Two weeks later, after the third public performance, it was the debut night.
The attention on the debut night was extremely high. It should reasonably be the climax of the show but it was clear that many viewers and contestants knew that the performance was just a formality and couldn’t shake the ranking. They just pretended to be unaware of it and went on with it.
After the public performance, the main event started.
The host took the sealed envelope to the stage, opened it with great fanfare, and took out the list of debutants.
The third, fourth and fifth places were all surefire contestants and were expected to sit on the debut podium.
The host listened to the screams and cheers from the audience, smiled and pulled out the card with the name of the second place. His expression suddenly stiffened.
He glanced at the program group subtly, but both the director and the CEO were hidden in the shadows.
The host sighed silently, quickly turned his gaze back and re-displayed a professional smile to the camera.
“Second place, drummer Ji Sheng! Congratulations on your debut!!”
There was a few seconds of silence in the audience, and then the shouts of astonishment exploded.
“Ji Sheng is second?! How can Ji Sheng be second? Isn’t he always first??”
“Then who is the first… Sheng Kongzhi? Although his popularity is not low, he has never been higher than Ji Sheng, right?”
“It may also be Xie Xuanming, his diehard fans are very good at fighting.”
“Come on, there are only the first and sixth places left. It’s up to Xie Xuanming whether he can make his debut or not! ”
“No way, Xie Xuanming’s fund-raising and sponsorship level has always been in the top three! ”
“KUZI’s pissy nature, huh, a big break like Ji Sheng can be screwed second, and it’s not impossible for Xiao Xie to be voted out.”
“Damn! No way? KUZI, go bankrupt, why is my cp so miserable! ”
There was constant noise from the audience, but Ji Sheng was quite calm. He smiled at the waving fans in the audience, walked up to the debut podium and picked up the microphone.
“For getting the opportunity to make my debut, I would like to thank my fans, viewers, my mother and the program team. Thank you very much. Without you, I would not be standing here today…”
After a well-behaved thank-you note, Ji Sheng looked down at the audience.
“Finally, I also hope that my friends will have the same good luck as me, Lao Sheng and Xiao Xie, I will wait for you.”
The camera followed his words; Sheng Kongzhi raised his head and smiled at him, while Xie Xuanming slightly lifted the corners of his lips.
The first place was immediately announced, and Sheng Kongzhi took the stage and walked to the top of the debut podium.
The result was surprising, but the audience had already been given a warning when Ji Sheng came second in the competition. Among the remaining contestants, only Sheng Kongchi and Xie Xuanming could compete with Ji Sheng in terms of popularity, while Xie Xuanming’s ranking fluctuated due to various controversies. Relatively speaking, Sheng Kongzhi was more stable and indeed the most popular after Ji Sheng.
But whether or not he could outperform Ji Sheng was a matter of opinion.
After the first place was announced, there was only one last place left in the band.
The host read out several names, and the called contestants lined up in turn.
The last musician to make his debut would be among them.
The camera scanned the faces of several players in turn, most of them looking nervous and eager. Xie Xuanming was the only one with a calm expression, his eyes downcast and his thoughts unfathomable.
The camera lingered for a moment in front of this overly calm player, and then turned to the auditorium.
The host drew out the card and read it out loud.
“The last one… keyboardist Wang Qi, congratulations on your debut!”
The last debut position was announced, and there was a more intense uproar in the audience than when it was announced that Ji Sheng had taken the second place.
Countless spectators roared angrily and some more excited people even shouted “refund the tickets”. Xie Xuanming glanced around and saw a few young girls clutching their mouths and crying.
Amidst the noise, Ji Sheng suddenly got up from his seat.
The last band member had already walked up the steps, and Xie Xuanming stood still and politely applauded.
He raised his eyes and unexpectedly met Ji Sheng’s shocked and dazed stare.
Xie Xuanming smiled at him, relieved and restrained. There was a little comfort in his smile, and there were some regrets that couldn’t be hidden.
The young man who chose to be out of the capital game raised his eyes to his friend on the podium and said goodbye to him with a silent smile.
As soon as the debut night was over, Ji Sheng didn’t stop for a moment, jumped off the stage and rushed backstage.
But before he took two steps, he was stopped by Sheng Kongzhi who chased after him.
“What are you going to do?”
“Go find the director, find the CEO!” Ji Sheng strode forward without turning his head back, “How could Xiao Xie not make his debut? His votes are definitely enough to make him debut! I’m going to ask for an explanation!”
“Calm down.” Sheng Kongzhi sped up, grabbed him, turned him around and frowned, “If you go now, apart from offending the KUZI senior management, will it have any other effect?”
“Then what am I going to do?”Ji Sheng staggered to a halt and yelled at him, “Am I going to watch Xiao Xie go down and do nothing?”
Sheng Kongzhi gritted his teeth and suddenly lowered his volume: “Xiao Xie may not want to make his debut.”
Ji Sheng was stunned: “What?”
“The resources KUZI can give are limited. Although Xiao Xie’s popularity is enough, he can’t go higher than a certain level. He has too many overlapping positions with others. KUZI made it clear to him before that it is impossible to give him too many resources for his debut, and he also expressed his understanding…”
Ji Sheng was dazed: “Anyway there is no need to refuse to make a debut… Did Xiao Xie himself say that he didn’t want to make a debut? Why didn’t he tell me?”
Sheng Kongzhi avoided his gaze: “I don’t know. But I know that he was contacted about a movie script. Xiao Xie… might have made a trade-off. After all, Xiao Xie also studied acting in university. It is indeed more promising to be on the big screen than to join a time-limited band…”
Ji Sheng was silent. He felt the blood in his veins cool down a little bit, and finally said, “But I really want to be in a band with him.”
