The little match girl of Super Girls

wang zhixin

Who will light my sticks of hope?

A car accident made her an orphan at the age of ten.
A pile of family debt forced her to leave school when she was fifteen.
Five years later, a competition that brought her story to light.
This is her story, as told by Harbin TV News.
Meet Wang Zhixin, the Little Match Girl of super girls

Walking in the chilling, snowing night sky, a stick of match warms my dreams. Every step of frozenness, every step of loneliness, the coldness of people numbs my hands.

When the heavenly, almost ethereal sound was softly enounced from the mouths of a seemingly average girl, when it filled the 600 square meter room of the GBS auditorium, below the stage, the hundreds of audiences were silent.

On the night of June 14th, Wang Zhixin, a petite girl with a headfull of stubborn short hair, stood on the stage of the 2009 Super Girls, playing her guitar and lost in her own world.

Matches Heaven

A box of matches sets my heart aflame; the freezing night cannot stop my steps; the wind pierces my face;  the snow cuts at my mouth; dragging my feet, how far can I go?

In the winter of 1988, Zhixin was born in a farm family that’s as simple as can be. Though poor, her hardworking parents and the rich fields made Zhixin’s childhood one of freedom and joy. But then, a car accident made Zhixin an orphan. On the verge of death, Zhixin’s father held her aunt’s hand, tears in his eyes, and gave the only 10-year-old Zhixin to the care of her aunt and uncle. From that day, Zhixin viewed her aunt, uncle and their son Zhizhong as her own father, mother and brother. Zhixin changed. She was no longer so happy-go-lucky. Often, she would sit under the tree in the yard and stare at the rise and fall of the sun.

One night, a still sleepy Zhizhong was shaken awake by his younger sister: “brother, I saw mommy, she’s looking at me from outside the window!’

One Night was all it took, music and lyrics by Wang Zhixin

Who will buy my matches? Who will light my sticks of hope? Who will buy my loneliness?  Who will fulfill my longings of home…

A winter night of 2003, the wind, carrying the sound of whistling, beated at the window of her uncle. Zhixin, Zhizhong and uncle circled her sick aunt. In the end, brother Zhizhong spoke. After three years of bad harvest, the family is plagued by debts. Mom’s already falllen from overwork, and father’s health is also dwindling. He has decided to drop out of college to work. What does Zhixin want to do? After thinking, Zhixin surprised everyone by saying that she will also drop out to work with her brother to support the family. Although everyone knows that Zhixin should continue her studies, but with no other way of paying the debts, the family agreed.

So the 15-years-old 7th grader droped out of school and begun working. She worked as a waiter in a restaurant with a wage of 300yuan per month. Often, she would watch her classmates joyfully passing by the store window with the backpacks behind them, and Zhixin’s heart was bittersweet. One day, the scene of a farm worker playing the guitar deeply touched her, she fell in love with the unique sounds of the guitar. She wanted to learn, but there was no place to go.

Her brother, who was workng in Beijing, learned that his sister liked the guitar, and especially sent a few books to her. With the few money she had saved, she brough a guitar. And using the books her brother sent her, Zhixin began to learn the guitar.

Some say that the gods are always fair: In the deepest suffering, they will give people joy. Zhixin was born with a clear voice and a sharp ear. She learned the guitar by herself. Since she had the guitar, her eyes became peaceful again. Whenever she’s not working, she would always be softly humming, embracing herself in her music.

“I understood” on Happy Camp, she appears at 2:39

Every time I light the soft glow of the match, I can see hope; I can see dreams; I can see mother in the heavens speaking; she says you must be brave; you must be strong; don’t be afraid; don’t worry; from now on, you’ll never wander again…

August 2007, in a chance opportunity, a neighbor told her of a national youth singing competition. Wanting to try, Zhixin brought her guitar to Harbin, and walked into the competition. The heavenly music and the pure voice immediately captured the heart of the judges. From then on, the restaurant server Wang Zhixin became singer Wang Zhixin.

Music, like a lighted candle, brightened up Zhixin’s life and warmed her lonely heart. Wang Zhixin once said,”I’m not trying to practice anything when I’m playing the guitar and singing, but when I play the guitar, I want to sing, I don’t want to stop. Only when singing is my heart the most peaceful.” In the sounds of music, Wang Zhixin build her own “match heaven.”

“Let me and my guitar bring you my music.”

Because she won a national award, 19-year-old Zhixin was slowly known by everyone, and sung at a popular bar. To earn more money to help her aunt and uncle to repay their debts, other than singing at night, she also performs at various ceremonies in the day. With the money left over in 2008, she brought a guitar, her treasure that she used on the stage of Super Girls.

