Produce 101 Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: So Many Covers, So Little Time

This episode continues the head to head matches.  Although MNET tries to ramp up the drama, it’s fairly predictable.  Approximately ten out of twelve groups have one member with one problem, but ultimately it never affects any the performances. It’s still pretty entertaining though, because we finally get to see all of the trainees in action instead of a select favored few.

NOTE: This episode contains spoilers for Episode 4!

In general, I don’t think any of the teams do badly.  From what I  see, no one makes any obvious glaring mistakes. However, there are definitely some performances that aren’t really memorable.  It’s tricky because the boys are competing against another team, but they’re also competing against their own members.  So they have to look good as a team, but they also have to stand out and be remembered.  All of the teams are pretty solid, but many have members that fail to appeal to the public.

BATTLE #3: “REPLAY”

Shinee, “Replay”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Lee Gunhee RBW D, #27 Kim Jaehan MMO C, #72
Sub Vocal 1 Choi Minki Pledis F, #19 Yoo Jinwon Blessing F, #70
Sub Vocal 2 Lee Gwang-hyun Starship C, #40 Kim Sang-gyun HUNUS D, #47
Sub Vocal 3 Yeo Hwan-woong RBW B, #39 Choi Tae-woong MMO D, #65
Sub Vocal 4 Jung Jung Yuehua D, #42 Yoo Hoyeon I.One C, #93
Sub Vocal 5 Justin Yuehua D, #26 Lee Junwoo FENT C, #33
  Leader: Yeo Hwanwoong

Center: Justin

Leader: Choi Taewoong

Center: Kim Sanggyun

NOTE: All rankings are from the online voting as of Episode 3

The Prep: It seems like Team 1 has it made.  Everyone – including their opponents – agrees that Justin is the perfect center.  He’s cute and he knows it, and he wisely milks it as much as he can during performances.  This puts pressure on Team 2’s Sanggyun (of Topp Dogg), who is a more manly center.  Dance trainer Kahi keeps making faces during his evaluation, eventually telling him that his expressions are too cheesy.

While Justin might be totally relaxed, his team’s main vocal Gunhee definitely isn’t. Seokhoon singled him out as the best “Pick Me” singer a couple of episodes ago, but the high notes in “Replay” are out of his range.  Every time he tries, he either goes really off-key or can’t even produce the note.  We all remember Season 1 when Chanmi messed up that very important high note, so I imagine that it’s a very stressing situation for him.

The Performance:

As predicted, Team 1’s performance is great.  They work really well as a group, but they’re also able to stand out individually.  It’s very well-balanced and makes good use of each member. I’m naturally drawn to Minki more than Justin because he’s simultaneously cute and charismatic (plus Justin is about decade younger than me).  But I think Justin does really well – he uses big gestures and really fills the space when he dances.  Jung Jung also grabs my attention for pulling a Cheng Xiao and ending the routine with a flip.  Oh, and Gunhee hits the high notes just fine.

Team 2 decides to forgo the cute stuff completely, opting to charm and appeal to the noonas.  I’m not sure Sanggyun’s ab flash really fits in…but there’s only one way fangirls will react to that, so I guess it’s a moot point. As a noona who’s pretty ambivalent about cute, I feel more comfortable watching this team. However, I think it’s a little less memorable than the other one.  Most members fail to make an impression on camera.

The Results: Team 1 wins 467 to 391, which is much closer than I expected.  Minki pulls in the most votes, but Justin and Gunhee also do pretty well.  Jinwon and Sanggyun are the hard carries for Team 2.

BATTLE #4: “MANSAE”

Seventeen, “Mansae”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Park Woodam HF Music Company C, #68 Kim Yongjin Wings F, #61
Sub Vocal 1 Joo Wontak 2able Company C, #94 Kim Chanyool Jackie Chan F, #96
Sub Vocal 2 N/A N/A N/A Jo Sung-wook OUI F, #90
Sub Vocal 3 Kim Yeonguk I.One D, #92 Jung Joongji Wayz Company F, #59
Rapper 1 Woo Jinyoung HF Music Company A, #45 Choi Hadon Jackie Chan F, #91
Rapper 2 Kim Taedong The Vibe Label A, #28 Jo Gyumin IMX D, #97
  Leader: Kim Yeonguk

Center: Kim Taedong

Leader and Center: Jo Gyumin

The Prep: “Mansae” needs some serious vocal power, so Team 1 is excited to have Woodam. He’s one of the trainees widely acknowledged for his singing, and receiving high praise from both Yumi and Don Mills. Unfortunately, the team hits an unexpected speed bump when a member quits the show for health reasons.  Woodam has to pick up all of his lines, and it clearly takes its toll on him.

