to know me and my cotton-candy heart, hey, feel me, show you my secret, boy

 

Enter class D.

 

Can you feel me, feel my heartbeat?

Can you touch me, hold onto me?

Can you hold me, hug me tight?

I want you, pick me up

 

When the drumroll comes again, the F class girls pop up from the floor as if out of nowhere.

 

As the B class enters their final pose, there's a shot of Lee Yukyung waiting cutely from her space directly in front of them.

 

They give the final clap. Confetti falls, and a link to the voting site goes up on the screen.

 

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl online now at this url!]

 

[The next challenge begins.]

 

They're in the big carpeted room with the risers. The girls file in one after another by class.

 

"Are you ready for the next challenge, girls?" asks Representative Jang. They chorus yes, as they always do.

 

"Do you see this wall behind me? Under the curtain are ten debut songs from iconic girl groups. There will be two teams for each song. A live audience of national producers will vote for each team, and the winning team will receive a 1000 point benefit towards their ranking."

 

[Kim Sion]

 

"I want to receive a benefit."

 

[Kang Sehyung]

 

"Those 1,000 points could be the difference between me staying and going home."

 

"The A class trainees, of which there are twenty," Jang PD continues, "will race for the song of their choice. They will choose their teammates in the order in which they arrive back."

 

[Jeon Heejin]

 

"Oh, this is really unfair. I'm so bad at running."

 

[Kim Sookyung]

 

"I'm fast." She gives the camera finger guns.

 

"Please reveal the songs!" calls Jang PD. The curtain falls down.

 

[Apink's I Don't Know, Sistar's Push Push, 2NE1's Fire, SNSD's Into The New World, 4Minute's Hot Issue, After School's AH, Miss A's Bad Girl Good Girl, Kara's Break It, F(x)'s La Cha Ta, and Wonder Girl's Irony]

 

The A class trainees line up at the starting point.

 

"Are you ready…" says Jang PD. "Get set… Go!"

 

And the trainees are off. C9's Hwang Jiwon returns first, carrying 2NE1's Fire with her. Kim Sookyung follows after with Sistar's Push Push.

 

There's a fight occurring, though. Happyface's Han Dong and GH's Seo Minkyung are tugging at 4Minute's Hot Issue. It takes a wrenching fifteen seconds before Seo Minkyung decides that a fight isn't worth it and goes back for the last song, Irony, instead.

 

[Who will be the first pick of Produce 101's Group Battle performances?]

 

Hwang Jiwon stands in front of the assembles trainees. "My first pick is… C class's Ha Sooyoung unnie from Blockberry Creative." Sooyoung pumps a fist in the air and runs to Jiwon's side. Jiwon also claims big favorite Jennie Kim.

 

Heartstrings go when Kim Sookyung chooses shy girl Kang Soeun from her own company. Shin Bora claims favorite Kim Jungeun for herself. Kim Yewon gets some attention for her Into The New World team, not only for choosing Kim Yerim, but for choosing all girls her own age with the family name Kim. One wonders if that was on purpose. Hirai Momo gets some laughs for her first pick being the only other Japanese trainee. ("It's a conspiracy," whispers an amused Kyla Massie to the camera, in English.) Cheng Xiao takes power vocal Bae Sungyeon for her AH! team, while Jeon Heejin snags two talented rappers - Kim Kyungmi and Lee Jieun - for Irony team 1.

 

And then it's just Seo Minkyung left. "Come to me!" she says, holding out her arms as the last four trainees walk the walk of shame to the front.

 

"We will see the stages next week!" Jang Keunsuk announces. "Please look forward to it."

 

[The trainees gather in groups to assign roles]

 

First, Into The New World team two, otherwise known as Kim Yewon's team.

 

"Firstly we should assign a leader," Yewon tells the other four girls.

 

"How are we supposed to do that?" asks Kim Jiwoo. "We're all the same age and we have the same amount of experience."

 

"I think Yerim should do it," Jiwon suggests. "SM is a really talented company, right? So I think Yerim would know what she's doing."

 

"I mean… I could do it if you wanted me to," she shrugs.

 

"Alright," says Yewon. She passes the paper and pencil to Yerim. "Would you like to write that down?"

 

Push Push team 2 seems tense. "What's wrong?" asks the camerawoman.

 

"We don't have anyone to be a main vocal," Kim Chaewon informs them, looking down.

 

"It's okay, Chaewon-ah," Lee Luda reassures her. "You didn't know."

 

Kwon Aeji appears to have a different opinion.

 

[Kwon Aeji]

 

"There's that high note after the second verse. If we don't have anyone who can hit it we're guaranteed to lose the battle."

 

[Kim Chaewon]

 

"There wasn't anyone left who was a strong vocal," she sniffles. "Aeji unnie seems really mad, but I didn't have any other choice…"

 

The girls go around and try to hit the note. Kim Jihae of DoubleX hits it, much to everyone's relief.

 

"Well, that's that settled," Yu Jungahn says, writing it down. "Kim Jihae unnie is our main vocal."

 

At Break It team 1:

 

"Who wants to be center?" asks leader Baek Hyeonju. Her own hand goes up, as well as Jeon Somin's and Noh Hyojung's. "Well, I'm already leader," she says, "so I'll step down. Let's have the rest of us vote. Close your eyes," she tells Somin and Hyojung. "If you think Hyojung should be the center, raise your hand." All three hands go up. "Well… that's settled then," she says. "Hyojungie is our center!"

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"She's a really good dancer, so I think she deserves it. She was really helpful in F class."

 

[Next week, we will see the group battle performances!]

 

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl! You can vote for up to 11 girls on all forms until February 14.]

Chapter Text

[Produce 101! Vote for the 11 trainee girls you want to support online now!]

 

[The day of the group battles]

 

1,000 national producers file in. They're given their voting remote and the sponsored Carmex chapstick that shows up every time there's an on-scene vote.

 

Backstage, the girls are getting ready. They sit in their groups, already in costume, fiddling with their Carmex and drinking the sponsored water brand as well.

 

And then… Jang Keunsuk onstage.

 

"Hello, national producers!" The crowd cheers. "You've come all this way to support our girls. We are so thankful. Is there one trainee girl you are here to support?"

 

Cut to the crowd holding up signs. Jennie Kim, Kim Yewon, and Kim Yerim all have a significant number, and Jeon Heejin and Chou Tzuyu have a fair share as well.

 

"Now, are we ready for the first stage?" Of course the crowd says yes. "Now, this first group is a group that, in an industry full of sexy concepts, maintains their innocent image. Who could that be?"

 

The crowd shouts Apink's name up at him.

 

"Yes, Apink. Our first song tonight is Apink's I Don't Know. Will the two teams please come out?"

 

Both teams of five parade out. Kim Ahyeon, Kang Sehyung, Song Hayoung, Lee Nakyung, and Lee Sebin comprise Team One; Ji Suyeon, Go Ahra, Seo Yujin, Kim Sungyeon, and Yu Ju comprise Team Two.

 

"Please introduce yourselves," Jang Keunsuk says.

 

Kim Ahyeon counts her group members off. "Hello, we are SeongKangKim!" They smile winningly.

 

"Our group name is a pun," explains leader Ahyeon. "It's a pun on the word seonsaengnim , meaning that we will teach our fellow trainees what girlish innocence looks like."

 

"And will Team Two introduce theirselves?"

 

"Hello, we are Gwieopge!" They greet, posing cutely.

 

"Our team has some of the cutest members on Produce 101," Seo Yujin informs.

 

"Are you guys ready?" Asks Jang PD. The girls nod. "Alright. Let's see your performance."

 

Some days earlier, the girls are sitting around in a circle on the carpet, deciding roles.
"Who wants to be the center?" asks the leader and main vocal, Kim Ahyeon. Three of them - Nakyung, Sebin, and and Hayoung - raise their hands. Sebin hits Sehyung as well - "unnie, unnie, you should try it too!" - but to no avail. Ahyeon and Sehyung exchange a look.

 

"Who do you think should do it, unnie?" asks Sehyung.

 

"I think Sebin should do it." At this, Hayoung shrugs, but Nakyung looks crestfallen. "Oh, Nakyungie, we aren't done yet. This is just my opinion. Sehyungie?"

 

"I think both Sebinnie or Nakyung could do it well," Sehyung says uncertainly. "Hayoung unnie?"

 

"Sebin-ah," Hayoung says decisively. Nakyung gives the team maknae a congratulatory shoulder pat and, well… it's decided.

 

At practice the next day, something comes up, though. They're performing in front of Cheetah and Bae Yoonjung. It appears to be going well…

 

"Who's your center?" is Cheetah's first question. Sebin carefully raises her hand. "Sebin-ah, you were in the center of the choreography, but part of being center is making people want to focus on you. You might have been the center but my attention keeps being drawn to Sehyung."

 

"But unnie said she didn't want to do it…" Sebin explains.

 

"Could we see Nakyung try it?" suggests Bae Yoonjung. "Just, switch positions for the chorus and take it from there?"

 

The girls nod and they try it again.

"I think that looks a lot better," Cheetah tells them. "I keep looking at Sehyung, but Nakyung keeps people's attention on her as well. I think you should reevaluate the positions. Can you take ten minutes?"

 

[Kang Sehyung]

 

"I don't like being in the center. I think I do better as a sub. And if I have to do center later then that's okay - but until then I'd like to avoid it."

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"As much as I wanted to be the center I felt really bad for Sebinnie. The trainers told her she was third place for who they wanted to be center, and she looked so sad… I want this position but in the end I'm also her unnie and it's my job to help take care of the maknae."

 

The girls slip into the hall, followed by a camera, of course.

 

"Okay," says Ahyeon. "Sehyung-ah, are you sure you don't want to do it?"

 

"Yes," responds Sehyung.

 

"Alright, so there's that. Nakyung? Will you accept this? I want all of us to agree on a decision, okay?"

 

"I think...." Nakyung looks at Sebin. "I'm not sure. Sebin, do you think it would be best for the group if I did it?"

 

"I think I can try harder," Sebin tells them, seeming rather upset. "I want to keep trying."

 

"Hayoungie, you haven't said anything yet," Ahyeon says. "What…"

 

[Kim Ahyeon]

 

"I was really conflicted. I thought that Nakyung should do it, to be honest… even though I said Sebin at first I think I've changed my mind. But Nakyung seemed to have an emotional response, and I thought she would want Sebin to do it just to be kind. I needed Hayoung to get me out of that."

 

"I think we should give Sebin another chance," Hayoung says, nodding.

 

"I'll work hard! Thank you, unnie!" Sebin says, instantly brightening.

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"I think Sebin really can do it. There are moments when she's very adorable. I trust her to do this, and she really wants to do it as well."

 

Now we receive a montage of Lee Sebin practicing until late at night - until Ahyeon packs her off to bed. She practices with Nakyung and Sehyung as well, working on her expressions and movements.

 

A few days later, they're back in front of Bae Yoonjung and Cheetah. They go through the performance. Cheetah looks Sebin up and down for a moment, before finally breaking the silence.

 

"Sebin ah."

 

"Yes?"

 

"You've improved well. Good job."

 

Brief shot of Sebin backstage.

 

They perform. Ahyeon's execution of the high note is a little shaky, but she succeeds - and Sebin shines.

 

(Okay, maybe Sehyung does outshine her just a little bit, but she's doing a lot better at being the center than she was in practice.)

 

Team Two is assigning parts first off when a problem arises.

 

"One of the most important roles," says Kim Sungyeon. "Main vocal!"

 

"I think it should be Suyeon unnie, no question," Seo Yujin tells the others.

 

"Ahra yah," asks Yu Ju to their pouting maknae, "what is it?"

 

"I want to be main vocal," she tells her unnies.

 

"I think you would do well as the center though?" Sungyeon suggests. "So that way both you and unnie can shine, you know?"

 

"And this is a team battle," Ju adds. "So we need to focus on what's best for the team so all five of us can get a benefit."

 

"Fine," Ahra mutters.

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"I think Ahra has a lot of winning greed, and that's good, but it's only for herself… she's so young as well. She wants to shine onstage but… we all have to have some greed, right?"

 

They perform for the trainers as Team One watches from the side.

 

"Ahra yah," says Bae Yoonjung.

 

"Yes?"

 

"When Suyeon is hitting her high notes you can't be grinning at the audience like that. That is the moment for the main vocal to shine. Team One did that very well," she comments, with a glance at Ahyeon and Sebin, both of whom blush.

 

"But I want the national producers to vote for me…" Ahra says. "Isn't that the point of this?"

 

"At the end of the day it's a team mission," Cheetah responds, mirroring Ju's words from earlier.

 

"Understood, trainer," Ahra says, head hung.

 

"Our maknaes," Hayoung complains to Suyeon later. "One of them needs to stand out and the other one needs to blend in."

 

Suyeon holds back a smile. "Wonder what happens if we traded them."

 

"Yah, you picked Ahra, you signed yourself up for this," Hayoung jabs.

 

"If we had just let her be the main vocal…" sighs Suyeon. "Then we wouldn't be having this problem."

 

"And if Sehyung had just been the center in the first place," Hayoung says loudly and pointedly.

 

"But unnie, you're doing a great job as main vocal!" Nakyung tells her.

 

Suyeon shakes her head, shy.

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"I've always had trouble performing by myself and standing out. I feel very shy."

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"I think we really bonded over this, honestly. And the maknaes are friends as well. I think they helped each other."

 

Team 2 performs and Suyeon essentially stuns everyone with her high notes. Shots of other trainees applauding and being shocked are shown.

 

"Congratulations on your stage," says Jang Keunsuk when both teams finish. "Is there anything you would like to say?"

 

Sehyung takes the mic. "I would like to congratulate our maknae, Sebinnie - " the crowd cheers and Sebin hides behind Hayoung " - for learning how to stand out. She really worked hard for this stage and I am so proud of her."

 

For the other team, it's Kim Sungyeon who talks. "For this mission we had to learn how to act in roles we aren't very comfortable with, and I think I speak for all my team members when I say that we are proud of how far we've come on this stage."

 

They file into the results reveal room.

 

"Yah, I'm so nervous… what is this?" asks Ju worriedly.

 

They sit down and stare at the screen. Then comes that sound - you know it. The round-sounding clashy second that sounds tense.

 

Kim Ahyeon: 40 | Ji Suyeon: 97

 

"Oh my god, unnie!" shouts Sungyeon.

 

Kang Sehyung: 98 | Go Ahra: 61

 

"Yah…"  murmurs Sehyung, looking almost sad.

 

Song Hayoung: 28 | Seo Yujin: 28

 

The two of them have to laugh at this.

 

Lee Nakyung: 45 | Kim Sungyeon: 55

Lee Sebin: 36 | Yu Ju: 14

 

Team 1: 247 | Team 2: 255

 

Team Two erupts screaming. They won, they won!

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"Eight points… augh…"

 

"Next," says Jang Daepyo, "the true icons of girl groups in this era - Sistar's Push Push stage!" The crowd cheers. "Will the two teams please come out!"

 

Team One is Yoon Daeun, Cho Hyeyeon, Kim Sookyung, Jung Jinsol, and Kang Soeun; Team Two is Kim Jihae, Lee Luda, Kwon Aeji, Park Chaewon, and Yu Jungahn.

 

"Please introduce yourselves," he tells them.

 

"Push! Push! We are… team FLEX!" The first team shouts. Jang PD and Team Two seem a little taken aback by their volume.

 

"We are Sparkle!" Team Two announces. "We will dazzle the other teams!" They show some sparkling fingers - jazz hands, basically.

 

The trainees were asked which stage threatened them.

 

[Lee Haena]

 

"Push Push team one…"

 

[Kim Seyoung]

 

"Hyeyeon's team."

 

[Kim Sion]

 

"They already have everything so perfect? The trainers gave them so much praise and they don't seem to be worried about anything."

 

[Kim Sookyung]

 

"I did a really good job choosing these girls, didn't I… we all really like each other and work together well, everyone is really skilled. The only problem we've had is that Daeun unnie doesn't dance well, but we've worked around that.

 

[Kang Soeun]

 

"It's nice. Fun. We play a lot of games in our dorm when we're not practicing. The unnies are all great."

 

There's a camera in each trainee dorm. The girls of Push Push Team One, it seems, have been amusing themselves by playing with it. Hyeyeon sits on the top bunk next to it and pokes toward Jinsol and Sookyung who are standing on the floor, making them "fall". Soeun and Daeun giggle in the background.

 

Jinsol and Sookyung teach the girls how to play Ninja as well. Hyeyeon makes faces into the camera - sans makeup - before she goes to bed. They have some free time in the practice room and impersonate each other. Sookyung acts shy like Soeun, Hyeyeon makes fun of Sookyung's flexibility, Soeun tries to belt like Daeun can, Jinsol flounces around and does aegyo like Hyeyeon, and Daeun tries to do a sexy dance in an effort to impersonate Jinsol.

 

"Remember," leader Daeun tells them, "the most important part of this stage is to have fun. This might be our last stage or we could win but right now we just need to enjoy it."

 

They go onstage. They're flippin' amazing.

 

"This was the perfect team," comments Kim Sungeun from the room where the trainers watch. "Sookyung really chose well."

 

Team Two, on the other hand, is having a number of problems. As shown in the last episode, there aren't any particularly strong vocalists, and Aeji and Chaewon seem rather uncomfortable around each other. To top that, Lee Luda of Starship is a poor dancer. Needless to say, things are tense.

 

"Unnie, it's like this," Kim Jungeun says softly, talking her teammate through the steps. " One two three four five six seven eight two two three four…" Luda is making progress. For someone who was in D purely for her dance skills she's picking up the moves quickly under Jungahn's tutelage.

 

[Kwon Aeji]

 

"She's working hard but she isn't working hard enough. Why did I have to get picked for a losing team!"

 

Jihae makes herself tea, drinks lots of water, warms up her voice constantly, carries a bag of cough drops wherever she goes. She's nervous.

 

[Kim Jihae]

 

"If I can't hit that note then it's over for all of us."

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"Aeji unnie is really mad because… I don't know! Whenever I suggest something she'll tell me it doesn't matter, I know she's mad about Luda unnie and that we don't have a main vocal but what else was I supposed to do? I was eighteenth to pick my team members!"

 

[Yu Jungahn]

 

"It's a very uncomfortable situation, because I really do like Aeji, but Chaewon is so intimidated by her and she's the maknae as well so I want to take care of her…"

 

They practice for Kahi and the whole thing falls apart. Jihae hits her note, but Chaewon misses her cue to rap and Luda messes up the formation.

 

"Besides the mistakes," Kahi says, "there's one thing that's very obvious to me. You guys don't look like a team. With the other groups I saw today I could tell they're at least working together. You guys look like you're all on different wavelengths - only Jungahn seems to be paying attention to the rest of you."

 

This is when Chaewon starts crying. And leaves. A camera goes to follow her, but Jungahn gets out the door first and locks both girls in the bathroom.

 

"You're my last group today," Kahi says, sighing. "Luda yah, let me help you with the dance."

 

The group prepares to walk on backstage.

 

[Yu Jungahn]

 

"Whatever happens today, we tried hard and that's what matters."

 

It goes okay. Luda knows the dance. Chaewon comes in on time. But then - Jihae misses the note. She slips into head voice.

 

She covers it well, slipping into a mix so effortlessly that it could pass for a belt, but the mistake is still there.

 

Jang Keunsuk asks the girls if they had anything to say. Team Two, looking apprehensive, all say no.

 

[Kim Jihae]

 

"I wanted to apologize to the audience, the national producers, and my members for the mistake, but I was so scared I would start crying and not be able to say anything. I felt so awful."

 

Going backstage, Jinsol wraps Chaewon in a hug for a long time, even after the other eight girls have sat down.

 

Yoon Daeun: 72 | Kim Jihae: 21

Cho Hyeyeon: 26 | Lee Luda: 37

Kim Sookyung: 69 | Kwon Aeji: 19

Jung Jinsol: 36 | Park Chaewon: 22

Kang Soeun: 44 | Yu Jungahn: 56

 

Team One: 247 | Team Two: 155

 

[Jung Jinsol]

 

"I feel really awful for Chaewonnie. She's worked so hard. So I can't enjoy winning as much as I would."

 

"For the third song, we have the debut song of the most famous sexy group. Would the teams for 2NE1's Fire please come out!"

 

Team One is Kim Sion, Chong Tingyan, Moon Chaesol, Lee Saerom, and Eun Yuri; Team Two is Ha Sooyoung, Jennie Kim, Lee Jiyu, Yang Sua, and Hwang Jiwon.

 

"Hello, we are Blah Blah!" introduces Team One.

 

"And we are… The Best!" call Team Two, a nod to another of 2NE1's hits.

 

"Alright. It's showtime."

 

The girls of Team One sit to assign roles the first day.

 

"Okay, we need to elect a leader," says Kim Sion.

 

"Yuri unnie?" suggests Chaesol. "She is the oldest, after all."

 

"Oh, I don't want to," Yuri replies, shaking her head.

 

"I'll do it?" Saerom volunteers.

 

"Any other takers?" Sion looks around - there's none.

 

Then they divide the parts.

 

"Lastly… rap," Chaesol says. She has the neatest writing, so she's writing the roles down instead of Saerom. "Yuri unnie, that's what's left."

 

"I chose you to do the rap, unnie," Tingyan says, poking her.

 

"Fine," Yuri acquiesces.

 

"And center?" asks Chaesol.  "I think it should be either Jungheun unnie -" (that's Tingyan) "- or Yuri unnie."

 

"I think Jungheun would do a good job," Yuri says.

 

[Chong Tingyan]

 

"It seems like unnie doesn't want anything for herself. I thought she would have some greed here - especially because she did a 2NE1 song in the audition."

 

"Listen up, my girls - and unnie," Saerom tells her group the next morning. "The other team has Jennie unnie, who's popular, and Sua unnie, who everyone knows for her visuals. And Sooyoung is also very popular. So we need to work super hard and be confident if we have a chance to beat them, alright?" Saerom says all this while pacing in front of the other four, who are stood in a straight line. It's oddly reminiscent of the military.

 

But that's true, in a sense. This is war.

 

That's honestly about all the screen time the girls get. Their performance goes by in a rush, with center Tingyan getting some praise from the trainers, as well as main vocal Sion.  

 

[Kim Sion]

 

"We don't have a chance at winning, really… the other team just has too many favorites. So all we can do is make the best stage we can."

 

Team Two has more problems than people expect. They've been nicknamed the Dream Team among the other trainees - with Sua's and Jiyu's visuals, Sooyoung's vocal skills, Jiwon's rap and dance talent, and Jennie's general popularity, they're guaranteed to do well. But here's the problem - only half of them fit the concept.

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"I swear, I really thought Sua unnie would fit this concept. But it turns out she's much more comfortable with cute concepts, yah, what am I supposed to do now?"

 

Leader and center Jennie talks Sua through the movements, style, expressions. It doesn't seem to help much.

 

"Sua, I don't think you understand the concept," Cheetah tells the girl.

 

"We did a lot of cute concepts at my agency," she explains.

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"I didn't know, really! I didn't see her performance with her company, I just saw her in the line and thought her visual suited it."

 

[Yang Sua]

 

"I really wanted to avoid a sexy concept. I thought I wouldn't have to worry because this song was chosen first and I didn't think I'd get picked first. But then I did… and I'm very grateful for Jiwon for choosing me, I feel very honored, but… yah! Jiwon ah! Why did you choose unnie for this mission!" She yells the last bit into the camera, 'addressing' Jiwon.

 

"You have to work on your sexy face," Jiyu says. She isn't the most comfortable with this concept either, but she adapted quickly. "Haven't you ever been in a relationship, Sua yah?"

 

"Not ones that went very far," Sua admits to Produce 101's oldest trainee.

 

"Or, like, how's this," Sooyoung jumps in. "Someone has hurt someone you care about. And you're going to kill them, but have a good time while doing this. Do your line while thinking about that." Sua tries it, and Sooyoung erupts with applause. "Unnie, that was so much better!"

 

Obligatory montage of Sua practicing with the three dongsaengs on her team - Jennie, Sooyoung, and Jiwon.

 

Enter their stage. Jiwon has a kind of enthusiastic draw to her that delivers her rap line to the entire audience with charisma. "Oh, she's good," Kahi comments. Sooyoung's vocals and Jennie's dance stuns as well.

 

"Sua has improved a lot," JeA comments to the other trainers. "I can still tell she doesn't like sexy concepts, but she's doing the moves and expressions well."

 

The girls file backstage. "Unnies, you did well," Jiwon says to both teams.

 

And there's the sound.

 

Kim Sion: 31 | Ha Sooyoung: 45

Chong Tingyan: 88 | Jennie Kim: 137

Moon Chaesol: 32 | Lee Jiyu: 9

Lee Saerom: 20 | Yang Sua: 33

Eun Yuri: 66 | Hwang Jiwon: 74

 

Team One: 237 | Team Two: 298

 

"What generation?" asks Jang PD.

 

"Girls Generation!" the crowd roars back.

 

"Will the teams for Into The New World please come out!"

 

"Hello, we are Da Mansae!" call Team One, consisting of Song Heejin, Lee Gahyeon, Jung Mirae, Choi Moonju, and Lee Hayoung.

 

"We are Kim99!" Team Two answer.

 

"I don't think we need an explanation for that one," Kim Jiwoo says. Cue laughter.

 

"Ok. It's… showtime!"

 

"Who wants to be center," asks Song Heejin as Team One decide their roles the first day.

 

Choi Moonju and Lee Gahyeon raise their hands.

 

"How about playing Kai Bai Bo for the center," Gahyeon suggests.

 

"Sounds nice and fair. We'll leave it up to fate," Jung Mirae nods.

