Amidst the murmurs and discussion of the contestants, Steven clapped his hands to get everyones attention. The whole room silenced as everyones eyes fell onto him.
His tone was a little harsh, making people pay attention to his every word.
“The team mission will have some rules. Let me explain them. First of all, a team can only consist of 5 people, and there will be 40 teams in total.”
Only 40 people were going to pass the second round. So, one from each group This was the thought in everyones mind. But Aiden didnt share the same sentiments.
‘If the whole team did badly, they will definitely disqualify all of them.
Even last year, sometimes, the judges would disqualify both contestants if they didnt like their singing during the face-off round. Vice versa, there were times they qualified both the contestants.
It was unfair, but only the best would go ahead.
In the end, it was all about singing well.
“You all can choose your teammates yourself. We wont interfere in that, so it will be your decision in the end. After that, we will give you a song that you have to perform with your teammates. Then, after a week, the performance will be held; this will give you ample time to get familiar with each other.”
Steven explained everything, and Aiden could not help but feel like this was literally a death round. No one knew anyone here, and it didnt matter if the judges were selecting a team or not.
It was almost impossible to sing in harmony with someone you had just met. And if someone in the team werent good, the whole performance would naturally take a hit.
Here, even one lousy cook can spoil the broth.
From the corner of his eye, he could see a nervous Rachel glancing around. It looked like she also had the same worry as him.
“Now, you all have an hour to form teams. After you have done that, the staff members will register your group, and we will give you the song you will have to perform. After that, you will have a week to prepare for the performance and bond with your teammates. I hope you all will give your best!”.
Marlo finished Stevens words, and then he and the judges dispersed, leaving the nervous and frightened contestants with the cameramen who were focusing on their expressions, recording everything they could to generate a good clip.
‘I dont know if its better or worse than last years face-off round.
Aiden quietly thought in his mind.
If it was the same, then there was a chance he would need to face off against someone like Rachel, which would be the end of him.
But even with a team mission like this, he needed to be careful about who he added to his group.
‘Thankfully, I have the system.
Aiden grinned. With his system, he could look at other peoples skills and decide which would be a better person to team up with.
As he was about to check other peoples skills, he felt someone gently nudge his shirt.
Turning around, he saw Rachel standing there.
“Lets team up.”
“Huh Arent you going to team up with Jackson and Emily”
At his question, she shook her head and pointed at a corner where Emily and Jackson were standing. Three more people were standing with them, and it seemed like Jackson knew them.
“They are Jacksons bandmates. It seemed like they all passed the first round as a band and would be grouping together. Emily also joined them, so the spots are already filled.”
Aiden nodded his head while checking the skill level of Jacksons bandmates.
‘All three of them are Basic Grade 6… It seems like Emily would surely stand out in that group.
He thought inwardly and lowered his head to look at Rachel. She was around 170 cm and wasnt wearing any heels, so he had to lower his gaze at her.
“Why me There are a lot of people here” He asked, curious as to why she had approached him.
“You have good skills, so even if you couldnt perform exceptionally, I know you wont drag me down.”
Aiden gave out a wry smile hearing that. He didnt know whether it was a compliment or something else.
Anyway, Rachel was a strong teammate, and he didnt know anyone here. Not agreeing to be her request would be a much riskier decision.
Now, the issue was with finding three more people.
“If you want, I can collect all the team members.”
Aiden suggested, and Rachel just nodded her head. She didnt have a problem with it.
‘Now, lets see.
He turned around, opening up his system and looking around to check the peoples skill levels around him. To his surprise, there were many people whose level was Basic Grade 6 and 7.
But some were way better than that. The people who would surely make it to the next round if everything goes normal. But most of them have already chosen a group.
‘Its best not to get someone who has a high level.
With an Intermediate Grade skill, Rachel was already in his group, so if he got more people with the same skill set, he himself wouldnt be able to stand out.
It was not like he wasnt confident in his skills. He was just being smart here.
Aiden certainly didnt want a scenario where everyone other than him qualifies for the second round. As he was wondering who he should approach, his eyes met with a black guy.
‘Sam Denver. Basic Grade 7.
Deciding that he was perfect to be a team member, Aiden walked toward him.
“Hey, want to join my group”
“Ah, okay. I dont have a problem with it, but my friend will join too.”
Sam pointed at a brown-haired white guy who was standing close by. Aiden checked his skill level and realised that he was at the same level as Sam.
“Yeah, Im fine with it. I already have one person in the group, so we just need one more to complete it.”
He said and then started looking for one more person to complete the group. At this point, most people had already joined a group and were registering with the staff.
‘I need to hurry.
When he asked around people to join his group, most of them rejected him, saying that they were already in one. As time passed by, he was becoming more and more anxious. Time was ticking away, and he needed to find one more person.
It didnt matter what the skill level was as long as the person wouldnt drag the group down.
As he was becoming restless, he suddenly noticed a girl moving from one person to another, asking them to let her join their group.
She had brown hair and looked like the typical girl next door.
“Do you have a place for me in the group”
“Sorry, we already have a complete team.”
“Are you looking for a member”
“No, we arent.”
“Excuse me, do you have a spot left”
“Sorry, we already registered as a group.”
Aiden looked at her for a while. After every refusal, she would pitifully lower her head. By her sad pair of eyes and shy mannerism, he could guess that she was an introverted girl.
‘Lets see how good she is.
He opened up the system and checked her skill level. Basic Grade 8 – she was on the same level as him, but that was not what surprised him. Below her skill level, there was a special skill.
[Michelle Jansen] 
[Singing level: Basic Grade 8]
[Special skill: Harmony]
She had a special skill called Harmony. Unfortunately, there was no information about the skills description or purpose, but Aiden had some idea.
He quickly walked toward her and asked.
“Hi, would you like to join my group”
She immediately replied in an excited voice, and like that, he had finally completed his group.
After he completed the group, there was not much time for everyone to introduce each other. Instead, they quickly got in line to register themselves as a team.
It took a while due to the number of people, but they were able to register successfully.
Just as every group was registered, the staff showed the contestants the way to the hotel where everyone would be living together. The show did it because many people were from outside New York.
And even if someone was from New York, it was better for them to stay at the hotel because the production team would be able to capture the footage this way.
After all, it was a reality show, and everyone wanted to be a part of the broadcast.