Your Singing Stinks and So Do You Part 3

"For this next round I am going to assign you groups and a song, and you will sing it," Chihaya announced. "I will judge based on how you do."

"I think I should sing with Yukiho," Makoto decided.

"No. I will choose randomly from this hat," Chihaya corrected her. She reached into the hat full of papers that had suddenly appeared on her desk, and drew out a name. "The first group will be…Hibiki…"

Hibiki jumped forwards.

"…Shijou-san…"

Takane calmly took a step up.

"…and Hagiwara-san," Chihaya concluded.

Yukiho slowly moved forwards.

Chihaya nodded. "Iori, Makoto, and Azusa-san, you three are the other group. Now, for the group consisting of Shijou-san, Hibiki, and Hagiwara-san, your song will be…"

The idols waited while Chihaya fished around in a different hat that had also suddenly appeared on her table.

"…Tonari Ni."

Hibki cried out in excitement. "Bro, I've totally got this!"

Chihaya sighed. "We'll see. The other group, your song is…"

Iori swallowed hard. Makoto gripped Azusa's hand in anticipation. Azusa just smiled.

"…Overmaster."

Iori and Makoto let out a loud cheer.

"Finally, a way to show you my versatility!" Iori laughed. "Watch the mighty Iori-chan succeed right before your very eyes!"

"And at last, a song I can actually show my strength on!" Makoto agreed. "Thanks, Chihaya! You're the best~"

Chihaya shook her head. "Thank the unseen hand of destiny, not me. Anyways…split off into your groups and sing for me. I'll pick the top four and we'll go from there," she ordered. Immediately, the girls separated into their groups and prepared their song.

Chihaya waited until the first group, the one consisting of Takane, Yukiho and Hibiki, was on the stage. The music guy played his music and the group sang.

Chihaya nodded slowly. Both Takane and Hibiki brought a power to the song that Chihaya thought made it sound more full of emotion and overall better. Yukiho, too, sounded beautiful in the song—but unfortunately, the quiet, soft, breathy voice of the shy idol was almost completely drowned out by the pure emotion of the other two singers. She would get a harsh reprimanding for that.

The group finished and Chihaya nodded again. "Hibiki, you sounded beautiful. The beginning was shaky and you seemed awkward, but you had no trouble after that. Shijou-san, you have such a gorgeous voice and it flowed very nicely in this song. I like the power you showed me. Hagiwara-san…" Chihaya sighed. "I…you sounded lovely, don't get me wrong, but…when the three of you sang together I could barely hear you. You didn't capture the emotion I would have liked from you. And…it was a little husky again."

Yukiho whimpered and nodded. Hibiki and Takane grinned. Chihaya sighed again.

"Next."

The next group bounded onto the stage, Iori and Makoto seeming especially excited. The music playing guy did as he was told and the groups sang.

Chihaya admired the strategy of the group; Iori was the main singer, meaning she started things off nice and strong and brought to Chihaya a strength the older idol greatly appreciated. Makoto was arranged to take parts where the deepness and power of her voice would be better received, and Azusa?

Azusa got the part with the least solos possible. Because, to put it frankly, Azusa sounded like an angel, and this was a song for demons. Chihaya thought she sounded out-of-place and awkward, especially when she sang right after a singer like Makoto, who had a much stronger voice. Even Iori had a deeper, huskier voice that contrasted very well with both of her song-mates.

The group finished and Chihaya applauded lightly. "Iori. Iori, that was…frankly, I'm blown away. I didn't know you had that kind of power in you. You've proven that you're versatile. But it was too husky for you, it sounded quite awkward, and you seemed a bit…unsure. Very nice work, though."

Iori beamed. "Nihihi~! But of course."

"Makoto, it was nice to hear this side of you again," Chihaya continued.

Makoto smiled triumphantly.

"For a moment, I'd forgotten the power you had."

Makoto giggled.