 

"Ok, as leader I will officiate this game of Rock Paper Scissors," Heejin says. "Kai! Bai! Bo!"

 

Gahyeon wins, rock over scissors. Center.

 

But that's not the end of it, because when they perform for Kahi and JeA the vocal teacher calls them out.

 

"Could you try that again, but with Moonju and Gahyeon swapping places?" The girls oblige.

 

"I think it would be better with Moonju as the center," JeA recommends. "Could you guys maybe go into the hallway to talk about it?"

 

So, the girls go out. They talk quietly - if the cameras got audio of what they said, they didn't show it. When they return, they establish Moonju as the new center.

 

Out they go to perform. Song Heejin hits the iconic high notes well, but that's the highlight of their performance. The dance break is rather… mediocre. But overall they do well, for a team no one expected much of.

 

The first question Kim Jiwoo asks Kim Yewon when Team Two first sits down is, "did you do this on purpose?"

 

"No," Yewon answers. "I just chose who I chose, but then I needed a fifth member and I noticed what I had done so I picked Yerim to fit the pattern."

 

Kim Yerim smiles. "You would have picked me anyway and you know it."

 

"Probably," Yewon shrugs, and for the first time the viewers see her sunshine smile.

 

[Kim Sohee]

 

"They're all very popular with the viewers. Yerim because of her company, Jiwoo because… I don't know, she just is, Yewon because she was center, and Jiwon because she's cute. And then there's me. I just blend into the background."

 

The girls, as mentioned earlier, room by team. The girls of Kim99 stay up late one night and play games. Truth or Dare, Never Have I Ever. Highlight on Kim Sohee sitting just a bit apart each time.

 

[Kim Jiwoo]

 

"To be honest I think Sohee's just shy."

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

"I've tried reaching out to her, because I remember what it was like on my own in D class, but she just brushes me off. It's like she wants to project this image."

 

[Kim Jiwon]

 

"It's frustrating me, because I really want to talk to her and it seems like she's pushing us away."

 

"Alright," announces Kim Jiwoo after a practice with the trainers. "My team, sit down. We need to have a talk." The girls sit on a couch in the hallway.

 

"Sohee, why have you been avoiding us?" Jiwoo asks.

 

The girl laughs. Laughs! "I can't believe you guys actually noticed…"

 

"So you were doing it on purpose," Jiwon mutters.

 

"But why?" questions Yewon.

 

"Well… you guys all have high ranks, and I don't," Sohee explains. "So I thought maybe if I built up this image I would get more votes."

 

"That's ridiculous," sighs Yerim, "but also kind of clever."

 

"It's going to make us look really bad," Yewon says doubtfully. "The rest of us, I mean."

 

"This doesn't make any sense," Jiwoo says. "But I'm glad we got it sorted."

 

Their stage begins. In terms of dance the other team might have the advantage, but Yewon's vocals make the odds clearly in their favor. And soon enough, it's time to see the results.

 

Song Heejin: 43 | Kim Yewon: 118

 

"Oh my god," Yewon whispers.

 

Lee Gahyeon: 30 | Kim Jiwoo: 36

Jung Mirae: 19 | Kim Yerim: 67

Choi Moonju: 28 | Kim Sohee: 26

Lee Hayoung: 16 | Kim Jiwon: 34

 

Team 1: 136 | Team 2: 281

 

[Song Heejin]

 

"Of course I'm sad we lost, but I think it's easier this way than it is for people like the I Don't Know team, where they lost by 8 points."

 

"Everyone here knows Hyuna, right? Of course you do. And where did main rapper Hyuna make her sexy debut? In 4Minute! Would the two teams performing Hot Issue please come out?"

 

Team One, who have named themselves Bubble Pop, consist of Lee Ahryoung, Jeon Jiwoo, Kyla Massie, Kim Gaeun, and Kim Seyoung; Team Two, named The A-ings, are Kim Nari, Park Sora, Kim Hanbi, Han Dong, and Im Jihye.

 

"So," says Jeon Jiwoo, the A trainee who chose the others. "Our resolution is that we need to be sexy."

 

"Oh, I can do sexy," Ahryoung says, smiling.

 

"I can do whatever the unnies need me to do," Kyla shrugs.

 

They sort the roles fairly quickly. Ahryoung gets center and main rapper, with Jiwoo and Kyla taking the other two rap spots. Kim Gaeun and Kim Seyoung become vocals.

 

[Yoon Daeun]

 

"They're a lot like my team in this way - they don't really need much practice, they receive praise from the trainers, there's no drama. I don't know what kind of angle they'll be edited in."

 

[What does Bubble Pop team do in their free time?]

 

They learn English. Kyla of Pledis grew up in the US and Kim Gaeun lived there for six years.

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"Gaeun unnie and I think it's really fun to teach the other unnies English. They want to learn so much, we teach them funny things and also English songs. Like I'm teaching Ahryoung unnie some raps in English."

 

[Jeon Jiwoo]

 

"And they're talking to each other in English all the time. Are they keeping secrets? Who knows?"

 

"It's like this. My English name is Gracie," says Gaeun. "Try it, Ahryoung unnie."

 

"그래시?" tries Ahryoung.

 

"No, unnie," says Gaeun, trying to stifle a laugh. "You can't say it like it's a Korean word."

 

"Mine is easier," Kyla admits to the camera. "Gaeun unnie's name has a lot of sounds that are harder. Which is why it's funnier to hear them try her name instead of mine."

 

Another time, Kyla tries teaching Jiwoo to rap Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She raps the first verse quickly, and then goes through it phrase by phrase for Jiwoo.

 

"West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days…"

 

It's amusing to see her try and coach Jiwoo through words like 'raised' and 'playground', both of which have to be said in a specific rhythm and both of which have significantly more syllables in Korean than they do in English.

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"At the company, Sungyeon unnie and I would speak English together a lot. To confuse the other trainees. Gaeun unnie and I are doing the same thing here."

 

[Kim Gaeun]

 

"The English-speaking trainees have really bonded, I think. Sungyeon, Kyla, Jennie, Tingyan, Haseul and I are going to make a group chat when this is all over."

 

For their stage, these five are the epitome of sexiness. Lee Ahryoung does the shirt lift that this stage is so famous for.

 

[Im Jihye]

 

"Listen, I can't do sexy concepts. And I can't do vocals. Dong was one of the last to pick her team and this is a rap-heavy song but I am not a vocalist! She has four rappers and I really don't know what to do!"

 

[Kim Nari]

 

"Please don't tell me not all of us can do sexy."

 

[Kim Hanbi]

 

"I'm one of the maknaes of the show! What am I supposed to do with a sexy song!"

 

[Han Dong]

 

"Yah, I've made such a mess. This is such a mess…"

 

[Park Sora]

 

"Listen, everything is going to be fine."

 

In front of Cheetah, Sora's words seem rather empty.

 

"Jihye."

 

"Yes?" asks the trainee in question.

 

"You've said your preference is rap. So why are you doing vocals?" the trainer interrogates.

 

"I - we had too many rappers and not enough vocalists, so I'm doing it."

 

Sora stares at Jihye openly. "I'm a vocalist."

 

Hanbi, struck by the ridiculousness, bursts out laughing.

 

"Hanbi yah, this is not funny," Cheetah tells her. "This was a major miscommunication by members of your group. For debuted idols teamwork is hugely important; I'm very disappointed that this happened. Can they reassign the parts?" she asks a staff member, who answers yes. "Okay, so Jihye and Sora switch. Done. You have an hour to learn each other's lyrics and then I want you back in here."

 

"Sora, why in the *censored* did you not tell us you were a vocalist?" Sora reels back at leader Nari's profanity. This is rather unprecedented.

 

"I wanted to try rapping," she said in a small voice.

 

"But you knew we didn't have enough vocalists without you! Why would you… why… that was so selfish, Sora yah, augh." Nari storms away.

 

"Unnie is just frustrated," Hanbi whispers. "She'll be fine. Right?"

 

[Will Team 2 overcome their problems and show a good stage?]

 

Their stage goes… fine. Hanbi is clearly uncomfortable with the concept but other than that nothing is obviously falling apart.

 

"Kyla Massie and Kim Gaeun," says Jang PD. "Would you like to give a greeting to the English-speaking viewers?"

 

Kyla gets the mic. In English, she says, "hello viewers of Produce 101! Thank you so much for watching this show and supporting us. Please vote for me and Gracie and the rest of our team!"

 

"Jeon Jiwoo, would you like to demonstrate what Kyla Massie taught you?"

 

Jiwoo performs a passable rendition of Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Kyla and Gaeun are giggling the entire time.

 

Lee Ahryoung: 101 | Kim Nari: 69

 

"It was the shirt lift," Kyla tells Ahryoung. "I'm surprised Jang PD didn't ask you about that."

 

Jeon Jiwoo: 180 | Im Jihye: 13

 

Jihye buries her head in her hands.

 

Kyla Massie: 68 | Kim Hanbi: 31

Kim Gaeun: 33 | Han Dong: 43

Kim Seyoung: 26 | Park Sora: 29

 

Team 1: 408 | Team 2: 185

 

"Oh my god," whispers Gaeun. Seyoung can only stare at the screen. This is the highest amount of points anyone has received yet.

 

"Our very own trainer Kahi's debut song is next! Will the two teams for AH! please come out!"

 

Team One is Yerim and the Aunties - a very clear and amusing reference to the ages of Soyeon, Hyojin, and Yoomin, who were born in 94, 91, and 93 respectively, clear contrast to 01 liner Choi Yerim. Team Two calls themselves I (Knew It).

 

"Yerim ah," asks Hwang Hyojin on that first day. "Why did you choose a bunch of old ladies to perform this song with you?"

 

"I don't care that you're old ladies," Yerim shrugs. "I want you to be on my team, and I don't care that Hyojin unnie is ten years older than me."

 

"Oh my god," whispers Hyojin. "I really am old."

 

Kahi herself supervises their practices. "Listen," she tells the girls. "I performed this song when I was 27 and I made it seem younger than you do. Take your cue from Yerim, please." Kahi laughs a little. "I know what it feels like to be the old lady. But please, just… please." Soyeon nods grimly.

 

[Jung Soyeon]

 

"It's that much scarier because Kahi trainer debuted with this song and she's teaching it to us."

 

In a small practice room at night, the four girls stay up. "You have to teach us some slang," Yoomin tells Yerim. "So we can be… you know… hip with the kids." The older three dissolve into laughter. Yerim rolls her eyes lovingly.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"These unnies, really. They don't act as old as everyone says they do. They feel less like my mom than Haseul unnie does, and Haseul unnie is younger than all of my AH! team unnies."

 

It's not that any of them are particularly unskilled. In fact, the older girls fit the original vibe of the song better, because it was released when they came of age. But to please viewers today they have to act younger.

 

And act young they do - their stage goes well. Kahi smiles at them. "They didn't seem like aunties on that stage," she tells Jang Keunsuk.

 

On to Team 2. You have Cheng Xiao and Kim Chaeyoung, both main dancers from their company, and Bae Sungyeon, a Pledis trainee who's been learning After School songs since joining her company. And then you have Kim Seungyeon.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"Songso unnie" (that's Cheng Xiao) "and Chaeyoung unnie already knew the dance, and I already knew the dance, and so we assumed that Seungyeon unnie already knew the dance… so we only watched the practice video a couple of times to get the positions."

 

[Park Seungyeon]

 

"I was so lost. They all knew the dance and just jumped right into practicing it. I thought, was I supposed to have learned it just from those three times through the video?"

 

They figure out the problem pretty quickly, though, and take it in shifts to teach Seungyeon her part. Sungyeon teaches her first, then Cheng Xiao, then Chaeyoung.

 

"Bae Sungyeon," Kahi says at practice. "Did you learn this at the company, or did you learn it here?"

 

"I learned it at Pledis," Sungyeon answers.

"And you did BANG at the company evaluations, correct?"

 

"Yes, Kahi trainer."

 

Kahi smiles. "They're doing a damn good job over there," she tells Sungyeon. "Bekah and Raina have both contacted me. You three are making us very, very proud."

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I wanted to scream. I think I turned red a little as it is. And maybe cried. I - I - Kahi said we danced her songs well! And Raina sunbaenim and Bekah sunbaenim liked our BANG stage! Oh, this may be the best moment of my life…"

 

And so they perform. "They've impressed the other members," Kahi tells the other trainers. "I won't be surprised if I get messages after this broadcasts as well."

 

Mnet sent this footage to the other members. Encouraging messages from every member and former member of After School fill up the screen.

 

Jung Soyeon: 23 | Bae Sungyeon: 58

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I was surprised. Only 58?"

 

Choi Yerim: 157 | Kim Chaeyoung: 54

 

Yerim actually screams. It's to be expected.

 

Hwang Hyojin: 12 | Cheng Xiao: 50

Na Yoomin: 24 | Park Seungyeon: 42

 

Team 1: 216 | Team 2: 204

 

Yerim's mouth drops open.

 

[Hwang Hyojin]

 

"We won because of Yerim. We didn't win, Yerim won."

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I was so confused. We were Kahi's pick, we all knew the dance, everyone was expecting it to be us. Yerim definitely deserves it, though. It just… didn't make sense at the time."

 

Jang Keunsuk calls out the teams for Bad Girl Good Girl. Team One contains favorites Shin Bora and Kim Jungeun, but Team Two has Chou Tzuyu - this will be a close competition.

 

Team One, otherwise known as Miss B, don't actually get much screen time. Just clips of them practicing and messing around in their room. The clips move too fast for anything specific to be made out - they're even fast forwarded at times.

 

But their performance - oh, their performance. Kim Jungeun absolutely shines as center, and Han Byeol shockingly gets a lot of cuts. Well, she did dance for T-ara and EXID after all.

 

On to Team Two, who have the team name Next Generation.

 

[Hong Sojin]

 

"Why do I feel like this team is going to be the Tzuyu show…"

 

It is kind of the Tzuyu show. Tzuyu elects herself center rather quickly and then stays quiet for everything else. She's praised by the trainers as the other girls get ignored.

 

[Ju Minhee]

 

"None of it is really her fault - well, except the center thing, maybe, but she's the best option there anyways - but it's still very frustrating. We're all supposed to shine here - so why are most of us fading into the background?"

 

The stage is admittedly the Tzuyu show as well. Minhee gets some cuts for her visuals, Sojin gets a bit for her vocals, but for the most part the rest of the team is largely passed over.

 

Kim Jungeun: 100 | Hong Sojin: 19

Shin Bora: 89 | Chou Tzuyu: 117

Han Byeol: 86 | Ju Minhee: 72

Wong Kahei: 48 | Son Yuji: 56

Kwak Heeoh: 34 | Lee Chaeyoung: 19

 

Team 1: 357 | Team 2: 283

 

"For vocals," says Jang Keunsuk, "the group Kara leads the pack. In fact, two contestants of Produce 101 were once on a show to become members… and Jeon Somin, one of those contestants, is performing Break It tonight."

 

The teams - Jeon Somin, Park Chohyeon, Baek Hyeonju, Maeng Sieun, and Noh Hyojung and Jo Haseul, Ryu Hyeonju, Im Jihyun, Roh Jisun, and Han Saebyeol - come onto the stage. Their team names are Second and Dancing Queen respectively.

 

When Team One are choosing parts, leader Hyeonju asks, "who wants to be main vocal?"

 

Park Chohyeon raises her hand quietly, but no one but her labelmate Hyeonju notices. Before they can say anything, Somin speaks up. "I want to do it," she says. Chohyeon and Hyeonju exchange shrugs and Hyeonju writes Somin's name down.

 

[Park Chohyeon]

 

"Honestly I didn't care that much. I think I'm a better vocalist than her, I guess, but I don't mind not being main vocal."

 

[Jeon Somin]

 

"It was important to me to be main vocal because I was almost a member of this group. I want Youngji unnie to see me doing well… more than that, I want the company to see this."

 

JeA evaluates them. "Chohyeon," she says at one point. "Could you try doing the main vocal part?" Chohyeon tries it. JeA thinks. "I think it would be just as good with either of you," she finally decides. "Do you want to keep Somin as main vocal?" Sieun and Hyojung both agree to keep Somin, so that's the decision made.

 

Another problem that arises is that of Maeng Sieun.

 

[Noh Hyojung]

 

"Sieun unnie is just. Aigoo yah."

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"I'm honestly an awful dancer. I'm thankful that Haseul from Blockberry is on the other team because she's about at my level in dance. I feel bad for Hyojungie, though, because she's such a good dancer so she has to help me a lot."

 

The stage comes together anyway, though, especially with Hyojung's help - as young as she is, she's an incredibly talented dancer. The vote to make her center was unanimous.

 

For Team Two's portion, Ryu Hyeonju and Jo Haseul stage a fight over the main vocal position, but it's Haseul's place and they all agree. It's kind of funny, though, to see them pulling the paper back and forth the day they chose parts, as though the paper is the main vocal position.

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"Hey, it's a surefire way to get screentime. Make some drama, be funny…"

 

Haseul doesn't need that, though - what's funnier is how everyone calls her eomma.

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"It isn't just Jisun either. It's the unnies."

 

Audio and video is played of the older girls of Team Two - Hyeonju, Jihyun, and Saebyeol - addressing Haseul as eomma. It's how they get her attention in practice, how they wake her up in the morning, everything.

 

'Eomma' does make a dance mistake, though, which the cameras catch - but it's at the beginning. Jisun's mistake, bumping into Jihyun during the bridge, is much more obvious.

 

Jeon Somin: 51 | Jo Haseul: 36

Park Chohyeon: 25 | Ryu Hyeonju: 24

Baek Hyeonju: 41 | Im Jihyun: 38

Maeng Sieun: 21 | Roh Jisun: 16

Noh Hyojung: 87 | Han Saebyeol: 82

 

Team 1: 225 | Team 2: 196



"Now," says Jang PD. "Many girl groups today have successful dongsaeng groups. But the most successful little sister group - the little sister group who have built a name for themselves - why, that would be F(x)! Would the groups for La Cha Ta please come out!"

 

Team One, otherwise known as Big Sister Little Sister, consists of Jung Haeri, In Hwa, Bae Jinye, Jung Yeeun, and Jin Hyeonju; Team Two, named AKB5, is Hwang Nayoon, Lee Haena, Hirai Momo, Kim Hyunji, and Watanabe Rui.

 

Big Sister Little Sister are raw talent. Bae Jinye may be more of a rapper, but she's an amazing dancer, as is Jin Hyeonju. Even the harshest trainer, Bae Yoonjung, is impressed. The maknae line, Yeeun and Hyeonju, get along well, doing their best to amuse the older girls.

 

Their stage is forgettable. After it, Jang Keunsuk asks, "Jung Haeri."

 

"Yes?"

 

"Your sister Yujin is a member of Brave Girls. Would you like to be a member of her little sister group if they made one, just as Krystal and Jessica were under the same company?"

 

"Yes," Haeri says. "And I would love for us to be just as famous." She winks to the camera.

 

[Watanabe Rui]

 

"We chose our name AKB5 because two of us are Japanese. We thought it would be funny."

 

[Hirai Momo]

 

"Rui unnie and I speak Japanese together a lot. I call her onēsan sometimes."

 

[Kim Hyunji]

 

"Yah, those two. They're always talking in Japanese. Are they telling secrets?"

 

[Hwang Nayoon]

 

"We all thought it was funny that Momo unnie chose Rui unnie to be on her team - the only two Japanese contestants together, you know."

 

Insert performance here. Rui is sexy, Nayoon hits all her notes, Momo is dancing queen.

 

Jung Haeri: 34 | Hwang Nayoon: 62

In Hwa: 37 | Lee Haena: 22

Bae Jinye: 68 | Hirai Momo: 125

Jung Yeeun: 39 | Kim Hyunji: 43

Jin Hyeonju: 87 | Watanabe Rui: 59

 

Team 1: 265 | Team 2: 311

 

"Lastly," announces Jang Daepyo. "The true international girl group. Where Sunmi and Hyuna got their starts. Wonder Girls, Irony!"

 

Team One is Jeon Heejin, So Yujin, Choi Yuna, Lee Jieun, and Kim Kyungmi. Team Two is Go Junghee, Lee Yukyung, Lee Jinsook, Seo Minkyung, and Song Hanhee. Because your dear beloved author is damn tired and has written roughly twenty pages of group battles, this is all you're getting about the Irony teams - except, of course, the Irony of the team who was chosen last performing last. When I have the patience to do so I'll put something here. Ok I'm done breaking the fourth wall BYE.

 

Jeon Heejin: 77 | Go Junghee: 32

So Yujin: 32 | Lee Yukyung: 22

Choi Yuna: 23 | Lee Jinsook: 21

Lee Jieun: 104 | Seo Minkyung: 30

Kim Kyungmi: 36 | Song Hanhee: 29

 

Team 1: 272 | Team 2: 134

 

It was never a fair fight.

 

[Next week! The first eliminations! Vote for your girl online now - you have until midnight EST on February 14!]







Chapter Text

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl online now!]

 

[The day of the first eliminations]

 

The trainees enter by company. The nine from Blockberry, seven from C9, six from YAMA&HOTCHICKS stride in confidently, bow proudly. The girls who came alone are shyer - except for Mafia's Kim Nari, who emanates strength as she enters and bows. Finally, they're all seated.

 

Jang Keunsuk enters and the trainee girls cheer. He looks every bit the Asia Prince image Mnet has built for him. Shining, happy, prepared for what he's about to do.

 

"101 trainees," he says. Saying 101 in English - the name of the show, not the number. "Are you ready? Today is the first elimination."

 

"Nervous," they chorus.

 

"As expected," Jang Keunsuk reassures them. "Today, first to sixty-first will survive. Everyone else will be eliminated. We will begin in just a moment."

 

Jump cut. We're someplace new. Three unfamiliar people sit at a desk.

 

"I am Shin Bora," says the first. Not to be confused with Shin Bora the Jellyfish trainee - this is a famous actress.

 

"I'm Heo Youngji," says the second - well, third, she's sitting on the far right of the table. Heo Youngji was the winner of Kara Project or Baby Kara, the show on which Son Yuji and Jeon Somin received their first exposure to the public.

 

"And I'm Park Kyung," says the man in the middle. Park Kyung, rapper, member of Block B. "We are here to be the panelists of Produce 101's first elimination."

 

"Today is surely a very scary day for the trainee girls," continues Youngji. "For some of them, they will leave the show and move on to something else. Their 101 story will be over. For others, their fate isn't over yet - they can survive and show new sides of them to the viewers through the second task."

 

"However," Bora says, "we aren't only going to be showing the eliminations today. We will also show you some of what's been happening that hasn't been broadcast yet. Are you ready to see some of 101's Behind The Scenes life?"

 

The three commentators exchange a look. Then, they say, in their best imitation of Jang PD, "it's… showtime!"

 

[101 Trainees get on a bus to a mysterious place]

 

"Where are we going, why won't they tell us," Wong Kahei asks the camera. "Tingyan-mei! Do you have any idea what's going on?" She yells this last bit to the Cube trainee, who is offscreen.

 

"I think we're getting a flu shot," Jo Haseul says. "It's winter."

 

True to her words, the bus pulls up outside of a clinic.

 

"No - no - unnie, unnie, unnie!" Chou Tzuyu protests as an undisturbed Hirai Momo drags her into the clinic by her arm. "Unnie, I don't want to get a shot, it's going to hurt, augh…"

 

Kang Soeun shouts in pain when she gets her shot. Labelmate Ji Suyeon shakes her head and laughs. "These kids, they're so cute," she tells the camera.

 

When it's Suyeon's turn, she flinches. Hard. Soeun laughs at her.

 

Kim Hanbi, one of 101's maknae line, hides behind Noh Hyojung when the camera comes looking for her. "Hide me," she whimpers to the taller girl. Hyojung has no mercy, it seems, and shoves Hanbi off to her fate. The third 02 girl, Jin Hyeonju, gives Hyojung a high five as she passes by.

 

"The Fantagio girls, they have no mercy," says Lee Gahyeon in passing.

 

"Unnie, please hold my hand," Kim Yerim tells Park Seungyeon as she gets her shot.

 

[The girls must also be measured for height and weight]

 

"No, no, no," says Lee Jinsook as she runs away from the camera. Cut down to Lee Luda sitting cross-legged on the floor.

 

[The Starship trainees will not be weighed!]

 

...Or not, because Cheng Xiao is simply leaning against the wall, smirking. She's stick-skinny - obviously she isn't worried about her weight.

 

"Jeon Heejin," says Bae Jinye's voice from behind the camera. "Jeon Heejin, I must see your weight."

 

"Unnie," Heejin sighs. "No…."

 

Jinye zooms in as Heejin steps on the scale. "52," she says. "52 kilograms."

 

"What? No!" exclaims Heejin. "My profile weight… is 50… no! I just ate, so it's okay, that must be why." It's clear Heejin doesn't actually mind, that she isn't worried - she's just having fun, possibly making fun of the way the other girls stress.

 

[The girls must also stay fit and healthy!]

 

Cut to a shot of the dorm rooms. Pick Me suddenly plays over the speakers - Kyla Massie sits up comically in time with the first octave.

 

"Is this supposed to be our alarm clock?" asks a disgruntled Ha Sooyoung. This is happening around the time of the second episode - the girls are in rooms by grade.

 

"I don't know," says Kim Kyungmi. "All I know is that I'm absolutely sick of this song."

 

"Where are we going," asks an exhausted-looking Lee Jiyu.

 

"I hope this is to go eat," comments Kim Ahyeon to the camera.

 

The girls gather outside the buildings, where a lean woman in a pale blue shirt is waiting for them.

