"What?" Leo exclaimed, his eyebrows furrowed. The sudden change in schedule ensued turmoil within the team, and even June felt uncomfortable going into the interim evaluations without practicing their vocals even once.

Jangmoon smiled. "We're shocked too, brothers. But the production team is urging us to be there in five minutes. See you!" he cheerfully said before leaving their practice room.

Zeth sighed and massaged his temples as soon as the door slammed close.

"What are we going to do?" Lin Zhi asked.

"It's alright," Zeth tried to calm the team down. "We have the dance down, and I'm assuming you guys are at least familiar with your lines."

"We didn't even fully run down our parts," Leo stated.

Yuri pursed his lips. "Well, if we followed what was agreed upon yesterday, then we wouldn't have a problem right now. I'll add in some harmonies here and there to save some face."

Jisung appeared as if he wanted to cry.

The tension increased a million-fold, creating an awful team spirit.

"Let's just go," June said. "Just...get along well during these evaluations. Let's show the mentors what we worked hard for."

June only ever had disastrous interim evaluations ever since he joined the show, and he wanted to change that.

They went out of the practice room and to the training center. Almost all of the trainees were already there, so their team settled on the very back.

June frowned when he saw twelve chairs behind the mentors' backs.

Jihyun glanced excitedly at the door as June's team entered. She beamed as she looked at his face.

Ah, she already felt invigorated.

She felt Hyerin nudge her side, causing her to evade his gaze away from him.

"That's June, right?" she asked. "Wow," Hyerin exclaimed. "I saw the live broadcast the other day and was amazed. Why was he hiding such a face under that mask?"

Minho hummed. "My sister became a fan. She asked me to get his autograph."

Jihyun and Hyerin chuckled. "Then, go ahead," Jihyun said.

"Nope," Minho smiled. "I'm the world star. I can't ask for an autograph from an idol trainee."

Gun cleared his throat, causing them to halt their conversation.

"Alright, let's start. I have a schedule after this one, so let's make it quick," he impatiently said.

"Right," Minho cleared his throat. He took the mic and spoke, "Good morning, trainees. I'm sure most of you are shocked to see us here two hours earlier than the expected time, but this is the fun of a survival show! You must always be prepared at all times."

"You have been given less than two days to prepare, so we're not expecting a perfect performance," Woo-jin said. "Although I'm seeing some good teams, and I'm already expecting a lot," he continued, his gaze lingering on June's team.

June felt constipated.

They were already placing his team on a pedestal.

"You might think this is just a normal interim evaluation; however, this evaluation is important. These twelve chairs behind us aren't just props. These seats are going to be filled up by special people," Bone added.

"Special mentors, please come in," Minho said.

The room seemed to hold its breath as the door opened, revealing familiar faces.

"Holy shit," C-Jay exclaimed loudly. "Jay Kim?"

The people who entered gave a different aura—showcasing that they were truly celebrities.

Jisung squeezed June's hand as they came in one by one.

A member from BLACKBUNS, THRICE, SYNTHESIS, and all other original artists of the song the trainees will perform came in.

The last person was the most imposing. With a cane in his hand, dark sunglasses, and a straw fedora, the room bowed as the presence of a well-known senior, Hwan, entered the room.

"I'm going to puke," Jisung said. "Hwan looks so intimidating."

As Kang Minho's announcement settled in, the trainees' eyes widened, their jaws practically hitting the floor.

"Great. Not only do we have to impress our mentors, but now we've got the actual singers watching us massacre their songs."

"I hope they've forgotten their own lyrics at some point too. Maybe we can bond over that."

"I forgot all the lyrics. Shit."

Minho cleared his throat into the mic. "Let's not make this any longer. 'Bodylicious' team, please take center stage."

C-Jay's team stood up, and they looked more composed than June had expected.

Or maybe that's just C-Jay and Jangmoon.

"Alright, introduce your team," Gun said.

"Good morning, mentors!" Seungwoo exclaimed. "We are Team Yummy Bodies!"

The mentors and trainees stifled a laugh after hearing their team name. June shook his head. It felt like he already knew who came up with such a straightforward name.

"Team Yummy Bodies, huh?" Jay Kim said. "Well, since it seems like you have embodied my song with your team name, I'm looking forward to your performance."

"I wouldn't," Gun whispered.

The music started, and 'Yummy Bodies' immediately snapped into performance mode. The thumping bass and smooth hip-hop beats set the tone as the trainees prepared to deliver the seductive rap verses that defined the track.

Jihyun and Woo-jin exchanged glances, both sharing an unspoken skepticism about how the performance would unfold. Some of the trainees within the team had the reputation of being 'comedic reliefs' rather than being 'talented,' so they already buried their expectations underground.

The opening move was slow and sensuous, surprising the mentors. As the first rapper started, their delivery was unexpectedly smooth.

A slight grin tugged on Mentor Bone's lips. He glanced at Jay Kim and saw him intently watching the performance, pursing his lips together here and there.

Of course, there were hiccups along the way. There were some missteps during the tough chorus and fumbles dung fast rap verses. However, team 'Yummy Bodies' already exceeded the mentors' expectations, especially since the last-ranked trainee was in the team.

As the last notes lingered, the mentors started writing pointers on their boards.

Jay Kin spoke first, his tone more generous than expected. "Honestly, I was expecting a disastrous performance after seeing your ranks, but you guys did unexpectedly okay. I think your teamwork is the most commendable."

Mentor Minho nodded, adding, "It wasn't a flawless performance...but it wasn't bad. Practice more, and you'll have a good performance.

Team 'Yummy Bodies' exchanged triumphant smiles, their shoulders visibly lightened by the mentors' words.

"Thank you, mentors," their leader said. The team bowed before going back to their original seats.

Jisung couldn't help but clap as they finished.

"They did better than expected, huh?" he whispered to June.

June nodded. "Those two fools improved."

"I wish we could get comments like those, too," Jisung said in a hopeful voice.

However, June knew that the comments they'd be receiving would be completely different from 'Yummy Bodies.'

Even if the mentors promised to look at them equally, their biases were already evident after seeing the trainees' ranks.

There's no doubt that they'd be judging their team with higher standards.

The interim evaluations continued, and it was evident the teams had become more nervous in the presence of the original singers.

A lot of teams fumbled with their lyrics and tunes, and they received a generous scolding from both the mentors and the original singer.

The teams performing 'Shake It' and 'Beside Me,' however, received the most compliments out of all teams. It was rightfully deserved. Their teams felt cohesive, and it seemed like they already had their concept down.

June noticed that the order of performances followed the pattern of the original singers' seating arrangement—which meant their team would be performing last.

June didn't know whether it was on purpose or not, but surely, Azure knew how to stir up drama.

They were saving the 'best' team for last, building up yet another expectation for their team.

"The team performing 'I Love You, Leave; I Don't Love You, Don't Leave,' please take center stage and show us your performance."