Some guy (or I think maybe a girl?) we've never seen before is standing next to Silent Cleve, who is looking like he's suspicious of the stranger. I don't know why we have to see this moment at all. The boys take the stage (and, for some reason, they're dressed up more than they normally are, and they're not dancing). They sing a ballad. Badly. They are very much Badly Sung Boys. I don't know what crowd noise they're playing in the background, but it's not the show we're watching. It sounds like they've looped a Radiohead bootleg behind the performance.
Jacob continues stringing words together, trying to make synapses fire: "There are so many records, like, you want them to play your record, you need to prove that we deserve to be here in a tenth of time a group usually would have. It's just the game gets a lot quicker and the competition gets a lot harder." I am watching the English to Japanese to English dub of Making the Band. That's the only thing that makes sense.
Competition Piano Music plays as we see a distant shot from what looks like Staten Island. We hear Erik's cell-phone voicemail inform him that he has no new messages, but that he has two saved messages. See? The competition is heating up. Erik has to decide whether he's ready to zoom up the charts of his father's heart. Erik listens to his father's voice message again, even though there's no microphone on his cell phone and we're clearly not hearing what Erik's actually listening to on his phone. And why is he all by himself in a parking lot in the passenger seat of his huge car, anyway? Both the passenger and driver doors are open as Erik hunches down with a towel around his neck listening to Ruben, his birth father, leave his message. I don't get it, really. The cell phone is attached to the car's battery charger. Erik looks at his O-Town CD and explains to us yet again that Ruben called him. He tells us that he's never had a brother and a sister before. Actually, he says, "I've not known of anything like that." Hire seven tutors for this group, please. Somebody. It's cruel to do what you're doing to these children. They've got weaker grammar skills than Elmo. Erik says he wants to meet his brother and sister.