After the second round was over, a lot of people were eliminated. After all, only 40 out of 200 remained.
These contestants would stay in the hotel room for some more days until the third round and after that only 16 would go on to Los Angeles for the main part of the competition.
But before that, something else was there that was making Aiden both nervous and excited.
[Uncle Sam: Are you going to appear on the broadcast]
[Aiden: Cant say for sure. They have not told us anything, so its a surprise for me too.]
[Uncle Sam: Your aunt and I are going to watch the whole episode. I think you will do well!]
Aiden smiled seeing the messages on his phone. It was the day of the broadcast of the first episode of X-Star and his family, both in America and India were waiting for it.
When he came to America, his Uncle who owned a restaurant here had helped him a lot. For two months, he had worked in his restaurant and then, found another job and a place to stay, not wanting to trouble him more.
As he was in his thoughts, there was a knock on his door.
Opening it, he saw Jackson standing outside. He didnt know if his performance was really good or if he was just lucky, but surprisingly, Jackson had passed the second round, even if none of his bandmates had.
Both him and Emily had passed from his group.
“The broadcast was about to start, so everyone gathered in the hall. I thought I should call you.”.
“Okay, thanks.” Aiden moved outside and closed the door of his room. His roommate had been eliminated, so he was using the room alone. “Lets go.”
Along the way, Aiden secretly checked the skill interface of Jackson and realised that his level had increased by one, probably the reason for him passing the second round.
Seeing him glancing at him, Jackson questioned.
“Who do you think will appear in the broadcast”
“I dont know. Probably the contestants that they think might go to Star week or just those who can attract an audience. Do they ask you questions too after your performance”
“They apparently asked everyone the same type of questions. Probably they will edit it as they want. I heard they call it the devils editing.”
Devil editing – Aiden had heard the term. It basically meant chopping and cutting footage to make it seem like someone had said something completely different and it was a common practice in reality shows.
As Aiden was wondering whether the program team would do the same with the first episode, Jackson suddenly changed the subject.
“You know, Im actually glad you passed the second round.”
“Huh” Aiden looked at him with confusion.
“Its just that its better to know people going forward. Who knows there might be more team missions and in that case, its better to know someone. Aside from Emily, you and Rachel, I dont know anyone here.”
Jackson was basically telling him that they should look after each other. Although Aiden didnt know him very well, his proposition was good.
“I believe that too. Do you regret that your bandmates didnt pass the second round”
At his question, Jackson shook his head.
“No, we were actually going to separate and X-Star was our last shot at success. Their rejection basically meant our end.”
Aiden nodded, not asking anything further. They reached the hall and saw that it was jam packed with people. Most of the participants were surrounding the big TV in the middle and some were checking their phones.
He could make out Rachel and Emily from the crowd.
“A lot of people are here.”
Jackson said but Aiden found something strange. Taking a look around the room, he muttered.
“It doesnt look like all 40 contestants are here. Is it because many are watching the broadcast in their rooms”
“Maybe. Oh, yeah, I heard a staff member saying that they have only selected 35 people till now. Actually, for the last five spots, the judges were still in discussion as there were a lot of people who they liked.”
Aiden nodded at that and thought that maybe Michelle or Sam still had a chance. It would be good for him if they are brought back in the show, especially Michelle with her special skill.
‘The show should start any moment now.
X-Star broadcast time was 8:30 PM in America and it aired on Panther Network. When Aiden checked his watch, it was just a minute to go for the show.
Soon, some ads started and the logo of the show appeared. Everyone in the room cheered seeing it and then, a voice which belonged to Marlo narrated the beginning.
[Two successful seasons and two winners who won hearts not only all over America but also the world. Now, X-Star has returned with another season, trying to find another singer who has that X factor.]
After that, there were snippets of people waiting in line and registering themselves. Among those snippets, many contestants faces passed through and some in the room cheered, noticing their own faces appearing on TV.
Those whose faces hadnt appeared yet watched the broadcast with squinted eyes.
Suddenly, Aiden noticed his own face as a snippet of him walking to register himself with the guitar appeared.
“Hey, I saw you! Congrats, man!”
Jackson yelped, shaking his shoulders.
Aiden tried to stay calm but the phone in his pocket had already started vibrating with messages. It was the first time he had appeared on television and it was a very big deal.
The broadcast kept moving forward at a rapid pace as the judges were shown, looking excited and wondering about the talent they would see in this season. Soon, the first contestant was called in and Aiden quickly looked around, but he wasnt able to find the contestant in the room.
He quickly found out why, as the contestant was eliminated.
Next, a few more contestants came out. Some of these were those who were sitting in the hall. One girl even started crying after seeing herself on the TV.
After a while, he even saw Rachels audition. Aiden felt a bit disappointed because she obviously had auditioned after him, so it basically meant that his audition of the first round wont be shown.
Although he knew this could happen, when it really did, he felt really disappointed.
‘Leave it, its better to focus on the broadcast.
He thought, enjoying Rachels performance of a famous song about breaking up. As her performance was being broadcasted, many people looked at her in jealousy and envy.
“I think I will be on the next episode which will have New Jersey auditions. Do you think they will show your performance today”
Jackson asked when only ten minutes of the show was left.
“I dont think I will appear-“
“Hey look, its Aiden!”
As he was in the middle of replying, he suddenly heard his name and turned towards the screen.
On the TV, he was walking on the stage with the guitar on his back.
‘Its really me. Did they edit my audition to be the last
He thought as he focused on the TV, not knowing when his audition would cut off. But to his surprise, they showed most of his audition.
To him introducing himself to the judges and singing his original song, everything was shown.
As the audition went on, more and more eyes gathered to him and people were even whispering about him, touting him to be a threat to them.
His footage didnt end after the judges passed him to the second round. A snippet of the interview he conducted with Marlo was also shown.
[What was the reason for you coming here from India]
[It was for an opportunity. I wanted to prove things to myself and to my family. My uncle worked here and he was okay with me moving over, so I came here.]
[Wasnt there any opportunity in India]
[There were obviously opportunities. But you can say I just wanted to make a mark in the US. You know how it is said to always dream big. Moreover, I always felt like America could be the opportunity Im looking for.]
After that, his footage was finally over but even after it ended, everyone in the hall kept glancing at Aiden. Besides him, Jackson was going crazy.
“Dude, did you see that They showed most of your audition. Im sure that the program team likes you a lot and would advance you to Star week!”
Only those contestants who were thought to be the top most in skills or have special talents would be shown so much in a broadcast.
Aiden knew that too and it took him more than a moment to take all of this in.
‘Is it only because of my originality or they just think my story from coming from India is sellable
Aiden wondered but at that moment, he saw some frosty gazes directed at him. He felt like some people were now taking him as their biggest competitor because he was shown more than the others.
One of these gazes was Rachel.