2009 May the 24th, auditions began for the Super Girls’ Harbin region, with an “angel’s wings,” she touched the judges. After being asked to sing two other songs, she received a pass card to go on the top 50. On May 29th, with “Match heaven” and “Cao Cao,” she got into the top 30. On May 31st, she sung “match heaven” again to enter the top 10 of Harbin, giving her a spot in the national top 300.

Don’t let my tears spend the night with me

Everytime I light the soft glow of the match, I can see hope; I can see dreams; I can see mother in the heavens speaking; she says you must be brave; you must be strong; don’t be afraid; don’t worry; from now on, you’ll never wander again; mother will take your hands and take you home, to sleep in the warm and flower-filled heaven.

“I don’t understand music, I only know that sister lives in her music,” her brother Wang Zhizhong is almost teary when interviewed about his sister,” we’re poor, and we have no money to provide for our sister. On the first day in Harbin, all the other girls ate KFC, but Zhixin only had fried rice. On the last day in Harbin, she said, “brother, can I eat one hamburger, just one?” When I saw her eating, my heart was happy but sad. I’m her older brother, yet I can’t provide a happier life for her, but she could through her own powers!” *(Western restaurants, even fast food, in china is about four times the price of a normal meal)

Thunderous clapping of hands were released as Wang Zhixin’s fingers played the last note. The “Heaven of Matches” that she sung with her heart touched the audiences’ heart, touched the judges’ heart.

On June 17th, Wang Zhixin, a girl who has never had any type of musical training, won a place in the national top 20 of the 2009 Super Girls with her self-composition “In One Night.” She used her own match – her music – to light up her youthful life.

Matches Heaven, one last time on the stage of Super Girls

Harbin TV News’ report ends there, but not her story.

Fastforward to the Super Girls Finals 15 to 10 competition. There were five contestants left and only three spots in the top 10. One of the five must be eliminated – Wang Zhixin, Zeng Yike, Huang Ying, Da Chun Zi and Li Yuanxi. The other four will go on to the next round, where a panel of judges and audiences will vote for the top three.

Judge Wu Qixian announced the results.

Wang Zhixin, the songs you chose are wonderful songs, and they require the voices to match them. I’m very happy that you have such taste to sing, but currently, you’re not good enough to sing those songs.

I was going to put this up when the Elle photoshoot for the top 10 came out, so everyone could see the little match girl as she found heaven. I should’ve known better. There are so many stories with happy endings, so many fairytale princesses Wang Zhixin could’ve been. But she was no Cinderella, she had no Prince Charming, she was the Little Match Girl, the girl whose sticks of matches illuminated her dreams, but eventually must return home when the matches all burn out.

Without a spot in the top 10, Wang Zhixin has a year with eeMedia. She’s only 20, she has more time. I sincerely hope she’ll be in the girlband, because I can’t imagine someone with her voice not singing.

32 thoughts on “The little match girl of Super Girls

  1. i really dont like zeng yike…yes she does have an unique voice, but her singing sucks…

    i think my fave is liuxijun =)

  2. @kale – I can’t really compare ’05 to now, or any of the other ones. This is the first one that I actually watched and followed.

    But I have to say, I really like the ’09 girls. They are so energetic, so fun and they all have different personalities:

    The three that stand out most to me:

    Liu Xijun is like the ambitious girl that other girls find hard to approach (like the 05′ top three) and hides a lot of what she’s thinking
    Jiang Yingrong (she’s my favorite) – Is the popular girl, the moodmaker. Gorgeous but doesn’t flaunt it; Talented but is lackadaisical toward her talent.
    Pan Hongyue – Strong character like Liu Xijun, but wears her thoughts on the outside; but goofy and fun especially around Jiang Yingrong

    There is a lot of potential in this batch.


    I think the competition based format is good in some ways. For example, it allows the companies to find talent easier. The revenue from the show offsets the cost of setting up stations around the country. In a country as big as China, getting the best talent requires a lot of traveling expenses.

    Problems occur when the TV station has their own company and feels obliged to sign everybody with talent. Which ends up being a lot.

  3. Wang Zhixin…most touching story I’ve read in along time.
    People like her deserve to be in these sort of competitions where they can finally have the long awaited opportunity that had been needed for so long. Correct me if I’m wrong, but many of the contestants in Super Boys and Super Girls often come from wealthy well off families, so seeing people that haven’t had those sort of privileges competing with the wealthy just proves that life isn’t completely unfair. Sorry I’m going all mushy :S
    Wang Zhixin has a beautiful voice and is so naturally talented; learning guitar by books? I have musical background but when I tried self-learning guitar, I failed miserably.