Sheng Kongzhi felt uncomfortable seeing him so lost. He raised his hand and rubbed Ji Sheng’s head, whispering: “If we have a chance in the future, we will make Qingchu into a big company. Brother Tan will have money. He will sign Xiao Xie and we will form an unlimited band.”
Ji Sheng was silent and said nothing.
After the show, the band Loptr, formed for a limited time, began a schedule of constant travel.
Magazine shoots, interviews, variety show recordings, album recording, music festival performances… Countless tasks were pressed on the team members. Ji Sheng could only sleep for three hours a day on average. He was so sleepy that he closed his eyes during makeup time and between shows to grab some rest.
Ji Sheng was not interested in all kinds of publicity in the entertainment industry. He was enthusiastic about performances and album recording, but these two things were the least valued by KUZI. The agent didn’t even mention a word about it in a month, and after Ji Sheng asked a few times and got a perfunctory reply,he stopped talking about it.
Towards the end of the year, an itinerary made Ji Sheng’s spirits rise a little.
A charity dinner.
Ji Sheng was still not interested in competing on the red carpet. What he cared about was the attendance list.
Xie Xuanming would participate.
Xie Xuanming went to the filming site as soon as he left the show.
This was the first time Ji Sheng would see him again after “Music First”.
The seats for various dinners were always arranged according to popularity. Although Loptr was a newcomer, it was in the limelight, and the organisers gave them a lot of face placing them in the second row.
After Ji Sheng sat down, he couldn’t stop looking around. Sheng Kongzhi whispered to him to show some restraint, but after a while, Ji Sheng stretched his neck again, turning his head to look for someone.
The effort paid off. After looking around a few times, Ji Sheng finally saw Xie Xuanming in the corner.
Xie Xuanming stood against the wall, staring coldly at the excitement in the audience.
He was not well-known and had not signed up with any company. Being invited could already be considered generosity from the organisers’ side.
So when the staff member told him that he was sorry but there was no seat for him, Xie Xuanming didn’t think of being offended at all, nodded, walked to the corner and stood there quietly.
Xie Xuanming leaned against the wall absent-mindedly. The filming schedule was not easy. The director’s strict requirements made the filming go on until late at night every day and the action scenes were even more energy-consuming.
Yesterday, he was filming all night, and today he studied the script again and came to the charity dinner after an hour of sleep in the afternoon.
Xie Xuanming could barely keep his eyes open, but he held on to his eyelids and searched the venue for someone.
He was struggling to find this person when there was a sudden noise at his side. Turning his head, he saw the man he had been looking for throw himself at him and lean to his side.
Xie Xuanming’s sleepiness was gone instantly; he stood up straighter, suppressed the rising corners of his lips and asked, “Why did you come over?”
“I came to keep you company.” Ji Sheng wrinkled his nose, “A lot of people talk to me, I don’t like it, so I ran out to poke around.”
“They are all famous people.” Xie Xuanming reminded, “They will be useful connections in the future.”
“I don’t want to engage in any connections.“ Ji Sheng didn’t care, “Just give me a place to play drums.”
Xie Xuanming said, “Oh, that’s it.”
Ji Sheng looked up at him: “Have you grown tall again?”
“I’m twenty. “Xie Xuanming was dumbfounded.
“But you seem taller again.” Ji Sheng stretched out his hand and gestured, “I didn’t need to lift my head so much to look at you during the show.”
“…shall I squat down?”
“So many people are watching, care a little about your image, Actor Xie.” Amused by him, Ji Sheng said with his eyes curved in a smile.
“It doesn’t matter.” Xie Xuanming shrugged, “Just as long as you don’t mind.”
A reporter noticed the two youths standing over there and raised his camera to take a few shots.
The flash was not turned off, and Ji Sheng was startled and squinted. He just wanted to block the light when Xie Xuanming raised his hand and held it in front of his face.
“Thank you.” Ji Sheng said, suddenly thinking of something, “You seem to have been on many hot searches recently.”
“En.” Xie Xuanming said, “All of them are not very good, right?”
A picture of him exhaling a cloud of breath in winter was turned into rumours of him smoking; a picture of him talking to an assistant into rumours of dating; even shooting a movie scene was given a twist of offending the big guys and being blocked.
All in all it was a rather outrageous look.
Ji Sheng frowned: “What’s the matter?”
“KUZI’s handwriting.” Xie Xuanming said blankly, “I didn’t agree to their terms and don’t work for them, so they want to stomp me to death.”
“…Is this also the reason why you didn’t make your debut?”
Ji Sheng didn’t speak for a long time.
Just when Xie Xuanming thought he would not speak again, he said, “Why didn’t you tell me this?”
Xie Xuanming hadn’t answered yet when he continued:
“It’s really not human.
“If you told me, I would retire. I would retire on the podium on the night of the debut.”
Xie Xuanming was taken aback for a moment and smiled: “Fortunately, I didn’t tell you.”
Ji Sheng didn’t reply, his eyes looking like ice that wouldn’t melt.
Xie Xuanming turned his head and peered through this ice to see the glittering world of fame and fortune, where the red hotties were promoted to high seats, and the losers retired in disgrace.
He breathed a sigh of relief, his heart settled.
Fortunately, I didn’t tell you.
3 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 46”
Excuse me, sir.
Silently sacrificing is not the trend anymore.
How Ji Sheng supposed to notice?
I do believe he’s happier in that little band compared to now – as in this chapter.