“Wow, there are so many people today.”

“I know, right?”

“Is there a variety show filming today?”

We decided to film our reaction to the 4th episode that just aired on the tvK Broadcasting Station.
As we peeked outside from our van, we noticed that there were more people in front of the station than usual.

Even when filming a variety show, it’s not usually this crowded, right?

If I were them, I’d rather wait in front of the agency since I wouldn’t know when we’ll arrive at the broadcasting station…

We quickly became familiar with the faces of the well-connected PDs and staff members rather than the celebrities in front of the broadcasting station.

Our manager glanced at his rearview mirror and spoke.

“Do you want to get out first?”

“Oh, yes.”

It didn’t matter whether we entered through the underground parking lot or the main entrance, so I nodded and got out of the van.

Suddenly, we heard loud voices calling us.

“Wow! The Dawn!”


“Hoyun! Seo Hoyun!”


This was unexpected.

“…Should we get back in?”

“Hey, are you kidding? We can’t get back in now.”

At Jeong Dajun’s innocent question, Kang Ichae pushed him out of the van.
I hurriedly grabbed the dazed Kim Seonghyeon and bowed our heads as we entered the broadcasting station.

Only after rushing into the broadcasting station did we look at each other.

“What was that?”


“No, seriously… What just happened?”

“I don’t know either……”

We repeated the dumbfounded conversation.
No, really, we couldn’t understand.

The stares from inside the broadcasting station were still the same.

Before our manager arrived, Shining Star‘s writer came running out in socks.

“Oh my, our lucky charms!”


It was still an unadapted nickname.

“Good to see you, good to see you.
Was it hard coming here?”

“We’re fine.”

“There are a lot of people outside today, right?”


“Apparently, they’re all here to see The Dawn and the Shining Star cast members! You know, Shining Star‘s ratings have been explosive recently.”

The ratings were indeed exploding.
I admit to that.

Thanks to that, our popularity seemed somewhat maintained, even if we didn’t make it to first place here.

They didn’t mention Kim Seonghyeon’s school bullying controversy and him leaving the show because we were ultimately helping the ratings.

The writer had always been kind on the surface, but I felt a strange boundary.
Today, especially, the writer seemed overly friendly, which made me suspicious.
My mind raced.

Ah, now I understand.

She must have secured a reward because of the good ratings.

“I’m jealous.”

“Uh? What did you say?”


I’m jealous.
I stared at the writer.

The rating for the 4th episode was close to 6% because we were used as sacrificial offerings.
If I had secured a reward vacation like that, I would have taken care of The Dawn more carefully.

The entire tvK Broadcasting Station was now covered with Shining Star posters.
The popularity we couldn’t feel until just a few months ago hit us all at once.

“Sit down, sit down.”

The writer guided us to the prepared location to film our reaction to the 4th episode.
We sat at a large conference room table and turned on the wall-mounted TV, and a pre-set video came on.

However, we couldn’t concentrate on the reaction because we were worried about the absent Kim Heeyeon.

Where did she go?

“Wow, Hoyun looks so handsome!”

“You came out pretty~.”

While I was thinking about the absence of Kim Heeyeon, the 4th episode ended before I knew it.
At the same time, another staff member entered and started the third-round performance announcement.

“Shall we start the third-round performance announcement?”


“The third round is a free-concept performance, meaning you can do whatever you want!”


I knew something was fishy, and now I got it.

Jeong Dajun asked cautiously.

“Weren’t we… doing that until now?”

“This time, it’s different! This time, you can produce the concept, song–everything according to your preference~.
However, you can’t use songs from your original album!”

I have a feeling.

The Today side must have already prepared the comeback song to this extent.
So, it was clear that they gave us a free concept, meaning we could do anything we wanted.
I calculated in my head.

“How much time do we have left……”

“We have a week to come on stage and practice and then ten days until the live broadcast!”

“Make a new song in just ten days?”


These guys…

The production crew didn’t seem to know I was the type to spit at smiling faces, so they just grinned brightly.

