Produce 48

Episode three of Produce 48 began with the results of the re-evaluations. A class were told they would not find out their fate until the trainees from the other classes who have moved up have arrived.

The first group of trainees to move were those who received a grade of F. Choi Yeon Soo from YG Plus was shown entering the room of F. She was criticized for the lack of power in her performance among other problems. Her friend Ye Won was laughing and happy to see her after she sat down. The next person to arrive was from the B class. Many were shocked to see Jang Gyu Ri step through the doors. The trainers were hoping she would be good but she failed to live up to her potential.

Shiroma Miru joined D class. Her fellow Japanese trainees were wondering why she was there. The trainers felt her dance movements were unstable and unnecessarily heavy. It was as if she was getting twice as much gravity with each step. A comparison to other trainees showed the obvious difference.

Goto Moe moved up to C class. Chiba Eri was hoping to join her but she did not earn the opportunity. Bae Yoon Jeong stated that she felt sad every time she saw Chiba and that she scolded her the most in F class.

Kim Min Ju wa the next to walk through the doors. Her issue was that she was too timid and self-conscious. Her video on the other hand showed enough improvement to move her up to C class.

Sohn Eun Chae was the only person featured who had moved to B class.

As for A class Kim Shi Hyun, Ahn Yoo Jin, Takahashi Juri, Go Yoo Jin, Honda Hitomi and Yabuki Nako were included among the eight trainees who were moved up.

Of the 15 who made up the initial A class Choi Ye Na moved to B class and Kwon Eun Bi to C class. The latter was disappointed as she felt she let the other girls in her agency down being the oldest and a role model for them.

The person who moved all the way down to F class was Jo Yu Ri. The members in the room were surprised that someone could drop all the way down from A to F. In her evaluation video she seemed to give up after forgetting the lyrics and choreography. The end result was her trip to land of the gray shirts.

After the re-evaluations A class was down to 14 members who will be up front for the performance of Pick Me. They will also compete for the center position with a 1-minute audition that their fellow trainees from B to F class will vote on. The one with the most votes will be the center for Pick Me.

Democracy decided that both Miyakwaki Sakura and Lee Ka Eun tied for most votes and that they go into a battle to the death in a cage match to determine who centers the song. Well that is how I would have them decide. What happened was that everyone had to vote again. The winner after the second vote was Miyawaki Sakura.

The M Countdown recording had members from classes A – D rehearsing on a giant diamond stage while F class stood on the sidelines watching. After much waiting F class got to join in on the rehearsals with their positions being in front of the giant stage.

Once the recording was over Lee Seung Gi arrived to meet the trainees for the first time. He offered to give them advice or be a shoulder to cry on when they get stressed. He mentioned that some trainees (which ones were not specified) gave up on the competition and went home. He hoped those who remained can stay energized and overcome any difficulties they are bound to encounter.

For their next assignment the trainees were gathered in what looked like a large hotel ballroom or a set constructed like one. Lee Seung Gi gave them the lowdown on what they are to do. 16 teams compete by performing 8 songs.

The members of the teams that win the head to head battles will receive 1000 bonus votes each. In addition, the voting public will get their say and only the top 58 as voted by them will move on to the next round of the show.

The teams were chosen by random draw with the center getting first pick of who she wanted on her team. Miyawaki Sakura assembled a strong team who other trainees compared to The Avengers. Once done she drew the name out of a container of balls to determine the next team’s leader. The process continued until 15 teams were formed. The six members who were not picked by anyone made up the final team.

A relay race determined song choice. The teams that managed to get the songs they wanted also got to choose their rivals to perform against. Drama ensued when the second-place team lead by Lee Chae Jeong chose to go against Han Cho Won’s team of misfits. Tears started to flow as they did not think they were going to win. Especially considering they had to perform BLACKPINK’s Boombayah. Lee Seung Gi gave them a pep talk and asked them to believe in themselves and be strong.

Once the battle pairings were determined it was time for the teams to distribute parts for the songs and practice. A lot of what went on reminded me of the group competitions in American Idol except without all catty and or/manufactured drama. Sure, there were a lot of language barriers but every team managed to find a way to express their ideas to each other. Of course, it was not all smooth sailing but no massive brawls broke out or anything. And in the end, it seemed each group found a way to come together to make things work.

For the most part these trainees kept things professional.

The final results of the member’s practice came in the group battle evaluation in front of a live audience. The first two groups on stage covered GFriend’s Love Whisper. The group lead by Sohn Eun Chae had a difficult time leading up this performance including having to change lead vocalists. When it came to game time they pulled through and impressed the trainers with their improvements. After getting off stage they broke down into tears of happiness for having all their efforts rewarded.

The group lead by Na Young also experienced some setbacks having not memorized the lyrics for the song by the time their first evaluation came. Even during the dress rehearsal, they had not gotten their shit together in regards to dancing in sync. When it came time for them to go live there were no mistakes and they had both the trainers and the other trainees marking out a bit. Yabuki Nako stood out the most and she got a lot of praise from the trainers and her fellow trainees for being very stable.

With both performances over the two groups were then taken to a room to see the final results. It looked like team one was going to take the victory as each of their members scored higher in head to voting. That was until the final tally for main vocalist votes came in. Yabuki Nako outscored Wang Ke 330 to 28 securing the win for her team and getting them the bonus votes.

The next song battle featured takes on Red Velvet’s Peek-A-Boo. Both teams performing the some came out in a “ready for the club” type of look. It was a stark contrast to the pureness and innocence of the groups who performed before them.

Broken Matt Hardy

WONDERFUL!!

Group one had Wang Yi Ren and Jang Gyu Ri as center and main vocalist. During the early evaluations there were no issues with singing and dancing. However, during dress rehearsal it was discovered that Gyu Ri had lost her voice which severely affected her performance. The actual live started well with no audible faults to be heard until Gyu Ri’s solo where she went severely off key. And that is where this episode ended.

With the competition getting serious after the first re-evaluation and grading it looked like some of trainees were stepping up their game. As mentioned earlier, the whole section after the formation of the teams was kind of dry. Those who enjoy the clusterfuck of drama filled conflict in the heat of competition will probably be a little disappointed. It’s best to fast forward to the first group battle performances if that is the case for you.

Even though the battle portions were short they gave a better idea of what the trainers were expecting out of these girls. Some of their early comments while watching the first two performances revealed more about what intangibles they were looking for besides technical skill in singing and dancing.  In this episode Yabuki Nako came out looking like the golden child of the second assignment so far. Hopefully the remaining performances will be just as good as the first ones and will feature more members that may be flying under the radar.