Episode 8 brings us to Mnet’s next bloody harvest, and for the most part the trendlines drawn from the previous elimination remain intact.
In true Produce tradition, all the girls will be introduced to the following mission prior to the elimination ceremony. The 54 girls are seated in a classroom-ish set up and introduced to the Creation Mission, or as the Produce series coined it, the Concept battle. Like before, this will consist of a handful of original songs, and assignments have already been decided via voting from netizens. We have four songs for this mission:
“U+ME=Love” is housey pop song by Alawn and Anna Timgren. Alawn arranged SuperM’s “100” and Kai’s “Mmmh”, and has composed for other artists like ASTRO and BonBonGirls 303. Anna Timgren is a prolific lyricist and topliner, contributing to song from groups like TWICE, Oh My Girl, Chung Ha, NiziU, CLC and more.
“Snake” is a moombahton girl crush song about a… snake. Tenzo and EB of WWWAVE wrote this one, they’ve done a couple Wanna One and IZ*ONE songs and then it seems like every single Park Ji Hoon solo track ever.
“Utopia” is a vaguely J-pop sounding pop ballad written by Yoske, who’s done a lot of work for JOI as well as IZ*ONE and WEi.
The prize for the mission is similar to the Connect Mission, in that the winning team’s votes over the last 24 hours of voting will be doubled.
The girls are sent out one by one to their song assignments. Most of the choices make sense, “Snake” is the obvious girl crush tune and gets all the pro dancers. Kang Yeseo gets sent to “Utopia” even though singing is probably the weakest part of her skillset. Choi Yujin gets to babysit the mostly underage “Shoot!” team. “U+Me=Love” team definitely has a “here’s a team, I guess” kind of feel to it, like the “1000%” team did from Produce 48.
On the “Snake” team, both Kim Dayeon and Cai Bing want to be leaders. The vote is tied, so after a little consideration Dayeon decides to withdraw, thinking it’ll be easier to communicate with a Chinese-speaking leader. Cai Bing’s former “Salute” teammates beg to differ, saying she was inefficient as a leader and that Dayeon should try. Dayeon and Cai Bing go into another room to discuss it.
At this point, Mnet once again provides inconsistent translations. I’m not going to go into the full details this time, but suffice to say at no point did Cai Bing say that Dayeon should give up as leader. She says “I really trust your opinions, and you should help balance the team.” Again the delayed translations on iQiyi are different (and better) than the live ones.
Anyways, they come back out and decide to split leader duties for now until its seen who is better for the team as a whole.
On the “Shoot!” team it’s basically Montessori all over again as Yujin has to take up Leader and Main Vocal duties because the rest of the team are too shy to step up. Meanwhile on the “Utopia” team, Choi Yeyoung still can’t shake the lack of confidence as she gets outperformed by her talented teammates. She, Kim Bora, and other low ranking trainees continue to help out as much as they can, even if their time remaining is running out.
On the “U+Me=Love” team Kim Doah flirts with the vocal instructor and Huh Jiwon feels sad.
Back to “Snake”. Cai Bing is having some problems with arranging the formation while Dayeon seems to be chugging along no problem. Eventually, after hearing her teammates’ feedback, Cai Bing relinquishes the role of leader to Dayeon.
Not like any of this matters! We’re sending half of these people home so they’ll have to repick all this stuff next episode anyways.
Like I said before, the top 8 trainees in each group will survive, plus one from each group bailed out by the Planet Pass. As for the results, basically camera time rules supreme. Wen Zhe and Ikema Ruan bounce back from their near-elimination Planet Passes, while Kim Hyerim unfortunately does not. “Salute” team as a whole doesn’t fare very well as a whole, only Cai Bing survives. “Ice Cream” survives 6 out of 9 members, and leader Kim Dayeon, with some angel edits in her pockets, skyrockets to 3rd place in K-Group.
I’m surprised Kishida Ririka made it, I’ve been enjoying her work on the show but she’s gotten no interview time whatsoever. NiziU fanbase working overtime here. I think the voters are finally deciding the demographic for the group and surprise surprise it’s closer in age to Kang Yeseo than Xu Ziyin.