 

[Fitness trainer Ray Yang is here to manage the girls' health]

 

"Firstly, we are going for a run," Ray Yang announces. The trainees set off, some of them shouting Pick Me at the top of their lungs. Whether it's a display of spirit, an appeal to the cameras, or simply a means of staying focused isn't clear - probably a mix of the three between the trainees.

 

When they finish, the girls line up, breathless, by the stairs from where they started. "Alright," says Ray Yang. "How many of you want to lose weight? Raise your hands - be honest." Almost every hand goes up. (Cheng Xiao's hand is down. She's still smirking at her labelmates.)

 

She pulls girls out of line one at a time. Focus on Kyla Massie as Ray Yang passes her, gives her a look up and down, and then pulls her out of line. A moment later, she and about twenty other trainees are stood in front of the trainer.

 

"Those of you that I've indicated will be dieting from here on forward."

 

Cut to the girls picking up their lunches.

 

"Oh, it's all vegetables," Ahra sighs, wrinkling her nose mournfully at the box.

 

"Shush, I like vegetables," Kyla replies. "Although… maybe not this many."

 

Later, the girls head out for a yoga session. A and F class have theirs together, then B, C, and D.

 

[A trainee who is not flexible!]

 

Pledis' Bae Sungyeon, who chose a spot in the middle of the room, is seen continually struggling with the yoga. Ray Yang keeps saying "Sungyeon ah… Sungyeon ah…"

 

[Kim Sungyeon]

 

"She kept saying Sungyeon, Sungyeon, and I kept thinking it was me… yah, it was scary."

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"I liked the yoga session. It was very calming and it felt nice to stretch without having to dance immediately after."  

 

"Alright, it's time," says Heo Youngji.

 

"I will announce the ranks from 60 up, not starting with 61," Jang informs the trainees. "This is to heighten suspense."

 

[Han Byeol]

 

"No, how could they do this…"

 

[Lee Hayoung]

 

"This is so scary. I feel awful for whoever is 62nd…"

 

"Alright," says Jang PD. "I will now announce the ranks from 60 to 51."

 

Suspenseful music starts playing.

 

"Sixtieth place. With 29,214 votes…" The camera pans around the trainees. "C9 Entertainment's…" Camera flashes to the seven C9 trainees. Song Heejin's eyes go wide; Moon Chaesol grabs Kim Jiwon's hand tightly.

 

"Hwang Nayoon trainee!"

 

"Oh my god," Nayoon gasps, looking around as though she doesn't believe this is real. Her labelmates have to give her a shove to get her up onstage.

 

"Fifty-ninth place. With 29,703 votes. Box Media…" They have their arms linked at the elbows. "Park Seungyeon trainee!" Cue clapping. Seungyeon goes up.

 

"Fifty-eighth. With 30,347 votes." Pause. "GH Entertainment, Seo Minkyung trainee."

 

"Ah, GH," says Youngji. "That's where Yuji is."

 

"Fifty-seventh. With 30, 609 votes, DWM Entertainment's Jung Haeri trainee."

 

"Fifty-sixth. With 30, 858 votes. Astory's…" Pause. "Kim Seyoung trainee."

 

"Fifty-fifth. With 33,642 votes… Music Works, Lee Jieun trainee."

 

"Fifty-fourth. With 34,459 votes… Cre.ker Entertainment's Na Yoomin trainee."

 

"Fifty-third. With 36,760 votes, C9 Entertainment…" Cut to the remaining six C9 girls. Then, to Nayoon's thankful face. "Kim Chaeyoung trainee." The girl in question lets out a deep breath and scrambles in her haste to get to the line.

 

"Fifty-second. With 38,506 votes… Entertainment Pascal's Ju Minhee trainee."

 

"Finally, fifty-first. With 39,033 votes, C9 Entertainment's…" The room is a little shocked. Three C9 trainees in the first row of names? "Song Heejin trainee!"

 

Pan of the girls all lined up.

 

"Shall we hear some thoughts?" asks Jang PD.

 

"I'm very thankful that my labelmates have survived to the next battle with me," says Song Heejin. "Thank you so much to the national producers who are allowing us to go forward together."

 

Kim Seyoung says, "I really thought I was going home today." She looks as though she's about to break off into tears. "Thank you, national producers."

 

"Okay," says Jang Daepyo. "Please go sit in the chairs according to your rank."

 

They sit. Heejin and Chaeyoung reach across Na Yoomin to hold each other's hands very briefly.

 

"I will now announce the ranks from fifty to forty-first," says Jang PD. "Fiftieth place. With 41,048 votes…"

 

Cut to the independent trainees holding hands. Lee Saerom is whispering, "gaein, gaein" under her breath."

 

"Independent..."

 

Roh Jisun sits straight up in her chair. Song Hayoung also looks shocked.

 

"Lee Nakyung trainee!"

 

The girl in question lets out a breath and goes up.

 

"Forty-ninth place. With 41,203 votes, DoubleX Entertainment's Kim Sungyeon trainee."

 

She's excited. Practically bounces up to the line.

 

"Forty-eighth place, with 41,244 votes… Box Media's Lee Haena trainee."

 

"Forty-seventh place. With 41,286 votes, Hunus Entertainment's Kim Sohee trainee."

 

"Forty-sixth place. With 41,873 votes, YAMA&HOTCHICKS's Baek Hyeonju trainee."

 

"Forty-fifth place. With 43,932 votes, independent Lee Saerom trainee."

 

"Forty-fourth place. With 43,960 votes, Mafia Entertainment's Kim Nari trainee."

 

"Forty-third place. With 47,662 votes, HBrothers Entertainment's Lee Ahryoung trainee."

 

"The shirt lift!" shouts commentator Shin Bora. A clip of Ahryoung's iconic shirt lift from the Hot Issue stage plays briefly.

 

"Forty-second place. With 50,652 votes…"

 

"They're going up by a lot now," whispers Kim Gaeun to Watanabe Rui.

 

"Astory Entertainment's Go Ahra trainee."

 

"And, lastly, forty-first. With 51,381 votes… New Planet Entertainment's Watanabe Rui trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

Baek Hyeonju speaks. "Would the rest of my labelmates please come up here… I don't think I would have made it this far without Byeol unnie and my company dongsaengs supporting me."

 

The camera returns to the three panelists. "A consideration test," says Bora. "To see if they're kind… will they help carry the water, you know."

 

"Ah, fans love this kind of thing," Park Kyung adds.

 

[First consideration test! A staff member walks by with heavy water. Will the trainees help carry it?]

 

A staff member, a woman, begins weaving her way through the trainees with two seemingly heavy cases of water. Most of the trainees don't pay her any mind - or if they do, they don't stop to help. They continue taking selcas and fussing with their clothes.

 

[Then!]

 

As the staff member and a trainee walk through a door in the back, the trainee offers to help.

 

"That's, ah…" The trainee's name is escaping Bora, it seems.

 

"Han Byeol of YAMA&HOTCHICKS," Youngji supplies.

 

Later, the staff member purposefully makes her way through the crowd of trainees. Jellyfish's Hyeyeon and Zenith's Sion each take a case of water from the staff member. UI's Seo Yujin is also shown to help.

 

[Second consideration test! Spilled coke in the snack room for the trainees. Will they clean up the mess?]

 

The first targets are the Happyface trainees.

 

"Oh, unnie!" says Gahyeon. "Is it snack time! Yah…" Gahyeon, it seems, doesn't even notice the spill; rather, she sits herself at the table. Han Dong doesn't react either, simply taking the food.

 

The girls from JTG walk in next. "Unnie," says Kang Sehyung. "Someone spilled a lot of coke here, should we clean it up…?"

 

"I think it's someone's job to do that," Yu Ju tells her. "For now I just need to sit down, my feet hurt."

 

"You're an old lady," Sehyung teases her.

 

C9's Kim Jiwon walks into the room and instantly begins practicing. She spares a glance for the coke, but then starts going through the motions of Pick Me.

 

Then a few girls from Blockberry come in.

 

"Haseul unnie!" says Choi Yerim. "Yah, that's gross."

 

"Why would they just let things be spilled?" asks Jeon Heejin. "There are staff members in the rooms all the time. I think this must be for a hidden camera." Youngji bursts out laughing at this. Clever girl.

 

"We should probably clean it up anyway," Haseul tells her dongsaengs, "camera prank or no."

 

The Fantagio girls also show their kindness. Ji Suyeon heads straight to the mess and picks up the bottle, while Kang Soeun gets the paper towels. In Hwa from JTCorea, a trainee who until now we haven't seen much of, helps when she comes in as well.

 

[The final camera prank! A camera falls on the floor. How will the girls help?]

 

"Hello," bows Song Hanhee.

 

"Hello," responds the staff member. "So tell us. What did it feel like to go on - ah!" The staff member moves back and knocks over the camera.

 

Hanhee instantly stands up. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh," she repeats. "What do we do… PD unnie, will you get in trouble?"

 

The door opens and another man comes in. "Hel - oh, what happened here?"

 

Hanhee blanches. "I -  I - the camera fell," she stammers out. "I'm sorry." She bows her head. The staff member hands her a phone.

 

"This was a candid camera," says a voice on the other end.

 

"Why would you do this, really," Hanhee says into the camera, beginning to choke up.

 

Kyla Massie is the next victim to be show. "Tell me about M countdown," says the staff member.

 

"PD-nim, the camera -" Kyla points, but she isn't quick enough and the camera falls. "Omo, what do we do…" She gets up from her seat and goes over to the staff member. The door opens, and Kyla says, "I'm sorry, I tripped over the stool… it fell down with the camera."

 

"Here, call your company," says the male staff member, handing her the phone.

 

"Hello?"

 

"This was a candid camera."

 

"A - a. I. What?" Then Kyla starts crying. A number of other trainees, including Kconic's Sora and Blockberry's Kahei, run in to her. "I thought I was going to get kicked out! I thought I was going to go bankrupt! You can't do this…"

 

Lastly, Blockberry's Jinsol.

 

"So tell me about - omo!" The camera director startles when the camera falls.

 

"PD-nim…" says Jinsol. "Will you get fired? Do they charge you for this?" The staff woman whispers something back that the mics don't catch. "I don't think it's really that broken." The second staff member comes in, and Jinsol takes the fall. "Is it… expensive?" she asks.

 

"30 million won," the staff member says. "And that's if we buy the secondhand one."

 

Jinsol goes to call her family, but stops short upon seeing the number on the phone. "This isn't my mom," she says, staring at the male staff member, who laughs at her stricken expression. When the phone picks up, Jinsol immediately shouts, "you guys are so mean!" before hanging up.

 

"I will announce the trainees who ranked from fortieth to thirty-first now," says Jang PD. "Fortieth place. With 52,494 votes… C9 Entertainment's Jin Hyeonju trainee."

 

"Ah, C9's maknae," comments Park Kyung.

 

"Thirty-ninth place. With 56,224 votes, independent…" Some shock from the remaining three independent girls. "Roh Jisun trainee."

 

"Thirty-eighth. With 56,821 votes, independent…" Another? Hayoung and Chaeyoung turn to each other with shocked faces - which is it? "Song Hayoung trainee."

 

"Thirty-seventh. With 59,191 votes… New Planet's Kim Gaeun trainee."

 

Cut to Kyla Massie cheering for her friend and Bae Sungyeon next to her shooting Gaeun finger guns.

 

"Thirty-sixth. With 59,736 votes. Hunus Entertainment's Choi Yuna trainee."

 

"Thirty-fifth. With 60,090 votes, C9 Entertainment's Hwang Jiwon trainee."

 

"Oh, the - the rapper!" says Youngji, referencing Jiwon's energy in her Fire stage.

 

"Thirty-fourth. With 63,132 votes. C9 Entertainment…"

 

"Are we all going to go up?" Moon Chaesol whispers to Kim Jiwon. "Please let us all go up…"

 

"Kim Jiwon trainee!"

 

Chaesol claps for her labelmates. It's just her left, now.

 

"Thirty-third. With 64, 149 votes. Happyface Entertainment's Han Dong trainee."

 

"Thirty-second. With 65,610 votes. Happyface Entertainment's Lee Gahyeon trainee."

 

"Unnie!" cries Gahyeon as she runs up to stand beside her labelmate. The two girls hug.

 

"Thirty-first. With 71,200 votes…"

 

"Oh my god," whispers Lee Chaeyoung to Yu Jungahn, who's behind her. "It jumped a lot."

 

"Cube Entertainment's Chong Tingyan trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

"Thank you for voting both of us to the next round," says Han Dong of Happyface. "We are very very happy to continue on together."

 

"Chaesol unnie, please come up to here so that we can continue this as our C9 family," adds Hwang Jiwon.

 

"Now please sit at your seats," Jang PD says. Off they go.

 

"I will announce the trainees from thirtieth to twenty-first now," says Jang Keunsuk. "Thirtieth place. With 72,474 votes. Dublekick Company Yu Jungahn trainee."

 

"Twenty-ninth place. With 73,558 votes. Jellyfish Entertainment's Cho Hyeyeon trainee."

 

"Twenty-eighth place. With 88,277 votes…"

 

"Wow," whispers Han Byeol. "That's… a lot."

 

"Fantagio's Kim Sookyung trainee!"

 

"Twenty-seventh place. With 102,110 votes…"

 

"Oh my god, oh my god," murmurs Hirai Momo.

 

"Box Media's Han Saebyeol trainee."

 

"Twenty-sixth place. With 105,963 votes. Independent Lee Chaeyoung trainee."

 

"Twenty-fifth place. With 106,322 votes. Starship's… Lee Jinsook trainee."

 

"Twenty-fourth place. With 107,785 votes, Starship's Lee Luda trainee."

 

"Twenty-third place. With 105,501 votes, Fantagio's Ji Suyeon trainee."

 

"Oh, she has such a nice voice," comments Bora.

 

"Twenty-second place. With 125,095 votes…" the girls' eyes go wide. "Fantagio's Kang Soeun trainee."

 

"Twenty-first place. With 149,977 votes. DSP Media's Jeon Jiwoo trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

"Thank you so much," says Lee Chaeyoung. "I thought - all of the independent trainees, we thought so many times that this wasn't our path because we didn't have an agency. Your votes are giving us strength to go forward."

 

"Thank you to the teachers," says Jinsook, "and to the other trainees, my unnies and dongsaengs who have been helpful even though my skills are lacking."

 

"I think we should show a very special ranking now," says Shin Bora. "A very important part of a girl group is the visual. Who do you - wait, Park Kyung-ssi, who do you think the top visual is?"

 

"I think we should get a man's opinion," laughs Youngji.

 

"Ah, well…" says Park Kyung. "I think, firstly, Blockberry's -"

 

"I think I know who," says Bora.

 

"Jeon Heejin," Kyung continues. "And also Song Hanhee."

 

"Ah, the ulzzang," Youngji nods. "She's known to look like Suzy from Miss A."

 

"Let's see it," says Bora.

 

[101 Trainees' Top Visual #11!]

 

[Park Sora]

 

"She looks foreign even though she's not."

 

[Choi Yuna]

 

"Unnie has really big eyes, but the rest of her features are very small."

 

[Han Dong]

 

"Entertainment Pascal Minhee unnie."

 

[Shin Bora]

 

"Ju Minhee."

 

[Kim Hanbi]

 

"Minhee unnie."

 

[Ju Minhee]

 

"Did people really vote for me? Yah… I don't actually think I'm that pretty. I could think of at least twenty trainees that are prettier."

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #10!]

 

[Lee Sebin]

 

"She's gotten a lot of attention for her visuals onscreen…"

 

[Jeon Jiwoo]

 

"I didn't expect her to come across so pretty on screen but she did."

 

[Yoon Daeun]

 

"She comes across as very cold and elegant but she's really warm."

 

[Lee Chaeyoung]

 

"DSP's Somin unnie."

 

[Jung Yeeun]

 

"Sominnie unnie."

 

[Jeon Somin]

 

"People voted for me?" she looks at the staff, aghast. "I mean… that's great!"

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #9!]

 

[Seo Minkyung]

 

"There's a certain visual charm that foreigners have."

 

[Choi Moonju]

 

"She has the kind of eyes I like?"

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"New Planet's Rui unnie."

 

[Kim Gaeun]

 

"Our Rui!"

 

[Watanabe Rui]

 

"I've had people tell me that I'm very elegant, so honestly I'm not surprised. Is that bad?"

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #8!]

 

[Lee Jieun]

 

"I can't decide between Hanhee unnie and Saerom unnie," she complains to the camera. A staff member offscreen informs her that at the time of filming, their votes were very close. "Oh! Oh, wow, that makes it harder…"

 

[Kwak Heeoh]

 

"She looks pretty no matter what she's doing. Even if she's being silly…"

 

[Ha Sooyoung]

 

"She's a friend who can make anything look pretty. She looks pretty while practicing, which is hard because we're always tired."

 

[Saerom or Hanhee - who will it be?]

 

[Hwang Hyojin]

 

"Lee Saerom is my top visual! Please be the visual center, Saerom ah!"

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"Oh, I'm so flattered. See, they tell me I'm pretty, but here, everyone tells everyone they're pretty."

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #7!]

 

[Lee Luda]

 

"She has this very soft, vulnerable look to her, you know, it's very girlish."

 

[Roh Jisun]

 

"I think she's very elegant."

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"Starship's Cheng Xiao unnie!"

 

[Eun Yuri]

 

"She looks good wearing anything. I think she would look good even in the shirts for F and D class."

 

[Jung Haeri]

 

"She has a personality that's contrary to her looks but it makes her seem even brighter."

 

[Cheng Xiao]

 

"Thank you all very much!" She laughs and poses cutely.

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #6!]

 

[Kang Soeun]

 

"She has this very young charm, even though she's my unnie it looks like she's my age."

 

[Kim Hyunji]

 

"YAMA&HOTCHICKS Hyeonju!"

 

[Moon Hyeonju]

 

"My name twin, Hyeonju unnie…"

 

[Baek Hyeonju]

 

"They say I look a lot younger. Yewon says she has a friend at her company who's born in 2000 but she looks just like me. It's a little bit embarrassing." She holds up her profile picture. "What even was I doing in this, yah."

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #5!]

 

[Chong Tingyan]

 

"They say unnie looks a lot like me, but I really don't see it."

 

[Wong Kahei]

 

"She has very pretty features. Like, she has a nice nose. I like her nose."

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"Blockberry Girl!"

 

[Jung Mirae]

 

"Jinsol unnie!"

 

[Im Jihyun]

 

"Jinsol looks like a doll."

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"She really has this look to her. I'm envious. She's very sexy as well."

 

[Jung Jinsol]

 

"Oh, that's amazing, I've hit jackpot. I don't even think I'm the prettiest in my company, let alone out of the trainees!"

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #4!]

 

[Hong Sojin]

 

"She has a very small face."

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"She reminds me of a mouse, honestly."

 

[Son Yuji]

 

"Yang Sua unnie!"

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"I think unnie has very good coloring. Like, her eyes and hair and skin all fit together very well."

 

[Yang Sua]

 

"My whole company is made up of visuals… it's nice to know that of them, I came out on top!" She's kidding. As evidenced by the finger guns she shoots the camera at the end.

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual #3!]

 

[Jeon Heejin]

 

"She looks like a drawing or an animation, not quite human…"

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"Out of all the trainees I'll choose her. No question."

 

[Kim Kyungmi]

 

"Jellyfish's Shin Bora unnie."

 

[Shin Bora]

 

"Thank you, thank you." Bora laughs as she bows, pretending to accept praise from an audience.

 

[101 Trainees Top Visual!]

 

[Who will the candidates be?]

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I would say… Tzuyu?"

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"Jeon Heejin."

 

[Ryu Hyeonju]

 

"JYP's Chou Tzuyu."

 

[Maeng Sieun]

 

"Heejinnie, of course."

 

[Yang Sua]

 

"She looks like a fairy."

 

[Hwang Nayoon]

 

"Heejin looks kind of like Baek Hyeonju unnie in my opinion."

 

[Who will be the top visual of 101?]

 

[Revealing the first place]

 

[Han Saebyeol]

 

"The top visual is…?

 

[Hirai Momo]

 

"Dugeundugeundugen…"

 

[Yu Jungahn]

 

"Of course it is Tzuyu!"

 

[Kim Jiwoo]

 

"I don't think there's any competition."

 

[Chou Tzuyu is 101's Top Visual]

 

"I will announce the rankings from twentieth to twelfth now," says Jang Keunsuk. "These trainees, with some more effort, could easily come into the top eleven in the next evaluation. Now, twentieth place. This is a trainee who shocked many with her dance progress for someone so young." Cut to Jeon Somin reaching back and lightly hitting Noh Hyojung, whispering that it's her. "With 156,148 votes, Fantagio's Noh Hyojung trainee!"

 

"Nineteenth place. With 161,125 votes. Jellyfish's Shin Bora trainee!"

 

"It's me!" laughs Shin Bora the commentator. She rises from her seat as though to go up.

 

"Eighteenth place, with 175,904 votes. DSP Media's Jeon Somin trainee!"

 

"Yes! That's my girl!" Heo Youngji shouts. The other two laugh at her.

 

"Seventeenth place. With 176,067 votes… Starship's Cheng Xiao trainee!"

 

"Ah, she did the flip at the company evaluations," comments Park Kyung. Briefly, we see the Starship trainees audition, where Cheng Xiao impressed with a flip during their performance of Sistar's Touch My Body.

 

"Sixteenth place, with 179,721 votes… JYP Entertainment's Chou Tzuyu trainee!"

 

"Fifteenth place, with 184,926 votes… Blockberry Creative's…"

 

"Oh, none of them have been called yet," comments Park Kyung. "They're all very popular online."

 

"Park Chaewon trainee."

 

"She's very cute," Bora informs the other commentators. "And a very good dancer."

 

"Fourteenth place, with 193,820 votes… JYP's Hirai Momo trainee!"

 

"Thirteenth place, with 203,007 votes… Blockberry Creative's… Wong Kahei trainee!"

 

"Now," says Jang PD. "How many members can make it into the 101 girl group?"

 

"Eleven," the girls chorus back.

 

"So, here is unfortunate number twelve. If today were the finale, she would have just missed her chance to debut in the nation's girl group. With 214,691 points… Blockberry Creative's Choi Yerim trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

"Thank you for voting for me," says Chou Tzuyu shyly. "Please continue to give me support so I can get the debut I did not have on Sixteen."

 

"I will work hard and get into the top eleven," Choi Yerim resolves. The girls go to sit.

 

"Eleventh place," says Jang Keunsuk. "This trainee received attention for her vocal power, especially in front of the trainers. With 227,670 votes… Pledis, Bae Sungyeon trainee!"

 

"Omo, omo," Sungyeon gasps, eyes wide, as she walks up to the front.

 

"Shall we hear your thoughts?"

 

"I'm just… very thankful to receive this attention… from the national producers, and of course from Kahi sunbaenim… I. Wow."

 

"Please sit in the number eleven seat," he says. Sungyeon obliges, wide eyes continuing the whole way up.

 

"Tenth place. This trainee is known for her sexy aura and doll-like visuals. With 230,395 votes, Blockberry Creative's Jung Jinsol trainee!"

 

"I would like to show the national producers the talented side of me, and not just my visuals. I am glad I will have a chance to prove that in the next evaluation."

 

"Ninth place. With 250,552 votes, this trainee is loved among trainees younger and older for her kind treatment."

 

"Unnie, it's you," Jeon Heejin whispers to Jo Haseul.

 

"Blockberry Creative's Jo Haseul!"

 

"Haseul eomma!" shouts Youngji. "They call her that on the net. It's her image."

 

"Thank you for overlooking my poor dance skills," Haseul stammers, starstruck.

 

"Eighth place. This trainee is well known for her confidence even in stressful situations. With 251,469 votes, YG's Jennie Kim trainee!"

 

"Oh, gosh," Jennie says in English. "I don't know what to say right now."

 

"Seventh place. Her cute charms have captured the hearts of many fans. With 273,930 votes, Blockberry Creative's Kim Jiwoo trainee!"

 

"I - I - I -" Jiwoo blinks. "I don't know how it happened that so many from my company are placing high. I hope my friends from other companies can come up too…"

 

"Sixth place. She is a youthful trainee who received 294,540 votes - her rap skills were well showcased in the group battles. Pledis Entertainment's Kyla Massie trainee!"

 

"Thank you, um. To my family, for supporting me this far and for giving me strength on this path; for my unnies for taking care of me well… thank you especially to my English unnies… Gracie unnie, Sungyeon unnie, Jennie unnie… let's continue on together."

 

"Fifth place. Another strong vocalist. She received 376,977 votes. Pledis' Kim Yewon trainee!"

 

"They call her sunshine girl," Bora comments.

 

"I have heard that netizens call me sunshine," she says. "Thank you for allowing my sun to continue shining!" Yewon poses cutely.

 

"Would we please reveal the four candidates for first place," says Jang PD.

 

Focus on the screen. Three Blockberry trainees - Sooyoung, Heejin, and Jungeun - and Yerim from SM.

 

"Wow, Blockberry…" Youngji says. "They all made it. And all in the top twenty as well…"

 

"Fourth place," says Jang Keunsuk. "This trainee is well known for her popular promotion image, where she looks very good in red. Blockberry Creative's Kim Jungeun trainee! She gained 387,537 votes."

 

"Oh wow," says Jungeun. "I - this is just amazing. Thank you to the company unnies and dongsaengs who have done so well. And - mom, dad - I made it in the top eleven!"

 

"The seat with the four on it is yours," Jang Keunsuk tells her.

 

"Third place," says Jang Daepyo. "This trainee has one of the best visuals in Produce 101. Fans and fellow trainees alike have been swept away by it. She who gained 392,773 votes… Jeon Heejin trainee!"