    I’m going to have to agree with a few of the above comments: Zhen Yike is not very good. Her voice is unique but there’s just something about her that when you compare her to Wang Zhixin, she seems a bit undeserving.

  4. @Nepheliad
    me, too. (on Pan Chen)

    THis is kind of sad, but in the US, sisingers ngers have so many ways to become big. In mainland, 90% of become big through competitions, so almost anyone with musical talent flocks to competitions. I hope eeMedia sells some of them away (ie. Hu Ling to Ocean Butterfly).

    That probably sounds terrible, but it’s the best way for both companies. Hunan can’t manage all of them, and the other companies probably want a piece of the pie.

  5. And I’m starting to wonder how they’re going to market all their finalists in general. American Idol, after all, really only turns out one or two stars per round – everyone else just kinda drops into their niches. Even then, not that many of their stars last very long. Super Boy/Girl competitions seem to get a lot more through to some kind of spotlight; how long will that manage to last?

  6. @ idarklight, way further up – Perhaps they want to diversify? I mean, they’ve got a lot of redundant talent in the way of genres, and it’s usually a good thing to diversify one’s investments instead of betting on nothing but the “cash crop”, if you will. I don’t know any big record labels that stick to just one genre, and so far, eeMedia has most of its eggs in one basket. She’s good for a niche crowd to make modest but stable returns, if she develops well, and to mitigate criticism that they’re nothing but mainstream.

    Besides, it’s not as though they need treat all those people in their contracts well…

    And personally, I’d rather have Wang Zhixin replace Pan Chen than Zeng Yike. Pan Chen is just bland and unmarketable. Zeng Yike won’t be a breakout star – that’s not really possible – but a niche singer in the way of Joanna Newsom or such? That depends on her development, IMO.

  7. thanks for the quick reply idlight..i was reading liu ye, omg, i’m a bit jealous…cause he is so tall and a good actor. beautiful wedding indeed.

    so, it’s not just me who think that supergirl2005 was probably the most talked about suprgirls and like you said ‘beyond awesome’. It’s also the fact that most of the top girls in 2005 except ji minjia became really big. Yuchun, bibi, jane..even he jie is doing ok (yeah read about her problem with EE just like chusheng).

    i’m intrigue with the facts that some of these girls will form a girlband. i’ll try to watch it again but if non of my friends watch them, i’m losing interest ( maybe i shuld force them to watch with me lol).
    thanks for the heads up about the girls.

  8. that’s the thing, though. When we look at the 2005 girls, we’re looking back. We already know they’re beyond awesome, so it’s not hard to find amazingess everywhere when looking back.

    I mean, if you think about 2007 Super Boys. The performance that wowed me didn’t come until the third to last competition. Had I watched Super Boys from the beginning, I probably wouldn’t have seen the talent I do now.

    These girls are new. They have two months to change, to learn, to break through. Already, I see talent that can be found. I see lots of potential in them, especially in Pan Hongyue and Huang Ying, but those two are both somewhat raw talents that needs serious breakthroughs to succeed. That’s why I don’t want Liu Xijun or Yu Kewei to win. They’re good, but that’s because they’ve found the best of themselves. I don’t expect anything more from them. With the first two, I really do expect more. JIang Yingrong’s somewhat in between. She still has more developement, but she’s already semi-developed.

    this is sort of interesting. Voting for Super Girls through going on Baidu’s version of “AIM.” Winners gets a week of ad time on baidu tieba.

  9. opps ma bad..i mean the 2005 with jane zhang in’s 2004 or 2005?

    i didn’t follow supergirls from the start though, don’t think that many would follow the competition from the very beginning except Chinese people maybe, idk.

    Even though I’m not really a fan of Yuchun, but her presence was there and she brought up something different during the competition probably her manly look.

    but now, that manly girl look is not new anymore and yeah the girls are quite pretty this year..but idk maybe it’s like american idol where we got tired of it after a while.
    it’s all about singing and that’s it, non of my friends watch this year SG.
    But this is just me.

  10. @kale
    the first one was in 2004, with An Youqi and Baby ZHang Hanyun and a 2nd place that no one remembers.

    I’ve never followed Super Girls before, so I can’t say. But I really do enjoy this year’s Super Girls. All but a few of them are both pretty and talented, and they are all quite unique.

    It sort of is voted on by the public, but sort of not.

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