Team 2 is made up of lower-ranked trainees that nobody picked. The deck is already stacked against them in terms of popularity, and morale is not very high.  Hadon is particularly resentful about the situation. He starts to sit out of practices, eventually leaving altogether. Yumi gives him a talking to when he flubs his lines during evaluation, but it’s not until the dance check where he changes his attitude.  When leader Gyumin sheepishly explains to Kahi they don’t have anything prepared, she urges them to stick together and help each other out. This is a wake-up call for Hadon, who then becomes the team’s biggest supporter.

The Performance:

The issue with “Mansae” is that it’s larger than life – which comes with having thirteen members. So when there are only five or six , they really have to deliver. I think that Team 1 does a really good job. it’s clear that they’re enjoying themselves, and they definitely make me smile. Personally, Jinyoung stands out the most to me.  His rapping is very charismatic, and he brings a lot of energy and joy to the stage.  Plus Woodam absolutely kills those high notes.  Everybody sounds good to my untrained ear, but even I can recognize when someone is a cut above the rest. As for Team 2, they do just fine.  There are a couple of minor slip-ups, but all in all it’s pretty solid.  It’s clear that they really worked hard and tried their best.

The Results:  It was kind of a given that Team 1 would win, but they earn a stunning 624 votes to Team’s 151.  Three out of the five members receive 100 votes, and Woodam gets 270!  I’m not really surprised, though I’m sorry the gap is so wide – the highest number of votes a Team 2 member gets is 51. Team 2 had to deal with blows to their confidence at every turn, and it just feels like one last kick to their self-esteem after working so hard.

BATTLE #5: “SORRY SORRY”

Super Junior, “Sorry Sorry”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Choi Dongha N/A B, #51 Kim Jaehwan N/A B, #18
Sub Vocal 1 Kwon Hyeob Maroo C, #52 Hwang Minhyun Pledis D, #16
Sub Vocal 2 Yoo Seonho Cube F, #15 Kang Daniel MMO A, #12
Sub Vocal 3 Jo Yong-geun HF Music Company C, #71 Kwon Hyunbin YGK+ F, #22
Sub Vocal 4 Kim Nam-hyung S.How A, #46 Ong Seung-woo Fantagio A, #4
Sub Vocal 5 Ha Minho The Vibe Label C, #63 Kim Jong-hyun Pledis B, #13
  Leader: Ha Minho

Center: Kwon Hyeob

Leader: Kim Jonghyun

Center: Ong Seungwoo

The Prep: During evaluation, Team 1’s leader Minho asks Seokhoon if he and Namhyung can add a rap to make sure they get noticed by viewers. They need permission from Team 2 because they’re supposed to have the same material, and Jonghyun refuses. Minho thinks that’s unfair because they could also make a rap, it’s just that they don’t want to.  He then takes a random swipe at Daniel.  The translation I read wasn’t clear, but I guess Minho implies he should get his way be rewarded because he’s working hard – unlike Daniel who’s supposedly slacking off.

Now in the US this is some light shade, but on Korean shows there’s a huge emphasis on being polite and respectful. I’ve seen many survival shows, and I can only think of two instances when trainees were openly rude to each other. So Minho suddenly calling out Daniel and not speaking politely is a huge deal.  Luckily, Cheetah puts him in his place by giving him a hard no, and critiquing his rap to boot.  I try to give everyone a chance, but this guy is just unpleasant. It’s great to be ambitious, but you have to draw the line.

