The spacious studio buzzed with a mix of excitement and tension as the 100 trainees entered per company.

- AHHH! I'm so nervous.

- Oh goodness! Zeth, please make it.

- Commenter upstairs, you're crazy! Your bias is the top 1 trainee. How can he not make it?

- June, please rise!

- Casper's so handsome.

The live episode was currently being aired online and on the Azure channel, and millions were watching from their homes, anticipating the first eliminations of Rising Stars.

The four friends were in Jia's dorm with their respective placards and lucky charms.

The three idols from GIRLS' EVOLUTION also gathered once more to watch the awaited moment.

Jisung first entered the studio, and the comment section went crazy when they saw his new hairstyle. His usual hairstyle, which covered most of his eyes, was now gelled up, exposing his forehead.

- Ahh! Jisungie~ handsome

- My baby's grown up already <3.

Then, Ren and Zeth entered, making the comments move at an unfathomable speed.

- OMG! OMG! OMG! My favorite ship. Please get married.

- Weird shippers get out. Fighting Ren and Zeth.

- Make them top 2, please!

Backstage, the independent trainees thought of a pose to do as they go in. Hoon and the others already decided to make a heart. June watched them, feeling left out. However, that wasn't really a bad thing.

They looked fucking stupid while making the hearts.

As the trainees before them posed extravagantly in front of the camera, the anticipation built as time passed by.

"Independent Trainees" were flashed on the screen.

- June! My black kitty is finally here!!

- Hoon's better than June.

- MyKittyJune: Nobody even mentioned Hoon, loser. He's a Debbie Downer! Have you seen the other episodes?

- At least Hoon is handsome. Your idol doesn't even want to show his face.

Jia fumed as she ran out of things to say. "I can't refute this motherfucker! I just want June to show his face."

"What if he's really ugly, though?" Na-ri asked. "There had been a series of face reveals that happened this year. From that Minecraft Youtuber, then that Streamer/Rapper. All of them had been the center of jokes! I believe face reveals never go right."

"It doesn't matter," Jia said. "I already fell in love with June's soul."

The independent trainees entered. Xin, Hoon, and Jiyong linked their arms together and made hearts with their hands. They looked like conjoined triplets.

June, on the other hand, was the only trainee who nonchalantly entered. He didn't even bother to stop for a second. He just walked to his seat and called it a day.

- HAHAHAHAHA. June stole the show for me.

- Our black kitty is really a black kitty.

- June is in such a mood.

- Hoon, Xin, Jiyong! I wish you guys the best.

The 100 trainees settled down, their hearts pounding in anticipation. The bright lights illuminated the nervous expressions on their faces.

Suddenly, the doors swung open, and Mentor Gun strode in with an air of authority.

June held in his laughter. He's acting so tough in front of the cameras, as if June didn't just help him with his "big shit" issue a while ago.

"Welcome, trainees," his voice boomed, commanding the attention of the trainees and viewers. "Today marks a significant step in your journey towards stardom."

The trainees exchanged anxious glances, some fidgeting their fingers while some tapping their feet in anticipation.

Just as the silence grew almost unbearable, the studio's energy shifted as Jordan Lee, the center of BOYMYSTIC—the birthed group of Rising Stars Season 2, entered through the curtains.

Gasps and whispers rippled through the crowd.

- OMG! Jordan, my love.

- Jordan, what are you doing here?

- I missed BOYMYSTIC! When are you guys going to make a comeback?

June observed Jordan Lee.

Truly, his aura was different. He could see his stats, and all of them were A+ except for "Rap."

It's no wonder he's one of Mei Ling's biases. She had multiple, so it was hard to keep track, but she was very vocal about her love for Jordan Lee.

The famous idol's presence was electrifying, his charisma filling the room with a new level of anxiousness and excitement. He scanned the room with his eyes and offered reassuring smiles to the trainees, hoping to calm their nerves to an extent.

"Good evening, everyone," Jordan greeted, his voice velvety yet powerful. "Looking at you today, I feel like I'm taken back to the time when I was still an aspiring trainee. I've also sat on one of those seats, so I could empathize with the nervousness you're feeling."

C-Jay leaned closer to June to whisper in his ears.

"How could he understand how we feel? He literally ranked above the top 5 every episode."

June nodded. Jordan could be compared to Zeth. There's no denying that he was one of the trainees with a secured debut spot since the beginning.

The other trainees seemed to be touched by his words, though.

"I know the road you've chosen is challenging, but remember, this journey is about growth and determination. In the end, good results are only an incentive."

The trainees listened intently, their admiration evident in their expressions. Mentor Gun stepped forward again, his gaze wandering through the room.

"The time has come for the first eliminations," he announced, his voice sounding heavy.

Silence fell over the room, broken only by the sound of anxious breaths.

"There are 100 trainees below me," Gun said. "But, unfortunately, only 75 of you shall remain. Therefore, 25 of you shall leave the competition and start a new journey."

Jordan stepped forward. "Remember that elimination doesn't define your worth or potential," he assured them. "Your journey doesn't end here. It's a stepping stone toward greater things."

The trainees exchanged glances, their expressions a mix of determination and fear. Mentor Gun stepped to the side as Jordan approached the podium next to a large screen that displayed the trainees' names.

"It is simple," he said. "The names of the trainees who will continue on with this journey will be called out and displayed on the screen. Along with that, the number of votes will also be displayed."

- Oh god. This is nerve-wracking! I feel like I'm about to puke.

- I feel so nervous, yet I laugh whenever June appears on screen! A bunch of nervous trainees, then BAM! A pink smiling cat. I can't with him.

- Please drop your stars while the voting still hasn't ended!

"As of the moment, the votes are still coming in," Jordan said. "But, in a few seconds, it shall halt. Trainees, count down with me."


The room grew tense as the screen showed the number zero, flickering into a different layout.

"Let the eliminations begin!"