Shen Tingyan sat in the mentor seats with a noble and cold look. Xue Xiao had no idea what he was thinking.
He took advantage of the fact that there were so many people at the scene and felt that they wouldn’t be discovered. Therefore, he secretly looked at Shen Tingyan for a while.
It wasn’t until 8 o’clock when the recording officially started and Jiang Quan appeared on the stage, that he reluctantly withdrew his gaze.
After reading the opening remarks, Jiang Quan started to explain the specific rules of the second round.
“Now, we will send the invitation cards to the hands of the four mentors.”
Four young ladies walked onto the stage and stood on Jiang Quan’s left and right. They displayed the invitation card that was 15 cm x 30 cm in their hands with a smile.
All the participants craned their necks to take a look.
Each invitation card had the name of a mentor written on it. The design was simple, nothing special. However, it was this ordinary card that carried the hope of passing the level to the next round.
“There are ten cards each. Four mentors, please put it away.” Jiang gestured for the four young ladies to walk to the mentor table and hand out the invitation cards to the four mentors. “After each performance, the mentors can directly send the invitation cards to their favorite participants. It isn’t necessary to send out all the invitation cards, but please don’t forget that you only have ten cards. Please consider carefully.”
The participants had bad expressions.
If they came early, the mentors might be very relaxed, but they also might be particularly cautious considering that there were a large number of participants later.
Not to mention those who appeared at the end. The cards in the hands of the four mentors must’ve been almost all given up. Their chances were very slim.
Fortunately, Chang Yun, Jiang Lianlian, Zhao Dong, and Jin Xiaochen were all pretty lucky. Their appearance positions were around the same.
Jiang Quan added, “In addition, the 1,000 spectators today have voting machines at their seats. At the end of each performance today, you are asked to vote for your favorite participant. You can vote for more than one at a time. Your voting results will affect the next round of play selections for the promoted participants!”
The participants were in an uproar the moment this rule came out.
They didn’t know about this before today. They were finally going to welcome the official test of the live audience!
Xue Xiao heard Dou Mingjian next to him take a deep breath. The pressure was gradually approaching. Few people could remain unmoved at this time. Xue Xiao clenched his fists, and his palms were sweating.
“Then today’s performance is about to officially begin.” Jiang Quan paused meaningfully before saying, “I don’t know if you have noticed, but we have left a seat on the other side of the stage.”
Everyone looked to the left side of the stage, which was directly opposite to the participant’s seats.
A chair had been placed there at some point. No one had really noticed it before.
“Starting from the second round of the competition, we will invite a special guest commentator to watch the play in each round. Please welcome today’s guests with warm applause. It is Yu Shanhe—Director Yu!”
Thunderous applause rang out, and a figure entered the scene from backstage.
The man was in his 30s and wearing a formal suit. He stood on the sidelines and bowed humbly to everyone before sitting down on the special guest seat.
Xue Xiao froze.
Several people around him looked at him in astonishment. At the mentor table, Shen Tingyan paused for a moment. Then he suddenly remembered something and stared.
Once the applause stopped, Jiang Quan greeted Yu Shanhe. Shen Tingyan quietly took out his phone behind the desk.
“You invited this person?”
The four mentors had known in advance that special guests would be invited starting from the second round of the competition, but the candidates hadn’t been decided previously. Shen Tingyan didn’t pay attention to this type of thing and never asked Old Gao about it.
Over there, Old Gao quickly replied, “Why are you playing with your phone? Record well!”
Old Gao continued, “I invited him. Don’t worry over Xue Xiao like you are protecting a baby. I don’t think he will be so easily influenced by this decision.”
Shen Tingyan stared at this sentence.
Protecting a baby? What bad wording.
He smiled angrily and replied in a sarcastic manner, “You really learned how to hype things up now.”
Old Gao: “If I didn’t learn a lesson from this incident, then my life would be in vain! But even if I am hyping the show up, I don’t mean any harm, okay? Don’t attack me. Just wait and see.”
Shen Tingyan put down his phone and glanced at the participant’s seats again.
However, it was as Old Gao said.
Xue Xiao was a bit stiff when he first saw Yu Shanhe. Then he soon regained his composure.
This man was just as prosperous as Feng Wei when he first entered the film and television industry. His first film won many awards. At that time, people thought he would follow Feng Wei and become a famous director. They hadn’t expected his second film to fail at the box office. His subsequent works would have a double failure of box office and reputation. All the honors he accumulated at the beginning were lost.
Some people thought that he became arrogant after the success of his first film. He became like this because of his lack of seriousness. Other people thought his first film was an accident in itself and his subsequent works were his true level.
No one knew what happened to Yu Shanhe. After two years of silence, he reappeared in the eyes of the public and had become the director of a costume idol drama. It was shocking.
