Debut or Die

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The intro, which everyone in the country would be familiar with, passed by, and the lively vocals struck the ear.


I go with the most iconic pose I can remember to get things started.


Then one of the judges spat out the water he was drinking.


Oh, me too! I like you~

The feeling of my heart beating~! Is like popcorn!


The popping beat is just ringing~

My heart is overflowing with this feeling!


Tap, tap, tap. Youngrin, the person who requested the dance, is the only one who gives a sincere nod in response to the simple foot movements.
It seemed that she was the only professional here.


Soon, part of the song that can be danced to by at least half of the kids my age has come out.



You’re my Popcorn~ (Oh yeah!)

My heart


Control it!


The chorus of MallangDalcom’s 〈POP☆CON〉, which was released 10 years ago, beat the eardrums powerfully.


Known as the “forbidden song” for the CSAT, it was the main culprit in ruining the students’ listening test that year because of its lyrics and crazy addiction.


By the way, I also took the CSAT exam at that time.
But I can’t do it again, because I don’t have the money.



The popping Popcorn~ (Ooh~)


It was also famous for many people who uploaded dance covers, and the difficulty level was easy.


To put it another way, it was at a level that even children in the lower elementary school grades could practice.


I would have been cursed if it had been out 10 years ago at the peak of the trend.
But I chose this song because I thought I could turn it into a memory correction and then move on to a comedy. 


Of course, I’m keeping a straight face while dancing hard.


Even if others were to look at the remaining gags, it would be unpleasant for me to openly smile as a participant.


I had to give the impression that I had put a lot of effort into preparing for the dance.


Of course, it was also true that I worked really hard.
Because I raised my level while practicing this.
With achievements of 〈First Movement〉 and 〈10th Movements〉.


With the judges clapping and laughing, it seemed that I had made a mistake—but I don’t know.
They’ll judge on their own.


I stopped dancing after making the last move of the first verse.


As I bowed my head and took a breath, cheers exploded as if I had come to my senses.


“Thank you.” 


Youngrin was the first to take the microphone, but the choreographer spoke first.


How much he laughed till his eyes got red.
Some tears came from laughing.


“Whoa… Oh, I never dreamed it would come out.
Wasn’t Moondae 10 years old when POP☆CON was released? Did you even prepare for a talent show at that time?”


“It’s not like that, but I prepared it because I’m a fan of MallangDalcom Sunbaenim.” 


“Pfft, hahaha!” 


For reference, MallangDalcom’s most recent album was released 4 years ago.
It was so late that it seemed unusual to say that a 20-year-old was a fan even after their golden days.


Because the reason can’t be that he wants to be an idol.


Sure enough, the choreographer who asked me this question laughed again.


Next to him, Mudie muttered delightfully.


“Ah… So cute~.” 


“You worked hard.
First of all, you work hard!”


The male idol judge helped.
It was a face that had taken away any doubts he had expressed when I said I had no experience.


Only then did Youngrin open her mouth.


“But that doesn’t mean you did well.” 


I knew this would happen.
It was a situation where close-ups and sound effects could be included through editing. 


In addition, the line ‘Du–dung!’ will appear when the red subtitles are three times bigger.


I roughly anticipated the editing angle and waited for the rest of the comments.

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“First of all, I can see that you have no skill when you start moving your body.
Although you may receive a positive evaluation for our current atmosphere, future missions will be difficult.”


“I’m prepared for anything that comes my way.”


Not me, but the status window.


Regardless of the words I swallowed, Youngrin nodded heavily.




And she added with a relaxed expression.


“…Anyway, I can see your effort.
Well done.” 


“Thank you.” 


I think I said ‘Thank you’ ten times today.
Is this something I’ll often do in the future?


By then, the judges were exchanging opinions without holding the microphone, so I couldn’t hear them.


At this point, another cruel element of the program is revealed.


To begin with, all rankings are listed from 1st to 77th in the first evaluation.
They then assigned the seats based on the order of the rankings.


Temporary rankings will also be used as soon as they’re announced.


Moreover, if the next participant performs much better than they do while the seat is filled, the ranking will be pushed back, and they will be forced to leave the seat.


It’s also a specialty of this show to film a moment in which the lower ranks are pushed and then sit at the bottom and cry.


Fortunately, I won’t be in such a situation.


My ranking is… maybe 24th?


“Park Moondae’s ranking is…… 17th place!”


They raised my rank by roughly 5 places in order to shoot a scene where my rank was pushed, which means that my actual rank was closer to my expectations.


‘I think I went up about four or five places because of the atmosphere.’


I’m not sure if the judges were distracted by the atmosphere, but as the time went on, they should have been busy leaving the seat to the middle and high school students.


It was a little funny when I lowered my head and thought about it sullenly.


“Thank you.”


“I’ll teach you hard, so you’ll rank higher next time.”