 

Heejin is outright sobbing when she comes up. Someone in the crowd of yet-uncalled trainees shouts for her not to cry.

 

"Omo… Thank you all very much for voting, producer-nims," Heejin stammers out. "And - and for my company members and all my friends I have made on this show, thank you. And for the trainees who are still at the company -" This seems to send Heejin into another round of tears. "I will make you proud of me. I love you…"

 

"The candidates for first place," says Jang Keunsuk. "Blockberry Creative's Ha Sooyoung trainee and SM's Kim Yerim trainee."

 

Camera cut to both their faces. Yerim looks nervous - Sooyoung just seems proud, and a little stunned.

 

"Both trainees have proved themselves well over the past episodes. However, there can only be one center, and it is time to find out who it will be. Because, yes - the trainee who receives first place will be the automatic center for her next evaluation."

 

[Ha Sooyoung]

 

"Of course I want to be center," she says in an interview taped earlier.

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"Everyone has greed to be center. Especially here. How else can the national producers see you?"

 

"I will reveal it by announcing second place now," says Jang PD. "There was a very close margin between first and second place. Second place, who took 528,772 votes…" Insert gasps from the many trainees here.

 

"It jumped by over a hundred thousand!" Choi Yuna whispers, shocked, to Kim Gaeun.

 

"Second place."

 

Long pause.

 

"Second place goes to Blockberry Creative, Ha Sooyoung trainee!"

 

Instead of cutting to Sooyoung, it goes to Yerim first. Yerim, who has just discovered she is first place. Yerim, who collapses into tears in her place.

 

"Shall we hear some thoughts from Sooyoung trainee?"

 

Sooyoung goes up. "I'm so thankful that all of my company made it, and that we've all achieved such high ranks. Thank you - there have been many times where I felt like this was not worth all the hardships, but now I feel like it's been worth it…"

 

"Do you have any ambition to take first place from Kim Yerim trainee?"

 

"I…" Sooyoung seems pensive. "I want to hope that I can."

 

Sooyoung goes to sit in the second place seat. Kim Yerim goes to stand on the stage next to Jang PD.

 

"Kim Yerim trainee, Produce 101's first center," says Jang Keunsuk. "What are your thoughts right now?"

 

"I - oh… I can't cry right now, I have to talk…" Yerim says, turning away from the microphone to blink tears away.

 

"You took 559,694 votes," Jang PD informs her.

 

"That many?" She's incredulous. "Oh, wow… I - I really thought I would never see a day like this," Yerim says. "But now I have… so many people say they want to see me debut… and I'm happy, so happy. So thank you. So much."

 

"Go sit in the first place seat," Jang Keunsuk tells her. "You've worked hard."

 

A pause.

 

"There are many trainees who haven't been called yet," Keunsuk says. "However, only one more can survive. Sixty-first place. She took 28,223 votes. Please show the candidates on the screens!"

 

Four girls show up on the screen. Rollingculture1's Yoon Daeun, Doo Republic's Kim Kyungmi, UI's Seo Yujin, and YAMA&HOTCHICKS' Han Byeol are shown on the screen.

 

"Yes, the final survivor is between these four."

 

Pause.

 

"Sixty-first place belongs to…"

 

[Kim Kyungmi]

 

"It's important to me to survive. Even if it's at sixty-first."

 

[Han Byeol]

 

"Mostly I don't want anyone from my company to go forward or to leave by themselves."

 

"Please reveal the last survivor now."

 

The screen flashes to Yoon Daeun of Rollingculture1.

 

"Unfortunately, YAMA&HOTCHICKS' Han Byeol was sixty-second," says Jang. The camera goes to distraught Baek Hyeonju, who is the only one from her company to survive. When it does go back to Byeol, she's just smiling.

 

"Rollingculture1's Yoon Daeun trainee," says Jang Daepyo as she walks up. "Our final survivor. Shall we hear your thoughts?"

 

"Thank you for voting for me," says Daeun. "I - I will show new sides of myself to hopefully survive again."

 

She goes to sit on the 61 seat.

 

"We should have a round of applause for the eliminated trainees now," he suggests. The girls enthusiastically follow suit. "You may be leaving today, but that does not mean your dream is over. I believe all of you have the talent to debut. Do not give up." He turns. "But now. Produce 101's center, Kim Yerim. Please greet the national producers."

 

The girls stand in a chilling repeat of the first episode.

 

"Produce 101! 61 trainee girls," says Yerim. "Let's greet the national producers."

 

"Producer-nim, take care of us well!"

 

[Produce 101! Vote for 11 girls out of the 61 online now!]

Chapter Text

[Produce 101! Vote for your girl online now!]

 

[Last week - 61 girls survived.]

 

Flashbacks to the last episode are shown. First, calling random numbers; then, the moment Kim Yerim of SM was revealed to be first place; lastly, Yoon Daeun's reveal as the final survivor.

 

[Before the next challenge, there is a surprise waiting!]

 

The girls pile into a practice room, where there are eleven bags of Skechers shoes waiting.

 

"Are these for us?" Lee Chaeyoung asks a staff member.

 

"They're for the top eleven," replies the staff member. At this, Kyla Massie squeals and dives for the bag with her name on it.

 

"Ah, they got our sizes right and everything," says Jennie Kim.

 

Bae Sungyeon dances around the practice room, shooting finger guns at Kim Yewon, who rolls her eyes and mimics her. Blockberry's Kim Jiwoo shows off her shoes by doing a simple cute dance, while Jo Haseul just runs in place - she's notorious by this point for her lack of skill in dance.

 

After, the girls file in by rank into the big training room. They stand at attention, Yerim standing in front of them all with hands tidily clasped, for a pregnant moment until Jang Keunsuk walks in. They clap and cheer.

 

"Hello!" says Jang Keunsuk. "We meet again. The sixty-one of you have survived. SM's Kim Yerim trainee -"

 

"Yes?"

 

"How are you feeling right now, as 101's center?"

 

"I…" says Yerim. "I am very happy and I will work hard to protect my place."

 

"And do you think you will stay there after the next evaluation?"

 

"I think there are many strong contenders for this place," Yerim answers.

 

"I understand. Now. RollingCulture1 Yoon Daeun trainee. You barely survived. How are you feeling now?"

 

"I am grateful to be here," says Daeun, "and I resolve to work harder to honor my friends who were eliminated."

 

"A resolution surely shared by all the trainees," says Jang Keunsuk. He leads the girls in applause.

 

"Now it is time for the second evaluation," says Jang Keunsuk. "This is the position evaluation. You will choose a position between vocal, dance, and rap, and perform a song to appeal to a live audience of 1,000 national producers. And," he adds. "The winners in each category will receive not 1,000 votes, but 100,000."

 

The girls gasp.

 

[Han Saebyeol]

 

"So many points…"

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"They do it like this so the tables can turn."

 

"Hunus' Choi Yuna trainee," calls Jang PD. She looks around, surprised. "What is your rank again? Remind us, please."

 

"I - thirty-sixth," Yuna answers.

 

"If you receive that place at the next elimination," says Jang PD, "you will be eliminated. Only ranks one through thirty-five will proceed to the next challenge." Cue gasps, again. "However, we will get there when we get there. For now, let's please reveal the songs!"

 

The curtain falls to reveal the songs: Monster, Me Gustas Tu, Haru Haru, My Best, Call Me Baby, and Yanghwa Bridge for vocals; Growl, Full Moon, Bang Bang, and Say My Name for dance; and You Look Good, Turtle Ship, and Rhythm Ta for rap.

 

"Now," says Jang PD. "Mafia's Kim Nari trainee. What do you think the numbers under each song mean?"

 

"I think they're the number of people who can do each song," says Nari, clearly a bit nonplussed at having to answer the obvious question.

 

"And who do you girls think gets to pick first?"

 

Yerim bounces excitedly, as the girls in the middle of the rank groan in frustration. Yoon Daeun gives a defeated shrug to Hwang Nayoon.

 

"So. SM's Kim Yerim," begins Jang. "Choose your position and your song."

 

"For my position," says Yerim, "I choose dance. And for my song? Bang Bang."

 

"Go stand in front of the card for the song please," says Jang. "Second place Ha Sooyoung, please come forward."

 

"I choose vocal and the song Monster," says Sooyoung, taking her place.

 

Heejin and Jungeun choose Call Me Baby right after each other; Kim Yewon takes the vocal position in Yanghwa Bridge, and Kyla Massie is the first trainee to choose rap, selecting Rhythm Ta. Call Me Baby team ends up being full of the top eleven, with the third and final trainee being eleventh-placed Bae Sungyeon; Full Moon is the first dance team to close, with its lowest-ranking member being Shin Bora, who was nineteenth. The rap teams take much longer to fill, but in the end it's vocal position for sixty-first Yoon Daeun: My Best.

 

The Me Gustas Tu team has three members from the Kim99 team from the team battles - Kim Jiwoo, Kim Jiwon, and Kim Sohee.

 

"Together again!" grins Jiwoo.

 

"We're the dream team," adds Sohee.

 

"Our entire team made it," continues Jiwon. "We are really thankful."

 

[Roh Jisun]

 

"I feel kind of left out, honestly. Jiwoo, Jiwon, and Sohee were together in the last challenge, so they already know each other very well, and Ahra was roommates with Jiwoo when they were in D class. But I'm shyer and I haven't really spoken with them much. Jiwon was my roommate when we were in F class the first time, but we got moved quickly after that and we didn't have time to get to know each other well."

 

[Kim Jiwoo]

 

"Jisun unnie doesn't seem like she wants to talk to us. She's very quiet and she goes to bed quickly in the dorm. Have we done something wrong?"

 

In the Full Moon team, Jung Jinsol has gotten previously quiet Chou Tzuyu to open up by having her teach Jinsol and Bora some Chinese.

 

"Shíxí shēng means trainee," says Tzuyu. "And dēngchǎng means debut." Bora repeats the Chinese passably, but Jinsol fumbles over the syllables, to Tzuyu's amusement.

 

[Chou Tzuyu]

 

"I felt very left out because I don't speak Korean well, but the unnies are taking care of me well and making sure I understand everything that's going on and that I can give my opinions."

 

Yanghwa Bridge team has three strong vocalists - Song Heejin, Jo Haseul, and Kim Yewon.

 

"We all have greed to be center, right?" asks leader Haseul.

 

"I think I would do better as a sub here," Box Media's Lee Haena says, pulling herself out of the conflict. "Maybe if you all sang the high note and I can decide?"

 

"That's a good idea," says Haseul. "I'll go first." Haseul tries and can't quite reach the note. "Okay, so I'm out," she laughs.

 

Heejin and Yewon both try. Haena looks at them appraisingly. "Haseul-ah, I'm not quite sure," she says, beckoning Haseul over.

 

[Lee Haena]

 

"It's a very weird position because Haseul is the second youngest but she takes leadership so well. I'm six years older but she's the leader… I do think we share power, though, if that makes sense. She takes suggestions from me well and looks to me if she's stuck and I do like that. It's like I'm sub-leader or something."

 

Haseul and Haena converse for a moment before finally looking up. "We think it should be Yewon," says Haseul. "Heejin unnie, can you do sub vocal one?" Heejin seems a bit annoyed, but nods anyway.

 

[Jo Haseul]

 

"I don't think Heejin unnie likes me telling her what to do. When we were talking about who would be leader Yewon said she thought it should be me and then Haena unnie said she didn't want to, so it ended up being me. And I like leading, but… unnie never said she wanted me to do it so I'm worried because of this."

 

Cut to commercial. When we come back, people are entering the arena for the live stage.

 

"Who did you come here to support?" someone asks offscreen.

 

"Kim Yerim!" shouts one girl.

 

"Jeon Jiwoo fighting!" cheers a group of boys.

 

"Ah, this is the first time I've gotten so involved in something," says a girl. "This is the first time I've come out and sat on a box like this to wait…"

 

They file in. Then, there are shots of backstage - the girls in their outfits, getting their makeup done, drinking the lemon water and smearing Carmex chapstick on their lips.

 

"Gotta get that spon," Kim Gaeun jokes, holding her chapstick up to the camera.

 

Flash to the stage. Enter Jang Keunsuk, striding out, looking every bit the prince he is.

 

"Hello, national producers! I am Jang Keunsuk, Asia's Prince, and your representative to the girls. It's nice to meet you!" The crowd roars in response. "First we will see the girls who desire the vocal position. After each stage there will be a short period where you can vote. You can also abstain your vote.  Now, are you ready for the first song?" Of course they answer yes. "This group has been setting trends for a very long time. B to the I to the…"

 

"BIG BANG!" shout the crowd.

 

"The trainees who chose Bigbang's song Monster will now be shown," he informs the crowd. "Will that team please come out!"

 

Monster team consists of Ha Sooyoung, Wong Kahei, Jeon Somin, Han Dong, Lee Luda, and Kim Gaeun. "Hello, we are Bang Bang Bang," they announce. They do the motion as well. The crowd cheers in anticipation.

 

"The audience is excited to see your stage," he says. "Please show it now!"

 

Cut to the vocal teams practice in one of the larger classrooms. Kim Sungeun and JeA are sat on chairs next to a piano, and the girls are sitting on the floor in lines by team. "Alright," says Kim Sungeun. "Let's hear the Monster team now."

 

The six girls stand and file up to the front, where the pianist begins playing their arrangement. Somin, Sooyoung and Gaeun do fine, and Kahei gets by, but Dong and Luda make some notable mistakes. When they're done, the two vocal trainers look at them appraisingly.

 

"Kahei ah," says Sungeun.

 

"Yes?" asks the Chinese trainee.

 

"You've improved. That's all I have to say."

 

[Wong Kahei]

 

"Yah, I was so relieved… vocals are the only thing I'm even sort of good at. I'm a passable dancer and I can only rap in Chinese…" Kahei bursts out laughing.

 

Sungeun sits back and waves her hand at JeA to continue. "There's nothing I can say for the rest of you that would be constructive."

 

JeA blinks, but obligingly takes over. "Well… Dong ah, Luda yah… Luda yah, you need to have more confidence," she finally presses. "This song is not the song for delicate, timid vocals. If you are going to sing this song, you need to be confident with it. This is what Gaeunnie is so good at," she adds. "The confidence. You should learn from her. And Dong. Ai…" JeA thinks. "Do you not know the song?"

 

"I do know the song," Han Dong says, "it's just… I'm just nervous, I think."

 

"Then you need to beat that," JeA informs her. "If you're nervous now, you'll be more nervous in front of all the national producers." The trainee nods, appearing shaken.

 

"I think we need to have a talk," says leader Jeon Somin as the girls leave the room. She pulls Sooyoung aside, then Gaeun and Kahei. Luda walks up a moment later, but…

 

"Where's Dong unnie?" asks Sooyoung.

 

"I'll go find her," volunteers Kahei.

 

[Wong Kahei]

 

"Because we're the same age, and I'm also Chinese, I thought she might be more willing to talk about whatever it is with me. If she's hiding from us, I thought, she must be upset."

 

The camera trails Kahei into a bathroom, where someone is crying in a stall. The operator must be male, because the camera hovers at the entrance - we only get audio. Chinese audio - it's translated at the bottom of the screen, of course.

 

"Dong… what's wrong?"

 

"I don't think I'm supposed to be here."

 

"What do you mean? The national producers voted you to here. If you weren't supposed to be here you wouldn't be here."

 

"But… but… the trainers don't think I can perform in front of people."

 

"Dong, you were placed in A rank. You did amazing in your Hot Issue stage. Why are you so afraid now when you weren't before?"

 

There's an odd sound, and the audio cuts off from there. It's possible that the girls had removed their microphones to finish their conversation. Whatever happened, we don't get a resolution to this.

 

The stage happens, and when it's over, Jang PD offers the mic to Han Dong. "Happyface's Han Dong trainee, I was told that you suffered from lack of confidence on this stage. You seemed confident today. Did you overcome that?"

 

"Yes, it took a lot of help from my teammates, but I was able to perform confidently today," she says.

 

The girls go to the room to receive their results.

 

"Ah, I hate this place," Kim Gaeun complains.

 

A countdown flashes on the screen and the girls tense.

 

"What is this, are we being ranked?" wails Lee Luda.

 

6th - Han Dong

 

The girl in question sighs, frustrated.

 

5th - Wong Kahei

4th - Lee Luda

3rd - Kim Gaeun

 

Sooyoung and Somin share a look.

 

[Jeon Somin]

 

"Of course it's going to be Sooyoungie. She ranked second out of all of us, after all."

 

2nd - Ha Sooyoung

1st - Jeon Somin

 

Somin's name card fills up the screen as Somin herself stares, shocked.

 

"Congratulations, unnie!" says Luda.

 

We return to the stage. "Now we will see a very emotional stage," announces Jang Daepyo. "The duo that Yoon Mirae was in, Tashannie's Day By Day! Would these girls please come out!"

 

These girls are Ji Suyeon, Han Saebyeol, Lee Gahyeon, Song Hayoung, Jung Haeri, and Hwang Nayoon.

 

"Hello," they call, "we are Tashannie's Daughters! Please support us well!"

 

Days ago, when choosing songs…

 

[Han Saebyeol]

 

"I feel burdened to be on the same team as Suyeonnie because her vocals are so strong. I don't think there's anyone on our team who can beat her," she confesses. "But someone has to be on the team with her… I would feel just as intimidated by Sungyeonnie or Yewonnie in my team."

 

[Jung Haeri]

 

"As the leader it's my job to tell everyone what to do but she knows so much more about music than me… seriously, I should just make her the leader already and be done with it."

 

[Lee Gahyeon]

 

"Suyeon unnie, Hayoung unnie, and Nayoon all know a lot about music so they got together and made the arrangement quickly and the rest of us just sort of looked on."

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"It seems like everyone is scared of me…" she seems on the verge of tears already. "I don't like that. And I don't like being in the spotlight, I'm actually quite shy, but when they said I should be main vocal I didn't know how to tell them I didn't want to be center."

 

Suyeon and Nayoon bend over a keyboard in one of the small practice rooms while Gahyeon and Hayoung talk quietly.

 

"I don't know how I feel about this," Gahyeon confesses to Hayoung. "The thing about being on a vocal team with Suyeon unnie is that all the votes will go to her."

 

"We can't worry about the votes, though, see," Hayoung rebukes. "Do this because it's the song you want to do. Don't worry about the 100,000 votes…" she laughs and shakes her head. "Okay, that's impossible, but don't let it be the only thing. You wanted to do this song, right?" Gahyeon nods. "So do it because you wanted to do this song. Enjoy the stage."

 

In the training room, Kim Sungeun says, "Alright, we'll hear Haru Haru team now."

 

They have to stop about halfway through. "Suyeon ah, you seem upset," JeA says. "Is everything alright, did something happen?"

 

Suyeon shakes her head. "Everything's fine," she says. "Let's just… continue." So they do, they finish the number fine.

 

Back in the bedroom, though, leader Jung Haeri calls everyone to sit on the floor. "I think we need to have a talk," she says. "Suyeon, what happened during practice?"

 

Suyeon shakes her head. "Everything is fine," she says, brushing Haeri off.

 

"No, everything isn't," Hayoung argues. "You were about to cry during the practice. In front of the trainers."

 

"Well, it is an emotional song…" murmurs Nayoon.

 

"Suyeon, if there's something you have to say then just say it," Hayoung pushes.

 

"Well… it's just…" she seems nervous. "It seems like none of you want to be on the team with me. You're always off doing things together, and I know I'm shy but it seems like… oh, I don't know."

 

"Suyeon ah, you have to think about this like this," rationalizes Saebyeol. "You're one of the best vocalists on this show. We have to be on this team with you and you'll get all the votes."

 

Hayoung smacks her on the shoulder. "Don't say that. Unnie, really."

 

"Well, it's how I feel," Saebyeol shrugs. "As long as we're having a heart to heart."

 

[Can the girls overcome their hard feelings and show a good stage?]

 

After the stage, the mic goes to Suyeon.

 

"Fantagio's Ji Suyeon trainee, your vocals stunned the crowd today." She bows her head in thanks. "Do you think you have satisfied your expectations?"

 

"I think all my teammates made this a stage to be proud of," she concedes.

 

Before they leave, cut to Saebyeol making a bit of a sour face.

 

[Han Saebyeol]

 

"It's like this, you know? She is the most skilled member vocally and she's also very pretty so of course she's going to get all the votes. And I did choose to be on her team so maybe I'm not allowed to be bitter about it. But what bothers me is that she won't acknowledge it."

 

6th - Han Saebyeol

 

She makes a face again. "I was expecting this," she mutters.

 

5th - Lee Gahyeon

4th - Jung Haeri

3rd - Hwang Nayoon

 

Suyeon and Hayoung hold hands.

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"Of course I wanted to hope…"

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"In a way I think it would be better if I didn't get first place."

 

2nd - Song Hayoung

1st - Ji Suyeon

 

"Do you think you can get the benefit?" asks Hayoung.

 

"100,000 votes? Oh, I don't know…" Suyeon says, shaking her head.

 

"I think you could get it, unnie," says Nayoon, ever loyal.

 

[Who will receive the 100,000 point benefit for vocals?]

 

A staff member asks girls who chose vocal, "What team are you the most intimidated by?"

 

[Ha Sooyoung]

 

"The Call Me Baby team…?"

 

[Baek Hyeonju]

 

"Call Me Baby."

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"I feel like everyone will say the same thing!"

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

"They all placed within the top eleven and they're all very strong vocalists. And they're all confident."

 

[Kim Jungeun]

 

"Truly, I think any one of us could get the 100,000 votes. It's going to be a rough competition."

 

[Who is the main vocal between these three trainees?]

 

"Alright." says Jeon Heejin, clapping her hands together once. "Main vocal…"

 

"You mean center," her labelmate Jungeun is quick to correct.

 

"They're the same thing this time, unnie, really," Heejin argues.

 

"Whatever it is, we have to choose it," Bae Sungyeon pushes in, undisturbed by the other girls' bickering.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"They weren't really arguing. They've been at the same company together so I know they're friends."

 

"Well, it should be you, unnie," Heejin tells Sungyeon, who reels back with an almost comically shocked look on her face.

 

"Me? But - but don't we all have greed to be center?"

 

"I think of it like this," Jungeun adds. "We were discussing this before you came, for this song all the parts can be like the main vocal part so it doesn't matter who it is…"

 

"And you have the best voice out of the three of us," Heejin adds. "As much as I hate to admit it," she laughs, "but for high notes it should be you."

 

"Oh - I - no -"

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I was so flustered, I mean really, we're all strong vocals with a lot of power so I don't understand why they gave the spot to me? Was it some kind of joke?"

 

[Jeon Heejin]

 

"Jungeun unnie and I had decided that we needed a stronger vocal because - well, we both have power, but I can't hit the high notes she can, and unnie doesn't like the way she sounds on high notes so she would only be main vocal if nobody came who was better. But then Sungyeon unnie joined…"

 

A clip is shown of Heejin and Jungeun deep in discussion as the trainees ranked fifth through tenth choose their spots.

 

[Blockberry Creative trainees thinking greatly about strategy]

 

"We'll see the Call Me Baby group now," says JeA at practice. The three girls go up. They kill it, as expected.

 

"Ah, good, I was excited for you three," Kim Sungeun praises. Sungyeon and Jungeun stare wide-eyed over Heejin's head at this, giddy at the compliment.

 

[Kim Jungeun]

 

"Everyone has high expectations for us, but the thing is, I'm not at all nervous. I think that our team can meet the expectations."

 

[The anticipated Call Me Baby stage will begin now!]

 

After, the mic goes to leader Jungeun.

 

"All three of us worked very hard on this stage so please vote for us well! Hwaiting!" She cheers and her members follow, and the crowd starts roaring.

 

"Yah, I hate this room," Sungyeon murmurs as the three girls enter the reveal room.

 

3rd - Kim Jungeun

 

"Oh," says Jungeun, rather audibly.

 

Heejin hides her face in her hands. "Tell me when it's over, unnies."

 

2nd - Jeon Heejin

1st - Bae Sungyeon

 

Sungyeon actually screams out loud.

 

[Letting out her powerful vocals]

 

"Ah, but we all did well, really," Sungyeon says to the other two as they leave. "This is a stage for us to be proud of."

 

"Next is a very sweet stage," says Jang Keunsuk. Without any further prompting, someone in the audience yells out, Yeoja Chinggu!, and he looks shocked. "I - yes, that's right," he informs the audience, flustered. "Will the girls showing the stage for Gfriend's Me Gustas Tu please come out!"

 

The cutie girls of Me Gustas Tu are Kim Jiwoo, Kim Jiwon, Roh Jisun, Kim Sohee, and Go Ahra. "Hello, we are: 1 plus 1 is cute~!" They greet the audience, showing the respective aegyo as they do so.

 

Back when they're choosing parts, Sohee and Jiwon vote Jiwoo leader almost instantly. "Unnie, is this okay?" Jiwon checks with Jisun. Jisun nods.

 

[Roh Jisun]

 

"The mood from the start is like this, Jiwoo is the leader, Jiwoo is the center. She's very talented, but since I'm the eldest, maybe I should be leader?"

 

"Let's hear Me Gustas Tu," says Kim Sungeun. The girls, all very excitable, leap up - except for Jisun, who's lagging behind a little. Close shot on JeA raising her eyebrows, a little skeptical, but she says nothing.

 

About halfway through a very rough run, Kim Sungeun stops them. "Girls, I'm sorry to have to say this." Pause. "But there's no teamwork here?"

