Apparently, the Internet has decided that the English title for the popular Chinese variety show 天天向上 Tiāntiān Xiàngshàng should be “Day Day Up.” Day. Day. Up.
I feel as if I should have been consulted on this… I don’t like it very much.
I Am A Singer contestant Shila Amzah was joined by compatriot Gary Chaw in showcasing her dance and vocal talents on the aforementioned television show Friday evening. The Malaysian songstress performed a multicultural array of hits, including songs by Adele, Paramore and Beyoncé, as well as in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Malay, the Hindi Bollywood number Bole Chudiyan, and the Tibetan-themed Tibetan Plateau 青藏高原.
Tackling the Oscar-winning Disney song, Shila transitioned seemlessly between Let It Go, 隨它吧 (sui ta ba) and Bebaskan, the English, Chinese and Malay versions of the Frozen hit respectively.
Shila further impressed the hosts by belting out Beyoncé’s Halo with the microphone raised above her head. The microphone technique is a trademark of Malaysian Idol Jaclyn Victor who Shila briefly joined to form a three-piece girl group in 2011. (Jaclyn has also had a musical foray into China, winning the gold award at the 2005 Shanghai Asian Music Festival.)
When asked about her I Am A Singer rival, G.E.M, Shila replied graciously: “She’s a great singer.”
“So, do you think you can sing as well as her?” came the follow-up question.
“We’re both 90s kids, so I think we have the same amount of experience.”
Shlia, whose father was himself a popular singer in the 80s, began her career at the age of nine. In that segment, Shila mispronounced the word for same (yīyàng 一样), leading the hosts to joke that Shila was from “Yiyang 益阳,” a city in Hunan.
I wish I knew enough about Yiyang to know whether or not that joke had comedic value beyond a simple pun…
Although carefully choreographed, Shila’s appearance on that TV show nonetheless offers glimpses into the future of her career in China. It is evident that Shila needs to improve her Mandarin. Occasionally interjecting in Korean instead of Chinese, while permissible in some situations, is unlikely to endear her to Chinese audiences. Another much overlooked aspect of Shila’s voice is that she is most comfortable, and sounds her best, in the mezzo-soprano range. Her tessitura is lower than that of the singers Shila, or her team, wants to emulate. It is disingenuous and potentially damaging to ask her to sing beyond her range. As Idina Menzel shows, it’s entirely possible to be a powerhouse vocalist without being a full-blown soprano.
Watch the full episode here: