In the last episode Choon Hee (Jung Eun Ji) was singing a trot song at preliminary auditions for the singing contest. Jang Joon Hyun (Ji Hyun Woo) was in the audience as her manager and tutor. Recall he mistakenly thinks that Choon Hee was part of a plot to ruin his pop star status. Acting as a judge for the preliminary auditions was interim President Jo Geun Woo (Shin Sung Rok). Park Soo In (Lee Se Young) sang before Choon Hee and is a trainee at the record company and anxious to make it big.
After Choon Hee’s rousing song the three judges render their verdict. Judge #1, cohort to Soo In’s mother, tells Choon Hee because she started with her back to the crowd he must fail her. Judge #2 Geun Woo, loved the crowd’s reaction and passes her. It’s all up to judge #3…who fails her because she lacks technical performance skills.
After the auditions President Jo tells Choon Hee (she does not know he is the record company President) he is a fan and leaves before anyone can spot him. Joon Hyun rips into her for starting the song with her back to the audience and not doing well in the question and answer session with the judges.
The debt collectors (these two are the bright spot for the show) try to take Joon Hyun’s guitar to sell. A rival record company president introduces himself. He is interested in signing Choon Hee. Giddy they all go to the office to talk contracts. Joon Hyun has Choon Hee and the debt collectors wait in the hall while he handles the negotiations. Turns out the offer isn’t very good but Joon Hyun does not care. He signs for Choon Hee and literally leaves through the back door with the $10,000 signing bonus in HIS pocket. When Choon Hee and debt collectors find out they have been duped they are unhappy to say the least. What’s worse is the record company isn’t really reputable and soon Choon Hee is singing in a sleazy-ish bar.
Impressed by the number of viewers her audition video has garnered, Geun Woo goes to the bar and tries to get her out of the contract saying negatives things about her (bad temper, bad stage presence, not sexy) to her sleazy manager to drive the price down. Choon Hee is insulted by his words and declares she won’t work for him. He leaves.
Joon Hyun is a jerk and squanders the money on food, shopping and hotels. He does take Byul (Choon Hee’s little sister) to lunch and buys her a pair of shoes but that smacks of bribery. In general, he behaves like a total loser.
Joon Hyun’s former manager is having a tough time in his new job. His new boss is a real jerk. He has two interactions with a mean girl trainee from the record company. Not sure if they intend these two to become a couple. I do not like her much.
Choon Hee cries looking at a picture of her once happy family. Things go from bad to worse when the house gets an eviction notice. Desperate for money Choon Hee agrees to the sleazy record President that she will sing for private parties.
Joon Hyun discovers that his former record President (the company he deserted before joining President Jo’s company) planned his downfall (and the manager helped to execute the plan). He set him up with the woman, directed the scandalous pictures be taken and posted, and made sure the reporters knew where to find Joon Hyun. Joon Hyun confronts the former record company President who has no remorse about destroying his career after he deserted his company. He declares Joon Hyun will NEVER be able to do the one thing he loves – make music – ever again.
Choon Hee is desperate for money so she calls the sleazy record company president for an advance. He hands her the envelope which contains…a bill! A bill for outfits, hair, makeup, etc. Oh no, Choon Hee is an indentured servant to this guy.
Next on the fun train of spiraling down, Choon Hee looks at a sad one room efficiency with a snippy landlady and clientele not suitable for Byul.
Looks like President Jo is moving into Choon Hee’s apartment building. He get a call from Geun Woo who tells him the candidate did not pass the audition. He asks where his Dad is as he’s not been home lately. Mirroring and reversing roles in the phone call they had in episode 1, Dad tells Geun Woo that he’s in Hawaii (as he waves at Byul).
Totally depressed, Choon Hee returns home and tells Byul they have to pack and move. While packing Byul’s room she finds the new sneakers that Joon Hyun bought. Choon Hee is livid that with HER signing bonus he bought Byul sneakers and her heart.
When the officer has him sign release papers, he looks at his gun and seriously considers suicide. What is his life without his music? Just then a police officer listens to Choon Hee’s audition video and he snaps out of it. Choon Hee did NOT wrong him and he’s been a complete jerk to her.
When he exits the jail the debt collectors are waiting for him and give him a stern talking to. Joon Hyun gives them what little money he has. He tells them if they give him 3 months he can make Choon Hee into a singer. What’s this? A spark? Determination? Fighting Spirit? I like it!
He makes the proposal to Geun Woo, give him 3 months, a $30,000 advance and he’ll make Choon Hee a singer. He manages to convince Geun Woo. Armed with the cash he tries to buy Choon Hee’s contract but sleazy record company president says instead he wants Joon Hyun to work for him as a singer in the private party rooms.
A depressed Choon Hee performs at a private party room. The men are rude and demand she sing something upbeat. Words are exchanged and it looks like it will go physical then Joon Hyul bursts into the room. He tries to get her out of there but the men won’t have it and he is not a good fighter. The debt collectors burst into the room (I kinda love those two) and tell Joon Hyul to take Choon Hee out.
Once they escape Choon Hee gives Joon Hyul some well deserved kicks and punches. She asks if he can imagine what she’s been through because of him. He takes her wrist and says they need to go to Shin Star (record company) and he’ll make her a star.
Choon Hee: No matter how stupid I am, do you think I’ll let myself be fooled by you again? You said you’d make me a singer before. But after I sign an agreement, you leave with my $10,000. What is this time? How are you going to sell me now? Why did you buy shoes for Byul with my money? Are you happy you made her on your side? Are you human?
Joon Hyul: What you said is right. There is nothing for me to say but sorry.
Choon Hee: Sorry, do you even know how to be sorry?
Joon Hyul: I thought my downfall was your fault. So I detested you. But that was not true. I apologize for running away, and for the money, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were forced to sing in sleazy places. I thought you were being properly trained. I know these all sound like excuses, but it is true. I’ve wronged you. (he drops to his knees) Please forgive me just once. I only have you in this world. The only way I can survive is through you. I cannot guarantee the result. But I’ll work to make you a singer. So even though I don’t deserve it, please give me one more chance. Please Choon Hee.
* This episode could have been titled “how low can you go” as Joon Hyun shoves Choon Hee into a contract with a shady guy who enslaves her into singing at bars and private parties to repay him the debt he manufactured. Now she’s indebted twice – her debts and her father’s debts.
* Geuon Woo’s attempt at rescuing Choon Hee from the bad contract did not work and he just left her there. Not much of a hero.
* Joon Hyun was distateful in his treatment of Choon Hee. Even his interactions with Byul were not all that cute. Buying/bribing someone’s affections, not cool.
* The bright spot of this episode were the debt collectors. If you can believe it, they are steadfast and supportive of Choon Hee. Yep, I know they want her to pay back the cash but they treat her better than Joon Hyun.
* Glad this epiosde is over. Let’s start the journey back up the music star ladder. Turns out hitting rock bottom is not that fun to watch.
Tags: Episode 3, Trot Lovers, 2014, Korean Drama, Ji Hyun Woo, Jung Eun Ji, Lovers of Music, 트로트의 연인, Shin Sung Rok, Lee Se Young