 

"I think so too," JeA adds. "You're a team, you have to be looking at each other, getting energy from each other, but… that isn't happening here. Jisun especially, you keep looking away, Jisun and Sohee." Sohee looks a little shocked at having been called out. "I suggest you guys take a few minutes to work out these emotions, and then we'll continue."

 

Jiwon and Jiwoo exchange a look, then quickly leave, with the others following.

 

"I don't know what the teachers are talking about," says Sohee first. "Am I really not looking at you guys?"

 

"I didn't notice," Ahra answers. "Since you're next to me and you're on the end, mostly I was looking across to the other unnies."

 

Jisun is noticeably quiet. Only Jiwon seems to pick up on it.

 

"Jisun unnie…" she asks. "Do you have anything to say?"

 

"I guess I'm feeling a bit shy…" Jisun confesses.

 

"What? Why, unnie?" Ahra is noticeable shocked. Sohee holds back a laugh at the maknae's expression.

 

Jisun bows her head, hiding behind her hair almost. "Unnie," Jiwoo tells her quietly, "we can't fix the problem until you explain it. I don't want anybody in my team to be feeling left out."

 

"It's just that you all know each other already. I'm not good with people," she shrugs.

 

[Roh Jisun]

 

"It's also hard for me because I'm an independent trainee, I don't have company friends the way the others do. It seems like whatever I do on this show I'm going to be alone…"

 

"Ah, unnie!" shouts Jiwoo. "Ah, don't be like this! From now on you're never getting rid of us." To punctuate this, Ahra dives across the circle to smother Jisun in a hug. Jisun smiles.

 

After the performance, when Jisun gets the mic, she tells the audience that "I had a hard time on this show because I don't come from a company and I'm naturally very shy, but these friends became very close to me and I'm thankful." Jiwon cheers at this, and Jiwoo gives her unnie a light punch at the shoulder. "Yah," Jisun grins to Jiwoo. "I'm still the unnie here!"

 

The five girls file into the results room. "Before the results come out," says Jisun, "I just want to thank you guys… you have been the very best dongsaengs. I hope we all survive and can be together in the future."

 

Ahra leans over Sohee to wrap Jisun in a hug, but then comes the countdown indicating the results are about to come out.

 

"Yah, we were trying to have a touching moment here!" the maknae shouts at the screen. Jiwoo and Jiwon grab hands.

 

5th - Kim Sohee

4th - Roh Jisun

3rd - Kim Jiwoo

 

Jisun puts her arm around Jiwoo as Ahra and Jiwon stare at each other.

 

[Go Ahra]

 

"Even though I wasn't main vocal I had many parts… wouldn't this mean the audience would see me?"

 

[Kim Jiwon]

 

"Honestly, I wasn't confident about much of this stage."

 

2nd - Go Ahra

1st - Kim Jiwon

 

Jiwon stares, shocked, at the screen while Ahra frowns a little.

 

[Kim Jiwon]

 

"I am not a very confident vocalist. But I think this stage suits me well because I have a cute charm much like the members of Gfriend sunbaenim."

 

"Now for the song," says Jang PD, "that was a successful OST. Will the team singing My Best please come out!"

 

This team is composed of Baek Hyeonju, Lee Nakyung, Kim Seyoung, Park Seungyeon, and Yoon Daeun. "Hello, we are Your Best!" greets leader Baek Hyeonju. "We will do OUR best to show you the BEST stage we can, so please look on us fondly!"

 

[How was their training period?]

 

Awkward music plays as the girls settle into a circle for their first meeting as a group. "So…" starts Astory's Kim Seyoung. "Who… does anyone here actually know this song?"

 

Baek Hyeonju of YAMA&HOTCHICKS, the first trainee to choose the song, raises her hand meekly. She's the only one.

 

"That makes you the leader then," Park Seungyeon decides. Yoon Daeun nods.

 

[Yoon Daeun]

 

"It only made sense. No one else knew the song. I knew what kind of song it is but I don't think I've ever heard it all the way through before today."

 

[Park Seungyeon]

 

"Most of us didn't choose this… we're all in lower ranks. I'm not even a singer, my position is rap. But Hyeonju knows this song well and she didn't have to choose it."

 

"I don't want to be main vocal, though," Hyeonju says hurriedly. "I don't think I'm quite good enough for that."

 

[Who will take on the challenge of being the main vocal for a song they've never heard before?]

 

Astory's Kim Seyoung raises her hand and the whole group erupts in cheers. "Seyoung-ah, for being so brave we must spoil you!" jokes Park Seungyeon.

 

Vocal practice does not go well. The girls falter over their words and the notes - it's especially hard for Seungyeon, whose position is really rap, to keep up. Kim Sungeun frowns. "Do you expect to put together a good stage in the time you have?"

 

But the girls rally. There's a montage of them practicing late at night, Hyeonju taking each member through the song in the dark practice room. Daeun stays up with Seungyeon and teaches her how to sing better. Seyoung practices her high note in the dorms, the bathrooms, everywhere.

 

And when they appear onstage, they're confident.

 

[Yoon Daeun]

 

"I think we really pulled together. I'm proud of us."

 

"Thank you for being such a wonderful group to lead," murmurs Hyeonju when they hug backstage.

 

Their performance is stellar and Seyoung and Daeun especially stun with a harmonized high note. Afterwards, Jang Keunsuk congratulates them both, and then the group as a whole, before passing the microphone off to the group.

 

"I would really like to thank these dongsaengs," says Seungyeon, "for teaching me how to sing, because I didn't know how to do that." Cue laughter.

 

"I am probably going home after this," says Daeun, and she gets a response of "no"s from the audience. "No, I'm sixty-first. It's probably true. But really, this team was such a joy to be part of."

 

They're ushered off to the results room holding hands even as they are shuffled into a single file line.

 

5th - Park Seungyeon

 

The girls rush to console her, but Seungyeon shakes her head. "I'm not even a vocalist anyway. Better me than one of you, who actually are trained in singing."

 

4th - Baek Hyeonju

 

The girls stare, flabbergasted. "Unnie…" whispers Nakyung, softly.

 

[Kim Seyoung]

 

"But Hyeonju unnie taught us the entire song… and she just led us so well and kept us together and our spirits up, because we're all in low ranks… Unnie did so much for the team and it's just not fair that she received such a low rank."

 

3rd - Kim Seyoung

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"I didn't even have many parts! How was I a candidate for first?"

 

2nd - Lee Nakyung

1st - Yoon Daeun

 

Daeun makes an odd sort of noise. "But I ranked 61st…" she murmurs, staring at the screen a little bit in shock.

 

"You deserve it," reassures Hyeonju, tackling her in a hug.

 

The final stage for this episode is Yanghwa Bridge. This team consists of Kim Yewon, Jo Haseul, Song Heejin, and Lee Haena.

 

When the girls gathered for vocal practice, it was obvious that there was tension within the team. Heejin won't look at Haseul, Haseul seems nervous, Yewon is frantically pushing forward but missing notes in her efforts to keep her unnies happy, and Haena seems to have the burden of being the eldest and trying to keep the other three together. Needless to say, the practice doesn't go well.

 

"What's been going on? Who can tell me?" JeA sounds the strictest she's ever been on the show so far. "Haena?"

 

"I think we've been having some difficulty with the arrangement," Haena says. "We have been disagreeing."

 

[Lee Haena]

 

"Yewon and Heejin can both arrange and Haseulie knows a lot about theory as well. None of us are really the type to start a conflict if we disagree, but I know that Heejin is upset about not being center - she's ranked low compared to Haseulie and Yewonnie, why wouldn't she be - and doesn't want to listen. And Haseul is very set in her own ideas, and she has been listening but she never changes as much as they want her to. I know about music myself, but I don't have strong feelings about this song in particular, and I don't want to contribute to the fight, so I'm staying out of it."

 

"That's an understatement," mumbles Kim Sungeun, but she remains quiet after an eyed exchange with JeA.

 

"What are your ideas for the arrangement? Tell me one by one," JeA says placatingly.

 

Heejin explains the more powerful arrangement she had wanted, while Yewon sides with Haseul's more acoustic version. JeA asks Haena what she wants, but Haena shrugs.

 

"We'll go with Haseul's, then," JeA says. Heejin frowns. "Heejin-ah, it's majority vote!"

 

"But Haseul made Yewon center too," Heejin explains. "I feel like no one here thinks I'm good enough!"

 

Haena raises her eyebrows and reels back. "Heejinnie…"

 

Heejin starts tearing up. "I'm scared, teachers. I'm really scared."

 

Haseul and Yewon exchange uncomfortable looks. Shockingly, it's JeA herself who gets up and wraps Heejin in a hug.

 

[Lee Haena]

 

"It's times like these when I realize just how much older I am. I mean, I was born in 1991. Heejin is four years younger, Haseul is six, Yewonnie is eight. They're really just kids. Don't tell them I said that, but they are."

 

The girls finally seem to have it together on the stage. They have a certain level of synergy together - one that was conspicuously lacking in the rehearsals.

 

"Thoughts?" asks Jang PD after. The mic goes to Heejin.

 

"I would like to apologize now to Haena unnie and to my two dongsaengs, as well as to the citizen producers. I was very stubborn and did not work with the team, and if I had done that from the start we would have been able to show a better stage. I am sorry for not being able to do that." She bows.

 

The girls go into the results room. They're quiet.

 

4th - Lee Haena

3rd - Song Heejin

2nd - Jo Haseul

1st - Kim Yewon

 

The girls gather around Yewon and congratulate her sincerely. "You'll get the benefit, right? Make us proud?" asks Haseul. Yewon flushes red.

 

"Now, for the moment I'm sure all of you have been waiting for."

 

We've cut to Jang Keunsuk standing at a podium, with the girls in lines in front of him.

 

"First, I will announce the winner in the vocal category. Would you please show the scores of Gfriend's Me Gustas Tu?"

 

The winner for that stage was Kim Jiwon, with 164 votes. "That's not a lot," she murmurs, worried, when the camera comes to rest on her.

 

"The current leader is Kim Jiwon. Do you think you can win today?" he asks.

 

"No." She shakes her head, but at least she's smiling while she does.

 

"Now please show the scores for My Best."

 

The camera flashes between Jiwon and Daeun, eventually settling on a split screen. The frame freezes as the results are, presumably, revealed.  

 

[Will Yoon Daeun overtake Kim Jiwon?]

 

We see that Daeun has lost to Jiwon by only two points. They reach across Pledis' Sungyeon to hug each other.

 

"Next please show the results for Call Me Baby." Bae Sungyeon, that stage's winner, smiles nervously.

 

Jiwon and Daeun blanch when they realize that all three members of Call Me Baby got higher scores than Jiwon.

 

"That's the benefit to having fewer members," Kim Seyoung murmurs to Lee Nakyung.

 

Next they show the results for the Monster team. That first place, Jeon Somin, can't displace neither Bae Sungyeon nor Call Me Baby's second place, Jeon Heejin. Yanghwa Bridge's results are shown after that, and Kim Yewon misses first place by just 20 votes.

 

Sungyeon and Suyeon both look nervous. The Haru Haru team is hyping up Suyeon, chanting her name and, in Hayoung's case, giving her excited punches on the arm. Sungyeon holds hands tight with her team members.

 

"Please show the results for the Haru Haru team," says Jang Keunsuk.

 

Again, the screen freezes moments before the reveal, but we do hear someone loudly scream.

 

(This is when, if we were watching this in Korea, it would cut to commercial.)

 

We return to the screen. Ji Suyeon has taken the benefit, with 406 votes. The scream came from her teammate Nayoon, excited.

 

[Who will win for the next two categories? Find out next week!]

 

[Vote for your girl, Produce 101! You can vote for up to 11 trainees until June 21!]

Chapter Text

[Vote for your girl, Produce 101! You can vote for up to 11 girls until June 21!]

 

[Last week…]

 

First, we get a brief montage of the vocal stages: Monster, Me Gustas Tu, Haru Haru, Yanghwa Bridge, My Best, and Call Me Baby. Then, the moment Jang PD announced Fantagio's Ji Suyeon as the winner of the vocal benefit, with 406 votes.

 

Now, we return to Jang Keunsuk on the stage. "First, we will see a stage with rap contestants," he announces. The screen behind him changes to show the word RAP. "Will the contestants performing Rhythm Ta please come to the stage?"

 

The audience cheers as Kyla Massie, Lee Jinsook, and Hwang Jiwon come onto the stage. "Hello, we are Young Girls!" introduces leader Jinsook. "Please look after us!"

 

The lights dim and the girls go to their places. Time for some exposition.

 

"So," says Kyla, on the day they chose their positions. "I don't actually know… are either of you rappers?"

 

Jinsook and Jiwon exchange looks.

 

[Lee Jinsook]

 

"I'm fairly new at my company, I don't have an official position yet. I've rapped before, but I wouldn't say I'm good at it."

 

[Hwang Jiwon]

 

"I'm actually a dancer. It's just that I really wanted to do Bang Bang, and that got filled quickly, so by the time it was my turn I was so flustered and just chose rap. I did it for the Fire stage, but that was more about hyping the audience up. I've never written my own."

 

They say no at the exact same time.

 

Kyla exhales. "Okay. This is fine."

 

There's a long, awkward pause. Some cricket noises play for effect.

 

[This is not a freeze frame]

 

"So!" Kyla claps her hands together. "Rap making 101."

 

The girls settle down to write lyrics. "The song is about, um, hyping ourselves up and getting the audience excited, so just try to write about that, I guess," Kyla instructs.

 

They set down to work. Jiwon brings her former teammate, YG's Jennie Kim, over to check her lyrics. Jennie only makes a few short corrections and suggestions before leaving.

 

[Kyla Massie]

 

"Neither of the unnies are very bad at it. Jiwon unnie has done rap parts before - at the company evaluation and at the group battles, actually - she just has no experience writing her own. And Jinsook unnie has no experience with rap, but she plays a lot of instruments so she knows how the rhythm works. I think we'll be fine."

 

When the girls go in front of Cheetah, she surveys them for a long moment.

 

"Is Kyla the only rapper here?" she asks.

 

Jiwon raises her hand timidly. "I mean - my position is dance, seonsaengnim , but on a song my parts are the rap parts. I've never done rap making, though."

 

Cheetah nods thoughtfully. "Let's hear it."

 

Kyla and Jiwon get through their parts okay, but Jinsook continues to stumble. Cheetah keeps interrupting her and having her start over.

 

[Lee Jinsook]

 

"I don't understand why I couldn't have just picked the vocal position here." She sighs.

 

The girls perform their stage, and everything goes well. The closing ments go quick, and soon enough they're being hustled off to the back room.

 

"Yes, okay, so I get last place," jokes Jinsook.

 

Kyla shoves her playfully. "Yah, unnie!"

 

3rd - Lee Jinsook

 

"See, what did I tell you," Jinsook says, lightening the tension in the heavy pause.

 

2nd - Hwang Jiwon

1st - Kyla Massie

 

"As expected, our maknae," Jiwon cheers, ruffling Kyla's long hair.

 

"Next we will have a dance song from the nation's top boy group," Jang Keunsuk announces, back onstage. The background changes to the word DANCE to reflect this. "Will the trainees performing EXO's Growl please come up?"

 

This team is Kang Soeun, Jin Hyeonju, Kim Nari, Lee Saerom, Kim Sungyeon, Kim Chaeyoung, and Seo Minkyung. "Hello, we are Everybody's Oppa!" They laugh as though it's an inside joke.

 

Before we get to seeing the Growl team's training progress, first we get to see something fun. All the dance teams meet in the practice room. "You're all the dancers, yes?" asks Bae Yoonjung. "Well, Kahi and I were thinking to have a popularity contest of sorts… we're going to turn around, and you should just stand behind the teacher you prefer." The girls look at each other skeptically, but go with it. Enthusiastic music plays as a roughly equal number of girls go to stand behind each teacher.

 

"We're going to turn around," says Kahi. "Three… two… one!" The teachers jump around suddenly and cheer when they see who's on their team.

 

"And it's good the teams worked out like this," says Bae Yoonjung. "Because now we're going to have a dance battle!" Everyone cheers.

 

Music begins to play. The first matchup is between Hirai Momo and Kim Sungyeon, an enthusiastic and explosive dance to an energetic song. Then, Kim Chaeyoung and Chong Tingyan compete in a sexy dance. The two maknaes, Noh Hyojung and Jin Hyeonju, have a silly competition over who can look the dumbest while dancing and make the unnies laugh. Then, Gfriend's Me Gustas Tu comes on, and Kahi shouts for everyone who knows the dance to dance. It's almost the entire room.

 

But of course that has to end sometime, and the first team to go is the Growl team. "Oppas fighting!" cheer a few of the younger girls from the opposing teams. Kahi, confused, looks to Bae Yoonjung.

 

"Why are they oppas?"

 

"It's a boy group song," explains Yoonjung.

 

[Lee Chaeyoung]

 

"They're very intimidating, yes. When we saw them practicing their choreography in the big room on the first day it was scary… at least I know my team was startled."

 

The team then impresses the trainers with their smooth, sophisticated choreography.

 

"Your ranks…" says Kahi. The girls look down. "Except for Soeunnie, they are all low." Kang Soeun, ranked twenty-second, places her hands over her name tag.

 

"The smallest peppers are the spiciest," shouts someone from another team. It sounds like Kim Sookyung.

 

"Yes, this is how you lower girls will rise," says Yoonjung with satisfaction.

 

With that, the segment ends and the girls go onstage to perform. Their choreography is smooth, incorporating neckties into the dance.

 

"For many of us, we worry this will be our last stage," says leader Kim Nari. "We hope you can give us your votes and we hope we satisfied you with the choreography that we made."

 

Then, the girls go back to receive their results.

 

7th - Seo Minkyung

6th - Lee Saerom

 

Saerom gives a disappointed sigh.

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"I wanted to really show myself this time. This was my only chance."

 

5th - Kim Sungyeon

4th - Jin Hyeonju

3rd - Kim Nari

 

The candidates for first - center Kim Chaeyoung and highest-ranked Kang Soeun - look on expectantly. The room falls nearly silent.

 

2nd - Kang Soeun

1st - Kim Chaeyoung

 

"Now we will see another rap stage," announces Jang PD. "Would the trainees doing You Look Good please come onstage?"

 

This team is composed of Choi Yuna, Na Yoomin, and Lee Jieun. They introduce their team name as "Growing Flowers" - a contrast to the dark and somber fashion they wear.

 

"We chose the name Growing Flowers because each of our voices are very different when we rap, but we can come together and grow just like flowers in a garden," explains Na Yoomin.

 

We first get a clip of their center selection process - each girl raps the hook, then Lee Nakyung - stolen from her Me Gustas Tu practice, it seems - chooses Music Works' Lee Jieun as the center. Then we skip over lyric writing and song planning to their first checkup with Cheetah.

 

No one makes a mistake or anything of the like, but Cheetah is still grimacing. "What's wrong, teacher?" hazards the hesitant leader Na Yoomin.

 

"It's good," she says, "but none of your vocal tones match."

 

Jieun suddenly looks very nervous.

 

"It's most obvious with Yuna, I think," Cheetah elaborates. "Yoomin has a very husky tone, and Jieun has a clear sort of girl crush style, but they have similar pitch so it works better. Yuna, on the other hand, is kind of a cute rapper." The three girls exchange looks. "Not that cute is a bad thing, Yuna-yah. It's simply that your style is so different from the other two. And it sounds a little funny because you're rapping about these serious things - the eliminations, losing people - but you sound like you're rapping about a crush."

 

Yuna looks down in shame.

 

[Choi Yuna]

 

"It felt like she was talking down to me. I like the way my voice sounds… I was very discouraged."

 

Cheetah pulls her aside after the rehearsals. "Listen, Yuna," she says. "You can't change the way your voice sounds. Please have some confidence! You are a very good rapper."

 

Yuna smiles.

 

Cut to the performance. During the ments, Yuna makes especially sure to thank "Cheetah teacher, who gave me encouragement when I greatly needed it."

 

The girls file back into the results room. "I'm so worried I'll get last place," frets Yuna. "Because my voice doesn't match."

 

"Yah, don't worry about what Cheetah trainer said," reassures Yoomin. "You wrote some of the best lyrics. The national producers will appreciate those." The leader gives her dongsaengs a smile. "Don't worry."

 

The sound of the results countdown startles the girls. Lee Jieun jumps notably. "It's okay," Yoomin reassures, with a kind smile. "You were amazing, Jieun-ah. You played with their emotions."

 

3rd - Na Yoomin

 

[Na Yoomin]

 

"Of course I'm disappointed. But I'm very glad for the success of my dongsaengs, so I'm trying to focus on being happy for them."

 

2nd - Choi Yuna

1st - Lee Jieun

 

[Lee Jieun]

 

"I felt awful because unnie had been so encouraging to both me and Yuna unnie. It isn't fair. I just wish they didn't have to rank us… but I guess that's what our lyrics were about."

 

Back to Jang PD onstage. "For this dance performance," he leads in, face smiling like he's leading up to a pun, "these girls really practiced like 24 hours wasn't enough. Will the team performing Sunmi's Full Moon please come to the stage?"

 

This team is Blockberry's Jung Jinsoul, JYP's Chou Tzuyu, and Jellyfish's Shin Bora. They introduce themselves as SJC - a pun on their surnames, which start with ㅅ, ㅈ, and ㅊ - S, J, and C - respectively. They go to their positions. The lights dim.

 

On the first day of preparation for the evaluations, the three girls sit in a neat little triangle. Shin Bora, as the eldest, has already been elected leader; now they have to choose their center.

 

"We all want it, right?" checks Jinsol. Bora and Tzuyu nod. "So… how do we do this then?"

 

"A battle of empathy," suggests Tzuyu, stumbling around her words a bit. "Or, uh. Convincing."

 

Shin Bora wins with one sentence: "Well, you were both centers last time, right?" Tzuyu and Jinsol nod, exchange a look, and pass the center sticker over to Bora.

 

The girls choreograph quickly and there doesn't appear to be a problem; however, when they perform for the trainers, Bae Yoonjung has something to say.

 

"Bora, how can I say this… you aren't particularly eye-catching. You are a great dancer, but part of being the center is that the eyes are drawn to you. I kept watching Tzuyu instead. Could we try just the chorus with Tzuyu as the center?" The girls exchange looks, filled with questions. "They're allowed to change it, right?" The teacher checks with the staff, who give the okay. The center changes to Tzuyu.

 

The performance goes by quickly and the closing statements aren't shown. Jinsoul sits between Tzuyu and Bora in the room, making a comment about how she'll look symmetrical because she's currently blonde and the other two have their natural colors.

 

3rd - Shin Bora

2nd - Chou Tzuyu

1st - Jung Jinsoul

 

"See, unnie," Tzuyu points out, "center doesn't matter that much after all!"

 

Back to Jang Keunsuk.

 

"Now we will see the final rap stage of the evening," the Representative announces. "Would the trainees doing Show Me The Money's anthem, Turtle Ship, please come to the stage?"

 

This team is Jennie Kim, Lee Ahryoung, Yoo Jungahn, and Watanabe Rui. They look appropriately showy in fur coats - it appears that Jennie Kim is even wearing mink. Or fake mink. They greet the audience with enthusiastic shouts and greetings in Korean, Japanese, and English.

 

On the first day, none of them think twice about electing Jennie Kim center, but none of them want to be leader until Watanabe Rui raises her hand, still uncertain. They decide to call Rui their leader anyway.

 

This doesn't prove to be the problem, though; the problem is lyrics.

 

Jennie Kim is fine, scribbling away, but Jungahn, Rui, and Ahryoung are all struggling. Jungahn approaches Rui quietly.

 

"Are you having trouble too, unnie?" she asks. Rui immediately lights up and nods.

 

"I hate Korean," she grumbles first. "Also, I just have no idea what to write about - even in Japanese!"

 

"I think you can have Japanese in," Jungahn says doubtfully. "I'm planning on putting English in. And I think Jennie unnie is doing some as well." Rui nods. "But I'm stuck too."

 

Cut to a few hours later, Jungahn and Rui lying on Rui's bed with their notebooks in front of them, still brainstorming. "It's about, like, confidence, right?"

 

"That makes it sound too much like Rhythm Ta," Jungahn reasons. "Jinsook was telling me about it."

 

"Jennie!" Rui shouts to the bunk above her. "What are you writing about?"

 

No answer.

 

Lee Ahryoung comes out of the bathroom and peeks up on tiptoes to look at Jennie. "She's asleep," she says. "But I wrote about being confident on the show… you know, despite being the only one from my company and my lower rank. Not that you can relate to that first one," she points out. "But really, I think you could do this one about facing your fears."

 

"Oh!" Rui sits up. "I can do mine about being Japanese, I think."

 

Jungahn blinks at her unnies, looking lost. "Well, I'm Korean, so…"

 

"Write about something that scares you," suggests Ahryoung.

 

Later, when they go in front of Cheetah, the other trainees are somewhat shocked at their meaningful raps. Ahryoung's about fear of elimination, Rui's about coming to a foreign country, Jungahn's about… not knowing what to write, and disappointing people. Jennie Kim's comes across as cocky in comparison, but Cheetah lets it lie - at least she appears to. Their flow is good. She approves.

 

[Lee Jieun]

 

"I was surprised by their lyrics. I expected them to be like Rhythm Ta team's, but instead for the most part they were more like ours. About fear. They really hit home."

 

The girls perform, and during the ments, Jungahn says, "I would like to thank Ahryoung unnie and Rui unnie because they gave me the idea of writing about not knowing what to write when I didn't know what to write." Jungahn, who had spent years abroad, fumbles over the complicated sentence. Jennie laughs.

 

After, the girls go to the results room.

 

4th - Yoo Jungahn

3rd - Watanabe Rui

 

The girls appear disappointed, but hug each other and don't appear to be too upset.