The choreographer said with a smile.
If I don’t get better, I’ll be replaced immediately, but I have a status window to work with.


‘I wish they would choose a scene when the choreographer is touched by my performance.’


I nodded once again and headed for the set where the seats were placed.


The chairs with the ranks engraved on them grew bigger, more colorful, and softer as I went up.
I saw a slight but big difference.


The 17th place I would sit was a leather chair on which a corporate executive would sit.


As I sat down, the participant who was sitting in 15th place on the opposite side greeted me.
He looked like Park Moondae’s age, with a gentle impression.






“You’re so good at singing! “


“Thank you.
I think you did a great job too.”


“Yes? Hahaha!” 


I can’t say for sure because I didn’t watch his performance thoroughly, but judging by his ranks, it looks like he did well. 


The participant laughed aloud and pointed to the name tag on his chest.


“My name is Lee Sejin!” 




I almost let out a sigh.
I replied with the most brazen face possible. 


“My name is Park Moondae.
Please take good care of me.”


“Please take good care of me~.”


I ended the conversation naturally and looked ahead, and the next participant came in with good timing.
But my mind kept wandering back to a name I had just heard.

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Lee Sejin. 


It was the name of a person who made their official debut through this program.
So, should I say that it is the man who has been promised victory through personal connection?


But there was a problem. 


It will be revealed that the punk was involved in a drug scandal one year after this program ended.
Moreover, he works as a distributor.


I was in a Gukbap restaurant near the studio when I heard his name mentioned on the 9 o’clock news.



[Lee Sejin, a former ‘Idol Joint-Stock Company,’ was arrested on suspicion of drug distribution.] 


…Let’s not talk to him from now on.


It is important to know when to cut off.
So, should I use the time to check the status window?


[Name: Park Moondae (Ryu Gunwoo)]

Level: 5

Title: None

Vocal: A-

Dance: D

Visual: C+

Talent: C

Characteristics: Infinite potential

!Status abnormality: Debut or die

Points Remaining: 1


First of all, I earned a point for leveling up from the stage I was on just now.
I think it was thanks to breaking the achievement of 〈The First Stage〉.


As for the dance and talent elements, they seemed to have been created out of my performance alone.


Is it necessary for it to be officially recognized by the public because it was inactive during practice? I don’t know the clear criteria.


In any case, while practicing, I could vaguely feel it—.
Even if the talent was acceptable, it doesn’t seem that ‘Park Moondae’ had much of a talent for dancing. 


My dance level is D, which is the same as the average person’s.


If I invest 2 or 3 points in dance in the future, I think I can do anything.


However, I discovered a new possibility in the status window’s ‘Visual’ section.


Even though I didn’t spend any points on the Visual section, my grade improved since I paid attention to the way I looked.


In other words, I was able to raise my stats independently of the level-up effect shown in the status window.
And that’s a pretty positive factor.


Finally, there was one more unusual pop-up.
A small one next to the status window.


[Successful performance!]

You deeply impressed the majority of people!

: General Characteristics Pull☜ Click!


‘Something weird popped out again.’


Still, given the use of words such as “success” and “impression,” the nuance of the rewards should be great.


I clicked on the pull while pretending to touch my hair.
Then something quite interesting popped up. 


It was a picture of a gray slot machine.
The slot next to the lever that had previously been pulled was spinning quite fast.


But the speed gradually slowed down.
Soon enough, I could even check the contents of the slot at a glance. 


Only a few of the slots were copper, while the most were gray.


[Strong heart]

[The misfortune of being humiliated eraser]

[Alligator’s tears]

[Sleeping only after you die]

[Look at me!]





No, it’s good to know what the characteristics are as soon as I see it, but—.
It’s still a bad name, isn’t it?


I looked at the slot machine with no expectations.
Anyway, it looked like it was going to stop soon. 


Dung dung… dung!


A flower petal popped out of the slot machine.


The slot that stops is copper.


[Characteristic: ‘Sleeping only after you die (D)’ Acquired!]

When activated, you don’t get tired even if you don’t sleep.

Experience an acceleration bonus of up to 30% from 00:01 to 04:00.

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Lasts for a week, one-time use.




Unexpectedly, it has a characteristic that seems very useful.
The name is— a bit like that, though.


Anyway, it was called ‘pulling,’ and it literally meant the same thing.
And it’s fascinating that the elements of such a lucky game are also appearing.


I confirmed that ‘Sleeping only after you die (inactive)’ has been added to the characteristics section at the bottom of the status window.
Let’s think about when it’s the best time to use it.


“Participant Kang Minjo… 56th place!”


The evaluation process was still ongoing.


Aside from the suspected drug distributor next to me, the debut member has yet to come out.


I stood there and watched as the next participant walked onto the stage.


