In this series, we’ll be sharing what happened during the show, as well as as our thoughts and feelings. We’re also pulling an NCT and separating each breakdown into parts, led by different individuals each week. Let’s dive into the 2nd episode breakdown of Produce 101!
Part 1: Haru (0:00:00-0:30:00)
All 98 boys are watching the first episode together. It cuts to teary-eyed trainees sulking about their chances of debuting with this show, to happy parts such as MMO’s Jisung gossip sessions. The ranking for the first episode is shown, all trainees are starting to get hyper, looking for their names as each slide passes by. The top 11 are shown, but it only cuts to the top 4. #1 – Park Jihoon, #2 – Jang Moonbok, #3 – Lee Daehwi, #4 – Joo Haknyeon. Jihoon and Moonbok express their excitement of being #1 and #2 respectively.
Audition time again, first up is Lee Woojin, the maknae of the competition. Everyone is surprised at how small and young he is. It shows cuts of MMO’s Daniel hugging him and treating him like a little kid. The song starts. Oh god, it’s Justin Bieber’s Baby.. besides it being a horrible song, Woojin did well and carried the song out good along with his dance moves. He gets placed in B class.
Next up is the YGK+ trainees. Dramatic scene of them walking through, with Goblin’s theme track playing as they walk through. They all introduce themselves. They perform 2PM’s My House, and well, I surely wouldn’t invite them to My House if they were the live act.. Let’s put it that way. 1 is placed in D, the rest in F.
The scene then cuts to trainees being praised for their visuals, when the next 2 to audition, S.How’s Namhyung and Dongsu, come out. They perform a hip hop song, and their stage presence and skills shocks the audience. Namhyung is placed in A, Dongsu in B. Individual Trainees Insoo and Sangbin perform a hip hop song and rap a long to it. It then cuts to scenes of rappers trying to rap but getting roasted by Cheetah.
Wayz Company trainee Jung Joongji is next to perform. He.. tries..to perform EXO’s Growl. But becomes a laughing stock for the judges and trainees. Which he seemed totally fine with. Unsurprisingly, he is sorted into F class.
HOTSHOT members, and representatives of Ador & Able, Sungwoon and Taehyun are next to perform. They perform BLOCK B’s Very Good. So much talent, charisma, stage presence, dance skill. Wow. No surprise, they’re sorted into A class.
Part 2: Mogwai (0:30:00 – 1:00:00)
Next up, we have poor Dongbin, who stops in the midst of performing NCT Dream’s Chewing Gum. Poor kid. He’s frankly terrible, but I can’t blame him for freaking out over a judge removing his in-ear. After Dongbin, FNC and Jellyfish trainees step up. Both of them were mediocre, and aptly ranked F. I half wonder if they’re sucking on purpose.
But then, like a breath of fresh air, comes Starship’s Sewoon with actually decent vocals, not just caterwauling. He gets a B ranking, but let’s be real, P101 is just so dance-and-performance-oriented, so it makes sense. BoA asks him why he wants to be an idol, and Sewoon reveals his lifelong ambition of becoming a CEO.
We get a quick fast-forward of some trainees (poor them), before MNet finally gets the chance to shine the spotlight on their Chosen One. MNet’s Prince Moonbok, Hip Hop President. He performs BTS’ Boy In Love, and make no mistake — he’s godawful. It’s obvious why he gets mixed views, but still, there’s just something likeable about him. I like his answer to the question, “What if you become a joke to others after this?”:
“Even if I do become a joke, I joined Produce 101, thinking I have nothing more to lose.”
True. Can’t refute that.
Next we have Brand New Music trainees. Well. I’m sure most people have heard of King of Controversy Daehwi at this point, with his plagiarism allegations and attitude issues. They’re all good dancers, and predictably get ranked A and B, even with all their painful attempts at belting. Still, something Daehwi said stood out to me: “CEO said if we didn’t get A or B, he would kill us.” I doubt he meant it literally (I hope), but it does make you think about the kind of pressure these trainees are under.
Finally, everyone is done and the trainees find out about Nayana!! BoA then explains the boring bits, but then, a twist: the center gets a solo.
Part 3: Sapphic (1:00:00 – 1:30:00)
The boys are taken and introduced to their dorms for the show, as well as their training jumpers – or sweaters, for the Americans reading. Surprisingly the colours that were disliked the most were the B’s orange jumpers and the D’s green ones which I think are perfectly fine. (Side note: the colour scheme for the jumpers is ugly, and I’m waiting for purple to even show up on Produce 101) Sungwoon, the Zico/Jimin mashup, came well equipped with face masks, sprays, and other tidbits that’ll look after him. What a smart kid.