 

[Yoo Jungahn]

 

"I was expecting Jennie unnie to be first because she was center."

 

2nd - Jennie Kim

1st - Lee Ahryoung

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"I just don't understand how I could not be first?"

 

[Lee Ahryoung]

 

"Believe me, it doesn't make sense to me either. But I'm very happy about it."

 

Jang Keunsuk is now shown where we saw him last episode - standing in front of lines of girls. "Now we will announce the benefit winner of the rap position," he announces.

 

Long shot of the three rap teams, nervous.

 

"First, let's show the results of the Turtle Ship team."

 

Lee Ahryoung comes in first with 256 votes. She nods, satisfied with that.

 

"Now, the results from the You Look Good team. Can Lee Ahryoung keep her first place?"

 

[Or will Music Works' Lee Jieun overtake her?]

 

Lee Jieun takes 318 points, putting her solidly in first. Although her results are good, her teammates Yuna and Yoomin have the two lowest scores on the table so far. They focus on congratulating Jieun, though; Yoomin even ruffles Jieun's carefully done hair.

 

"Finally," says Jang PD, "let's see the results for the Rhythm Ta team. Lee Jieun trainee, are you confident that you can keep your first place?"

 

"I hope I can," she says.

 

"Kyla Massie trainee," he continues, "do you think you can overtake Lee Jieun trainee and take first place?"

 

"It would mean a lot to me if I could," Kyla answers.

 

"Please show the results," says Jang Keunsuk.

 

Lee Jieun keeps first; Kyla is second.

 

[Rap position winner: Lee Jieun]

 

It's just the dance performances left now - two of them. Jang Keunsuk is back onstage; the background has changed once again.

 

"This song swept charts worldwide. Would the team doing Destiny's Child's hit song, Say My Name, please come up to the stage?"

 

This team is Choi Yerim, Jeon Jiwoo, Lee Chaeyoung, Chong Tingyan, and Ju Minhee. They introduce their team as Child Dreamers and go to their places.

 

On the first day, they select Jiwoo as their leader and Yerim as their center with no contention. Then, though, they have to make choreography - and this is where they start to struggle.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"I'm primarily a cover dancer. I have no experience with making choreography, or anything original really."

 

[Lee Chaeyoung]

 

"I'm actually a fairly new and inexperienced trainee. I don't have much to give."

 

[Ju Minhee]

 

"I was a dance major, so I think I have the most choreographing experience. Jiwoo also has a little bit, but neither of us know enough to have solid ideas for the entire song."

 

Nevertheless, Minhee and Jiwoo push forward as leaders in the team. They're obviously at a loss most of the time - they keep looking at each other for ideas and at one point Jiwoo even searches the internet for other people's covers -  but when they get an idea they quickly roll with it.

 

"Okay, put your arms like this," Minhee demonstrates to her teammates. "And wave your right arm slowly, like this - no, put some more tension in it, Tingyan-ah, that's it - then at your hip. Okay, yes, good."

 

[Jeon Jiwoo]

 

"What we ended up doing is learning moves first and then we'll put it to the song. It's a backwards way of making choreography but at this point it's all we can do. Minhee unnie and I keep listening to the song and freestyling until we find something that sticks. Last night we even sang it in the shower so we would have more ideas for today."

 

The next day is their first check-up with the trainers. From the get-go it's clear that not everyone knows the choreography - especially independent trainee Lee Chaeyoung.

 

Kahi stops the music again, and again, and again, and most of the time it's for Chaeyoung. Tingyan and Yerim, although not good at making choreography, are both skilled dancers; Chaeyoung, however, is fairly new to training, and currently isn't under an agency at that.

 

By the end of the session, she's in tears.

 

"Oh, Chaeyoung ah, Chaeyoung ah," murmurs Minhee, arm around the younger girl as they walk out at the end. "It's okay. We'll pull everything together, it's okay."

 

Chaeyoung's fellow independent trainee, Lee Saerom of the Growl team, follows behind. "Chaeyoungie, don't worry. Kahi teacher is just strict."

 

The girls silence at that.  Choi Yerim nervously looks one camera directly in the eye.

 

"Well, I mean, it's true," Saerom shrugs, breaking the tension. "And she probably knows it, too."

 

The pre-performance edit cuts there, without resolving much. This is explained when Chaeyoung pulls off the performance perfectly - they all do. She is smiling wide throughout the appeals, and for her own she thanks Minhee, as well as the other independent trainees.

 

5th - Ju Minhee

 

"Unnie!" shouts Chaeyoung, scandalized. "No!"

 

[Ju Minhee]

 

"I am…" she struggles to regain composure - she's crying. "Very disappointed. But I have no one to blame but myself. I haven't been showing very good sides of me and I'm sorry to the national producers for that."

 

4th - Lee Chaeyoung

3rd - Jeon Jiwoo

 

[Chong Tingyan]

 

"The power of center… of course it would be Yerim."

 

2nd - Choi Yerim

1st - Chong Tingyan

 

This group doesn't so much congratulate Tingyan as it consoles Minhee and, to a lesser extent, Chaeyoung.

 

[The Child Dreamers team, sisters to the end]

 

Back to Jang Keunsuk on the stage, for the last time today. "And now," he says ominously. "The stage you have all been waiting for. It is rumored that many skilled and popular trainees have gathered to form a Dance Avengers team." Cue cheers from the audience. "Would the trainees doing the collaboration song of strong pop divas, Bang Bang, please come up to the stage?"

 

First ranking center Kim Yerim is in this team, and she files on first, followed by Hirai Momo, Park Chaewon, Cheng Xiao, Noh Hyojung, Kim Sookyung, and Jo Hyeyeon. "Hello, we are Bang Bang Bang!" leader Sookyung introduces them - yes, they do the trademark dance from Bigbang's song. "We chose this name because we want to have an explosive performance just like the original singers of the song."

 

"We are very excited to see it. I have heard a lot about this team," Jang PD says with a gentle smile. The girls go to places.

 

There's no plot to this pre-performance cut; it's really just a montage. The seven girls on this team are all very experienced and talented, there was minimal drama, and the two foreign members communicated very well regardless of the language barrier. Not even the trainers have much bad to say about this. The montage ends like this:

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"Bae Yoonjung teacher made a comment about the original singers maybe seeing this, and maybe even doing our choreography. That would be such a dream… to have Ariana Grande see something we made…"

 

They perform. They blow the roof off, as expected. The audience chants for an encore as they leave. Yerim turns around, looking stunned.

 

"Can we do it again, PD?" asks Noh Hyojung, starstruck. Her mic is still on - not necessarily in the venue, but her recording mic. Hirai Momo lets out a disbelieving laugh and then drags Hyojung offstage by the arm.

 

Backstage, the girls are buzzing - they don't even care much about the results.

 

"Can you believe they gave us an encore call?" asks wide-eyed Park Chaewon. "I felt like a star, oh my goodness…"

 

"It's unbelievable." The smile stretching across Cheng Xiao's face is huge.

 

The girls are so excited they miss the first two results until Jo Hyeyeon happens to look at the screen.

 

"Unnies…" she says carefully.

 

7th - Park Chaewon

6th - Kim Yerim

5th - Jo Hyeyeon

 

"It's okay, though." Chaewon waves it off flippantly. "Did the other groups get an encore call? Surely not!"

 

4th - Noh Hyojung

3rd - Kim Sookyung

 

Momo and Cheng Xiao pale when they realize they're the candidates for first.

 

2nd - Hirai Momo

1st - Cheng Xiao

 

Xiao screams. "Oh my god and I might get the benefit oh my god you guys oh my-"

 

This is where we cut to the big reveal of the night - the dance position winner.

 

"Please reveal the scores for the Say My Name team," he says. Chong Tingyan, the winner from that team, scored 199 points.

 

"I won't be able to keep first," she murmurs to her teammate Choi Yerim, softly.

 

She does, though, because when Jang PD reveals the results for the Full Moon team Jung Jinsol has only garnered 189 points - putting both Tingyan and Yerim ahead of her.

 

"Next, please show the points for the Growl team," says Jang PD. Kim Chaeyoung has taken 225 points, the highest in her team by almost a hundred.

 

"Will C9's Kim Chaeyoung be able to keep first place and take the benefit?" asks Jang Keunsuk, "or will Starship's Cheng Xiao of the Bang Bang team overtake her?"

 

A tense silence.

 

"Please show the results of the Bang Bang team now."

 

Cheng Xiao wins, with 269 points. Chaeyoung is grinning regardless.

 

[Kim Chaeyoung]

 

"I didn't win, but many of the national producers saw my skills and as someone from a small company, that's really all I can ask for right now. I'm very thankful to have gotten second place."

 

[Next week! The next elimination will be shown and the third evaluation will be revealed.]

 

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You can vote for up to 11 girls a day until June 21.]

Chapter Text

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You may vote for one trainee until the end of this voting period.]

 

We open into the girls in the large auditorium. This is before the first elimination - the girls are wearing their color-coded shirts for the team battles, and there are clearly more than 61 girls filling the seats. Someone walks on and the girls cheer.

 

[Here to teach English, instructor Lee Siwon]

 

"You're going to become stars that go abroad," he says. "So I'm here to train you in some English. I hope I can make it fun for you."

 

Siwon then shows a video of rapper Jessi losing her temper on Unpretty Rapstar. "Is there anyone who can imitate this?" he asks.

 

Jo Haseul raises her hand, waving her fingers. "I'll have a try," she announces loudly, to cheers.

 

Haseul sits on the floor as Jessi did in the video and imitates her sunbae with almost comic precision. Her English is quite good too. Even Lee Siwon laughs at Haseul's sassy "ha!".

 

Next shown is DSP's Jeon Jiwoo. She actually only imitates the Korean part of the video, prompting a comment from Lee Siwon: "I chose this video to hear you rap in English, but everyone is rapping in Korean!"

 

Next, Siwon pulls up a translation of Jessi's English rap in Korean. "Can anyone translate this and rap it for me?"

 

Jellyfish's Jo Hyeyeon has a try, only making a few small mistakes.

 

The girls whose native language is English - Bae Sungyeon, Kyla Massie, Jennie Kim, and Kim Gaeun, as well as Yoo Jungahn, who had studied abroad for eleven years - have been noticeable silent until now, when Jungahn and Kyla step up one after the other.

 

Lastly, Siwon tries it himself, to cheers and acclaim from the trainee girls. Then he imparts some last words of wisdom on them:

 

"Don't approach the English language academically. You should approach it like it's a skill. You don't have to learn from a book. I know that Gfriend's Umji learned it from watching movies. It doesn't have to be a chore."

 

He exits. The girls clap. Then, the logo flashes on the screen.

 

Now, a recap of the position battles. Quick flashes of all the stages, then of Jang PD announcing Ji Suyeon, Lee Jieun, and Cheng Xiao as the winners from each category who received benefit votes.

 

[Now, the second elimination that will change the girls' fates]

 

The girls enter by company. Some are modest - Astory, Happyface, the independent trainees. The Blockberry girls are rowdy. They sit and wait.

 

Jang Keunsuk enters. The girls cheer. "Vote for your girl, Produce 101," he says. "It feels like it's been a while since I've seen you; it's already the second elimination. How are you girls feeling?" he asks.

 

"Nervous," they chorus, just like they did last time.

 

"Today, twenty-six of you will be sent home to your agencies, while first through thirty-fifth will survive. A new top eleven will be created, bringing those girls closer to debut. And then, you can prepare fully for the fourth evaluation. Let's reveal it," he says.

 

Some weeks earlier, the girls file into a smaller auditorium.

 

"What are we doing? Are we watching a movie?" asks Kim Sungyeon.

 

A video of Jang PD pops up on the screen, to the girls' shock.

 

"Surprise! Hello trainees!" he greets them. "Regrettably I am abroad right now so I can't give this message to you in person. Right now, you have your position ranks next to your names, right?" Cut to the girls nodding and flashes of the girls' nametags with their ranks from the live stages and the label vocal, dance, or rap next to them. "These were given to you by a crowd of one thousand national producers. And later, you will have the second elimination round." Somber pause. "I am here now to give you the fourth evaluation."

 

Cue cuts of cheers and surprise from the trainee girls.

 

"All 61 of you will receive this task," he says, "but during your preparation period we will have the second elimination. Regrettably, this means not all of you will be able to stand onstage."

 

[Lee Chaeyoung]

 

"I thought this was a bit hopeless…"

 

[Jennie Kim]

 

"Cruel, really."

 

[Go Ahra]

 

"We don't know who will be the last survivor."

 

"Now we will reveal the subject of this evaluation," says Jang Keunsuk on the screen. "It is… a concept evaluation." Cue confusion and chatter from the trainees. "Think of it as trying on clothes that fit you. Five top producers in the Korean music industry have gifted you original songs to perform, each with a different concept. Now let's reveal the five songs you will have to assimilate to!"

 

Cut to two new men in the video, sitting in a studio. "Hello, we first met through Pick Me," says one. "I am Maximite."

 

"I am DJ Koo," says the other.

 

"The genre of the song we are gifting you is EDM," says Maximite.

 

DJ Koo then says, "and the title is 24 Hours. Let's take a look."

 

Cut to clips of the dance practice video. The trainees dance around to it and some even pick up the point moves near the end.

 

[Shin Bora]

 

"EDM!"

 

[Kim Seyoung]

 

"I actually really like EDM music, so this is the best."

 

Next song. Someone new onscreen.

 

"Hi, my name is Ryan Jhun," says the man. "Some of the songs I've made in Korea are Red Velvet's Dumb Dumb and Shinee's View." Cue shouts of excitement from the girls - both songs are very popular. "The song I am gifting to you is a girl crush pop song called Fingertips."

 

When the dance video starts, the girls are ecstatic to see Bae Yoonjung herself in the demo.

 

[Lee Luda]

 

"Oh…. yes, the song was cool, the dance was cool, all of it was very cool. I want this one."

 

The third producer is rapper San E. Some of the rappers in the audience - Lee Jieun, Jennie Kim, Park Seungyeon - scream at the sight of him.

 

"My song has a hip-hop rhythm at its core. It's called Don't Matter. It's about an argument between girls - friends, rivals, anything. Let's listen!"

 

They show the practice video, then onto the next song. This producer speaks in English, with subtitles at the bottom.

 

"Hey, this is DR on Produce 101. People probably would know Love Me Right by Exo, I wrote that, and Girls' Generation's You Think. The genre of the song that I made," he continues, "is Trap Pop, and it's called Yum Yum."

 

They listen.

 

[Kim Yerim]

 

"It seems… like it would fit me?"

 

[Kim Sookyung]

 

"This song, I thought, I have to do this one."

 

Lastly, a familiar face comes into the video - B1A4's Jinyoung. "Hi, I'm participating in this show as well," he says. Everyone screams. "I produce for my own group, and now I'm producing a girlish pop song for you! It's called In The Same Place."

 

The girls listen.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"It has a very bouncy feeling to it as well as being girlish. Seems like what I do well."

 

[Song Hayoung]

 

"I immediately realized the competition for this song would be strong, that a lot of people would want to do it."

 

Back to Jang PD in the video. "Now before I instruct you on how to pick the song, I'm sure you are all curious of any helpful benefits for the girls surviving to perform these songs. The winning song, as voted by national producers, will get a benefit of 150,000 votes distributed among the members."

 

Screams of shock, naturally. That's a lot of votes.

 

"Now I will explain how to pick," he says. "In the performance, each song will have seven members. Before elimination, up to fourteen people can be in a song. Each trainee will go to the practice room of the song they want to pick. If more than fourteen people are in a practice room by the end, the first person to have chosen the song has the right to choose the people who have to leave. Those people then can choose from one of the songs with spots left."

 

The girls nod in understanding.

 

"Now," says Jang PD. "Who gets to pick first?"

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"I thought, maybe the center? Yerim unnie?"

 

"You will pick in order of your placements at the live stage," says Jang PD. "Now, because there are three different categories, the winners from each category will play rock-paper-scissors to determine which position can pick first."

 

Cheng Xiao, Lee Jieun, and Ji Suyeon play rock paper scissors; Cheng Xiao wins, meaning the dance trainees can pick first. Then Suyeon plays Jieun and wins - the order, then, is dance, then vocal, then rap.

 

Cheng Xiao, as the winner of the dance category, picks first. She opens the door to the 24 Hours practice room. Next is second place Kim Chaeyoung, who chooses Fingertips; then it's third Hirai Momo's turn.

 

We don't see the name of the song Momo picks before she opens the door; rather, Momo opens the door and Cheng Xiao runs up to her, shouting.

 

[Hirai Momo has chosen 24 Hours]

 

Kim Sookyung is the first to choose Yum Yum, then Choi Yerim is the first to select In The Same Place after that.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"I don't like that I'm the first person, really! Yah! I knew this song would be popular, but I don't want to be the person who has to kick people out!"

 

Every time the door opens, Choi Yerim looks away or makes a face.

 

[Choi Yerim]

 

"The more people that came in there, the more likely it was that I would have to kick someone out."

 

Indeed, by the time everyone was done choosing rooms - by the time rap's last place, Na Yoomin, had chosen Yum Yum as her concept song - At The Same Place is the only song to be overfilled. Yerim will have to kick out two.

 

"I'm too young for this," says Yerim. "Oh, unnie…" she makes her way over to Song Hayoung. "Unnie, you're good at making decisions. Help me!"

 

"Well…" says Hayoung thoughtfully. She gets the attention of the room quickly, then asks, "are there any volunteers?"

 

It's quiet and awkward for many long, long moments before Kim Yewon timidly raises her hand.

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

"Honestly, this song already has Hayoung unnie and Suyeon unnie. They're both really strong vocalists. I felt like if I left it would be okay, and maybe there would be other songs that would need me."

 

Yerim smiles at Yewon thankfully.

 

Yerim then closes her eyes and points, out of sheer nervousness. Her finger lands on Lee Saerom.

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"I kind of thought I'd get kicked anyway. I'm not a very strong vocalist, and I haven't done an innocent concept the entire show - I did Fire the first time and Growl the second."

 

The girls are then given the opportunity to choose new songs from those with open spots. Fingertips isn't an option because it had exactly fourteen girls. Lee Saerom chooses 24 Hours; Kim Yewon chooses Yum Yum.  

 

Now we get a look into the practice periods of each of the songs. In 24 Hours, Hirai Momo takes charge in teaching the dance to the other trainees.

 

"It's - okay, do this with your feet, Seyoungie, right-left-right-left, move your hips in time - that's it!"

 

The team's made up of mostly dancers, maybe attracted to the challenge of the choreography, so it's really not an issue.

 

"Oh, but we have to choose a leader and centers, and main vocals!" Jiwon points out once they're halfway into the dance.

 

The girls laugh awkwardly and settle into a circle.

 

"First leader," says Jiwon. "Just for now. I nominate Saerom unnie!"

 

Saerom looks from side to side. "Me?"

 

"Yes, unnie," Jiwon nods.

 

"But… but I didn't even choose this song…"

 

"I think you're a good leader," says Jiwon, and that's that.

 

"It's my responsibility to help us choose centers, then," decides Saerom after a moment.

 

Almost all the girls - with the exceptions of Kim Seyoung and Shin Bora - want to be center. Saerom auditions too, leaving Bora and Seyoung to discuss among themselves.

 

"Our temporary centers are… Kim Jungeun and Lee Saerom!" announces Seyoung. The girls, especially the team maknaes Jiwon and Soeun, cheer loudly.

 

This team runs into problems with the vocal portions. Kim Jungeun and Kim Seyoung, the main vocalists of the group, don't encounter any trouble; Shin Bora and Han Dong do alright, with only a few pointers from the teachers captured onscreen.

 

"Momo-yah, again," says Kim Sungeun. Then she says it again, and again, and again… there's a section of Momo's part her voice just can't reach.

 

Later, JeA has Lee Saerom and Kang Soeun run their parts again and again. "There's no feeling in it!" she bursts out, frustrated. "Think - just think about what you're singing. Soeun-ah!"

 

"But… it's hard," Soeun confesses with an awkward laugh. "These lyrics are so awkward. I try to put myself into what I'm singing, but these lyrics are so forward."

 

Saerom nods. "Maybe Bora unnie gets it. Cause she's an old lady, and this is trot music."

 

Cut to a clip of Shin Bora belting a Hong Jinyoung song in the dorms. And a laugh track.

Next, we see the Fingertips team. The decision of Yoon Daeun as leader is quick and requires no contention, but there are three strong candidates for center - Kim Chaeyoung, Chong Tingyan, and Lee Luda - that draw the votes evenly between the rest of the team.

 

"There's only one way to settle this," grins Jin Hyeonju evilly. "A dance battle!"

 

"Not fair!" cries Luda. "I'm not a dancer!"

 

The girls have a furious and hilarious dance battle, including some splits from Chaeyoung, before Chong Tingyan simply drops out. Luda cheers wildly, pumping her fists in the air.

 

She runs into trouble, however. As she mentioned before, Luda is not a dancer; the moves don't come easily to her. It takes a good deal of coaching from Chaeyoung, most of it taking place late at night after the others are in bed.

 

[Lee Luda]

 

"I felt very badly for Chaeyoung because she gave up her sleep time to help me. It's very precious to all of us, is sleep, and she gave up her time because I was lacking. I will try harder," she vows.

 

"Now I will announce the trainees in ranks thirty-fourth to twenty-seventh," says Jang Keunsuk.

 

Ominous music starts to play.

 

"Thirty-fourth place. With 243,513 votes, independent trainee… Lee Saerom."

 

"Thirty-third place. With 249,026 votes, this trainee was in the vocal position. It is C9 Entertainment's trainee Song Heejin."

 

"Thirty-second place. With 250,556 votes… Dublekick Company's Yoo Jungahn."

 

"Thirty-first place. With 256,387 votes, DSP Media's… Jeon Jiwoo trainee."

 

"Thirtieth place. With 289, 217 votes, Happyface's Han Dong."

 

"Twenty-ninth place. With 290,109 votes, this trainee won her category and achieved this placing through the benefit vote. It is Music Works' Lee Jieun trainee."

 

"Twenty-eighth place. With 298,495 votes, Happyface's Lee Gahyeon trainee."

 

"And, lastly, twenty-seventh. With 300,125 votes… DSP Media's Jeon Somin. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

First, Lee Saerom. "I hope the other independent trainees can come up with me so we can prove we can succeed without a company. We have become like a little family, the five of us. Please support us."

 

"Thank you to my Turtle Ship unnies," says Yoo Jungahn.

 

Then, Han Dong says, "I am so thankful that both Gahyeonie and I can continue together on this show. Please continue supporting us and thank you!"

 

"Now we will announce twenty-sixth to eighteenth places," announces Jang Keunsuk. "Firstly, twenty-sixth place. With 301,814 votes, this trainee took on a new challenge for the position battle. She is Starship's Lee Jinsook trainee, congratulations."

 

"Twenty-fifth place. With 310,972 votes, this trainee was a member of the Dance Avengers team." Scary music plays, and zooming in on the faces of the seven Avengers trainees. "Fantagio's Kim Sookyung trainee."

 

"I fell seven places," Sookyung whispers to her company friends as she goes up.

 

"Yeah, but you still got in," Kang Soeun reassures.

 

"Twenty-fourth place. With 329,366 votes, Starship Entertainment's… Lee Luda."

 

"Twenty-third place. With 332,712 votes, Jellyfish Entertainment's… Shin Bora."

 

"Twenty-second place. With 363,818 votes, Cube Entertainment's Chong Tingyan."

 

"Twenty-first place. With 371,978 votes, Fantagio's Kang Soeun trainee."

 

"Twentieth place. With 372,295 votes…" A very long pause. Indicates the result will be surprising. "YG Entertainment's Jennie Kim trainee."

 

Cue shouts of shock from the other girls.

 

"But Jennie unnie was eighth last time," murmurs shocked Jin Hyeonju. "How…"

 

When the girls quiet, we move on. "Nineteenth place. With 372,952 votes, Fantagio Entertainment's Ji Suyeon."

 

"Finally, eighteenth. With 419,427 votes, Jellyfish's Jo Hyeyeon trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

"Our Hyojungie, please come up here," says Fantagio's Suyeon. "Unnies would be so sad if you had to leave us now. Thank you, national producers, and keep giving love to Fantagio Entertainment."

 

"I am very thankful to be able to continue on," says Jennie Kim simply. "I admit I am disappointed, but I am still here, and I'm sure someone very deserving will take my place in the top eleven."

 

"I am very thankful to have risen from twenty-ninth to eighteenth," Hyeyeon says finally. "Thank you so much to the national producers for keeping me and Bora unnie here."

 

"Now," says Jang Keunsuk. "How many trainees can make it into the final group?"

 

"Eleven," chorus the girls, lively-sounding even though they've probably answered this question a thousand times since the start of the show.

 

"I will announce the trainees who are on the edge of the debut lineup. If these girls work hard, they could easily get into the top eleven and debut in the nation's girl group." The screen behind him flashes the numbers "17-12".

 

"Seventeenth place. This trainee is one of the maknaes of Produce 101. With 438,879 votes, it is Fantagio's Noh Hyojung trainee." The other Fantagio girls cheer from their seats.

 

"Sixteenth place." Another agony-inducing long pause. Whoever this trainee is, she's going to shock the room. "She took 450,768 votes." Another pause.

 

"Hurry up and say it already, I'm nervous," hisses Baek Hyeonju.

 

"SM's Kim Yerim."

 

"What?" asks Kim Jiwon loudly.

 

[Chou Tzuyu]

 

"If the first voted center fell sixteen places… anything was possible, I thought."

