30 actresses and singers join girl group reality show

Ning Jing

Now this is my type of show! Woman Like Me / Sisters Who Make Waves 乘风破浪的姐姐 (lit. translation) is aimed at forming a mature-age girl group, and I am loving all the contestants (full list below) and producer Huang Xiaoming after watching the first episode.

The variety show airs every Friday at 12pm on Mango TV, and will be up on YouTube shortly thereafter.

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Youth With You 2: Lu Keran appreciation post

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: 

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Youth With You 2’s Rule Breakers Photoshoot

Kiki Xu Jiaqi is my #1 visual for the show.

Everyone looks amazing in this “new rules” photoshoot for the current top nine of girl group competition Youth With You 2. I’m guessing the inspiration is rule-breaking high school mangas like Crows Zero to go with this season’s theme of not defining girl groups.

Although they aren’t currently my ideal nine, this group of nine will still be my favorite lineup for a competition idol group by far and I love them all so much.

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Dance variety show showcases brilliant adaption of Painted Skin

Wang Xuerou (in red) and Hao Ruoqi (in blue) have borrowed the soul-switching setup in Painted Skin II: The Resurrection for their dance number. The featured song is Su Yunying’s Moment.

Fun fact: Hao Ruoqi is the lead dancer in An Outing With Beauties, which was featured in web drama Tang Dynasty Tour.

Dance Smash 舞蹈风暴 is currently streaming on Mango TV.

Yu Zheng’s variety show Real Actor is all about improvisation

Screenwriter / Director Yu Zheng and mentors Zhang Jingchu, Francis Ng, Zhang Songwen

The first episode of Real Actor 演技派 is all about the fundamentals of acting, and runs through the auditions and evaluations of 30 up-and-coming actors in just over 2 hours. The scenarios Zhang Songwen gives the actors does a great job of revealing their strengths and weaknesses as they are forced to perform on the spot.

Francis Ng doesn’t mince his words but his honest opinions are definitely a breath of fresh air. Yu Zheng will probably have more to do in future episodes, as the final twelve actors will be competing for roles in his variety show-drama Royal Kitchen in the Qing Dynasty 紫禁城里的小食光.

The actors I’m looking forward to seeing more of: Wang Yuwen, Lamu Yangzi, Fan Jinwei, Wu Jiayi, Zhang Lula

How Chinese TV is making its way to Sub-Saharan Africa

Liu Tao and Qiao Xin at an audience meeting of Ode to Joy in Tanzania

As Tencent is making its way to Thailand and iQiyi partners with Malaysia, another group of Chinese media firms have already settled in Africa. Since 2007, Beijing-based media company Star Times  has established itself in over 30 African countries with 26 million users. The company is also working with Chinese and African governments to provide tv access to underserved rural communities in twenty-five African countries.   The company offers two channels featuring Chinese dramas – SinoDrama and Star Times Kung Fu.  Star Times have has also held competitions to bring African acting talents to its Beijing Campus to translate and dub everything from Latin American telenovelas to Thai dramas into English, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Hausa, Zulu, Yoruba and Luganda.

Over the past month, the heads of Daylight Entertainment (Nirvana in Fire, Ode to Joy) and Linmon Entertainment (A Little Separation, Hunting) and the cast of Ode to Joy attended events in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania as a part of the Chinese-African audio-video exchange to discuss further collaboration between Chinese and African media companies.

Their visit follows the filming of the first Chinese drama made in collaboration with the Kenyan government last month, Wang Kai and Wang Ou’s upcoming crime thriller Hunting.

Hunting ‘s Kenyan special. The series is the first drama collaboration with the Kenyan government.

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Attention Actors posters and stills round-up

Peng Xiaoran and Huang Junjie reenacts The Legend of Demon Cat

From classics like Daming Palace/Palace of Desire and Chinese Paladin to recent films like The Legend of Demon Cat and Cry Me a Sad River, Tencent’s new acting competition Attention, Actors 演员倾就位 combines the best of I am an actor and Phantastic by capturing the actors for a TV performance rather than on stage while still maintaining an one-take rule. Featuring directors Chen Kaige, Li Shaohong, Vicki Zhao Wei, and Guo Jingming, the resulting segments are on average far more watchable than the other two.

Plus, they have some great stills and posters that are better than many dramas and film posters that are wallpaper-worthy. You can watch episode two English subbed here. Zhang Yunlong and Chen Xiaoyun act out Romance in the Rain:

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Tencent’s new acting variety show releases stills of contestants

Peng Xiaoran (Goodbye My Princess) reenacting Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat

Tencent’s upcoming big-budget acting variety show Attention, Actors 演员请就位 (lit.) has hired directors Li Shaohong (Palace of Desires, Dream of Red Mansions 2010), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Legend of the Demon Cat), Guo Jingming (Tiny Times, L.O.R.D) and Zhao Wei (So Young) as judges who will assemble their own team from a group of 58 actors.

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