Episode 8 of Produce 48 introduced the third assignment for the trainees, a concept evaluation. This time Cheetah was the one to break the news. Much like the previous assignments there were several songs to choose from. These songs were introduced to the trainees by their composers who explained what their song was about and what they expected from those chose to perform them.
- Production Team Oreo – 1000% (Contemporary Girls Pop)
- Full8loom, Jake K & Jin Lee – I Am (R&B/Hip-Hop)
- Mask Rider – I Wish (New Jack Swing)
- EDEN of 13 – Rumor (Moombahton/Trap)
- Wonderkid & Shin Kung – Rollin Rollin (Tropical Pop Dance)
- Lee Dae Hwi of Wanna One – Let’s Meet Again (Pop Dance)
Unlike in the previous episodes, the trainees did not have the freedom to select their team members. Instead the national producers decided through voting who they believed would be the best fit for each song. Before the results were announced the trainees were warned that not all of them would get to perform on stage. Only five will survive to the actual stage performances.
The remaining trainees could be performing on stage, watching in the crowd or watching TV at home while eating pizza in their pajamas. Basically no one was safe and all the hard work and practice could go up in smoke if a team gets wiped out in the aftermath of the ranking announcement.
Once the songs they could end up performing were presented it came for trainees to learn the benefits of placing first in this assignment. The team that places first in this evaluation gets 130,000 bonus votes. In addition, the trainee who places first in the first-place team will receive 50,000 bonus votes. The remaining members of the team will receive 20,000 bonus votes.
As the teams were formed they were separated into different rooms. It was hard to predict which song each group would get based on where the trainees were placed. Even they had a difficult time figuring out what they were assigned. When all the groups were formed the songs the national producers picked for them were revealed.
Chae Won aggressively went after center position for “I Wish” right away. Min Ju followed shortly after wanting to prove herself to the nation. The Japanese trainees in the group (Sakura and Nako) were then asked if they wanted to take a shot with both taking the opportunity as well. In the end Chae Won’s determination won her one of the temporary center positions.
Hitomi and Won Young were chosen as temporary centers for “Rollin Rollin”. Vocally Hitomi was stable whereas Won Young was not at all according to the trainers. Dance wise the team were a mess with their positioning which caused a lot of problems early in the lessons.
For “Let’s Meet Again” the competition for temporary centers was intense with Yi Ren and Misaki getting the votes of confidence from their fellow team members. Both seemed to be suitable centers for the song and the only criticism from Choi Young Jun was that Misaki should cheer up a little more as she had a habit of making things look sad with her body language.
Yoo Jin was elated at having been put in the group to perform “Rumor” and lobbied to be center immediately. Everyone else on the team except for Eun Bi also put their name in the hat for the role as well but she was forced by her team to try out anyway. The temporary centers after the vote ended up being Shi Hyun and Yoo Jin.
During the lessons Choi Young Jun mentioned that when he heard “Rumor” he the thought of Yoo Jin and how the song suited her. His expectations of her were high and when she performed the dance routine it looked like a natural fit. Even her fellow trainees noticed that she was the one who would be the best center for the song.
The “I Am” team chose Ka Eun and Juri as their temporary centers. Juri had doubts about being center as she tended to be scolded a lot during previous lessons for the other assignments. When she performed the rap vocals for “I Am” she finally received some praise from the trainers where they commented that she started to show growth as a center.
The other member of the team who was noticed by the trainers was Ye Na. She was praised for her vocal and dance performances when she was not expected to be much compared to the other members in her group.
The team who drew “1000%” were happy that they all got the song they wanted. Yet there was a sudden bite in the ass called reality given that all of them in the room were low ranking trainees and could possibly not perform the song at all.
They had a plethora of low-ranking trainees begging to be center and there was an air of desperation in the room when it came to giving their reasons for wanting the position. The same desperation was felt when it came to being the main vocalist. Nakanishi Chiyori tried out for both positions and was shut out at center but was elected as a main vocalist.
Given that this was her last chance she burst out into tears of joy for getting at least one high profile position. During the vocal lessons her vocals were less than stellar. After some technique lessons from Soyou she showed a lot of improvement when the team practiced on their own.
With the teams formed and their songs assigned it was time for the second ranking announcement. The cut off for this ranking was 30th place. The votes for 29th place equated to 12th place or higher for the last ranking and the bar was already set high in regards to how many votes it would take just to place.
The early rankings of 29 – 21 had several high-ranking trainees (Goto Moe, Jang Gyu Ri, Kim Shi Hyun) see their rank drop to the lower levels basically making it impossible to truly predict who would place where. Murase Sae ended up in 25th place but it was noted by Lee Seung Gi that she would have been eliminated without the bonus votes she received in the last evaluation.
For ranks 20 – 13 Park Hae Yoon moved up from 43rd to 18th with her impressive vocal performance of BoA’s Meri Kuri. Kim Chae Won also moved up considerably from 28th to 15th. Others such as Lee Chae Yeon, Choi Ye Na and Wang Yi Ren fell from the top 12 to the surprise of many of their fellow trainees.
The top 12 had some new faces including Heo Yun Jin, Jo Yu Ri, and the one girl dubbed “Queen of Reversals” Han Cho Won who moved up 38 places to go from 47th to 9th place. Her fellow “Boombayah” team member Hye Won also moved up a lot going from 25th to 3rd place.
The first-place winner from the previous ranking Lee Ka Eun dropped from first place to 8th making way for a new girl to take top spot. It came down to Jang Won Young and Yabuki Nako with the former taking the top spot for this ranking period receiving 1,010,55 total votes. She was also the only trainee to receive over 1 million votes.
The final ranking announcement was for 30th place. The final two candidates were Go Yoo Jin and Takeuchi Miyu. In the end Go Yoo Jin was not destined to perform the song made for her as she ended up in 31st place.
Looking back at this episode it was absolutely cruel to make all these girls go through all the practice for the possibility of no return on their investment. Yet it made for great TV so that balances things out. The rankings on the other hand were completely unpredictable and showed how fickle the national producers were.