Remember the attractive pink-haired leader from the androgynous group Acrush three years ago? She got even more attractive. This is an appreciation for Lu Keran, leader and lead dancer of Fanxy Red (the revamped version of Acrush) and the embodiment of the undefined and unlimited X factor of girl group survival show Youth With You 2.
Lu Keran exudes a sensuality that can be defined as neither masculine nor feminine, but uniquely hers. She is confident but sensitive, childish but mature beyond her age, traditional but a rule-breaker, sweet but aloft. In every performance she’s in, she is able to mend her style to fit the song without ever losing her uniqueness. The only thing that defines her is perhaps her intro to the song No Company, “if you try to define me, you’ll find no company.”
I know iQiyi videos doesn’t let you watch it embedded but this is really my favorite performance of hers yet and probably my favorite performance of the season so far:
First up, what first attracted me to her (other than her face) was her dancing. Lu Keran was actually training to become a professional fencer for most of her teen years, went to college for finance, and only started learning to dance in 2017. She’s so talented and hard-working that in three years, she’s become their group’s lead dancer (including over two professional dancers).
Some of my favorite of her dance practices here, here, here, and here. She’s clearly the best dancer of the group so it should be easy to spot her.
On first look, Lu Keran often looks like a haughty lead out of an idol drama, but she’s actually quite giggly and sensitive. She can be hyper when around people she’s close with, like her teammates or Nineone. She would write heartfelt letters to fans in three languages (English and Korean ver ; reading by Lin Fan of the much more poetic Chinese version here at 41:01.
One fellow contestant, 7SENSES’s Xu Yangyuzhuo, described her as “idol drama-like, always appearing suddenly to solve your problems when you are lost, as if with a light shining above her” (Teacher Lu compilation here).
She can be selfless and would teach other competitors how to do a dance until 5am in the morning. SNH48’s Fei Qinyuan wrote that “I never knew such nice people existed in real life until I’ve met Lu Keran.” She is also the shy Princess Lu who was voted “most likely to pout” in her dorm
But like her teammate Lin Fan said, although she’s always full of words of encouragement for others, she faces a lot of pressure herself. Thankfully she also has her teammates to listen to her.
Unlike many other idol group members, she only began dancing and singing after college. Despite her talent, she no doubt had to work extremely hard to get to where she is today. Even though she can have great execution, she’s a slow learner of new dances, a major crutch in a competition where they often only have three days to learn a dance. Fellow trainee Xie Keying said that Lu Keran would stay behind to practice an extra hour by herself even after their group has already practiced for 21 hours.
Coming from a rather traditional family that wouldn’t let her quit school to do fencing, she finally decided to defy parental expectations to go into entertainment with Acrush. Unfortunately, the group clearly had no exposure outside of American news sites, and they seemed to spend most of their time doing TikTok videos out of boredom (do not recommend most of them unless you’re already in love with them). After the company disbanded, the group was picked up by Korean company TOV Entertainment, and four of them went to Korea to train in vocals, dancing, Korean, and English. Newly named Fanxy Red, they came out with a mini album in Korea to lukewarm responses. Now, they’ve partnered with another Chinese company and the rumor is that TOV hasn’t done anything for them on Youth With You 2. Yet nevertheless, Lu Keran and her teammates persisted. The last group that switched this many companies as one group is probably HIT-5.
Her mom still refuses to call her or watch her stuff since she joined the entertainment industry. Still, she says one of her biggest wishes in joining the show is for her mom to see her and realize that she takes this path very seriously.
Grouped as one of the androgynous girl in Youth With You 2, she still faces attacks. They say she’s too masculine, or that there’s only room for one androgynous girl in a girl group. On the set, perhaps because of the accusations of sexual harassment that Rocket Girls’ Sunnee once faced, Lu Keran would always rush to sit alone in the front to avoid misconstrued paparazzi photos. But at the same time, just like she never dressed to fit the conventional standards of what a girl should look like, she never feels compelled to hide her girly side to keep up her image.
Update: look how beautiful she is in today’s stage!
These troubles have also never stopped Lu Keran from maintaining and spreading her positive outlook on life. Fellow trainee Zhao Xiaotang said that as the show went on and Zhao Xiaotang felt compelled to tone down her true self to avoid controversies, Lu Keran was there to guide her: ” Hey, do you know why I became friends with you? Because you were the real you, but that’s not who you are right now, your put-togetherness is a forced facade.”
Lu Keran is so captivating because of how she’s a person full of equally-lovable contradictions that makes her whole but undefinable. Yet at the same time, the Lu Keran on stage is always confident, mesmerizing, and uniquely her.
Also she probably has my favorite personal style out of everyone I follow in C-entertainment. Probably helps that she’s supermodel height (176cm). Photo cr: Croissant·陆柯燃, CATMINT·陆柯燃 ,GuardianPlanet-陆柯燃