Random slandering is the least of Team 2’s worries. Leader Jonghyun spends a lot of time helping out Hyunbin, who is clearly the weak link. But Hyunbin still makes a lot of practices during the evaluation.  It turns out that he’s been slacking off in practice and hiding in practice rooms to sleep. Jaesung chides him, but he mostly scolds Jonghyun for failing to make sure everyone was up to speed.  Jonghyun, who is extremely mature and wise, calmly accepts the blame and apologizes.  I find this pretty unfair (though I get the logic), but at least Jaesung recognizes his response as the mark of a good leader.

Apparently not learning his lesson, Hyunbin continues to prioritize napping. This kid wants to be an idol?!?! Everyone knows they get like three hours of sleep on a good night! Eventually Jonghyun loses his patience and scolds him, and this is where he really impresses me.  Tough love is the prevalent school of thought in K-pop, and we see that on survival shows. Many speak harshly to those who are lacking, but Jonghyun is calm and collected.  He’s able to chasten Hyunbin and remind him of the big picture without hurting his feelings too much. I’ve spent my whole life in various parts of the entertainment industry, and I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve met who do that.  It’s a rare quality, so I really respect Jonghyun as both a leader and person.

The Performance:

I try hard not to be biased, but I can’t help myself here.  Team 1 is perfectly fine – though a little mechanical at times, they’re very clean and precise. And they have the very handsome and very popular Seonho. But Team 2 absolutely crushes it. They’re the perfect blend of strong vocals, sharp dancing, and loads of charisma.  Heavy favoritism aside, Seungwoo is probably the best center out of any of the other groups because of his on-point dancing and chic expressions. Their performance is absolutely stunning, and they look like they could go ahead and debut right now.

Gunhee-Reaction

My face the entire time I was watching Team 2

The Results: Team 2 has a significant win, 522 to 208.  All of them get a good amount of votes except for Daniel, who somehow only ends up with 33. Hyunbin gets 142 votes, which pretty much confirms that what we see on camera and what the audience sees are very different.  Seonho is the biggest winner for Team 1, taking 93 votes.

BATTLE #6: “SHOCK”

Beast, “Shock”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Wang Minhyuk Gini Stars D, #98 Jo Jinhyung CS Entertainment B, #75
Sub Vocal 1 Seo Seong-hyuk WH Creative D, #95 Lee Kiwon 2Y Entertainment D, #58
Sub Vocal 2 Son Dong-myung RBW F, #69 Yoo Kyung-mok Total Set C, #74
Sub Vocal 3 Choi Seung-hyuk Yuehua D, #64 Park Heeseok Gini Stars Entertainment C, #87
Rapper 1 Kim Dohyun GINI Stars C, #86 Im Woohyuk Blessing C, #57
Rapper 2 Jung Hyojun YGK+ F, #54 Jung Dongsu S.How C, #36
  Leader: Kim Dohyun

Center: Choi Seunghyuk

Leader: Park Heeseok

Center: Yoo Kyungmok

The Prep: As we saw last week, Team 1’s Seunghyuk is very frustrated with his team’s lack of focus.  He continually watches the other group while his fellow members keep repeating the same thing.  He’s clearly annoyed, and finally loses his cool. They all have a sit-down, and he tries to impress on them how they need to focus.  As he sees it, they really need to win because they’re not popular like some of the other teams.  Luckily, the matter is resolved calmly and they devote themselves to practicing.

I thought Team 2’s problematic team member would be leader Heeseok, who was greedy for the center position last week.  But the pre-performance package actually focuses on Dongsu, who is feeling lacking.  This team has a bunch of strong vocalists, and Dongsu fails to impress his teammates when they’re choosing parts.  He volunteers to be the second rapper instead.  Things look bleak for him when he gets criticism from Don Mills and sustains a serious toe injury that keeps him from dancing well.

The Performance:

Fun fact: Every time I watch the performances for “Shock” and “Be Mine,” I keep thinking the tempo is so slow – but that’s because I’ve watched the original groups do the 2x dance on Weekly Idol so many times.

This is a pretty close match, in my opinion.  Neither performance is overly wowing performances, but both are enjoyable. Team 1’s vocals stand out more: Dongmyung does some seriously impressive harmonizing, which adds some nice depth. And Seunghyuk also does pretty well – you can tell that all of his hard work paid off. As for Team 2, I think that their rappers stand out more.  Woohyuk is pretty charismatic, and he does have a similar style to Junhyung.  And for all that worrying, Dongsu is super smooth.  There’s no evidence of him having struggled.