 

As the girls recover from that bombshell, Jang PD quickly moves on. "Fifteenth place.  With 460,700 votes, Blockberry Creative's… Park Chaewon."

 

The remaining girls from that round are also all from Blockberry Creative - Choi Yerim at fourteenth, Jung Jinsol at thirteenth, and Jeon Heejin at twelfth.

 

[Go Ahra]

 

"I just wanted to scream. How could they be so lucky?"

 

[Jeon Jiwoo]

 

"Their company shouldn't have sent so many trainees if they were going to completely dominate the upper ranks. It's not fair to the rest of us."

 

[Lee Nakyung]

 

"I had to wonder… did they somehow cheat?"

 

Ominous music plays now.

 

"I will announce the trainees who, if this were the final episode, would be able to debut," says Jang PD. "There have been many changes in the top eleven. Let's see who has managed to keep their place…"

 

As predicted, the remaining Blockberry girls take five consecutive spots in the top eleven - Kahei at eleventh, Haseul in tenth, Sooyoung in ninth, Jungeun taking eighth, and Jiwoo snagging seventh. Cue shocked and concerned whispers from the other trainees.

 

"How much is their company paying PD?" Go Ahra asks Roh Jisun, and she's kidding, but it's clear that not all of the girls see this as a joke.

 

Sixth place is where we pick up again properly. "The trainee here truly shined in the position evaluation. A member of the Dance Avengers," he says, and here's where we cut to Cheng Xiao and Hirai Momo because they're the only two from that team who haven't been called yet, "JYP's trainee, Hirai Momo. Congratulations."

 

She shouts in excitement and even gets some excitement out of labelmate Tzuyu, who by now is known among netizens for being somewhat taciturn.

 

"Thank you so much for seeing my talent, national producers, I will work hard to become a Hirai Momo who is worthy of debut. And to my older sister Hana -" here she begins speaking in Japanese, but it's translated "- thank you for teaching me how to dance. It is so worth it now and I am so thankful for you, my sister. I love you." Momo bows and goes to sit at her seat.

 

"Moving on, fifth place," is announced. "This trainee has much in common with the trainee in sixth place."

 

"Tzuyu unnie or Cheng Xiao unnie," whispers Lee Nakyung to Lee Chaeyoung.

 

"Starship's trainee, Cheng Xiao. Congratulations."

 

"I would like to thank my team, of course," she says, "because we worked so hard and made a good stage, and I'm proud of us. Through this stage I have reached this high rank and could show myself to the national producers so I am very thankful."

 

"As we did last time, we will show the candidates for first place at this time. There will of course be a change, as the top four from the last round of eliminations have all already been called."

 

Some silence and speculation occurs.

 

"Please show them now."

 

The candidates for first this week are the three Pledis trainees - Kim Yewon, Kyla Massie, and Bae Sungyeon - and JYP's Chou Tzuyu. Tzuyu's wide eyes go even wider at this, and all three Pledis girls scream. This seems to be a trademark of theirs - Sungyeon is especially and notably loud and has proven herself to be so throughout the broadcast.

 

"First I will announce fourth place," says Jang Keunsuk. "This trainee ranked first in her position battle."

 

"Isn't that all of us?" asks a very confused Sungyeon, before being corrected by Ju Minhee - no, Tzuyu hadn't won hers.

 

"It is Pledis' trainee…"

 

A long pause for tension, as Mnet tends to have.

 

"Kyla Massie. Congratulations."

 

The two older Pledis trainees, who are sitting on either side of her, squash her in a hug almost immediately. She has to push out of them in order to get up to the stage.

 

"I, uh." she says eloquently. Cue laughs. "I'm just really thankful because…" Kyla tears up. Sad music starts playing. The screen blurs and netizen comments pop up on the screen - after her focus in the position battle, she had been bashed for her weight. "I'm thankful for the national producers who kept supporting me even though I may not be the same as most people here… I'm very thankful." She inhales and composes herself quickly. "I will improve and be a Kyla that everyone can look fondly upon so thank you for your support."

 

She climbs to her seat and everyone claps. A few girls (probably Sungyeon and Yewon) even outright cheer. It's clear that even though netizens have mixed opinions on Kyla, everyone here loves and supports her.

 

"Third place," says Jang Keunsuk, moving on quickly. "A trainee who is known for her vocals… and her beautiful smile."

 

Sungyeon hits Yewon, hissing, "it's you, it's you!"

 

"Pledis' Kim Yewon trainee." As she comes up to the stage, he adds, "viewers have given her the nickname 'Sunshine Yewon' because of her eye smile and always helpful personality. Congratulations."

 

"Ahh, yes, thank you to the national producers!" she exclaims, completely and unadulteratedly happy. "Thank you to everyone on my team and from my company as well, and all the friends I've made here, and also the staff of the show! The people running the cameras and doing our makeup…" she grins winningly into the camera. "Without them this show would not be the show it is so thank you!" She waves and scampers up to her seat.

 

So, first place is between Sungyeon and Tzuyu, then. Jang PD rattles off some statistics, with intermittent silences because this is Mnet after all, before finally announcing Sungyeon as the center and Tzuyu as second place.

 

Sungyeon speaks first this time. "I have risen so many places and everyone from my company has once again gotten through to the next challenge. I am so very thankful to everyone who has supported not only me, but the other Pledis girls, as well as everyone else participating on Produce 101. I am… so shocked to be the center of Produce 101 going forward and I will try my best and not disappoint you. Thank you." She bows and walks regally up to her place in the number one throne.

 

Then it's Tzuyu's turn. "Thank you to the national producers. I was so surprised… when we got to where I had been called last time and Producer-nim still hadn't called my name, I was very worried, but now I am so happy that I can instead take this high rank. I will work hard so you can continue looking well upon me."

 

She goes to sit and the music turns dark again.

 

"Lastly." Jang Keunsuk seems drawn now, as though he likes what he has to do significantly less than he did last time. Like he's more attached and doesn't want to let them go. "The trainees in places thirty-fourth to first have been announced. There is one seat left. For the final survivor… thirty-fifth place."

 

The cameras flash among the girls left in the seats below. Jung Haeri. Lee Nakyung. Han Saebyeol.

 

"Please show the four candidates for thirty-fifth place at this time."

 

Tension, then -

 

Hunus' Choi Yuna, Astory's Go Ahra, Box Media's Han Saebyeol, and independent trainee Song Hayoung show up on the screen.

 

Lee Saerom exhales a visible sigh of relief from the pyramid. Ahra's eliminated labelmate, Kim Seyoung, gives her a friendly punch to the shoulder.

 

"Who will it be?" asks a disembodied voice, one of a trainee girl, whose name we don't get to know. "Ahra? Yuna? Hayoungie? Saebyeollie?" The cameras flash to each girl's face as the breathless trainee says their names.

 

"Please show her on screen now," says Jang Keunsuk. "The last survivor."

 

Tension and flashing to the girls, and then a face fills the screen on her own.

 

It's Hunus' Choi Yuna.

 

She collapses into her eliminated labelmate Kim Sohee, who manhandles her into the aisle and up the stairs before scurrying back to her seat.

 

"Say a few words, Choi Yuna trainee," says Jang Keunsuk kindly.

 

"I will work hard in place of -" she has to turn around. Someone, probably Sohee, screams for her not to cry. "I will work hard," she continues. "Thank you for supporting me."

 

She goes to her chair. Somehow, it's not triumphant. In a way, she's in mourning. They all are.

 

"Regrettably, independent trainee Song Hayoung was thirty-sixth," says Jang, prompting a noise from behind him that is possibly Lee Saerom beginning to cry. "Hayoung, will you say a few words?"

 

"I am proud to have come all the way to here," says Hayoung. "I have no agency to back me up or tell me what to do on this show but I have ranked well. I and the other three independent trainees will surely continue supporting Saerom unnie and hope that she makes the debuting group. We love you!" Hayoung shoots finger hearts at Saerom, who hides in Song Heejin's chest.

 

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You have until god knows when because inmylife never freaking updates to vote for one girl of your choice!]

Chapter Text

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You can vote for one girl until the end of this voting period.]

 

The thirty-five remaining girls gather in a practice room, in neat lines organized by their choice of concept song. Then, Jang Keunsuk walks in, and the girls cheer, knowing that an announcement is coming.

 

"It is time to re-shuffle the concept songs," he says. "The number of members in each song must be seven by the time we perform. However, after the eliminations, some songs have more than seven people, while other songs have less than seven." He surveys the girls for a moment. "Because the 24 Hours team has exactly seven people, no one will be moved to or from that team." The 24 Hours team cheers, and Hirai Momo mock-collapses into Shin Bora's arms out of relief.

 

"However," he continues. "The Fingertips team has ten people, which means three will be voted out; the Yum Yum team will need to vote out one person. Each member will choose one person to be voted out, and this will be done by secret ballot. Then, the four people with no team will be chosen by either At The Same Place or Don't Matter, each of which lack two members."

 

The members of the Yum-Yum team go in to vote first. Each girl writes who she wants to be kicked on a slip of paper, then puts it in the ballot box.

 

[Kim Yewon]

 

Offscreen, a staff member asks, "did you want to be moved so that you could do In The Same Place? You were originally in that song and got moved from it."

 

Yewon shakes her head. "I decided I didn't want to influence the members. If they felt like they needed me, I didn't want to tell them yes or no. I knew it was between me and Sungyeonie anyway, because we only need one main vocal…"

 

The girl who gets kicked turns out to be Bae Sungyeon. She goes to wait against the wall, lackadaisical, as the members of Fingertips go to vote out three girls.

 

Fingertips team votes out Ha Sooyoung, Park Chaewon, and Choi Yuna.

 

In The Same Place team contains Chou Tzuyu, the second-place from the last evaluation, and therefore they get to pick first.

 

"First we choose Park Chaewon," Tzuyu says. Chaewon's fellow Blockberry trainees, Kahei and Yerim, hold out their arms to her as she skips over.

 

"We choose Ha Sooyoung," responds Don't Matter team's representative Jo Haseul.

 

Tzuyu's team then goes into deep discussion, with Chaewon included, as to who their second pick should be. They eventually decide on Bae Sungyeon, leaving Choi Yuna to the Don't Matter team.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I was baffled. This team already has Suyeon unnie to be their main vocal, and it's not like they need me for their popularity either. I have no idea why they chose me."

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"To be honest, picking Sungyeon wasn't a choice so much of us needing her, but it's that we felt the other team would want a rapper more. Also, there are a lot of parts in this song that need a skilled vocalist, not just the main vocal part, and I thought we would need another very strong vocalist… besides me, Yerim and Tzuyu are very good, but the others are more suited to subs…"

 

The girls then gather in their respective practice rooms to reassign parts.

 

First, we visit 24 Hours team. Main vocal is no problem, as all seven acknowledge Kim Jungeun as the most skilled vocalist among them; the issue of the subvocal parts is quickly negotiated, especially as some parts are very similar to each other. This only leaves center - both temporary centers, Jungeun and Lee Saerom, survived the elimination.

 

"Well, we'll just have you two dance it and then we'll vote," decides leader Shin Bora. This they do, and then Lee Saerom wins 3-2.

 

"Our center is… Saerom!" Bora announces.

 

Next, to Fingertips. Song Heejin, as eldest, is elected the new leader, but beyond that they run into a number of roadblocks.

 

"Okay, well, we need to redistribute the parts first," Heejin says, sitting cross-legged on the floor and indicating the other girls do the same. "We need a main vocal and then two strong sub-vocals for the parts one and two…"

 

Chong Tingyan suggests, "I think unnie and Jiwoo could do two of those parts," unnie indicating Heejin in this instance, "but I don't know about the third."

 

"Do you want main vocal, Jiwoo-yah?" asks Heejin. Jiwoo nods, so Heejin accepts and takes sub-vocal one.

 

At a loss for who to assign sub-vocal two, Heejin has the remaining five girls sing the part. Jieun, as a rapper, notably struggles with it, and Hyeyeon and Tingyan don't do well either, but Jungahn and Luda are alright.

 

"I mean, what do you guys think?" asks Heejin.

 

"I want to rap in this one," Jungahn says, "so Luda unnie can have the part if she wants it."

 

"I'll do it!" Luda agrees, and that's one problem solved.

 

But then there's the problem of the rappers. There are only two rap parts, but Lee Jieun, Yoo Jungahn, and Jo Hyeyeon all want to rap.

 

"Well, how's this," Heejin suggests after some argument, attempting to mediate. "This sub-vocal part here has a rap line, so whoever doesn't get a rap part can do that."

 

"I think Jieun shouldn't do the vocal part," Jiwoo suggests. "She's a much better rapper than a singer, but Hyeyeon and Jungahn are both good singers. And Jieun won the rap position too. Clearly the national producers like her there.

 

They eventually decide to have Jungahn do the part and to have Hyeyeon do the vocal section, leaving the final problem being that of center.

 

"The way I see it," Jieun suggests, "Luda unnie or Jiwoo unnie would do well as center."

 

"I kind of want to do it," Hyeyeon volunteers.

 

"I was going to suggest Tingyan…" Heejin murmurs, laughing a bit.

 

"Oh no, I don't want to," Tingyan shakes her head. "Bae Yoonjung teacher hates me. When we were preparing for Say My Name she said there was nothing about me that stood out. If you put me in the center we'll all get yelled at."

 

"Good advice," Jungahn nods sagely. "I think Jieun is right, that Jiwoo or Luda unnie should do it. Sorry, Hyeyeonnie." Hyeyeon looks disappointed but then casts her vote behind Luda, making her center.

 

Now onto the Don't Matter team. First they have a bit of a struggle over who they want to elect leader, Haseul, Jennie, or Somin. Haseul eventually abdicates, and the group decides on Jennie.

 

Then there's the matter of center. Both of this team's temporary centers, Lee Ahryoung and Kim Nari, were eliminated, so they have to start from scratch. With the exception of Sooyoung and Yuna, who are new to the song and therefore don't want to risk it, they all want to be center. Haseul drops out of this race, too, after a while, and by process of elimination they come to the final two candidates: Somin and Hyojung.

 

"Alright, you two, close your eyes," says Jennie. "Everyone else, stand behind the one you want as center."

 

Yuna and Haseul pick Somin; Jennie, Sooyoung, and Jinsol pick Hyojung.

 

"Our center is… the maknae!" Jennie announces.

 

"Our giant maknae," grumps Haseul, who's short.

 

With Don't Matter team sorted, the next team we see is Yum-Yum. They, too, are absolutely lost over who to pick as center. It's the 00 liners battling it out this time - Sookyung versus Jeon Heejin. Eventually they decide on Heejin with little contention.

 

Lastly, we visit the In The Same Place team.

 

"Main vocal," says leader Suyeon.

 

"Suyeon unnie or Sungyeon unnie," says Choi Yerim almost immediately.

 

"Oh, I don't know the song," says Sungyeon, shaking her head. "Unnie should have this one."

 

"Are we agreed?" asks Jinsook. Everyone does agree. "Okay, unnie is main vocal!"

 

"Now for center!" announces Sungyeon.

 

This team's temporary centers were Kahei and Tzuyu, both of whom are still here; but then Suyeon asks if anyone else wants to try and both Chaewon and Jinsook put their hands up.

 

"I'll back out, I think," says Tzuyu. "I was center last time, so I think it's only fair to give one of the others a turn."

 

Tzuyu, Sungyeon, Yerim, and Suyeon confer, before Suyeon says, "I'm sorry, but I think we should rule out Jinsook." Jinsook turns a little red, but accepts it.

 

[Lee Jinsook]

 

"Of course it hurt to hear. But I know that realistically, the center should be skilled - and I'm not very skilled compared to Chaewon or to Kahei unnie."

 

After a long montage of debate, they decide on Chaewon, even though she's new to the song. Yerim and Kahei, both from Chaewon's company, note that Chaewon has a reputation for learning dances quickly.

 

[The day of the performance quickly comes!]

 

We get a montage of the girls preparing - getting makeup done, practicing quickly backstage, and being shuffled into the small holding room. Then, we see the live audience of national producers coming into the venue. Of course, there are also obligatory shots of contestants and viewers alike using the Carmex lip balm that the show so shamelessly promotes.

 

Cut to the audience. Jang Keunsuk walks out to the stage to cheers from the audience and from the girls in the green room watching from a screen.

 

"Hello, National Producers. I am your representative, Jang Keunsuk. Today we will see five concept songs. At the end of the performances, please walk out into the hallway of the venue, where there will be five boxes corresponding to each song. Place your admission wristband into the box of the song you enjoyed the most. The song that received the most votes will receive a benefit. Understood?" The audience cheers, which PD takes as a yes. "Alright. Let's begin!"

 

The first song is 24 Hours. "Hello, we are Battery!" greets leader Bora. "Our song is full of energy and we would like to charge up the audience as well."

 

[How was their practice time?]

 

The behind clip opens with the girls in the practice room.

 

"You can't just expect us to drag you along," says Saerom, frustrated, although it's not clear who she's looking at. "You have to put in your own time, you know. I know you're nervous, but we're all struggling here. We can't spend all this time helping you."

 

[24 hours earlier (haha)]

 

The problem is this: the choreography was modified. The time the girls had spent trying to get the original version down - which was already difficult - was in part wasted.

 

This isn't an issue for everyone. Cheng Xiao and Momo especially are skilled dancers, and leader Bora guides the practice in such a way that most of the others pick up the choreography quickly. Saerom and Soeun, both of whom have a background in dance, do fine; Jungeun, who is primarily a vocal, gets the intricacies down anyway.

 

The problem is Han Dong.

 

She's not a dancer, and her struggles with confidence - as shown in the behind clip from the position evaluations - hinder her progress as well. Their dance training is supervised by Bae Yoonjung, and she gets increasingly frustrated with Han Dong.

 

"Dong-ah, again… again… once again because of Dong, from the chorus."

 

They spend nearly the entire day on the dance, trying to get ready to show the performance to the composers later that week. The next morning, Bora and Momo push everyone to practice the dance just a couple more times to solidify. Dong keeps making mistakes, gets frustrated, and walks out and hides; Saerom gets increasingly frustrated as the team's maknae Soeun goes to find Dong.

 

Soeun and Dong return, and Saerom lays into the older girl. Bora eventually pulls Saerom aside and assigns Soeun and Jungeun to calm her down while she and Momo talk Dong through the dance once more. Saerom does pull Dong aside later to apologize.

 

A few days later, the producers of the songs come to watch their progress. The girls of 24 Hours pull it off without a hitch.

 

The next week, they go to record at the Midas Entertainment studios, overseen by DJ Koo.

 

"I'm so excited!" Momo squeals, Dong at her side, arms linked as they skip into the building. "We're recording our first song!"

 

Saerom, Xiao, and Momo all take a few tries to nail their parts. Bora nails hers on the first try, and she can't resist giving her members a gleeful little smile as she walks out.

 

[Shin Bora]

 

"I'm the oldest trainee in the competition now, and to hear that I've done well in my first recording was just so lovely to hear… it felt like all the struggling I've been doing until here was worth it."

 

The behind ends on that note; then the girls perform.

 

The next team is the Fingertips team. "Hello, we are Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes!" the girls sing, all seven in unison. "Please watch us well!"

 

[How was their practice time?]

 

Song Heejin, the leader, calls the girls into vocal practice. The camera pans to each member giving their all - until it reaches Hyeyeon at the end, zoning out. She does this a lot during practice, it turns out - the camera catches multiple instances, including a few where she sneaks out and Kim Jiwoo goes to fetch her, and one where she collapses on the floor out of frustration or maybe boredom.

 

Cut to the girls in their dorms.

 

"What's been up with Hyeyeon?" asks Luda to Jungahn.

 

"I don't know," the younger girl shrugs. "But she probably has a good reason for acting this way. She was so diligent preparing for Push Push, you remember?" Luda nods.

 

Later, Heejin pulls Hyeyeon aside.

 

"Hyeyeon-ah, I think we need to have a little talk." Hyeyeon instantly looks worried. "Listen, the other members and I have noticed that you seem to be slacking off. Is something wrong? Are you not feeling well?"

 

Hyeyeon shakes her head hesitantly.

 

"Well then what is it? Hyeyeon, this is a group battle - we all have to do well to get the benefit, you know."

 

Heejin stares Hyeyeon down.

 

"I'm… I'm concerned about my rank," Hyeyeon finally murmurs.

 

Heejin, startlingly, begins to laugh. "Aren't we all!" Hyeyeon just blink at her. "Hyeyeon, I'm thirty-third. If I want any chance of flailing my way into the top twenty-two, I have to work hard and perform well and make sure everyone else in my team does too. And if you want to stay within the top twenty, you have to work hard as well. I'm sorry you're not center, but Luda is doing a good job and we all have to work hard, we all have our own parts where we get to shine, and this is just a situation where you either work hard or you leave."

 

The day of recording comes and the girls enter Ryan Jhun's studio raring to go. Hyeyeon is back to herself as well, joking around with Jieun and Jiwoo.

 

[Jo Hyeyeon]

 

"What unnie said really made me realize how I was acting. I'm very sorry to have hindered the performance of the team…"

 

Recording goes quick, with Jungahn even joking around with the producer in English.

 

Then, we go to the girls performing - then, onto the next team.

 

The third team to perform is Don't Matter. "Hello, we are Fire!" says team leader Jennie Kim; they do the choreography to the BTS song and sing the word 'fire'. "Our song is fierce and full of fire and we hope you feel that in our performance today."

 

[How was their practice time?]

 

The girls sit in their dorm, some perched on lower beds, some on the floor, practicing their lyrics.

 

"Try this part again, Yuna," directs Somin to Yuna, the two of them next to each other against the back wall. "You have to sound fierce, right? Like you're angry at this person."

 

Yuna grimaces but tries again. "No, no, Yuna, that's not it," Somin sighs.

 

[Choi Yuna]

 

"I'm having a lot of trouble with this concept. I don't think I fit it. I like innocent, cuter concepts but I haven't been able to show that here. I did Irony for the first evaluation, then You Look Good, and now this… I'm so frustrated. Because I placed thirty-fifth as well, this evaluation is very important to me but with this concept I don't feel like I can do well…"

 

She has the same problem with the dance. Yuna isn't a bad dancer - as opposed to Haseul, who near the edge of the frame is receiving one-on-one help from Sooyoung and Hyojung - she just can't quite get the power needed in her movements.

 

"Be fiercer, Yuna, come on. I know you can do it," Jinsol encourages. "Make it like you're punching someone."

 

"But I've never punched someone," Yuna responds.

 

"Neither have I," answers Jinsol. "Just… I don't know. Imagine how you would feel if you did." Yuna sighs heavily and just tries again.

 

When they go to record, San E keeps Yuna in the studio the longest, recording her parts again and again. "You need to sound angrier," San E tells her.

 

Close shot on Yuna, because she's beginning to tear up.

 

"Oh - unnie -" stammers Hyojung, eyes going wide.

 

"Come on, let's take a break," Haseul says, opening the door and pulling Yuna out. "Jennie unnie, you should go in."

 

Cameras follow Haseul and Yuna, of course.

 

"Come on," murmurs Haseul. "Tell unnie what's wrong. It'll help after we talk."

 

"I can't do this, unnie," Yuna finally breaks. "I can't do this concept."

 

"Oh, Yuna…" Haseul puts an arm around her. "You just need more practice, is all. Well, we all need more practice, myself included," she jokes, getting a laugh out of Yuna. "It's really going to be okay. Believing in yourself is half the battle."

 

With that, the behind clip ends and the girls perform.

 

The fourth stage is the Yum-Yum team. "Hello, we are 'I'll Eat You Up, I Love You So,'" they recite in English.

 

"Our team maknae Kyla came up with this name," says leader Jiwoo, "because it means loving someone so much that you want to eat them, and that's what our song is about - Yum Yum! Please enjoy!"

 

[How was their practice time?]

 

The girls pull up to the recording studio. "Now, our producer, he doesn't speak good Korean," says Jiwoo. "So Kyla, you will have to translate for us, okay?" Kyla nods happily.

 

When they get inside, Kyla starts chattering with DR in English. The cameras, though, focus on Gahyeon and Heejin staying as far away from each other as possible, Gahyeon even giving a glare.

 

Kim Yerim enters to record her part, then Sookyung goes in. All the while, Heejin and Gahyeon ignore each other.

 

Jiwoo pulls them out into the hallway while Yewon is recording her part. "Seriously, what is up with you two? Today we're recording our first song, ever! We should be happy! I don't know why you're fighting, but work it out quick so you can record for the first time with a positive attitude."

 

Heejin looks at Gahyeon. Gahyeon looks at Heejin. Both of them start to giggle.

 

"We were pranking you, unnie," Gahyeon finally forces out to a baffled Jiwoo. "GaHee Cross' Hidden Camera - success!" This sends the younger girls into even more giggles.

 

End the behind video. The performance begins.

 

"Now for the last team of the night," announces Jang PD. "Would the girls performing the present given by Jinyoung of B1A4, At The Same Place team, please come out!"

 

The team marches out and proclaims themselves the 'Forever Angels'. They go to their places and the lights darken.

 

[How was their practice time?]

 

The girls are practicing their performance in a practice room when -

 

A sudden cut to downstairs happens. The door opens. Jinyoung of B1A4 walks through and begins heading up the stairs.

 

He knocks on the door while they're in the middle of practicing, but they notice immediately. The seven girls - Yerim, Tzuyu, Suyeon, Kahei, Jinsook, Chaewon, and Sungyeon - turn and nearly fall over themselves trying to greet him.

 

They manage to hold their fangirling in better than the girls in the other songs, though - seems like word got around pretty quick that Jung Jinyoung had paid a visit to the English Village, and a number of other trainees crowded around the glass doors of that particular room to try and get a good look. A certain Kim Jiwoo is comically smushed against the glass.

