I Am A Singer Ep. 7: A pun about The One being number one

Tibetan Buddhist monks join Han Hong on stage in this week's I Am A Singer.
Tibetan Buddhist monks join Han Hong on stage in this week’s I Am A Singer.

I Am A Singer, this year, is sponsored by Honda and Oppo. So the singers drive up in their Honda cars which totally look like the Jeeps from Jurassic Park, and unbox their new Oppo smartphones. They watch the introductory video for the newest contestant, Korean singer The One, but none of them know who he is. Obviously they didn’t watch the first season. For shame.
The One’s “manager” on the show is Xiao Wu, the Korean member of Top Combine. He does most of the interpreting for him. Let’s hop straight into it.

Don't worry. The dinosaurs don't start eating people until after Newman shuts down the park's security system.
Don’t worry. The dinosaurs don’t start eating people until after Newman shuts down the park’s security system.

Jane Zhang
If 是否 by Julie Su

Earlier in the competition, Jane performed Legend of a Hungry Wolf 饿狼传说 by Jacky Cheung. Everything about it was eerily similar to G.E.M’s performance of Lady Marmalade on last year’s show (especially the part where it actually segued into Lady Marmalade). Jane came second, but people were a bit iffy about it.

This time, Jane is singing a song that G.E.M recorded back in 2013. The similarities stop there, however. While G.E.M’s version was a demure, piano-only track, Jane’s arrangement features the whole band. Her voice harks back to her time on Super Girl. It’s powerful and free. It’s everythi- oh… and now it’s been jazzed up with trumpets. So not only did she not watch the first season of I Am A Singer, but she didn’t read my comments from last week’s episode either.

Besides almost ruining the song by turning it into a breezy jazz number, Jane actually did sing it really well. Nobody else has performed yet, but we have a strong contender for best vocal performance of the night. (more…)

I Am A Singer Ep. 6: When gospel music was #1 on Chinese primetime television

Former Super Girl, Tan Weiwei, is the latest veteran vocalist to join I Am A Singer.
Former Super Girl, Tan Weiwei, is the latest veteran vocalist to join I Am A Singer.

I Am A Singer recaps are back by popular demand (and because, when you put “blogging for Cfensi” on your CV, it’s probably a good idea to publish something recent—hello there, prospective employers!).

If you’ve been out of the I Am A Singer loop, here’s all the interesting stuff you may have missed since the first recap:

And now you’re all up to date! More or less.


Han Hong
This is Who You Are 你是这样的人

This faux-operatic number was written as an ode to former premier Zhou Enlai to commemorate the centenary of his birth. So, 1998. A lot of Chinese classics aren’t as old as you would think.
“Red songs,” as they’re known, haven’t been very popular on I Am A Singer. After all, this is Hunan TV, and rival CCTV is all the way in Beijing. In season two, “Madonna of China” Wei Wei was booted from the competition after singing Reddest Sun, Dearest Chairman Mao 太阳最红毛主席最亲.
Han Hong does better, slightly, in sixth place. She’s not classically trained in the Western tradition, and she sounds a bit poppy at parts, but you can’t deny that she is expressive. She should have been ranked higher.

Guess who just learnt how to make gifs? This must be what tumblr feels like.
Guess who just learnt how to make gifs? This must be what tumblr feels like.
(more…)

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.

Chinese News Batch #4: Music Themed

2594fac89bb8c5dd1c4045a1c85917ce

1. Top Combine is also getting the special treatment with a second MV for their first EP, just like Vicky Liu Yanwei. I remember the Supergirls didn’t get anything like this when they first started out. In particular Jane Zhang got absolutely nothing for her first album. Times are a changing. The MV is of Cotton Candy and is taking place at an amusement park. I’ve only posted one picture of Liu Zhoucheng, but you can check out more pics here and here of the other boys in Top Combine, ones that won’t make you look at your own face and despair at why your skin isn’t as nice and glowing as his. Highlights include Ma Xueyang playing this violin (!) and Jin Ensheng with balloons.

(more…)

Fit Lover Movie Theme MV

5568446_271499

It looks like Deng Chao is the main lead. Congrats…out of 12 actors, that’s quite an accomplishment. They made the right choice in picking the charismatic Karena Lam as the lead. I’m watching this, and I don’t hate her. Sorry that the audio quality is not so good on the video. It’s actually quite a pretty song. Under the cut.

(more…)

Everyone Loves Olympians

We all know that the best way to ingratiate yourself with Chinese fans and non-fans alike is to be seen chummy with some of China’s finest!

Cantopop singer Leo Ku posted pics of himself on his blog with Chinese gold medalists at the same charity benefit Guo Jingjing auctioned off her suimsuit at. His expression doesn’t change much in these pics, so it’s like seeing different Chinese athletes photoshopped with the same image of him over and over. I wonder if he knows how to photoshop?

With Chinese Badminton Stars Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan (aka SuperDan)
With Chinese Badminton Couple Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan (aka SuperDan), silver and gold medalist at the games respectively

(more…)