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Talk of the Day -- Popular Chinese TV show hot topic in Taiwan
【Culture】2013-04-13  21:49:49
China-based Hunan Satellite TV's popular music talent show "I Am a Singer" has emerged as a hot topic in Taiwan in recent days.

Over the past week, local cable TV news channels have given prominent coverage to previews of the reality show's Friday night finale -- the final competition among seven professional singers for the "Music King" title.

As four of the seven finalists are renowned singers from Taiwan, several local cable TV channels even suspended their regular programs in order to give special live reports on the hotly contested race.

ETTV News, for instance, suspended its popular 10 p.m. talk show "Critical Moment" to broadcast episodes of the singing competition, prompting some local netizens to write on their Facebook pages that the news channel's program change without prior notice was outrageous.

Several other news channels also picked the finale of "I Am a Singer" as the theme of their Friday night talk shows.

News reports about the event dominated CNA's Friday list of most-viewed Chinese-language stories.

Asked about her views on the popularity of "I Am a Singer," Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Saturday that she was pleased to see that many of the songs performed on the show were written by composers or musicians from Taiwan.

One of the two songs sung by the "Music King" crown winners, the Chinese pop duet Yu Quan, for example, was composed by Taiwan-born musician Lee Chung-sheng for another Taiwan-born singer, Chao Chuan, who wrote the lyrics.

"With a diverse and vibrant social environment, our artists tend to be full of creativity," Lung said.

While Taiwanese singers and songwriters still enjoy advantages in the Mandopop world, Lung acknowledged that Taiwan's music industry faces bottlenecks.

"We need to cherish our creativity and do our utmost to preserve the source of our ingenuity. We should never do anything that could stymie our creativity," said Lung, who is herself a noted essayist.

On the other hand, she said, the government should craft policies and concrete measures conducive to the development of the creative and cultural industries, including pop music development.

Noting that Hunan Satellite TV has invested heavily in the hardware needed to make "I Am a Singer" such a huge success, Lung said Taiwan must consider how it can retain its creativity and competitiveness with the country's relatively small economic scale and limited natural resources.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the show:

United Daily News:

Hunan Satellite TV launched the "I Am a Singer" talent show in January. The show originated in South Korea.

The Chinese TV station bought the rights to the program from Korea's Munhwa Broadcasting Corp. in 2011, but did not launch its Chinese version until this year because of difficulties in transforming the concept to suit China's social situation.

The show features seven contestants, all of whom are professional singers whose stardom may have faded over the years, fighting for another chance on national television or entertainment world.

Every two weeks, a live audience of 500 people cast their votes and the one with the least votes is eliminated. The show then replaces the eliminated singer with another contestant. The longer they stay in the show, the more money they earn from the TV station.

The show has successfully created hype after inviting professional and veteran singers from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong to take part.

The program has topped China's Friday TV ratings since its launch and has helped once-famous Mandarin Chinese singers from the three Chinese-speaking communities to gain new-found recognition.

Four singers from Taiwan -- Terry Lin, Aska Yang, Julia Peng and Winnie Hsin -- managed to get through to Friday's final, along with Chinese pop duet Yu Quan, Susan Huang and Chou Xiaoou.

According to an online poll and other media surveys, Terry Lin and Aska Yang were hot favorites to win.

In the end, however, the Yu Quan duo were crowned "Music King."

Some netizens speculated that patriotic Chinese audiences on the site played a dominant role in deciding the final result and keeping the trophy in their homeland.

"Yu Quan, you might have won the hearts of the 500 audiences present at the show, but you have nevertheless lost the hearts of the 50 million watching the show on TV," one netizen wrote.

But several other netizens recognized Yu Quan's success in attracting audience support with their passionate, exuberant singing. They particularly credited Deng Chao, a guest performer who partnered with Yu Quan in the first of the two segements in Friday's competition. (April 13, 2013).

China Times:

Terry Lin, who joined the singing competition in its fifth week and had since won three weekly championships, ended up in second place.

Chen Tse-shan, Warner Bros. Records Greater China chairman, said he could not believe that Lin had lost the race in the finale because "he and his guest performer, Jam Hsiao, sang so well."

Aska Yang tied with China's Susan Huang for third place, while Julia Peng came in fifth and Winnie Hsin was placed sixth.

The live audience included 10 professional judges who also gave the top award to Yu Quan, but who rated Julia Peng second and Aska Yang third.

Peng said she felt honored to compete in the show, saying that it let many people see her perseverance in pursuing a singing career.

"The program has allowed more people to know me. I have since obtained more performance contracts and my appearance fees have also increased," Peng said.

Aska Yang shared the same feelings, saying his singing contracts in China have increased significantly since he joined the show.

"The appearance fees have also more than doubled over the past few months," he added. (April 13, 2013).

(By Sofia Wu)
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