And as they decided on the previous episode, BTS watched the next episode of Produce 48 with their hoobaes.
One of the Big Hit trainees nudged his future group leader and oldest hyung. "Soobin, Yeonjun, can you move a little bit more? Ningning and Taehyun can't quite see the screen."
"Ah, sorry!" The older boys scooted over at Beomgyu's request.
"Oh? Can you see the screen ok?" asked J-Hope out of consideration for his hoobaes.
"Yes!" The trainees smiled brightly. They were so happy to be with their sunbaes and internally thanked Iris for creating a situation where they could all hang out for a long time with the approval of Bang PD. It seemed even their PD had gotten softer since Iris joined them.
Beomgyu surreptitiously eyed all the BTS members. The ARMY inside him was hard to quell when he was in such close proximity to them. Even though he saw them often, and they were friendly in passing, Beomgyu's ARMY side didn't lessen after becoming a trainee at Big Hit. He shared this in common with Iris. But unlike her, he didn't get to interact with them as much as he'd like.
However, as a hardworking and focused trainee who loved music, this was a small matter. And to his whole group who admired their BTS sunbaes, they felt the same.
A short while into the third episode, Huening Kai inched closer to Taehyun, nearly climbing over his group-mate.
"Hey! What're you doing?" Taehyun half whispered and exclaimed.
"Trying to get a better view!" the more 'maknae' of the two youngest replied peppily.
Taehyun lightly shook his head and then centered the hyperactive boy in front of him. Huening Kai could never sit still—he was in complete contrast to the cool as a cucumber Taehyun who was the same age.
As for the BTS members, they merely chuckled to themselves at their adorable hoobaes. Both sides could relax together for a short respite while the rookie group trained and BTS worked on their newest album.
Additionally, BTS would be leaving South Korea for their Love Yourself trilogy tour in September. The first concert was in Seoul during the last week of August. Then they would hit LA again in the United States. But even if Iris was allowed to join them in her hometown, she couldn't because of the Produce 48 show now.
"Which team do you think she's going to end up in?" whispered Huening into Beomgyu's ear. The other boy shrugged.
"I don't know, but I think noona fits Red Velvet's Peekaboo best. That's more of her style."
"You think so too?" Taehyung's voice which was in close proximity made the young boys jump.
Seeing V this close and in this intimate manner of speaking, Beomgyu almost blushed. One of his idols was speaking to him like this! His group-mate Yeonjun answered for him.
"Yes, Iris-noona would've wanted Peekaboo."
"Hm? How're you so sure of this?" V sharply eyed the boys teasingly.
"That! That's because..we listen to her songs a lot..and dancing." Yeonjun smiled sheepishly.
Iris hadn't been at the company as long as them, especially Yeonjun who had trained for four years so far at Big Hit, but she already was skilled and knew exactly what she wanted to do musically. To the rookie group, she was becoming a sort of inspiration and motivation do better. They hoped that they could self-compose like her one day and release their own written songs. Beomgyu composed songs too, but their new album wasn't made by them as much as Iris's solo album would be.
Of course, now her album was on the back burner. It didn't look like she'd drop out of the competition soon at the rate she was going. The elimination episode was five, but seeing as she hadn't returned yet, she likely survived. This was because the show wouldn't catch up to the actual trainees' activities until the middle of the season.
Jimin and Jin gasped while Jungkook had his mouth hanging slightly open. "Iris got IOI's Very Very Very? I know she's friends with Chaeyeon and Eunbi but still this..." Jimin trailed off as V picked up after. "Well this should be interesting. The running toward the songs were funny too." Of course V would comment on something sorta unrelated and random like that.
"Still, didn't her brief interview just show that she didn't want to do this song the most out of all the Korean ones?" inputted Jin.
"Why doesn't she like that song anyway?" asked Jungkook curiously.
"It's too bubbly for her or something," responded Jimin.
Indeed, Iris wasn't fond of many popular bubbly songs like 'Very Very Very.' The cutesy-catchy melody wasn't her style. Except for AKB48's High Tension, she would rather have the Japanese version of 'Like Ooh-Aah' by Twice. Her musical tastes had varying subtleties between the similar toned songs of IOI and Twice.
But the group was unable to retrieve Peekaboo as desired, and Boombayah by Black Pink, their second choice, was also taken. Thus, their third choice was made. Iris could only sigh to herself for the sake of their team. At the very least, she was happy with her members.
Their opponents, on the other hand, were strong. They were up against Choi Yena of Yuehua Entertainment and the two Starship trainees Ahn Yujin and Jang Wonyoung. The Japanese trainees were also notable in that group.
However, Iris liked a challenge. That's why she didn't mind the match up or the final song choice. She had Kwon Eunbi, Lee Chaeyeon, Kim Choyeon, Sakura Miyawaki, and Kim Minjoo. They had great dancers and singers, and they'd be able to whip up the laggers into shape in no time at all.
"Minjoo! You're a step behind the others, and your movements need to be crisper. Here." Iris readjusted Minjoo's arms and legs and then demonstrated the correct sequence of moves.
Eunbi laughed seeing Iris stop their group practice yet again. "Am I the leader or you?"
"Oh! Sorry unnie!" Iris chuckled while scratching her head. She noticed every detail from the angle, symmetry, and timing of the choreography, so she couldn't stop herself from pointing out mistakes. This reminded her of her time back doing k-pop dance covers.
Eunbi and Chaeyeon were used to this meticulousness already from A-class. Choyeon also knew Iris from there, but unfortunately she dropped in rank from A to C. She hadn't befriended Iris to join in on their practices, but she wished she had since experiencing her teaching.
However, class ranks didn't matter anymore, so she put this issue behind her. Right now, Choyeon had to focus on her center position. She was struggling since the teacher pointed out her flaws, and Iris had helped her one on one since then.
"Iris..." Choyeon began speaking in one of those personal training sessions. "Maybe it's better that you become the center like the teachers said..." She was feeling frustrated for not fitting the image of the refreshing girlish youth in 'Very Very Very,' or simply matching up to the eye-catching gravitation of their best dancers: Iris, Eunbi, and Chaeyeon. Even Sakura was doing well.
Iris stood still with her hands still in their halted positions in the dance. "Unnie... don't give up like this. You wanted to be center, so keep fighting! We're here to support you! You have blazing eyes of determination right?"
Choyeon laughed at the mention of her nickname for having large eyes that burned like fiery determination. "You're right! Thanks! Let's make this the best performance ever!"
Please note, Aoi Motomura was replaced by Iris for this story (sorry! ><). In this way, the numbers and real life results in the show don’t get messed up much as we progress with Iris.
The next chapter will finish episode 3+4 and start 5 which is the first elimination episode.
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