The 8th place for J-Group is up next, and it’s between Cherry Bullet‘s May and Rap God Kamimoto Kotone. May receives the final spot.
C-Group is next, and it’s between Xu Ziyin and Liang Jiao. Xu Ziyin is 8th place, Liang Jiao ever chipper gives a lovely farewell cheer of support.
K-Group’s candidates for 8th place are Huening Bahiyyih and Kim Doah. They ranked 5th and 6th individually last ranking, but have obviously fallen a bit since. Huening Bahiyyih lives to perform another day.
The individual Top 9 is next.
9. Kim Chaehyun
8. Cai Bing
7. Huang Xingqiao
6. Su Ruiqi
5. Choi Yujin
4. Hikaru Ezaki
3. Mashiro Sakamoto
2. Yurina Kawaguchi
1. Shen Xiaoting
Yurina loses the top spot to Shen Xiaoting. Huang Xingqiao makes it into the Top 9, bumping Kang Yeseo out of the lineup, putting Korean members into the minority. Will Mnet allow a minorty Korean group to debut using their money? 233 manipulations say “probably not”.
Finally, it’s time to distribute the Planet Passes. Again, these choices are 100% up to the mentors.
Kotone, ranked 9th, gets her redemption and pass, praised by the mentors for her musical talent and rapping in Korean. #13 Zhou Xinyu gets the C-Group planet pass, for her idol looks and her rapping. And #10 Kim Suyeon is the final trainee saved, an all-rounder who has yet to hit her stride in popularity.
Thus the 2nd elimination, and episode comes to a close.
But wait! One more surprise. During the trainee roll at the end, Mnet announces that Xu Ziyin has withdrawn from the show due to health issues. A huge shocker, considering she was a favorite going into the program due to her solo career, experience in Korea, and multiple appearances on Chinese idol survival shows. It wasn’t looking good for her this season but it’s now come to an abrupt end.
Speaking of abrupt endings, let’s bid farewell to some of our not-so-bright stars. Kim Doah, Kim Hyerim and Huh Jiwon were all cut this episode, bringing their “last chance” dreams to a close. Out of these three I’m mainly worried about Hyerim, who will probably go into OSTs/ballad work as other “too old for survival show” types are wont to do.
We lost another #BiscuitGang as the supremely underrated Arai Risako is cut. She added a lot to the “Yes or Yes” and “Salute” stages. Excited to see what Biscuit Entertainment gets up to.
Yoon Jia, Jeong Jiyoon, Choi Yeyoung are all eliminated. Early success faded quickly as the narratives Mnet were pushing for each didn’t really pan out in the vote. Low ratings will do that to you, I suppose.
Most of the Chinese trainees eliminated only got so far on the backs of cell voting. Li Yiman and Leung Cheukying were solid performers but never showed much personality. I’ll miss Tammy Wu‘s braid. Wang Yale and Yang Zige suffered sus editing during the Combination Mission and got nothing to show for it.
We say goodbye to Ab Roller 3000 spokesperson Shihona Sakamoto (who I learned recently is in Jellyfish Entertainment). Ayana Kuwahara was another early Mnet favorite tossed aside quickly. Moana Yamauchi was probably a top 9 performer on the show, but the people don’t really care about that. Reina Kubo another victim of just not being the right type of trainee for this group.
Next episode we’ll have Creation Mission realignment and then most likely the performances.
- It seems like the easiest way to succeed on this show is getting a Planet Pass. Wen Zhe and Ruan both sling-shotting into safe positions.
- I think they should’ve definitely subbed in Liang Jiao since Xu Ziyin left. Since the eliminations are segregated by groups, you don’t have to do as much math to make it work out that way. At the very least, maybe just one more manipulation?
- Mnet are running out of trainees to feature that aren’t Bahiyyih lol.
- I think Choi Yujin has a better chance of making it than Lee Kaeun ever did. Choi Yujin just feels a lot younger than she is while Kaeun always felt older. Her being on the “Shoot!” team is going to show people “hey, she can work with a lot of youngsters and it won’t be weird”
- When I saw “U+Me=Love” as a song title my boomer mind immediately went to this.