The staff didn't expect Cindy's crowd to increase much at all because of her inferior skills to the other trainees. She would likely lose as much as she gained.
However, contrary to expectations, her audience grew at a steady rate. She performed very well under the pressure, but in the end, the routine didn't show anything special to catch people's attention or admiration. Her moves were crisp but lackluster, much like a recital.
With that said, it wasn't her dancing skills that drew and kept people to watch. It was her overflowing confidence and glamorous looks that made passerby gravitate toward the encirclement like bees to a flower. Her charisma was different from Jiyeon's cool, girl-crush aura, but it was nonetheless as powerful and attractive as the Korean girl's if not slightly more.
Cindy really stood out too much from just doing nothing or something simple. But to the American girl's credit, she really did giver her all in arranging the choreography and performing cleanly and strongly. Because of her hard work, she didn't embarrass herself and make the crowd think that she was just a talentless beauty.
After everyone's performances ended, the trainees surreptitiously gathered a short distance away after bowing to and thanking their applauding audiences. Overall, the Big Hit staff was very pleased with the turnout of the challenge.
The final numbers were as listed.
Jiyeon: 15 —> 42
Rinah: 11 —> 34
Minhyun: 9 —> 25
Ahreum: 18 —> 30
Haebin: 5 —> 16
Cindy: 26 —> 51
The staff in charge furrowed his eyebrows at the results. Taking out a pen, he circled Ahreum's and Haebin's names. These two drew in less people than they should have in comparison to the others after considering the multiplication of the crowd and starting number factors.
While everyone roughly doubled their starting amount or more, Ahreum had gotten less in the end than Rinah who had fifty percent less at the start of her performance. With such a high starting number, it should have increased closer to the amount that Jiyeon had. Even then, Jiyeon had three less people at the beginning.
Then there was Haebin. She tripled her starting amount, but both her start and end amounts were smaller than everyone else's by a clear margin. Comparing her to Jiyeon and Cindy who both had great charisma, it was obvious that being merely good in everything didn't make up for a lack in presence.
The man gave feedback to each of the trainees on their evaluation results, tapping the numbers on the sheet while doing so. Then he handed the results back to his assistant and gestured for them all to board the van and leave Hongdae.
Once they changed out of their stage attire into casual clothes, the girls were free for the rest of the day as the Big Hit staff discussed their potential in further detail. The trio of Cindy, Jiyeon, and Ahreum decided to unwind at a cafe and drink smoothies.
Sipping on the delicious mango-coconut drink that was reminiscent of piña colada, Cindy relished the cool drink and propped up her feet on the empty chair to her left. Seeing the American girl so content, Jiyeon chuckled heartily while placing a foot on the lower rung of Cindy's chair.
"You look so comfy it makes me want to pull over an extra chair for myself."
"Extra chair?" Ahreum repeated Jiyeon's words. "Haha, I don't need one because I can use the same one as Cindy!" With a triumphant, adorable grin, she dramatically rested her feet on the seat. Then she playfully tapped the back of Cindy's soles with her own shoes.
"Hah! That's what I get for sitting in the middle," laughed Jiyeon with a smirk.
Just as Cindy opened up her mouth to speak, the cafe doorbells jingled with the appearance of new customers. She wouldn't have given them a second glance if they were regular people. But she was stunned to speechlessness when she saw who they were.
'Seventeen?!?! F***!!' She whipped her head back to the front in order to not continue staring at them. 'Huh? Why am I so embarrassed at seeing them? There's no reason for me to do this.' She furrowed her brows and turned her head back to the small group who were now at the counter. Not all of Seventeen had come inside the cafe. If the boy group had traveled together, it would be much too catchy.
Seeing Cindy's expression change comically several times, Jiyeon let out a snort. "Is this your first time seeing them in person?" Obviously, the perceptive girl knew exactly what was running though the startled American girl's head.
"Ah? Um, yes." Cindy blushed a shade as she sheepishly smiled.
Jiyeon grinned and replied, "It's not like I know them personally or anything, but you do get to see the idols out and about once in a while living here. I guess that's happens when most entertainment companies are in Seoul."
Since Jiyeon had left her old company after it was apparent that she wouldn't be debuting due to a various of factors including company money and mismanagement, she stationed herself in Seoul instead of returning home.
Living independently was difficult, but she didn't want to give up doing music and supported herself with various odd jobs. However, once she saw Iris on Produce 48 and found out that Big Hit's auditions opened up to girls, the decision to return to a trainee was made in a heartbeat.
Cindy nodded with eyes widening a little. That sounded like a kpop lover's dream come true to be able to see their idols relatively frequently like coming across an old friend from school you never talked to much.
With smiling eyes, she sipped her smoothie again. Perhaps she had siphoned it up too quickly, for a second later, a large piece of ice made its way up the large straw and struck the back of her throat.
The sudden sensation made her nearly choke and gag on the smoothie. Cindy coughed and reflexively put her palm on her neck while dropping the smoothie back on the table so that it wouldn't drop to the ground, and she could support herself.
The clamor startled her friends and those in the cafe. "Ack! Cindy?!" yelped Jiyeon as she burst forward to look at her friend. Ahreum jumped out of her chair in and rushed over to the girl in distress.
The scene caused a young man who just arrived in the cafe to approach the backside of Cindy who was hunched over while attempting to soothe her throat. It felt like a pebble had lodged itself for a moment. While clearing her throat and rubbing it to pacify the now fading pain after the ice fell down her esophagus, the young man leaned forward and angled his head to look at Cindy.
"Are you okay?" he asked with genuine concern.
"Huh?" Cindy grunted with one eye open to look at the man. Upon seeing the almond-shaped eyes and sharp jawline of the tall man a foot away from her face, Cindy almost choked on her own spit.
'Holy s***!!! YUGYEOM?!! What the hell?! Is this an idol meet-up place or something?!' Her mind exploded, and she collected the pieces in order to calmly think and not slur her next words in surprise.
"I'm okay! Thank you!" she said in her most polite tone while enunciating as perfect as she could muster Korean pronunciation. She meekly bowed and smiled softly. 'Oh wait.' Her smile dropped. 'Don't smile at him! What if some crazy fan took a picture—!! …Wait. Huh. What's wrong with me smiling? Ugh, Iris is rubbing off on you; even though, she's not here. It's just being polite! You can't very well frown at him either!'
She slapped her cheek to snap out of the conflicting thoughts and her strange mindset. Then, she suddenly realized that she was still in front of this handsome boy and the Seventeen members right behind him.
"Are you really okay..?" chuckled Yugyeom softly while quirking his head in mild confusion at the girl who just went through a range of expressions.
"Ah!" Cindy put up her hands and waved. "I'm okay! Really! Thank you! Sorry, I was feeling funny after choking… on ice.." As she finished her sentence, she felt rather silly. 'Good gosh, did you really just choke on freakin' ice in front of Yugyeom of GOT7 and Seventeen members?!' She wanted to wring her hair in frustrated mortification right now.
What a way to meet an idol in person for the first time!
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