I couldn’t actually spit in front of the camera, so I just stuck out my tongue inside my mouth.

This made things difficult.
Even though we had prepared everything else, it wouldn’t be a perfect narrative if we presented a bland performance in the third round.

After the production crew finished speaking and left, we were given some time to discuss amongst ourselves.

“So, we have to choose a song within the next two days, right?”

“Is that even possible?”

“Well, if we were given a demo or something….”

“Usually, other agencies would have some songs stored to the side, so we could just choose from them….”

“Do we have any stored songs?”



We couldn’t use such a disastrous song for Shining Star‘s finale.

Should I try to squeeze something out of Lim Hyeonsu? But, even if I pushed Hyeonsu to the limit, the time was too tight, and there was no guarantee that the result would be good.
Moreover, Hyeonsu was a card that I wanted to save for more critical situations.

Ignoring Jeong Dajun’s frustrated pop pop pop sounds, I was spinning my pen when my eyes met Kang Ichae’s.

It seemed like he had something to say.



Kang Ichae made a sly face and acted cute.
This was suspicious.

“What is it, you little punk? Just spit it out.”

“Hyung, we’re at the broadcasting station.”

“Ah, right.”

I had forgotten I was supposed to watch my language because I was an old, tired office worker.

I pretended to zip my lips, and the other members lightly laughed.

“Hoyun-hyung, Seonghyeon-hyung, Jiwon-hyung, Dajun, I’m Kang Ichae.”

“I know.
Your name is Kang Ichae.”

“I… have five songs that I’ve worked on.”

No way!

I clenched my fist but then stopped myself.
If I got my hopes up and it didn’t work out, I would be the one feeling sad.

“Didn’t you only do the arrangements?”

“Ah, hyung, don’t be like that.
Of course, I learned a lot about composing skills from Lim Hyeonsu.
Wanna listen?”

Kang Ichae confidently brought out his cell phone.

He must be quite confident in his work to let us listen right away.

With a mix of anticipation and worry, we all stared intently at Kang Ichae’s phone as the first song played.
Before even the first verse passed, a gleam appeared on everyone’s face.



“You truly are Ichae.”

Kang Ichae had lived up to his name.

I really made a good choice.

“Kang Ichae, why did you say you were okay with ‘Pineapple’ when you could do something like this?”

“I learned it recently too.
I just got interested in what the composer was doing and tried it a little bit.”

Lim Hyeonsu would cry if she heard this.

How could the song be this good after just trying it a bit? Did he already know how to play instruments? I looked at Kang Ichae suspiciously, but he just pretended not to know anything.

After listening to a few more songs, we stopped.

“I’ll ask the composer again.
Just in case.”

“Hey, this is already really, really good.”

Kang Ichae scratched the back of his head, looking embarrassed.

Anyway, it was great.
I checked the songs on a piece of paper.

“I like the second one the most.
It’s grand and has an orchestra, giving off a finale vibe.”

“Finale… sounds good.”

Seong Jiwon nodded in agreement.
I noticed Kim Seonghyeon, who had been acting unusually quiet, was glancing around.

“Hey, Seonghyeon, the one who’s looking around.”


“Say what you want to say quickly.”

Kim Seonghyeon hesitated a few more times before finally opening his mouth.

“What about a concept like the birth of a star? …The name of the program is Shining Star, after all.”

“Right, it’s a name made for idols to shine.”


It wasn’t bad, but it was an ordinary concept.
The term “Shining Star” implied that it would make someone a star.


“Do you have any other ideas?”

With MSG, things would change.

Before bringing up the topic, I waited for Kim Seonghyeon’s words.
He looked anxious as if he had something important to say.
After a moment of hesitation, Kim Seonghyeon spoke.

“We’ve been… through so much throughout the program.
We thought we could shine, but there were constant conflicts during the shooting.”

I was secretly surprised.
So were the other members.

We didn’t expect Kim Seonghyeon to talk about his struggles in front of the camera, even if it was somewhat gentle.

The camera excitedly captured every scene.

