State broadcaster CCTV’s annual Chinese New Year extravaganza, the “Spring Festival Gala,” is one of the most watched TV shows on the planet, and Saturday’s edition will feature Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On” from China’s favorite film, “Titanic.”
She will also sing folk song “Jasmine Flower” as a duet with Chinese soprano Song Zuying.
Meanwhile, South Korean rapper Psy will perform his mega-hit “Gangnam Style” on a New Year show hosted by Shanghai’s Dragon TV, one of the CCTV gala’s many regional competitors.
Dion and Psy are only the latest in a series of foreign stars to appear in recent Chinese galas, a trend that not everyone is happy about, according to the AFP:
The Global Times praised producers’ efforts to create the best shows possible but also questioned the reliance on international stars, especially if they required hefty fees.
“While some netizens are excited about such famous foreign figures coming to China, others wonder why the Spring Festival galas in China today have to depend on big-name foreign stars,” it said.
Not even a ukulele-strumming cameo by Warren Buffet could save last year’s Gala from the lukewarm reviews and declining viewership that have plagued the annual event in recent years.
And despite the increase in foreign stars, one local mainstay of the CCTV gala will be missing this year. For the second year in a row, the show will go on without comedian Zhao Benshan, who appeared in every Gala but one from 1990 to 2011.