Monkey King: Hero’s Back a surprise hit

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Mini monk. Even easier for monsters to eat.

Despite going against fan-based films Tiny Times 4 and Forever Young, the most anticipated film next week on Weibo is actually The Monkey King: Hero’s Return 西游记之大圣归来 (alternate translation:  CUG, can we give a round of applause for whoever came up with that?). The animated feature retells the classic tale with a new twist – the monk is now a child looking for a hero, and the Monkey King a ghost of his former self, having lost all his powers.   The animated feature  won tears with its MV by Kit Chan alone.

I Am A Singer returns with the best voices in China

This year, I Am A Singer is brought to us by 立白 Liby Liquid Soap. This promises squeaky clean, bubbly fun.
This year, I Am A Singer is brought to us by 立白 Liby Liquid Soap. This promises squeaky clean, bubbly fun.

Imagine you have a time machine. Now imagine, using your time machine, you went back to 2008, kidnapped the four best singers in China under the age of 40, brought them back to the future, and then pit them in a 14-week-long singing competition against each other. Tada! You have the third season of I Am A Singer. (You’d also have a time machine, which—not gonna lie—is also pretty impressive.)

If you’re just here for the videos, feel free to skip ahead. If you want insightful commentary so you can make informed bets on who’s going to win and profit from your friends with gambling problems, you’re probably a bad person, but continue reading anyway.


This is the first episode of the season. First episodes usually aren’t the best for various reasons. For most of the singers, it’s their first time on the I Am A Singer stage, so nerves and inexperience kick in. Most of all, the first episode is the only episode where the singers are allowed to perform their own songs. So they do. And it’s boring because we’ve heard them all before, except now they come with a slight pause before belting out the big note. The structure of the show, at least, often allows the singers to give the best performances of their careers.

The four-person Mainland contingent of this year’s I Am A Singer represents some of the best voices in the country. And I don’t mean that in a Dancing with the “Stars” kind of way. Han Hong, Jane Zhang, Sun Nan and Anson Hu really are among China’s top vocalists. That being said, I don’t necessarily find Sun Nan’s voice is very pleasant…

This is the first year that Hunan TV’s official YouTube channel is posting video titles and descriptions for the show in English. The English is not great, but at least they’re starting to appreciate their international fans [waves].

Okay, that wasn’t very insightful. On with the show!


Leo Ku 古巨基
Love and Honesty 爱与诚

Is he wearing a tie? Isn’t he wearing a tie? Leo Ku is emceeing this year’s I Am A Singer, as Yu Quan and Phil Chang did in previous seasons. I don’t know why they get contestants to also host, but I guess it saves us from someone Seacresting the show.

Leo Ku is famous for his falsetto, which still glimpses through, despite his voice sounding heavier in the decade since he first recorded this song. The arrangement diverges from the original, slowing and stripping it down to a ballad. It works, but it doesn’t sound as good. Of course, this is a singing competition, and ballads are the easiest way to show of one’s vocals, but there aren’t really any big notes here that justify the change. He sings it well, but it’s nothing spectacular. (more…)

Jane Zhang, Anson Hu join I am a Singer 3

Yes, that is an article in the title.  It is no longer "I am Singer"!
Yes, that is an article in the title. I am no longer Singer, but a Singer!!

I am a Singer 3 has revealed its initial cast of singers – Jane Zhang, Anson Hu, A-lin, Kit Chan, Sun Nan, Leo Ku, and Han Hong. I’m upset they still haven’t invited Tan Weiwei, but Anson was a pleasant surprise since he’s been on a number of other similar shows. The show begins airing next Sunday. Who are you rooting for?

On a completely unrelated note, here’s Jane Zhang and Zhang Jie’s cover of Yang Mi’s The Palace theme, as if the two of them haven’t taken over every theme song since then.