Some new additions to the rules were added as well: There is a point system for bad behaviour which I find particularly odd since half of the people in the show are grown adults, but it’s something that I guess most idols have to deal with in terms of strict regimes.
Now, we get to see the practicing. Each group is divided into their ranks whilst everyone practices in the audition room together. The singing from everyone, even the A ranks, was pretty poor. The song’s tone is too high for many of the boys, but if they’re singers they should expect to sing like that for K-pop songs anyway. The dancing far exceeds though. The choreography is faster and more complex than the first season, and largely on As were able to succeed as a group to pin it down in the time they were given.
In individual ranking practice, Woojin struggled a lot with hitting the notes and ultimately sounded flat and pitchy, whilst everyone else sounded pretty good for the time they had. Definitely an improvement on what we saw before. However, when it came to the dance Sungwoo seemed to lag behind the rest and had forgotten a lot of the movements. This is surprising since all of the A rank nailed the choreography in the first practice time. Daehwi and Samuel were pointed out by the choreographer as being good, setting an example of what they wanted but also encouraging the group. By the expressions of the boys I don’t think they were feeling very excited.
Pretty much every other ranking was behind on both the dancing and singing aspects of “Nayana”, which isn’t unexpected. There are a few gems but the final ranking changes will show that, and also shock you. Sadly, Nu’est is middle ground here. Coming from a debuted group it’s sad to see that they’re not on par with trainees. This is potentially the way Somi could end up if she doesn’t maintain her training.
Part 4: Sansa (1:30:00 – 2:00:00)
A surge of oranges, made me feel a bit paranoid there. Luckily it’s just a bunch of people in orange (B) shirts practicing their dance. Here, the sly camera is focusing on ‘the’ male Kim Juna. Someone who can sing well but can’t dance. That someone. He’s threatened with the prospect of never going up to A and even degrading to F rank, which is a rather horrible thing to say to someone who is desperately trying to improve (although I guess it’s tough love?)
The episode abruptly shifts to four trainees who were previously praised for their visuals but were untalented and so ended up in F, unsurprisingly. The camera does forget about these four to give us a Moonbok special. He’s very hyper and is always moving and practicing. Looks like we’ve found this season’s Sohye in terms of likeability. While Moonbok is busy jumping around, the other trainees are struggling away. However, the dance instructor gives them some kind words and encourages them to improve. Awww…
It’s evaluation time and everyone is freaking out! And rightfully so. We get a bit of last minute practising and it’s time to get in front of the camera. It’s time for the A rank to perform and first up is Daehwi. He does well enough, His vocals are a bit unstable though, but he is very confident and doesn’t flub his performance. We also get some fake tension with Samuel being all shaken up.
Next up is Sungwoo who struggled with the choreography during practice but pulls himself up and gives a strong performance. Or so we think because the last thing that is said is, “will he remember the full choreography?” So it’s really up in the air.
We get a bit of a quick run through all the other ranks. Very few of them actually pull it off. Most of them either forget the choreography, the lyrics, or at worst both. Justin, a C rank trainee, performs and even though he does not forget the choreography he still has a tragic vocal performance. But fair warning, almost all of them give less than satisfactory vocals. Hwang Minhyung is expected to do well but forgets everything and is very upset – and understandably so. He does try to keep moving although it does get a bit sad as he gives up halfway through and begins to aimlessly flail his arms about.
Next is the dreaded moment of the episode, NU’EST time. Up first is Dongho, bless his soul, and he does not do well (surprisingly as he has lived 5 years as an idol but I digress). Things don’t get any better. We get to F rank and it’s Moonbook time! And he fails. However, it is very sad as he practiced a lot and so it’s quite frustrating to see him not do well. But he shall not be discouraged and neither must we be! However, the trainees are not making things easier as they all fall one by one.
We then get shots of trainees calling their loved ones and these scenes are all very heart breaking. It is obvious that many of these trainees, no matter the rank, are trying their best not to break under the pressure. But Yoo Jinwon’s conversation with his sister is hilarious (I’d love to meet her!) Yoo Seonho’s conversation with his parents gives a bit of comedy as well, so not all is lost.
It’s time to see the judges and their reactions to all the trainees’ performances. Understandably, they are underwhelmed by most of them but some do stand out and many of those who do are the funny ones. For example, one trainee gives everyone a kick with his “Ta! Ta! Ta!” while doing the dance break. But we do get a few trainees who have improved and even some F level ones who look like they may move up a rank.
When it comes time to have everyone find out their final rank, we learn that A level trainees will not be able to move out until all the newcomers arrive….no pressure guys. The only exciting thing that happens while the judges call trainees forward is Seo Sunghyeok hitting his head on the table after receiving his report card, but that is more painful than anything else. And it is now time for people in B, C, D and F rank to move up to A….but stay tuned until the next episode to find out!