In the past few years, there had been some moderately popular dramas. Naturally, there were also bad dramas.
‘There is a Dragon’ was one of his works. Before it could air, it was ruined due to Fan Xue.
Seeing that the TV series they worked so hard to shoot was about to be ruined before it was aired, the network was in a hurry. Unexpectedly, the show’s staff took a different approach at this time and invited him to be a guest. Yu Shanhe quickly agreed.
It was entirely conceivable how much attention this operation would have on the Internet at that time.
In particular, between Yu Shanhe and Xue Xiao—
Yu Shanhe was the person who indirectly caused Xue Xiao to almost pack up and return to his hometown!
At this moment, many eyes on the field were shifting between the two of them.
Yu Shanhe didn’t look at Xue Xiao once from beginning to end. It was as if he didn’t recognize Xue Xiao.
Xue Xiao’s face was also calm. Nothing could be seen from his face.
…In fact, it was because Xue Xiao didn’t really think of anything.
He had already figured it out after the previous incident.
He was grateful and moved by Yu Shanhe’s temporary appreciation and encouragement. This was why he later felt stabbed in the back when encountering that type of thing. But in the final analysis, did a director’s appreciation of an actor mean that he would treat the actor well? Did it mean the director would definitely consider this actor?
For a director appreciating an actor, it could be like looking up and marveling at the majestic snowy mountains, or it could be looking down and seeing a fairly good-looking stone on the side of the road.
The former was serious, while the latter was dispensable.
Xue Xiao saw the essence of the problem clearly. Therefore, he put down this matter. If he had time to worry about it, he might as well improve his acting skills.
On the stage, Jiang Quan and Yu Shanhe briefly exchanged greetings. Then Jiang Quan announced, “Next, we will enter the performance session. Let me invite the first group of participants to perform today!”
Xue Xiao immediately applauded.
At the mentor table, Shen Tingyan kept glancing at him secretly.
He was still vigorous and full of energy. It seemed he really didn’t care.
Shen Tingyan smiled slightly and looked away.
…However, he was destined to have difficulty concentrating today.
A certain question had been lingering in his mind for a whole day and a half. He felt that he shouldn’t care so much about it, but he couldn’t help thinking about it in moments of distraction.
The moment the first group of three started to act, his eyes started to drift to the participant’s seats from time to time.
It wasn’t known if Gao Jianqi wasn’t a good person or if the cameraman didn’t behave. The moment the performance started, one of the cameras on the participants’ side focused on Xue Xiao.
Xue Xiao obviously knew the purpose of the cameraman and his face was tense with vigilance.
However, he was always serious when watching performances. He couldn’t help back when watching.
Sometimes he was puzzled, sometimes he was amazed, sometimes he was dumbfounded, and sometimes… he tensed his little face warily again and glanced at the cameraman.
A smile appeared in Shen Tingyan’s eyes.
The instructor for the first group was Su Shijin.
The performance of the three participants in the first round was mediocre and even a bit bad. But after Su Shijin’s strict training, their abilities had improved a lot. One of the participants even shocked everyone during the explosive scene.
At the end of the performance, the audience voted, but the votes were temporarily hidden. Then the mentors started to comment.
Su Shijin didn’t want to praise the team she directed too much, but Guan Ruoying and Feng Wei unreservedly expressed their appreciation. Yu Shanhe also gave a bit of advice.
“So, do any of the four mentors want to issue invitation cards?”
The moment Jiang Quan asked this question, the audience became quiet. Everyone stared at the mentor seats.
Shen Tingyan didn’t have any thoughts.
These three people acted well, but he didn’t have the urge to issue his card.
He just spun the pen in a circle before looking down casually.
…He met Xue Xiao’s eyes.
It was different from the situation before the recording started. At that time, the lights on the mentor’s side weren’t on. He was in the dark, and Xue Xiao obviously didn’t know when their eyes met.
But now the lights were bright and shining on both sides. As soon as their eyes made contact, Xue Xiao was stunned.
He hadn’t expected Shen Tingyan to look over suddenly. His heart skipped a beat, and he quickly looked away.
…Shen Tingyan also immediately shifted his gaze.
In a place with over 1,000 people, the expressions of the two people who were far apart were a bit subtle.
Su Shijin issued a card, and Feng Wei issued a card.
Only one participant didn’t receive the invitation card. He lowered his head, loss floating on his face.
Jiang Quan comforted him. “Don’t be sad. You didn’t get the invitation card now, but that doesn’t mean you have been eliminated.”
“If the mentors still have invitation cards in their hands once all the performances are over, and the mentor is willing to continue issuing cards, we will invite the pending participants back to the stage!”
The participant pursed his lips, nodded, and bowed deeply to the audience.
After this, the second group to act was Shen Tingyan’s group.