The fifth episode would be broadcast soon… and it was about time this kind of story came out.

“I read it in a magazine when I was young.
Stars need intense friction from the beginning.
As nebulae collide, the internal pressure increases, and the heat and temperature rise, creating a nucleus at its center and forming a baby star!”

“Was that in Korean just now?”

When Jeong Dajun mumbled in confusion, Seong Jiwon briefly translated.

“So, a star is born after going through that much hardship?”

Kim Seonghyeon nodded.

And after going through that, the baby star can shine on its own after enduring gravity and nuclear fusion.”


“So…  Ah, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say.”

I understood what he meant.

“So far, our struggles were inevitable, and after overcoming them, we finally became stars that can shine on their own.
How about making that our story?”

When I summarized it, Kim Seonghyeon nodded vigorously.
As I twirled my pen, I thought about the synergy between the “final” stage and the concept, and my eyes met with Kim Seonghyeon’s.

We smiled at each other for a moment.

“It would be amazing if we really got first place.”


I’ll accept.”

It could be touching to the fans, and the narrative would be good.

Seong Jiwon also nodded.

“I like it too.
The lyrics might come out pretty.
Oh, should we try doubling here?”

“Wait, planets?! Space?! Can I arrange the sound to be grander?”

“Hyung… Eh, is Seonghyeon-hyung becoming a star? Then, can I make a wish to hyung?”

Everyone said what they wanted to say.


[It must have rubbed off from Seo Hoyun!]

What did I do?

I habitually stopped twirling my pen and stood up straight.

“Let’s go back to the practice room and discuss.”

“Can we get choreography?”

“We’ll have to do it ourselves… again…”


What could we expect from a small to mid-sized agency…?

But the dancing duo, Kim Seonghyeon and Jeong Dajun, were already getting heated discussing the choreography.

“So, here it’s like, pat pat!”

“No, it’s not pat pat.
It should be a sweep. Sweep, sweep, and then boom.”

“Uh, I’m not sure… let’s listen to the song again and talk.”

I didn’t know if it was Korean, but I believed they would do well.
If the other members laid the groundwork, all I had to do was enjoy it.

When the final decision was made on the song and concept, and the camera director thought he had filmed enough, he packed up the camera and left.

“Hey, handsome weirdo.”

“Handsome weirdo?”

It was Kim Heeyeon.
She approached, looking much tidier than before.

“It means a handsome crazy guy.”


At my flat response, Kim Heeyeon snickered.

“Handsome weirdo, so, did your life improve? After the evil editing?”

“Thanks to you.
I appreciate you accepting my request.”

“Ah, seriously, I really don’t know.”

Kim Heeyeon brushed her hair back.

“You guys managed to suppress the manipulation controversy by getting fifth place after the evil editing.
That was the right thing to do.
It’s better to quiet down the controversy like that than to leave it unresolved.”

“Ah, well…”

I rolled my eyes.

Kim Heeyeon seemed to think that the evil editing I asked for, focusing on Kim Seonghyeon, was a way to calm down our manipulation controversy.

“Killing two birds with one stone.”[1]

“Isn’t it strange…? Did I misunderstand the meaning? Isn’t it a case of ‘different strokes for different folks’?”

“No, you can interpret it in the original meaning.”

Kim Heeyeon frowned.

“We managed to calm the manipulation controversy, but we haven’t been able to get the second bird yet.”

“I really don’t know what you’re thinking.
Not at all.”

“You’ll find out soon.”

I grinned, and Kim Heeyeon, frustrated, pounded her chest.

“Anyway, stop by the express bus terminal station on your way back.
It looked like you hadn’t been there yet.
It’s very flashy.”


“Huh, the company didn’t tell you?”

“What is it?”

Not knowing, I asked.
Kim Heeyeon let out a slightly disgruntled smile.

“Really, how does Daepaseong Entertainment handle its work? Didn’t you know there’s an electronic signboard?”

An electronic signboard?

[1] The original text was 꿩 먹고 알 먹는 거죠, which literally translates to “Eating the pheasant and its eggs.”

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