To be frank, we were kind of hoping that we wouldn’t have to do a whole post about Celine Dion on Shanghaiist, but then this article from China Daily struck us as somewhat odd and we felt we should share our cynicisms with you.
Here’s what China Daily reported yesterday:
The highly anticipated Celine Dion show on April 13 in Beijing might be canceled because the singer is suffering from a throat infection.
What’s so odd about that you ask? (No, it’s not the ‘highly anticipated’ comment). Well, she’s scheduled to perform in Shanghai on April 11th. There has been no mention of postponing or cancelling the Shanghai show, so how does she know that she will have a throat infection two days after appearing in Shanghai? We know that Beijing doesn’t have the greatest air quality in the world, but last time we checked Shanghai wasn’t doing too well in those stakes either.
Anyway, after a big of digging we found Reuters were reporting somewhat different reasons for the cancellation:
Canadian pop superstar Celine Dion’s April 13 Beijing concert has been cancelled because the organizers failed to obtain a permit despite selling thousands of tickets, local media reported.
The [singer’s] spokesman said the real reason for the cancellation was that the concert’s organizer “had sold more than 10,000 tickets, having not carried out the approval process,” the Beijing Evening News said on Tuesday, citing a statement from the spokesman.
An official in the department involved in event approvals at the culture ministry said on Wednesday that Dion’s Beijing concert had been approved.
So it looks like Emma have been Taking Chances with ticket sales, but the Culture Ministry are still saying it’s going ahead. All very strange. Maybe the Culture Ministry, like us, were just really freaked out by the photo on Dion’s promotional posters and have decided to cancel the concerts to protect the innocent?
To be honest, right now no-one seems entirely sure what is happening. Over at Shanghai Daily the plot thickens. They reckon that everyone’s favourite Canadian diva will be belting out her tunes in Kuala Lumpur on the 13th and that those who have already bought tickets for the Beijing show will not only receive a full refund, but will also get two complimentary tickets to the Super Moto GP from a rather embarassed Emma. Shanghaiist wonders what the cross-over audience for Celine Dion and the Super Moto GP is but, more to the point, we also wonder what the hell is going on.
As we told you earlier, government officials are becoming increasingly jumpy about foreign performers coming to China following Bjork’s “whispers” in Shanghai and some people are suggesting that this could be behind the farcical mess that Dion and Emma seem to have got themselves into — with the Culture Ministry suspecting some sort of union among female singers from cold countries.
Then again, in the government’s defence, you have to go a long way to find a more controversial and politicised performer than Celine Dion — Shanghaiist has always felt ‘My Heart Will Go On’ to essentially be a call to arms.