Backstage, silence filled the whole room. Even if they wanted, they didnt find anything to say. Some contestants were even rubbing their eyes in disbelief, but their ears had heard everything.
“What the heck… That performance.”
“I cant believe it.”
“How are we going to top that”
“We lost even before our turn came…”
A few contestants muttered; their voices were meek in strength as they glanced at their band members. A sense of inferiority could be seen in their eyes as they werent sure if they could top the performance of Aidens group.
It was too high of a mountain to cross.
Even Rachel couldnt help but frown. If she werent from a wealthy British family and had been taught etiquette and how to react in public, she would have already started cursing in frustration.
‘I want to top that atmosphere, but I dont know how to… damn it!
Still, she cursed in her mind and tried to calm herself down.
At some distance from her, Marlo was having a completely different reaction than the contestants.
His hands were shaking in excitement, and just thinking about the ratings, they would get when they showed this performance was enough for him to grin so much that it looked like his face would rip.
There was stuff like this in the past seasons, legendary moments that caused disbelief and excitement in viewers, but they had happened way later, closer to the finale. This was the first time it had happened so early.
He had never thought that this band round would give something like this. In the first place, any band with Cameron was more likely to argue than give out a performance like this. The kid was talented but too prideful..
But somehow, it had all come together nicely.
Cameron, with his unbelievable vocal skills at such a young age, Aiden with his handsome face and charisma, Emily with her pretty appearance that would sell well among American audiences, but the star at the end was definitely Jackson. This contestant hasnt gotten the same attention as his bandmates before this performance.
Jackson didnt have a great appearance, nor did he have unmatched vocal skills. He couldnt even compose and had barely passed in every round, making him seem like a background character in between the main characters.
But he had emerged as the star. A hidden gem!
‘I didnt know he could play the drums like this. Its almost like he has years of experience. He completely aced the drum solo at the end.
Marlo thought and was sure that some top band would rope him in as their drummer even if Jackson got eliminated.
At that moment, one of his assistants suddenly walked close to him.
“Sir, look at this.”
Marlo turned around to his assistant, holding a laptop and headphones. On it, the original music video of Sweet Child was playing.
“Why are you showing me this” Marlo asked.
“Sir, I checked the music video and the original audio. Theres no drum solo at the end. They incorporated it in the song themselves.”
Marlo trailed off and took the laptop in his hands. Then, wearing the headphones, he listened to the whole song again and found that his assistant was indeed right.
“Do you know whose idea it was to change the ending” He asked, and his assistant nodded with a smile that almost seemed like a grin.
“Yeah, I checked the cameras in the lounge and practice room. I think we might have gotten some great footage.”
Andrew was the first to open his mouth among the judges. Touching his forehead, he laughed a bit before speaking on the mic.
“If Im being very, very honest, I dont think I can judge this. Its too good to be judged.”
The band members cheered at that. Jackson looked like he wanted to dance right there on the stage even if he was tired from the performance.
“That was great. Really. I try not to be harsh on the contestants, but I cant find anything to point out with this performance, even if I want to be harsh. Good job, you all! Really a great job you have done.”
The audience clapped at her assessment. With this, they had already gotten approval from two judges and were going into the next round.
“What do you think, Steven”
Andrew looked at Steven, who was silent till now. Then, with a smile, he opened his mouth.
“I think its a pity.” His words caused some unrest among the audience. “I think its a pity that they are not a real band.”
As he completed the sentence, Aiden took a deep breath. In the past seasons, Steven hadnt liked the performance even if everyone else had.
This time, it was different.
“If you were a real band, I would have surely signed you up after this competition. You were that good together.”
Finishing that, he looked at Jackson.
“Your drum solo at the end was one of the best I heard in several years. Take my advice, and you would be far more successful as a drummer than a singer.”
Jackson seemed to be in some thoughts, but he shook his head and replied.
“I want to focus on singing for the time being.”
“I understand that, but come to my label if you ever thought of becoming a drummer. I think I might be able to help you out.”
This was as high a praise one can get from Steven, and Jackson also knew that. Thats why he was very grateful for the others.
He had never gotten such an evaluation since the start of the competition.
After that, the judges gave out their evaluation separately on each band member, with Cameron getting the highest praise after Jackson, and Aiden and Emily were commended for being the perfect support.
After all, without the two of them, Cameron and Jackson wouldnt have been able to stand out so much.
In the end, the judges touted the performance to be so good that they were ready to announce the results on the spot.
“You all are qualifying for the next round! Congratulations!”
Emily was the most excited one after the judges qualified them. She screamed in joy and hugged both Jackson and Aiden, who were beside her. She even roped in Cameron for a group hug.
Although it was a bit awkward, everyone was able to understand her emotions.
They were the first band to qualify, after all!
Right after Aidens band performance ended, the second band was called in. Aiden was pretty relaxed now that he knew his results.
He and his bandmates just enjoyed the performance of the other bands. Though, he was constantly thinking of one thing.
‘None of them are as good as ours.
The other bands didnt seem to have that harmony that their band did. Although the performances werent bad, they couldnt be called great either. It was barely in the middle.
They also looked to be very nervous due to Aidens band performance. One band even messed up in the middle with the vocal forgetting their lines.
Their evaluation was the worst among every band, with Steven telling the vocalist, “You are a singer, and its basic to remember the lines. Very basic! You are not a chicken with a small brain, are you!”
That was very harsh on the vocalist, who even started crying a bit, but he was sure that just that clip would give the show some more ratings. After all, no viewer hated drama.
Reality shows were all about it in the first place.
If Aiden had to point out who was the second-best, it had to be Rachels band. He hadnt talked to any of her band members, but the performance was completely a one-man show or, in this case, a one-woman show.
Rachel carried her whole team, who werent even able to support her perfectly. They kept missing a beat or a chord, and despite that, Rachel kept going.
Her vocal skills were on full display, and it was a good performance just because of her. Even the judges pointed it out, criticising her bandmates.
Only because of her they qualified for the next round.
Aside from that, there were not a lot of good performances. Michelles girl group was the only other band that was good. They had already gotten used to singing with each other, and that clearly showed in the performance.
In the end, the judges eliminated the band whose vocalist had forgotten his lines, making the total number of contestants 12 from 16 in one go.
But for Aiden, it was a very memorable week.
He had qualified into the next round and had even gotten a great skill. At this point, he didnt know that he would get into trouble due to the infamous Devils editing.
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