In the last episode, the remaining 54 girls had been tasked with their next mission, called the combination mission. Cells disbanded, and new groups of three, six or nine members formed in their place.
Half of the new groups completed their performances, mostly successfully. In this episode, the combination mission continues with the other half of the performers.
First to appear on the stage is the group covering Taeyeon’s contribution to the Hotel Del Luna Soundtrack (All About You).
This group was on shaky ground, with the masters showing the most concern for Huang Xing Qiao, who could not focus on her parts and was nervously laughing off her mistakes. Sakurai Miu was also called out for her unstable vocals.
It was down to Choi Yeyoung to pull her group together, assisting in any way she could to strengthen her team.
In their stage performance, Yeyoung stood out the most with her firm but delicate vocals. Lim Hanbyul commented that they might have found the main vocalist of the debut team. Because of her, the entire team did well and received positive reviews from the masters.
Next to perform was the team coving ITZY’s Mafia In The Morning. In the mid-point evaluations, the masters said they liked the concept, but the girls were not conveying it in their performance. They needed to work on acting out the story they were trying to tell.
For a group of women looking for revenge on a jackass lover, two of them looked like they wanted to date the jerk again—that needed fixing.
These girls brought the proper attitude to tell their story and convincingly told the intended story for the actual performance. The masters were pleased with their intensity and confidence.
As a side note, this round might erase the bad taste that Fu Yaning left in some people’s mouths at the beginning of this program and allow viewers to see the talented and pretty girl behind the bitch facade presented to them. In a way, she carried this team with her swagger.
Team VVS was one of the more problematic groups in the last episode. Their issues continued into their mid-point evaluation, where they put on an enjoyable, nursery rhyme-like performance. However, it was not good enough for the big stage. The masters pointed out they should show some confidence and exude the attitude of “I’m the best.” to match the power of the original version.
Post evaluation Liang Jiao’s lack of commitment to the team caused some tension with her other members. Then, in the dress rehearsal, her problems worsened by starting the song off-key, which fucked up everybody following her introduction.
This group tried hard but didn’t do that well overall. They had a decent start but went off-key due to getting too hype during the song. According to Woo Won Jae, their rapping skills need some work.
The team covering IU’s My Sea followed. Nonaka Shana’s issues hitting the notes in her part continued to haunt her. Lim Hanbyul gave her some practical advice to get over the hump of hitting her problem notes which she took to heart.
By the time dress rehearsal came around, she had improved enough that Lim Hanbyul was confident she would be even better on stage. Jeong Jiyoon, however, started to falter at the worst possible time, failing to the dramatic high notes. In addition, her voice sounded hoarse and worn out from over practice.
When it came to the real thing, all the members stepped up their vocal game. Kim Chaehyun received compliments from Sunmi for her improved singing. Tiffany told Jeong Jiyoon not to worry about one bad performance, and it’s not the end of the world. Or so one would hope.
Lim Hanbyul showed much love for Nonaka Shana, calling her his favourite singer of the 99 competitors.
My House was next on the setlist. This group was one of the more problematic in the last episode, with Wang Ya Le’s insistence on adding some weird vocal dynamics into the song for style points.
In their mid-point evaluation, she was called out for her terrible sense of rhythm and the shit harmonizing. It was so bad that Lim Hanbyul told her she should probably go home.
To add insult to injury, Wang Ya Le was placed dead last for three-member team performers. Nevertheless, she resolved to work harder to prove they should not go home.
The result of their renewed efforts was a sultry performance that did the source material justice. Seo Young Eun received compliments for killing it on the stage, and Kuwahara Ayana’s transformation from the baby of the J group to a horny woman asking for action left the masters dumbfounded.
One could argue that these girls should not have gone to this level for their cover, especially since two are minors. However, the masters seemed to dig it. So as the girls got their approval, age-appropriate content was a moot point.
Team Salute hit the stage next. It was revealed that their choreography was a group effort, but Cai Bing tried to take credit for all of it in the mid-point evaluation. Kim Doah clarified that it was a group effort to the masters to shut that shit down real quick.
After the group finished with the rough cut of their dance, the masters noted that Cai Bing was stiff and a step faster than her teammates. She made the excuse that she was too busy looking after everyone else to practice fully.
In a team meeting, it was suggested that maybe the killing part should go to the main dancer Yoon Jia. However, Cai Bing stubbornly insisted that she keep the position, eventually breaking into tears to end the conversation.
Things got worse for the team when Cai Bing started going against the agreed-upon dance positions and bullied her way into grabbing more of the spotlight saying as the leader she can do whatever she wants. It caused frustration among her team members with Kim Doah venting in her solo interview and about ready to throw hands.
In dress rehearsal, Cai Bing was again ahead of the beat. Whether her team wins will come down to whether she can fix her problem since the rest of the group was in sync otherwise.
Surprisingly the real thing went off without a hitch with the entire team in sync. However, the part Cai Bing tried to add for herself was nowhere to be found. The group must have convinced her to drop it.
By the end of their performance, Tiffany and Sunmi stood and saluted them for a job well done.
The masters had a tough decision about who would win the nine-member team battle. Salute was technically challenging, and they put on a terrific stage. However, Ice Cream, while also having demanding choreography, had the advantage of fitting the member’s charms into the dance.
The final group to perform was team Fate. They were asked to change their choreography to match the song’s message at the end of episode six. After getting some advice from Back Kooyoung, they structured their dance around the emotion of losing their friends to elimination from the competition, hoping that would come across to the viewers.
What this team created was probably one of the best pieces of work on this program so far. It perfectly matched everything the song’s lyrics were saying and touched everyone watching in the studio.
When the performance ended, there was a stunned silence in the room for a few moments. The impact had several of the girls watching in tears. Even Back Kooyoung was at the point of crying after what he just witnessed.
The masters agreed that what they just watched was well executed. Moreover, it was very creative and confident, according to Woo Won Jae.
Once all the performances ended, it was up to the masters to choose which teams would benefit from 270,000 additional points.
The winning teams are as follows:
Three members – Huh Jiwon, Fu Yaning, Sakamoto Mashiro (ITZY – Mafia In The Morning)
Six members – Choi Yujin, Kang Yeseo, Shen Xiaoting, Su Ruiqi, May, Yamauchi Moana (Lee Sunhee – Fate)
Nine Members – Kim Doah, Kim Hyerim, Yoon Jia, Cai Bing, Chiayi, Zhang Luofei, Arai Risako, Hayase Hana, Shima Moka (Little Mix – Salute)
It was apparent that team Fate would take home the benefit the moment the last note hit on their song. So no big surprises there. The other two winners are very subjective. I would have preferred if the teams who performed We Are and Ice Cream took home the benefit points. They felt more deserving of the reward in my mind.
Once all the benefit winners were revealed, it was back to begging the viewers to save their favourite girls.
Next week, another hopefully concise elimination episode and the start of the next mission.