Chapter 149 Skateboard Rig
The energy in the studio reached a fever pitch as the most anticipated team, 'Skateboard Ride,' took the stage. The screams and cheers from the audience were deafening, a testament to the team's popularity.
Jia covered her ears as the fans around her screamed like those rubber chickens that made squeaky sounds.
"Damn," Bora said next to her ears. "The cheers are different this time."
Jia nodded in agreement and squinted her eyes to look at the members of the team.
She frowned when she realized that June wasn't with them.
It's such a shame. June would have won if he had been with this team. It's like a powerhouse of top ranks gathered together!
C-Jay clicked his tongue as the camera focused on the members of Team Risers one by one.
"I wonder what it's like to be born like that," he muttered.
"You'd never know," Jangmoon said, emerging from behind him.
C-Jay glared at the tall trainee and then ruffled his hair. "Oh, shut up. I would have punched you for that comment but you did a great job out there, so I'm cutting you some slack. But wait…did you cry?" he asked when he noticed Jangmoon's red eyes.
Jangmoon's eyebrows furrowed before shaking his head. "I didn't," he defended, although he sounded too defensive.
"Are you sure?" C-Jay pestered.
Jangmoon merely nodded. "I'm fine. I'll get back to my place."
After Jangmoon sat in his original seat, Xin came into the room with a proud smirk. June noticed his smug face and frowned.
Did he say something to Jangmoon?
June didn't have time to dwell on his thoughts as his focus was brought back to the large screen. Team Risers were already in their starting positions, ready to take on the stage.
The screams were still deafening, making June frown.
Then, the beat started.
"Riding through the streets, heart racing like a beat,
Love's a skateboard ride, unpredictable and sweet."
Seeing Lin Zhi sing the lines he was supposed to sing left a bitter taste in June's mouth.
However, Sehun approached him and whispered in his ears, "You sang it better."
As the chorus approached, Zeth and Casper, two young men who had captured the hearts of viewers from the very beginning, stood at the center.
They stepped forward, their faces beaming with confidence. They exchanged knowing glances, and the crowd erupted in cheers.
Zeth took the mic first, his voice smooth and confident as he began the pre-chorus rap.
"Skateboard ride, love's a wild ride,
Falling down the curb, swallowing my pride."
Casper followed suit, matching Zeth's swagger with his own.
"Boo, you suck, a little kid shouts.
Yet all that's in my mind is how to ask you out."
Their playful rap lyrics flowed seamlessly, their chemistry evident as they traded lines back and forth. The crowd was in a frenzy, screaming and cheering as if their lives depended on it.
"I see why they're ranked first and second. They're the best rappers on the show!"
"I need to vote for this team! I just need to."
"It's definitely over. I can't believe a team like this is not performing last."
The performance continued without any mishaps. C-Jay was at the corner of the room, praying mantras under his breath as he watched the scene. He wished for something, anything that would make them fumble.
Then, the right moment came.
As the performance neared its climactic final chorus, the anticipation in the air was almost unbearable.
June knew that this part would be the most important in the song.
The high note.
He pulled it off perfectly, and Lin Zhi was the one who got to sing in the end.
Their performance was going so well, and all of the mentors on the elevated platform nodded their heads to the beat.
But as the music swelled and the moment arrived for Lin Zhi to hit that high note, something seemed off. He hesitated, his lips moving, but the note didn't emerge from his mouth. It was as if he had missed his cue.
C-Jay sat on the edge of his seat as he watched the scene before him. The other trainees who were paying attention also seemed a bit confused.
"Is he…lipsyncing the high note?" Sehun asked.
"He is," June said, a small smirk appearing on his face.
The mentors, especially Jihyun, were disappointed in the obvious lip-syncing.
She made eye contact with Woo-jin, and the two of them had come to an agreement—June, indeed, did it better.
It made the mentors wonder why they kicked out the person who performed best on the team.
It also made Jihyun feel confused about how Lin Zhi was allowed to do such a thing. The production crew had never allowed a trainee to lip-sync during live performances before.
Jia, who was watching the performance intently, also frowned when the high note came. She also didn't miss the worried glances that Zeth and Jaeyong exchanged.
"Did you notice that?" Jia asked Bora.
"He was lipsyncing," Bora responded. However, their speculations were drowned out by the screams of frenzied fans.
Lost in their little fangirling world, they didn't even notice that Lin Zhi lip-synced the note...or maybe, they didn't want to believe that he would lip-sync it.
"As expected," Mimi chimed. "These people are blind. They don't care about it at all."
Although some people stopped cheering when they noticed the 'lipsyncing' accident, die-hard fans of Lin Zhi still continued to cheer for him like nothing had just happened.
Lin Zhi, who was fully aware of the incident, continued to perform shamelessly, too. As expected, fans act like their idols.
June shook his head. "Shameless bastard," he muttered.
As their performance ended, the crowd cheered once more. However, much to their surprise, it wasn't as loud as before. Of course, it was still loud, but it couldn't be compared to the cheers they got in the beginning.
The mentors were now going to give their comments, and Jihyun wanted to speak first.
She wanted to address the 'lip-syncing incident,' but before she could even say anything, someone suddenly spoke in her in-ear.
"Don't speak about it," a deep voice said, sending shivers down her spine. "...or else."
Jihyun froze for a second, not comprehending what had just happened.
That voice…it was someone she had never heard before. In the past three seasons of Rising Stars, this was the very first time something like this had happened.
And she couldn't help but feel afraid.
"Are you okay?" Hyerin asked by her side. Jihyun cracked a nervous smile before nodding.
In the end, she couldn't ignore the murderous intent in the voice she just heard. So, she settled for the usual positive comments.
"It was good," she shakily said. "You guys were a great team, and I—I think you practiced very well," she stammered.
"Thank you, mentor," Lin Zhi smiled the widest, causing some of the audience members to cheer.
Hyerin was about to speak, also wanting to talk about the lip-syncing incident, when Sun-Y suddenly took the microphone.
"Lin Zhi," Sun-Y started off with a smile on his face.
June frowned. At that point, he already sensed something wrong.
"You were incredible tonight. I couldn't help but notice you all throughout the performance. Your voice is incredible, and your dancing is impeccable. I must say—you truly deserve the Main Vocalist position."
June leaned against the chair with a knowing smile.
There's something going on here.
Sun-Y had never given a compliment to a team throughout this show, and it was weird that he had said those words all of a sudden.
It made June think that Lin Zhi was more well-connected than he had thought.
But before he could ponder more about it, a crew member shouted their team name.
"Team Aglet! Please head backstage."