 

As Jinyoung leaves, he smiles and waves. Lee Gahyeon squeals in delight.

 

When the team of seven go to record a few days later, they're similarly starstruck. Sungyeon is bouncing on the balls of her feet in awe, and Suyeon is practically vibrating.

 

[Bae Sungyeon]

 

"I love writing music as well, and the fact that I get to work with Jinyoung sunbaenim is so amazing because he's so well-known for composing music. It was so exciting."

 

In the studio, Jinyoung praises all the girls at least once, and gives constructive criticism in such a way the girls barely take it as such. Then he takes the girls to WM's practice room to watch the dance, and praises Chaewon for her command of center.

 

[Park Chaewon]

 

"It made me really happy. I'm very glad the unnies had me be center."

 

The girls perform.

 

[Which team will receive the benefit?]

 

The girls stand in five neat lines, organized by song, below the stage. Jang Keunsuk is above them, cue cards in hand.

 

"Now I will announce the ranks of the five concept teams, as voted by the national producers. Please show the last-place team now."

 

The screen behind him lights up with a chart numbered one to five. As we watch, the last-place spot is filled with "Don't Matter".

 

"Regrettably, the Don't Matter team took last place. Would the team leader Jennie Kim say some thoughts on this?"

 

Jennie takes the mic. "Regrettably we took the last place, but this is not the end. Of course we will always work harder, and I am very proud of all of my teammates for doing their best today."

 

Jang Keunsuk nods. "Please show the fourth-place team onscreen now."

 

Behind him, the screen shows that the Yum-Yum team has taken fourth place. Jang PD asks leader Jiwoo to say some words; she tells the crowd that "We were simply excited to perform a song that's all our own today. We regret not showing the national producers the best stage but this was such a wonderful experience regardless of that."

 

The team that takes third is 24 Hours, and Shin Bora tells the audience: "We weren't expecting to place even this high, as this is not a genre of music that's so popular nowadays. We thank the national producers and of course our own producer DJ Koo for giving us this opportunity and will work harder in the future."

 

This leaves the benefit contenders as the Fingertips team and the At The Same Place team. All fourteen of those girls are holding someone's hands - Kim Jiwoo and Park Chaewon even reach across the gap to hold each other's hands.

 

"Please show the winner now," says Jang PD.

 

In the first place slot, the title At The Same Place shows. The girls on that team scream for joy - even reserved Suyeon actually starts jumping up and down.

 

[At The Same Place's members will receive the 100,000 point benefit]

 

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You have until July 31 to vote for a girl of your choice.]

Chapter Text

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You have until August 15 to vote for the final lineup of the Nation's Girlgroup!]

 

The top 35 walk into the ranking hall. The number of chairs both in the hall and on the pyramid has dwindled significantly from last time. It feels empty.

 

When Jang Keunsuk enters, he looks haunted and a bit empty. Each time, he likes what he has to do less and less, and this shows on his face - but he's Asia's Prince, so he goes forward. The girls cheer for him all the same.

 

"Hello, trainees of Produce 101; hello, national producers," he says. "I will now announce the top twenty-two trainees who will be in the lineup for the final nation's girl group."

 

A hush falls over the room, then ominous music begins to play.

 

"As always, I will start from the second-last position, in this case twenty-first. This trainee chose the concept song 24 Hours," he hints. "With 14,986 votes from the National Producers, it is Happyface's Han Dong trainee."

 

"Twentieth place received 19,045 votes from the National Producers. From Blockberry Creative…"

 

"What?" whispers Lee Saerom to Cho Hyeyeon. "They're calling Blockberry this early?"

 

"Jung Jinsol trainee."

 

Song Heejin audibly gasps as Jinsol walks up to the line onstage.

 

"Nineteenth place," he says, and the mood is somehow even darker now because no one expected Jinsol to be called this low. "The National Producers gave her 19,252 votes. She is from Starship Entertainment - Lee Luda trainee."

 

"Eighteenth," he continues. He looks at the card himself for a moment as though shocked, then the camera cuts to Tingyan and Xiao looking at each other nervously. "This trainee… chose the concept song Yum Yum," Jang says finally. "She is from Pledis Entertainment, Kim Yewon trainee."

 

"What?" asks Soeun from the audience.

 

"She fell fifteen places," whispers Yuna to Sookyung.

 

"Seventeenth. This trainee got 23,575 votes. From Fantagio Entertainment, Kim Sookyung trainee. Shall we hear some thoughts?" he finishes, addressing the line.

 

Han Dong starts. "Gahyeonnie, we have been together and close in rank on every step of this journey. Please come soon and finish with me. Unnie loves you."

 

"I am just glad that the citizen producers still want me to be here," Yewon says. "No matter my rank I am happy to continue on."

 

"Now we will announce the trainees in places sixteen to twelve. The sixteenth trainee received 26,526 votes from National Producers. She is Blockberry Creative's Jeon Heejin trainee."

 

"The trainee in fifteenth place chose Don't Matter as her concept song. With 28,167 votes, Blockberry Creative's Ha Sooyoung trainee."

 

"Fourteenth place. This trainee's position was vocal in the position evaluation and received 31,059 votes: Blockberry Creative's Kim Jiwoo."

 

"In thirteenth place, a trainee who chose the dance position. With 35,118 votes, she is from SM Entertainment: Kim Yerim."

 

"And, finally, twelfth place. With 43,820 votes, this trainee's concept song was 24 Hours. She is JYP Entertainment's Hirai Momo trainee! Congratulations to all of you; shall we hear some thoughts?"

 

Yerim, Momo, Jiwoo, Sooyoung, and Heejin thank the National Producers; then we move on to the top 11.

 

"In eleventh place," says Jang Keunsuk, "with 44,873 votes, Pledis' Kyla Massie trainee."

 

"To the national producers, of course I am so thankful," says Kyla, "for allowing me to remain in the top eleven. I will work hard and I love you!"

 

"Tenth place received 45,985 votes from the national producers. A dancer who was surely helped by the concept battle's benefit, JYP Entertainment's Chou Tzuyu trainee!"

 

"Thank you for once again allowing me and Momo unnie to pass," she says. "We will work harder so we can make our debuts."

 

"The ninth place trainee was also a member of the In The Same Place team," Jang Keunsuk reveals. "With 48,110 votes, she is under Fantagio Entertainment. Congratulations to Ji Suyeon!"

 

"Thank you, national producers," she says quietly. "I hope that the rest of my dongsaengs can come up and share this journey with me. I will work hard and make your votes worth it."

 

"In eighth place, this trainee has 49,379 votes. She is Blockberry Creative's Park Chaewon trainee."

 

"Of course I am thankful to all national producers, especially to those who gave their votes to our In The Same Place team. I will work hard and be a Park Chaewon who is good at many things in the future so please continue supporting me."

 

"The seventh place trainee is one who has always been in the top eleven," Jang Keunsuk says. "There are few people for whom this is true. However, this trainee, with 53,255 votes, has succeeded in that - she is from Pledis Entertainment, Bae Sungyeon trainee."

 

"Once again, Yewon, Kyla, and I have all made it through this round. Please, citizen producers, keep looking fondly upon us Pledis girls and keep supporting us. Thank you."

 

"In sixth place is a trainee who has risen, again as a result of the concept evaluation. The trainee to whom national producers gave 54,538 votes is Starship's Lee Jinsook trainee."

 

"Although I am not skilled, I will work hard so I am up to the standards of national producers that will get higher and higher as time goes by. Thank you for trusting in me."

 

"Now for the fifth place trainee." Jang Keunsuk announces. "This trainee has risen many places and would not have been in the top 22 if she had her rank from the last announcement. The national producers gave her 89,323 votes. From DSP Media, Jeon Somin trainee."

 

Somin is very clearly shocked at this, and it takes a push from labelmate Jiwoo to get her to go up to the stage. "Of course I am so thankful for all the national producers who gave me this unexpected rank. I will work hard."

 

"Now we will unveil the most coveted position on Produce 101," Jang PD says. "We will show the four candidates for first place on the screen now."

 

The screen reveals Jeon Jiwoo, Wong Kahei, Jennie Kim, and Choi Yerim as the candidates for first place. Jiwoo, whose last ranking was thirty-first, begins to cry. We cut briefly to a disbelieving (but ecstatic) Somin.

 

"The fourth place trainee received 94,189 votes. Please reveal her on the screen now."

 

Choi Yerim is in fourth place.

 

"National producers, thank you for supporting me and consistently giving me high places. I will work hard to repay you for the work you put in voting for me."

 

The third place trainee is revealed to be Yerim's labelmate, Wong Kahei.

 

"Now it has become clear that our journey as Blockberry Creative's lucky nine has come to an end, as two of us have not been called but there is only one spot remaining. I ask that the national producers continue to support all of us no matter who advances to the final."

 

Jang Keunsuk beckons the two remaining girls, Jeon Jiwoo and Jennie Kim, up to the front, where they each stand on lightboxes. Jiwoo is still teary from the shock of survival.

 

PD hesitates and dallies for a while before finally announcing first place as Jennie Kim.

 

"I am so, so grateful to the national producers for allowing me once again to sit on the chair I took on the very first day of filming. It feels circular to me and I am very happy and grateful."

 

Then, he asks Jiwoo to speak.

 

"I thought both Somin and I would go home today. I am shocked but I am also so, so happy."

 

The music changes from triumphant to somber; it's time to announce the final trainee of the top twenty-two.

 

"Instead of simply announcing the four candidates, we will reveal everyone's ranks one at a time," he says. The screens behind him show numbers; thirty-five to thirty-one.

 

35th - Lee Jieun

34th - Shin Bora

33rd - Choi Yuna

32nd - Chong Tingyan

31st - Cheng Xiao

 

The screen clears. The new numbers onscreen are thirty to twenty-six.

 

30th - Jo Hyeyeon

29th - Lee Gahyeon

28th - Kang Soeun

27th - Noh Hyojung

26th - Yoo Jungahn

 

This leaves the final candidates for twenty-second place as Kim Jungeun, Song Heejin, Lee Saerom, and Jo Haseul.

 

"Please reveal twenty-fifth place now."

 

It's Heejin on the screen. She nods, resigned; she'd been climbing the ranks, but it hadn't been quite enough to push her into the next evaluation.

 

"Please reveal twenty-fourth place now."

 

It's Haseul; most of the other trainees are in shock at a Blockberry girl on the chopping block.

 

A staff member beckons Saerom and Jungeun up to the lightboxes, a harsh mockery of the ceremony around the first-place reveal. Jungeun reaches across to hold Saerom's hand; we forget, sometimes, that Jungeun was born only in 1999 - at the time of this filming, still a minor. They're both young, really. Saerom is just two years older.

 

"Please show the twenty-second place trainee onscreen now."

 

The final survivor is Lee Saerom.

 

Jang PD beckons her over to the stage, where she says, "last time I was the first person to be called up. I was once again on the border of survival and elimination but you, the national producers, saved me, so I can prove that you don't need a company to be successful on this show. I carry the dreams of Hayoungie, Nakyungie, Jisunnie, and Chaeyoungie with me."

 

"And the regrettable twenty-third place Kim Jungeun," he says. "Would you speak?"

 

"I'm disappointed," she says, and that's almost an understatement - she had been in the top eleven before. "But of course when I return to the company with Haseul unnie I will work hard and support not only my labelmates but all the other friends I have made on this show."

 

Jang Keunsuk nods, then moves on. "Would our new center, YG Entertainment's Jennie Kim trainee, lead us in greeting the national producers?"

 

"National producers!" they call out. "Please take care of us well!"

 

[How do the trainees prepare for the final challenge: the debut evaluation?]

 

A few days after the eliminations, the trainees file into a room. It's a practice room of sorts, but not one we've seen before. Then, who walks out but Jang Keunsuk? Big surprise. The girls cheer, even though they're probably used to him by now.

 

"Now we will begin preparing for the final evaluation. This will be your debut evaluation," he reveals, and a hush falls over the room. "Producer Ryan Jhun, who wrote concept evaluation's song Fingertips, has written this debut song for all of you. Let's listen and watch the choreography."

 

The song plays.

 

[Jeon Heejin]

 

"It's in a style that I like, I think."

 

[Ji Suyeon]

 

"This song is clever because it isn't too girl crush but it isn't too cute, we can interpret it how we want."

 

"Now," says Jang Keunsuk, "beginning from twenty-second place Lee Saerom, you will pick which part you want for the debut evaluation. There will be two teams of eleven, therefore two people may pick each part."

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"It was too good to be true. Finally, a reward for ranking lower?"

 

"However," PD continues, "there is a catch. If a lower-ranked trainee has taken the position a higher-ranked trainee wants, the higher-ranked trainee can move her to a different part."

 

Cut to Saerom and Han Dong grimacing at each other.

 

[Han Dong]

 

"In that moment I thought to myself, I'm done. Everything is ruined. Wow, thanks, Jang PD."

 

"Of course, the center for the performance will be Jennie Kim," says PD. "However, all of the other parts are not set. Lee Saerom, please begin."

 

Saerom's first choice is subvocal six.

 

[Lee Saerom]

 

"I figured if I was going to get moved anyway I should choose the part I want for now…"

 

The other trainees choose their parts quickly and generally without too much upset. The first time someone gets moved is when ninth place Ji Suyeon, a main vocal, takes her turn, but Kim Yewon and Kim Jiwoo have both taken the main vocal spots. Suyeon considers before moving Yewon to subvocal four. Bae Sungyeon moves Kim Jiwoo just two turns later to subvocal two. When Choi Yerim takes her turn, she moves Jiwoo even further, to subvocal six. Wong Kahei moves Hirai Momo from subvocal seven, and Jeon Jiwoo bends the rules a bit by moving Heejin so she could move Somin to a better part from the part that Jiwoo wanted. Lee Saerom, it should be noted, was not moved.

 

In the end, the final parts are this: team one has Ji Suyeon, Jeon Somin, Jeon Jiwoo, Kim Sookyung, Kim Yewon, Han Dong, Lee Saerom, Kim Yerim, Lee Jinsook, Jennie Kim, and Jung Jinsoul, as main vocal, subs one through eight, and the two rappers respectively; the second group has Bae Sungyeon, Lee Luda, Choi Yerim, Hirai Momo, Chou Tzuyu, Ha Sooyoung, Kim Jiwoo, Park Chaewon, Wong Kahei, Kyla Massie, and Jeon Heejin in that same order.

[Next week! Who will make the final group? The decision is in your hands…]

 

[Vote for your girl on Produce 101! You have until August 15 to vote for the final lineup!]

Chapter Text

The broadcast opens with a stage of Pick Me.

 

The top twenty-two are organized in a neat triangle, with Jennie Kim standing where Kim Yewon was months ago: at center. When the post-chorus hits, the lights come up on the rest of the stage and we see the remaining 79 trainees joining the top 22 onstage.

 

They finish. The lights dim once again.

 

"Welcome," says Jang PD, "to the live-broadcasted final episode of Produce 101. Tonight the final group will be revealed; eleven of the girls you see before you will confirm their debuts in a girl group created by the nation." The crowd cheers. "However, before we do that, I have two very important announcements."

 

A hush falls.

 

"I will now announce the final concept and group name for the Nation's Girlgroup." He smiles mysteriously and takes a look down at his cue cards. "The concept will be…" long pause, this time filled not only with ominous music but with the roar of an impatient crowd. "Unique. They will debut with the concept Unique. And as for the group name…"

 

He gestures up to the screens above him. The name is revealed.

 

I.O.I.

 

"I.O.I. stands for Ideal Of Idol, meaning that these girls will represent all of what a female idol should be and become an inspiration to the trainees they leave behind."

 

Everyone erupts in a roar of cheers, including the trainees - especially the top twenty-two.

 

"Now we will see the debut stage of the top twenty-two. Produced by Ryan Jhun, here is Crush!"

 

[How was their practice for the debut song?]

 

The practice room for Crush is different from all the ones we've seen before. It's big and amphitheatre-like and all twenty-two girls are in different states of practice.

 

In one corner, Jinsoul and Heejin are going through the rapper two part. "We're both vocalists, actually," Heejin reveals. "Not just me, but Jinsoul unnie too."

 

"Somehow I've done rap parts this entire show," Jinsoul laughs. At least she finds it funny and she isn't bitter. "Wait - does Don't Matter count?" she shrugs.

 

Somewhere else, Park Chaewon and Lee Saerom are helping Lee Luda through the dance. "Wait," says Chaewon, suddenly unsure of herself. "I've been teaching you my part this entire time…"

 

"That's why we were arguing," Saerom realizes. All three seem a bit distraught. Hirai Momo, watching from the side, drags Jeon Somin over to help, as Somin and Luda have the same part.

 

"Everyone gets so caught up in their mistakes," Momo informs the camera. "Sometimes it takes someone outside the situation to help."

 

Later, Kim Jiwoo, a strong vocalist, helps less-strong vocalist Saerom through her part. "It's so frustrating because you're a main vocalist and I'm the unnie," Saerom despairs. "I'm supposed to be helping you. And I messed up with Luda earlier… ahh, so frustrating."

 

Jiwoo does some aegyo that has Saerom laughing - proves to be a sufficient distraction. Sometimes, aegyo solves everything.

 

Sookyung and Momo, later, abandon all practice to have some sort of acrobatics contest. "I love you, Momo unnie!" Sookyung squeals, back-handspringing onto the older girl's stomach.

 

[To see an edit of the original Crush performance showing which girls sing when, click here.]

 

The girls perform, then Jang Keunsuk returns to the stage alone.

 

"At this time, I'll reveal which trainee is currently eleventh place," he says. "Please reveal her now."

 

The profile photo on the screen belongs to Starship trainee Lee Luda.

 

"There is still time tonight left to vote," he says. "In the meantime, let us show you how the trainees thanked the trainers, who have brought them so far in the competition."

 

[How did the trainees spend their last days in the dorms?]

 

First: Cheetah. She receives a mysterious note, signed from Jennie Kim, asking to meet in a specific practice room. The trainers don't usually give one-on-one help, so she's confused, but a staff member tells her to go, so she'll go.

 

Kahi receives a similar note from Yewon. Kahi is hard and all business, but she would do anything for Yewon (most people would). Bae Yoonjung is convinced...how? No one knows as no one managed to to capture it on tape. JeA is asked at face value by Jinsook to come, and agrees without needing justification; Sungeun comes after some pestering from Kim Yerim.

 

No matter how, all five women are gathered at a table in the training center, all somewhat confused, but chatting amiably nevertheless.

 

Then, the girls burst in singing loudly, with Kyla bearing a cake with candles and all. At least two trainers are noticeably shocked; Sungeun tears up a little.

 

"We want to thank you, our teachers," says Somin, "because you've taught us so much over the past months and we couldn't have gotten to where we are without you."

 

[Thankful to those who brought them to today; on the road to debut, a guiding hand]

 

Jang PD is onstage again. "B1A4's Jinyoung, who had previously produced At The Same Place, has given us another gift: this song is called When The Cherry Blossoms Fade."

 

[Your friendly author forgot to make an edit for this video and is writing too late to do something about it, so just pretend there's something here]

 

"Voting has now closed," says Jang Keunsuk, "and the votes are currently being counted. In just a few moments, we will know the final members of I.O.I., the girl group produced by the nation. In the meantime, let us show some footage of the guerrilla concert held by the top twenty-two."

 

The event was hosted by eliminated Dublekick trainee Yoo Jungahn. The girls perform their concept songs in small groups: three members of the 24 Hours team, four from Don't Matter, all seven from At The Same Place, and five from Yum-Yum. Fingertips goes last, and as only two girls of the original team are present - Luda and Jiwoo - they beckon Jungahn to do the stage with them. It's a hilariously sweet moment, because Jungahn clearly is having so much fun dancing along with the other two.

 

After that, there's a hi-touch event. Tzuyu and Sooyoung are the most popular. Jinsook doesn't get many, only two,  but she greets the two she got personally and gave the first one a hug.

 

[The girls of Produce 101 treasure all the support they get]

 

Finally, it's time. The trainees are arranged in a triangle at one end of the hall; there's a walkway to the other, where eleven chairs are set up, as well as Jang PD's podium.

 

"As always, the final member will be announced last. Tonight, we start with ten. This trainee," he begins, as the music starts, "is a vocal. A member of the At The Same Place team, the first member to be revealed of IOI is Fantagio's trainee, Ji Suyeon. Congratulations."

 

Suyeon's labelmate, Sookyung, is the first to congratulate her, diving halfway down the stage to tackle her in a hug (and quite a few kisses).

 

"Thank you so much for the support you have given me," she says to the National Producers. "It has been a long time training and I have finally made my debut. Thank you to my parents, who have always supported me; this would have been so much harder without you behind me. I will work hard and prove myself worthy of the debut you have given to me. Thank you."

 

Suyeon walks up to the seat labeled 10. It's hers. She's earned her place.

 

"Next, ninth place." The music changes from triumphant to dark again. "This trainee is also a vocalist. The only trainee from her company to make it to the top twenty-two, she is Happyface's trainee, Han Dong. Congratulations."

 

Her eyes go wide and she starts to cry. Quick cut to Gahyeon, her labelmate, cheering, and jumping up and down in glee. Handong can barely make it to the other side of the stage from how in shock she is.

 

"I really never thought I'd be here," she says. "At the beginning I was only ranked in the thirties; I never expected to make it this far. Thank you so much for this wonderful shock." She looks over to PD questioningly. "May I talk in Chinese?" He nods. "Thank you again," she says in Chinese. "For all your support, and also thank you to my family. I haven't been able to be the best daughter to you but I will do well overseas and make you proud."

 

She joins Suyeon in the safety of the pyramid.

 

"The trainee in eighth place has been consistently in the top eleven for most of the show," says PD. "From Blockberry Creative," and this creates suspense enough because there are seven trainees from that agency in the top twenty-two and all of them are popular, "Ha Sooyoung."

 

Sooyoung is less teary when she walks across the stage than she is proud. Unlike the last two girls to come up, the top ranks are not new to her.

 

"I would like to thank, first of all, the national producers who have always supported me. I am so glad to debut even though I have had a short training time. I would also like to thank my labelmates, the staff from my company, the staff of this show, PD, and especially all the other trainee sisters walking this path with me. Lastly, my own family - my parents and my older sister, thank you for allowing me to walk this path. I will make all of you proud."

 

The seventh place trainee is revealed by one sentence from Jang Keunsuk: "She has never left the top eleven in the entire show." The trainees buzz for a moment before figuring out who that could be. There are only two candidates, both from Pledis - Sungyeon and Kyla. "From Pledis Entertainment, Kyla Massie!"

 

Her labelmates, Yewon and Sungyeon, don't hesitate to sandwich her in a congratulatory hug. Kyla is grinning with anticipation as she practically bounces across the walkway.

 

She thanks her fans in English first. "Please keep supporting me and thank you for doing it up until now. And mom, dad, Karisa - thanks so much." She switches to Korean. "I will be the best maknae of I.O.I. that I can be and I will work hard. Thank you all so much."

 

"Sixth place is a trainee who came to Produce 101 alone." The camera focuses are on Yerim, Jennie, and Saerom. "A trainee who chose the dance position, it is SM's trainee, Kim Yerim. Congratulations."

 

Yerim is for the most part collected as she walks from one end to the other. She's teary, sure, but she isn't collapsing the way Suyeon or Handong were.

 

"First and foremost I would like to thank my family. Mom and dad… and my younger sisters, Yurim, Yeeun, and Chaeeun… I will make you proud. I am sorry that I was never home because I couldn't be the best daughter or older sister to you guys." She bows deeply, then is finished.

 

"The trainee in fifth place's position is vocal," PD continues. "From DSP Media, she is Jeon Somin. Congratulations."

 

"I really thought I wouldn't be able to remain in the top eleven," Somin says. "At the last elimination, it seemed like a dream… something that would go away if I blinked. But it's really real and I am debuting, so thank you. Jiwoo, I'm waiting for you!"

 

Fourth place is a surprise - it belongs to Starship's Lee Luda. "I have never been in the top eleven before today," she tells the audience, flabbergasted. "I am so thankful. I - I really don't know what to say."

 

Third place then goes to Crush's center, Jennie Kim. She expresses her worry for not debuting when she'd dropped to twentieth place during the second eliminations, but then her gratitude for the National Producers who had brought her back into the top ranks.

 

The candidates for first are Pledis' Kim Yewon and DSP's Jeon Jiwoo. They walk forward and stand on the lightboxes, both incredibly happy for finally achieving this dream.

 

"IOI's center… first place… goes to Jeon Jiwoo!"

 

Now there's only one spot in the group left - eleventh. The candidates for said are Starship's Lee Jinsook, Pledis' Bae Sungyeon, Fantagio's Kim Sookyung, and JYP's Chou Tzuyu.

 

"Please show fourteenth place on the screen."

 

It's Sungyeon. She nods calmly and steps back, even though her labelmates in the pyramid are tearing up.

 

"Please show thirteenth place on the screen."

 

Tzuyu this time. Shock from the crowd - it was expected that one JYP girl or the other make it in.

 

This leaves eleventh place between Kim Sookyung and Lee Jinsook. They step forward, but they don't have a lightbox for this part like they did for first and second. It's just them, the crowd, and the cameras projecting their faces onscreen.

 

"In eleventh place, it is… Fantagio's trainee, Kim Sookyung! Congratulations!"

 

Sookyung trips over herself running to the other side. "I have trained for four years and this time on Produce 101 was the best of it," she says. "Jinsook unnie… I'm sorry."

 

Then Sookyung takes her place in the eleventh seat, and Jiwoo leads them in a bow.


"National producers, take good care of us!"