Feng Wei suddenly joked, “Teacher Shen has never acted in a love movie, but he first directed a love movie?”
Su Shijin also laughed. “The four groups are all romance movies. Is this intentional by the staff?”
There was laughter from the audience.
Soon, the big screen went down again, and the words ‘Red Wine Man and Woman’ appeared.
This movie was a bit old, and it was a classic romance movie.
There were no particularly intense conflicts in the whole movie and not many dialogues. The main scenes were all about physical contact and the eyes.
The acting skills of the leading actor and actress were really superb. This silent performance perfectly interpreted heartbeat and love. It was often talked about even ten years later.
At this moment, Shen Tingyan calmly watched the performance of the four participants on the big screen and examined his own guidance results.
It was very difficult to guide the participants to act in this movie.
It wasn’t because he had no experience in love and didn’t know how to guide them. It was just too difficult for these participants to fully act it out at this stage.
It was really hard to make the skin of the male protagonist turn red when the female protagonist looked at him like in the movie.
Shen Tingyan spent a lot of effort and finally succeeded in the training.
But during the whole process of going back and forth, he still inadvertently thought it would be easier if Xue Xiao was playing this male protagonist.
The little guy’s blush came and went. Recently, it had even become more intense. If he stared at Xue Xiao for a while…
Shen Tingyan wanted to laugh silently, but the smile stopped on his lips.
It was very amazing.
—At this moment, it was like the fog had been blown away by the wind.
The question that had always been lingering in his mind and the play he personally directed over the past few days collided naturally through the big screen in front of him.
It was very clear and very violent.
It crashed into his vision and mind.
On the big screen, the female protagonist gently caressed the side of the male protagonist’s red face.
She was drunk. She raised her head slightly, the tip of her nose brushing against the tip of the male protagonist’s nose. Her voice was hoarse, like a whisper.
“…Is it because of me?”
Her fingers caressed the red color and gently slid down.
Everywhere they went, it was like petals scattering.
Little by little, pink colored the skin and gradually spread and deepened.
The changes visible to the naked eye were exaggerated and beautiful.
It revealed everything.
She smiled softly, “I know you are shy by nature, and I know that you liked me the first time you saw me. It was because you like my paintings, right?”
“But Duan Qing, the first time we met… your body wasn’t so sensitive yet, right?”
“You—” She leaned close to his ear. “Do you really like me now because you appreciate my paintings?”
Under the stage, there were gasps from the audience seats and participant’s seats. Everyone watched intently with red faces.
Xue Xiao also had wide eyes. He felt shy and… wanted to see it again!
He didn’t know why, but he secretly glanced at the mentor seats.
Then with this glance, his fingers tightened. He turned around and lowered his head.
Why did he get caught again?
He thought ruefully.
Why did Shen Tingyan keep looking here today? How strange!
However, what made him even more ashamed was at this time, he could clearly feel that Shen Tingyan not only caught him, but also never looked away.
That scorching, intense gaze remained on him.
There were so many people in the participant’s seats and audience seats. There were also Teacher Su and the others in the mentor seats…
On the big screen, the four participants were still performing.
Shen Tingyan kept looking at him.
Xue Xiao could hardly control his physiological reaction.
He was confused and flustered. His whole body seemed to be on fire.
On the big screen, the female protagonist laughed drunkenly, “When we first met, I remember you were quite normal?”
Shen Tingyan slowly withdrew his gaze from Xue Xiao’s red neck. He put down his pen and leaned back against the chair.
Their first real acquaintance was probably the chance encounter at the corner of the corridor.
At that time, the young man stayed where he was. He was at a loss, but his mood was no different from a fan seeing an idol. It wasn’t so easy… to be shy like he was now.
The actress asked, “When did it start?”
Shen Tingyan lowered his eyes.
Yes, when did it start?
The actress wondered, “Since when did… Mr Duan become like this?”
Shen Tingyan didn’t know. It was hard to recall and capture that exact moment.
The young man’s increasingly sensitive reaction was gradually integrated into the process of their acquaintance. Even Shen Tingyan himself didn’t know about this silent change.
By the time he came back to his senses, the young man’s eyes were always slightly wet when looking at him, and the exposed skin was always red.
The actress said, “Ever since you behaved strangely in front of me at that time, I have been thinking about it. I have been thinking, do you like me? It wasn’t like a person who loves paintings admiring a painter, but as a man to a woman… Haha, I seem to have finally got the answer.
The male protagonist grabbed her hand. “…So, what about you? …Do you have me in your heart?”
‘Do I have him in my heart?’
Shen Tingyan lowered his eyes and sat there.
The cameraman quietly moved over and pointed the lens at him. He felt it and didn’t look up.
He just thought quietly.
He liked Xue Xiao, he liked this person a lot.
But it shouldn’t be that type of liking.
He didn’t like men.