A man with a slender body and long arms and legs entered the stage.


Seeing that he was all alone, he was likely a participant who didn’t have any connections with the other trainees.


A murmur could be heard among the participants in the ranks of the seating area.
Of course, this was not because the participant came up alone.




“That’s amazing!” 


This is because the participants who came in were very handsome.
I could even hear the judges openly admiring from below.


“You look like a deer~.”


From my perspective, that was the level of appearance at which he didn’t have to worry about making his debut.


Should I say that he’s at a level where he doesn’t even need to go on a survival program? I’m sure he’ll do something when this program is over.


However, when I checked the name tag on his chest, it was a name I had never heard of before.


[Seon Ahyun]


If he can’t make his debut with that handsome face, he must have no talent at all.
Because he seemed to be more handsome than most of the idols whose fancam data I had sold.


Well, in terms of the status window—all other abilities, except visual, are probably between the F and D grade.


‘If only I could see other people’s status windows, I’d know for sure.’


Surprisingly, as soon as I thought of that, a window really popped up next to the participant.




Does this mean I can see the status windows of other people as well?


[Name: Seon Ahyun]

Vocal: B- (A)

Dance: A (EX)

Visual: A+ (S+) 

Talent: B (A+)

Characteristics: Grit (inactive.)

!Status abnormality: Lack of self-esteem.


It was a splendid status window.
To the point where I think he’ll be in the top 10 easily.
Is the value in brackets the maximum growth rate? If so, he has a promising future ahead of him.


However, the last part stands out the most.


[Status abnormality: Lack of self-esteem.]


With that face? It would have been understandable if he had shown arrogance.


Anyway, seeing other people’s abilities was a huge benefit.
Anyway, I thought I wouldn’t starve to death just by relying on an entertainment company.


While I was looking over the menu with great interest, I heard the voice of the MC.


“Yes, participants, please introduce yourself!”


And Seon Ahyun picked up the microphone.


The hand holding the microphone was trembling.


“H, h, hello—”




He didn’t stutter by mistake because he was nervous.
He made it seem out of place because of his awkward way of speaking.


It was a distinct symptom of the stuttering disorder. 


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In addition, I felt that he was very conscious of his speech disorder.
Was it right for me to mention that I could feel his anxiety and embarrassment so heavily?


That must be the reason.
I quickly understand this participant– Seon Ahyun’s status window.


They can turn his stuttering into a story with this kind of visual and skills, so why didn’t he make his debut?


As expected, is the problem more than the status abnormality of a lack of self-esteem? If I can find out more detail—.


[Lack of self-esteem]

: I despise myself.

All stats are decreased by two levels.





Suddenly, a pop-up came up again.
I wasn’t expecting to be able to check the details just by thinking about it.


‘It’s very useful.’


I’ll need to recheck my status abnormality to see how much time I have left.


“Ahyun, by any chance…do you have trouble speaking?”


“I, I… Uh, when I was a kid, I had an accident….”




On the stage, the storytelling was just getting started.


To be more precise, Seon Ahyun seems to be trying to explain his condition, while the production team seems to be trying to turn it into a story.


Fake responses are also erupting from the participants surrounding me.


In particular, the guy who shook his head and had a sad expression on his face seems to have been used as a reaction cut.


They will even include these lines in their final result.


“What to do….” 


They shouldn’t have reacted in this way to such a sensitive topic.


On the contrary, if there is such editing, it would sound more like ‘that type of reaction is also assault.’


Rather than becoming agitated, I simply stared forward with an expression of ‘I see.’


After saying a few obvious good words, the judges carefully asked for the stage.


“Then Ahyeon-gun, can we see your performance?”


“Y, yes…” 


The following stage wasn’t as bad as one may expect.
It’s just up to the point of becoming a good overall performance.


This means that if the status window is correct, that participant’s performance was worse than his actual ability.


“Seon Ahyun-gun ranks in 18th place!”


This is what happens when there is no mentality or strategy.
He’s ranked lower than me even with that status window. 


Anyway, the evaluation was good, maybe because they thought the skill was enough or because they didn’t want to say anything bad.


“Good job~”


“I’ll look forward to it.”


A variety of warm words were given to him by the judges.
Some people even raise their thumbs.


But Seon Ahyun’s face was dark as he bowed deeply.
Following the MC’s instructions, he left the stage and sat down next to me as if nothing had happened.




I think I should say hello—.


Seon Ahyun glances at my seat but doesn’t talk to me.


Hopefully, it won’t be a situation in which I ignore him by all means possible.


But it was annoying to open my mouth.
So I just nodded sideways.


Seon Ahyun is surprised and keeps his head bowed.


“There are 5 participants who will be judged next! Choi Jinsoo-gun, Hongseong-gun—”


I counted the number of remaining participants in my mind and sighed softly.


There’s a long way to go.


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