"But it was…too much. You almost completely overpowered your teammates, and it was just a little over-the-top. I think you could stand to be more reserved and less…belch-y. You know?"

Makoto sighed. "Of course there was something wrong…"

Chihaya looked at Azusa. "…Azusa-san."

Azusa blinked.

"Azusa-san, you…" Chihaya trailed off. "OK, I could barely hear you, there was way too much vibrato, your voice was high-pitched and squeaky and too soft and light, and…it just didn't work. I'm sorry."

Azusa nodded. "I understand, Chihaya-chan. I'll be going, then~" she trilled. She bowed quickly to Chihaya and then left.

Chihaya examined the rest of the idols. "…Makoto and Hagiwara-san, step forwards," she called.

Yukiho squeaked and stepped forwards. Makoto sighed and joined her.

"The two of you…both of you seemed a little…out of place, in your groups. I don't know which one of you I liked the most. So…I'm going to randomly select a song for each of you. I want you to sing it to the best of your ability. And…then I'll decide based on that," Chihaya explained. "Hagiwara-san, your song is…" She paused, reached into the song hat, and pulled out a paper. "…Shiny Smile."

Yukiho smiled. "Yes, Chihaya-chan…! I-I'll do my best!"

"Makoto."

Makoto gulped and started muttering to herself, crossing her fingers for good luck.

Again, Chihaya reached into the hat. "Your song is…Kyun! Vampire Girl."

Makoto let out a loud cry of excitement. "Yes! I'm good at that song!"

Chihaya looked at Yukiho. "Hagiwara-san, you go first," she invited Yukiho. The shy girl stepped forwards and waited for her music to start. She sang through the song and Chihaya smiled. Yukiho sounded much stronger without sounding too strong. It was very cute, she thought. When Yukiho finished, she sent her to the back while Makoto took her place onstage and sang her song.

Chihaya found herself trying not to gape during Makoto's performance. There it was again, that singing voice that sounded much better and easily hit notes and even had a bit of vibrato sometimes and even sounded sexy, which was weird considering this was Makoto and she wasn't exactly known for being the sexiest girl on the planet. She sounded very natural with the song as well, which Chihaya liked.

So yet again, she was stuck.

"…Makoto, I hate you."

"W-w-what…?!"

"You're not supposed to be able to sing. Stop doing so well."

"O…oh…kay…?"

"Hagiwara-san. Where."

"…um…"

"Where did this stronger voice come from? Where was it in Tonari Ni? In other words, I can't decide who I like more, again, so…" Chihaya sighed. "I…I don't know, just—"

"MAKOTO WINS!"

Chihaya whirled and spotted a lone woman in the audience, around her early twenties, with short brown hair and choppy bangs. Chihaya raised an eyebrow.

"Who are you?"

"I'm the author!" the woman laughed. "In other words, I'm Grace with a haircut! Ya like it~?"

"…wait, what?"

"Makoto wins because she has a voice from heaven and I love her," the author, who is really me, who is named Grace, continued.

Chihaya blinked. "But…I…the judge…or whatever, and I'm…supposed to…um…"

"I AM THE AUTHOR. MAKOTO WINS. No offence Yukiho, your best friend is just better than you."

Chihaya blinked again.

"Plus," the author/me/Grace began, "Kyun is honestly one of Makoto's best ever in-game songs. She sounds like a…vampire angel demon sexy princess beast."

"Wait…what?"

"Makoto. Is. The. Winner."

"OK, OK…Makoto, you win," Chihaya sighed.

"I promised myself I wouldn't let personal feelings get in the way of this competition…" I murmured to myself. "…ah, to heck with it, you were stuck anyways. Sorry Yukiho, honey, better luck next time."

Yukiho squeaked and left the stage while Makoto stared at me in utter bewilderment.

Chihaya shook her head. "Yeah, so…the final four is Makoto, Shijou-san, Iori, and Hibiki. Good luck to you all. I have a surprise for you next time."

"Author OUT!"