The ResultTeam 2 wins 380 to 284.  Dongmyung, Kiwon, and Kyungmok get the most votes out of the two groups. Unfortunately, some of the trainees get very low results. This happens in other matches, but it’s really apparent here.  Heeseok feels terrible because he only got five votes.  No one in the audience knows that the team so well because of his leadership and careful teaching of the choreography. Kyungmok says they felt like they used him as a stepping stone, so it’s a bittersweet victory.

BATTLE #7: “BE MINE”

Infinite, “Be Mine”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Yoo Hoe-seung FNC C, #49 Lee Woojin Media Line A, #21
Sub Vocal 1 Kim Chan Individual Trainee F, #56 Kim Dong-hyun Brand New Music B, #35
Sub Vocal 2 Choi Heesu I.One F, #79 Jung Sewoon Starship B, #11
Sub Vocal 3 Lee Jihan Pan B, #88 Park Sungwoo HIM F, #17
Rapper 1 Choi Jaewoo RBW B, #80 Im Young-min Brand New Music A, #31
Rapper 2 Kim Yehyun Widmay C, #34 Lee Youjin Namoo Actors C, #48
Rapper 3 N/A N/A N/A Takada Kenta Star Road B, #29
  Leader: Yoo Hoeseung

Center: Lee Jihan

Leader: Lee Youjin

Center: Takada Kenta

The Prep: Team 1 may be the only one without a huge problem for MNET to exploit (though they do have a slight hiccup when Yehyun is injured. In fact, they’re very excited because they’ve got a great main vocal. Hoeseung surprised everyone last week with his high notes, and he continues to slay. During his evaluation, he ad-libs endlessly and intimidates Baby Woojin (Team 2’s main vocal). How was this guy ever ranked D?  Apparently fixing some bad habits BoA pointed out went a long way.

Team 2’s preparation isn’t going as smoothly.  During dance check, Kahi is horrified to discover that Sungwoo (the one who awkwardly flashed his abs in Ep 1) is messing up the choreography big time.  It turns out that Youngmin is solely in charge of everything dance.  So because he’s teaching the choreography and setting the blocking, it’s hard for him to also help lacking members.  Kahi points out that it’s supposed to be a battle with the other team, but there’s literally no contest at this point because there’s so bad.  She even asks leader Youjin if he regrets choosing Sungwoo.

The Performance:

Both teams are similar technically, but their performances differ stylistically. Team 1 has a more manly vibe, and Team 2 has a sweeter sound.  The difference is most clearly shown between the main vocals.  I think that Team 1 looks better as a group, but Team 2 has members that stand out more like Woojin and Takada.  The camera editing is very rapid, so I can’t confirm if Sungwoo messes up a lot without watching his fancam.  But aside from a random relevé, he seems fine.

Side note: I love how they keep showing Daniel whenever Baby Woojin does anything.

Daniel-Reaction

The bromance is real!

The ResultTeam 2 wins 438 to 330.  They’re actually pretty close in terms of votes, but Takada is especially popular and clinches the win with 133 votes.  Similar to what happens with “Shock,” Youngmin gets a low number of votes and Sungwoo feels bad.

BATTLE #8: “BOY IN LUV”

BTS, “Boy in Luv”
Team 1 Team 2
  Name Agency Rank Name Agency Rank
Main Vocal Ha Sung-woon Adore + Able A, #23 Kang Dongho Pledis D, #20
Sub Vocal 1 Lee Daehwi Brand New Music A, #2 Kim Yongguk Choon D, #37
Sub Vocal 2 Bae Jinyoung C9 F, #10 Lee Gunmin RBW F, #83
Sub Vocal 3 Park Jihoon Maroo B, #1 N/A N/A N/A
Rapper 1 Lee Eui-woong Yuehua D, #14 Kim Sangbin N/A A, #55
Rapper 2 Kim Samuel Brave A, #3 Lai Guanlin Cube F, #7
Rapper 3 Joo Hak-nyeon Cre.ker F, #6 Lee Insoo N/A B, #43
  Leader: Ha Sungwoon

Center: Park Jihoon

Leader: Kim Sangbin

Center: Lee Insoo

The Prep: At last, we come to the “Avengers.” It’s true that the crowd goes wild upon seeing these handsome boys, but here’s one major flaw.  Daehwi chose his team last week based on visuals and popularity – not their levels of skill.  So the group is evenly split in terms of talent.  This becomes horribly apparent when they basically shuffle through their evaluation with Yumi and Don Mills. Jihoon and Jinyoung are in charge of the high note, but it’s dangerously shaky.

There seems to be a little team vs. team drama when Team 2’s Dongho calls Daehwi out for doubling the unstable high note. (It’s like the “Sorry Sorry” issue, because they hadn’t cleared it with the other team). But otherwise, Team 2’s major hurdle seems to be going against such a popular group.  They’re definitely not backing down, though.  In fact, seeing Team 1 falter gives them a huge confidence boost.

The Performance:

Team 1 is good, but I just don’t think their vibe matches the song.  They’re very “pretty boy,” and I think they would have been better off with a song like “Call Me Baby.”  Team 2 reminds me more of BTS because they’re more fierce and forceful.  The video shows the same shots of Dongho and Guanlin staring down the camera like three times.  It’s very manly and powerful. For me, it’s a draw.  There are members that I like in both teams, but I think Team 2 fits the spirit of the song more.

Dongho-and-Guanlin

In case you missed it the first 100 times they showed it

The Result: When Daehwi picked his team, I thought having so many popular people in one group might backfire by splitting the votes.  This actually almost happens, but ultimately the strategy works and Team 1 wins 494 to 243. Jihoon saves Team 1 by pulling in 115 votes. As Samuel says, “The wink is strong.”  Daehwi and Haknyeon also have around 100 votes.  Dongho and Guanlin get the most votes for their team, but at 86 and 79 it’s still a ways behind.

THE AUDIENCE VOTES

At the end of the show, BoA gathers the trainees to announce the on-site rankings.  Team 1 of Seventeen’s “Mansae” wins overall with 624 votes, and they get to do an encore performance on M! Countdown.  She then reveals the top-ranked trainees twice.  The first time is solely based on audience scores, meaning the trainees that pulled in the most votes.  The second time is after the 3,000 vote bonus is applied.

ON-SITE VOTING TOP RANKINGS
No Bonus With Bonus
#1 Park Woodam, HF Music Park Woodam, HF Music
#2 Kim Taedong, no agency Kim Taedong, no agency
#3 Ahn Hyeongseob, Yuehua Ahn Hyeongseob, Yuehua
#4 Choi Minki, Pledis Choi Minki, Pledis
#5 Kwon Hyunbin, YGK+ Kwon Hyunbin, YGK+
#6 Takada Kenta, Star Road Takada Kenta, Star Road
#7 Yoo Jinwon, Blessing

Jang Moonbok, ONO (tied)

Jang Moonbok, ONO
#8 Yoon Heeseok, Jellyfish
#9 Yoon Heeseok, Jellyfish Park Jihoon, Maroo
#10 Park Jihoon, Maroo Lee Kiwon, 2Y
#11 Lee Kiwon, 2Y Hwang Minhyun, Pledis

Overall, there’s not a significant change in the two Top 11 lists because most of the high-ranked trainees won their respective battles.  Jinwon is the only one who didn’t receive the bonus, so he is bumped off the list and replaced by Minhyun.  We see a much larger difference in the lower ranks once those 3,000 votes are applied.

I thought the outcome of each match was pretty predictable, but I was surprised at how the audience members voted.  They acknowledged some trainees like Woodam for talent, but in general it seems like they voted by popularity and visuals.  I know there’s a difference between seeing it live and on broadcast, because there were a lot of trainees that made little impression on me but got a lot of votes. Haknyeon only had one line in “Boy in Luv,” but he got more votes than Samuel who had a lot of screen time.  Also, the audience didn’t get the behind the scenes footage that we did.  But Hyunbin getting the most votes really frustrates me, because even without that information he looks weaker than the rest.  Hopefully, the online voting balances things out.

NOTE: All videos and GIFs come from MNET’s Produce 101, Season 2 Episode 4

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