The second episode of Produce 48 finally revealed two of the most well-known Japanese trainees, Jurina Matsui and Sakura Miyawaki.
The Korean judges expressed great interest in these two trainees and had high expectations, as they received a great deal of attention even before the show premiered.
Jurina Matsui first wowed the judges, fellow contestants, and the viewers with her confidence-filled performance of “Dear J”.
Judge Lee Hong Gi praised Jurina Matsui’s unprecedented level of confidence, especially to come from the Japanese trainees’ side.
“Your level of confidence… I see great energy there.” — Lee Hong Gi
Judge Soyou also thought highly of Jurina Matsui as being one of the best Japanese trainees to have performed yet.
“Of all the Japanese trainees who performed so far, she is the most stable in all aspects.” — Soyou
Judge Bae Yoon Jeong admitted Jurina Matsui isn’t the most K-Pop idol material, because of the inevitable cultural differences, but saw potential from her stage presence.
“I feel cautious saying this because things are so different between Korea and Japan. I get that she’s very popular in Japan, but… I mean, from our point of view she still isn’t quite what we’re looking for.” — Bae Yoon Jeong
Jurina Matsui was placed in Group B, to train with other Korean, Japanese, and Chinese trainees who appealed to the judges.
Sakura Miyawaki, who ranked #1 in the current Top 12 spots, also performed by herself.
As she sang and danced, the judges looked pleased.
Judge Cheetah gave her a B, not too satisfied with the performance.
“I can’t give her anything more only because she was the best out of the Japanese trainees.” — Cheetah
Bae Yoon Jeong saw the glimpse of a star though. She pushed to place Sakura Miyawaki in Group A.
“Can you guys trust me this once and agree with me to place her in Group A?” — Bae Yoon Jeong
The second episode also revealed trainees in groups D and F being re-evaluated in individual performances of the Produce 48 theme song. In this process, the Korean judges realized that there is a lot of potential and talent to be discovered from the pool of C, D, and F group trainees.
“Why is this girl in Group C?”
“I actually really like her!”
“These girls are so hard-working.”
When the Japanese trainees practiced both Japanese and Korean versions of the song, while the Korean trainees gave up on singing the Japanese lyrics altogether, it moved the judges.
“She’s not singing…”
“It’s like a dance competition.”
“Shouldn’t she at least try?”
“Even I know the first few words.”
“The Japanese girls all learned how to sing the Korean words…”
“They were given the same amount of time. So why didn’t some of them even try when others put in the effort to practice everything?”
“It’s a matter of willpower.”
“I want the Korean girls to learn this from the Japanese girls.”
The judges concluded once the Japanese trainees overcome the cultural differences and begin training under the Korean system, the competition will become quite fierce.
“It’s only because they have never experienced anything like this before. There isn’t anything else to say about them. This should threaten the Korean trainees. The Korean girls better step up their game.” — Bae Yoon Jeong
Watch Jurina Matsui and Sakura Miyawaki’s performances here: