Cue music. Chinese Idol is coming

Left-to-right: Show Luo (host), Huang Xiaoming, Han Hong, Coco Lee, Wang Wei-chung

Left-to-right: Show Luo (host), Huang Xiaoming, Han Hong, Coco Lee, Wang Wei-chung

With last season’s American Idol ratings the lowest in the show’s history, Shanghai’s Dragon TV will be hoping the Idol format hasn’t come too late to impact China’s airwaves.

Amongst the latest in a slew of Chinese reality singing contests, the Chinese version of Britain’s Pop Idol will make its debut on Sunday evening. Hosted by Show Luo, Chinese Idol 中国梦之声 is set to feature a panel of celebrity judges, including singers Coco Lee and Han Hong, actor Huang Xiaoming, and Taiwanese television mogul Wang Wei-chung. The program is one of the few Idol productions to have hosted international auditions, so expect to see American, Canadian, and Australian contestants on the show.

Now over a decade old and in decline from its heyday, the Idol franchise has launched in over 45 countries worldwide, with China the latest nation to adopt the format. Where domestic singing contests à la Super Girl 超级女声 once dominated Chinese screens, newly cash-rich Chinese television networks have rushed to buy licensing rights from international producers in recent years, with European and South Korean programs at the forefront.

Chinese Idol will compete against Hunan TV’s The X Factor 中国最强音 in its current season. Ratings juggernaut The Voice of China 中国好声音 is also set to return for its second run over the summer, alongside the resurrected Super Boy 快乐男声 competition. Meanwhile, Superstar China 我的中国星, an adaption of Superstar K 슈퍼스타 K, is being produced by reality television rookie Hubei TV.

6 thoughts on “Cue music. Chinese Idol is coming

  1. Out of curiosity, how come the Chinese TV networks don’t make up their own shows? Why do they always buy rights for foreign show formats? I thought China wanted innovation? It’s a little disappointing…Its doesn’t help China’s image of always being a copy-cat (even though they bought the rights.)

    • Some domestic programs have been very successful. To name of a few: Super Girl, as mentioned earlier, If You are the One 非诚勿扰, Asian Wave 声动亚洲. But for Chinese producers, a huge appeal in acquiring rights to foreign shows is that they usually also come with foreign production expertise. The Voice of China, for example, had Dutch advisors and set designers. I Am A Singer had a Korean musical director. The process allows the Chinese team to acquire new skills and know-how in television production. And that, hopefully, should lead to more successful domestic programming in the future.

      • Really? I hope so. Since I’m half Chinese I tend to care about these things. I hope that the Chinese will learn and utilize what they learned from foreign producer/director/advisors to make their own shows and be able to run them by themselves in the future. I really hope that the Chinese media industry can one day have the same prestige as the American media industry where everyone wants to break in, because of its prestige not b/c of merely that it’s a big market. That would be a mark of when the Chinese media industry have finally reached full maturity.

      • 非诚勿扰 is based on Take Me Out, a British show with the same format. Not an original format, but still quite entertaining nonetheless.

        • Hunan TV’s “Take Me Out” is based on “Take Me Out,” 非诚勿扰 may have drew inspirations from it but is not the same or else they would’ve been sued.

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