Unfortunately, I don’t have a TV, so I totally missed the premier of China’s Got Talent on Shanghai’s Dragon TV channel. But now the videos are up on Youtube, and I’ve gotten a chance to pick out highlights. And boy are there some highlights.
As we’d previously reported, China’s Got Talent is part of the same wildly popular franchise as America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent. Called 中国达人秀 (zhong guo da ren xiu), which translates roughly to China “talented person” Show, it boasts Jolin Tsai and Zhou Libo as celebrity judges and a performing contract with Sony Music Entertainment and Fremantle Media as its grand prize.
But anyone who’s watched talent competitions on Chinese tv before (including Happy Girls/Super Girls, the cultural phenomenon to beat) probably wasn’t expecting much. For some reason (we’ve heard, but can’t confirm, rumors of bribery and backstage romance), people who show up to these shows never seem to actually have that much talent – at least no more than that which shows up in China’s numerous viral videos.
It, surprisingly, wasn’t the same with China’s Got Talent. Four-year-old piano prodigies, Elvis impersonators and belly dancing troupes… and despite previous comment from producers and Jolin Tsai herself, fatties and lady boys all made an appearance.
Anyhow, if you want to watch the full episode, it’s right here, but I’ve picked the three pieces everyone’s sure to be talking about from the Shanghai showdown.
1. Migrant Worker Breakdancers
Unfortunately, there are rumors that these guys may be actors, which would be a shame – a real story of migrant workers joining together to break dance, especially this well, would’ve been awesome. Anyhow, these guys hail from Shenzhen and, for their normal jobs, do everything from work at airports to wash cars to dig roads. Youku doesn’t have a clip of their performance at the premier episode, but it does have this audition clip. To check out their performance, go to around 27:50 on the China’s Got Talent vid above.
2. Small People Singers
This has to be the first time I’ve actually seen someone with dwarfism appear on Chinese television. 23-year-old Zhu Jie is only 1.28 meters (about 4 foot 2 inches) and admits that taxi drivers tend to not stop for her because they think she’s a child. She sings a song by Jolin Tsai decently enough to be let through to the next round, and both her and her boyfriend stand up there to be congratulated (and have a few prying questions about their relationship thrown their way).
3. China’s Lin Yu Chun
I could almost see the producers watching Taiwan’s Lin Yu Chun shoot to fame and say to themselves “We need one of those for our show.” They found one in Zhu Xiaoming, a “Shanghai fatty” who sings Mariah Carey’s Hero… unfortunately, he doesn’t sing quite as well as Lin Yu Chun (you can hear him struggling to keep on key for some notes), but it did garner the desired amount of attention. Most videos on Youku are about him, and his clip has been seen a good 80,000 times.