RECAP: Chinese Idol

100 DAYS.

Yes, that’s 100 days of loving and chasing Chinese Idol (right through my exam period but coincidentally they had no episode that week and I was so butthurt about it booooo). It all started when I watched a clip of 部落组合 Ethnic Minorities Group performing their rendition of 想你的365天 365 Days of Missing You by 李玟 Coco Lee. Prior to that I’d been watching only because the judge 黄晓明 Huang Xiaoming is one very fine man. I’d enjoyed the auditions and such but then this group performed and my love for all things cultural/ethnic kicked in. I was hooked. I won’t talk about who won, but I’ll talk about the ones I supported.

艾菲 – Love On Top (Beyonce)

Man, this girl can sing.

She’s pretty, she can belt, and she can dance. She’s really got the charisma and star-factor, if you look up her performances, I think she’s the most well-rounded of the lot. She’s also really feisty and known as 拼命三娘 or someone who uses her life to do what she’s doing. You can see her energy and her determination for what she does in her interviews and in her performances. Hats off to her – she has really got my respect.

候磊 – 悬崖 Cliff (齐秦)

It was this very piece that had me at first note.

His rendition of the song was smooth, detailed and chockful of emotions. I remember being transfixed by this performance and only realizing I teared up at the end. Over the course of the competition 候磊 has shown that he can do songs across a variety of styles (Yellow) and people have described his voice as 沧桑 which I don’t know how to translate, just that it’s something like.. vast. Expansive. His voice seems to sing the span of an ocean.

There were other really epic performances in this season, including this version of Eason Chen 陈奕迅‘s 等你爱我 Waiting for You to Love Me by 郭帅 Guo Shuai and  邓小坤 Deng Xiao Kun:

Yes. You guessed it. I cried.

This wasn’t the only time I cried though. There were many times when I cried like crazy, including this and this [CAN YOU SEE EVERYONE CHOKING UP] time when Michelle 陆敏雪 was surrounded by controversy regarding her financial status and she cried onstage just as she was kicked. Sigh. Tears over tears.

Of course, I must also give special mention to this contestant called 央吉玛 Yanggiema, and she’s hailed the Goddess of the show. Not without good reason though:

央吉玛 Yanggiema – 莲花开 Lotus Bloom

Did you see her hit those high notes without so much as flinching? Just her presence alone is very calming – she’s dignified, composed and very elegant! She always gets those gowns to wear (I bet the other contestants are jealous) and boy does she pull them off well. She is someone that I can’t help but watch and I really love her voice as well.

And lastly, my favourite:

阿来 Aray – 兄弟 Dos [Kazakh] / Brothers (原创 Original)

Doesn’t his voice just sound so mesmerizing? If someone asked me to describe his voice, I’d say it was mellow. Full. Very warm. It’s like being in a warm embrace, I just want to be surrounded by his voice forever. His speaking voice is so different, it’s almost like he’s possessed by a whole new spirit when he sings. He’s actually really soft-spoken, introverted and gentle. Nothing like his voice that’s rather straightforward here. Every time he sings a song I really get moved by his voice alone. He’s someone I really favour and I will definitely support him all the way!

By the way, the bits that aren’t in Chinese are in Kazakh. If you didn’t know, China has 56 ethnic minorities that speak different languages and have different cultures although they are integrated as part of China! This is what the show introduced to me (and got me all obsessed about). Since being hooked on this show I’ve been so intrigued by the ethnic minorities of China that I’ve done extensive reading – I’ve read on the Menba, the Hui people, the Tibetans, the Mongols and the Kazakhs. It’s just really interesting to me, I love delving into different cultures so this should come as no surprise. The biggest surprise came when one day I was watching The Voice of China – a different show – and I discovered this portion:

Yes, she is wearing a gorgeous hanbok, and yes, she’s singing in Chinese, English & Korean. Yes, it’s KOREAN. After I got over the shock of hearing Korean, I remembered that in my experience, I rarely encounter a Korean who can speak perfect Chinese & Korean. If you are a native speaker of either language it’s hard to learn the other, because Korean is a language with no tones and Chinese has 4 tones which non-native speakers’ ears are not conditioned to pick up quickly. This ethnic minorities is called 朝鲜族 or Chosen.

Back to Chinese Idol.

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In this 100 days, there’ve been lots of fun and laughter.

Also, buckets over buckets of tears.

But I have learnt a lot.

I have learnt that doing what you love is not a matter of how many awards you win or how many accolades you have, it’s what comes from the heart. Let the heart speak for yourself and people will hear it. How determined are you to get there? How insistent are you that you have something of value? Then again, how do you maintain a balance of your passion and your work? I have learnt, more than ever, to appreciate the ethnic minorities. The differences in culture. How each culture is beautiful in itself. The genius of humans creating a whole new language, devising a whole new way of living. Chinese Idol has taught me to accept and love passion & culture in all its forms.

It has been an unforgettable summer. Thank you, Chinese Idol.

[EDIT] This is the most heartbreaking elimination ever. I cried like crazy at this one:

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