Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang
Do you want to know what the Chinese version of Susan Boyle looks like? Want to know what Chinese experts have that will cause you to stare tongue-tied at their eccentric and unique skills? Hosted by Dragon TV, “China’s Got Talent” will definitely deliver many treats for your viewing pleasure. This television talent show has been broadcast since 2010. National ratings for the finals of the first season were 5.70. In 2011, they rose to 5.947 for the second season. At a portion of 32.61%, it was the top show in the country.
Because the production company for “China’s Got Talent” is Fremantle Media, the same as for the overseas program “Britain’s Got Talent,” the competition’s structure is relatively similar. The program has gotten rid of acts that are designed only to catch the audience’s eye such as “line-up of quick-witted women in hot Chinese dresses” or male sportsmen dressed up as beautiful women, etc, to allow truly talented everyday individuals to successfully walk onto the world stage.
However, the early popularity of “China’s Got Talent” was due to the fact that the public fell in love with the cold humor of one of the judges, Zhou Libo. Zhou Libo is a folk musical theater actor from Shanghai. On stage, he wears his hair combed with a split, wears a Western-style suit, and talks cheerfully about hot social topics. He might blurt out, “Buying a house in Beijing, if you make more than 3 million a year, then you can buy anywhere you want within the diameter of the Second Ring Road; if you make less than 100,000 a year, you can just go and dig yourself a hole , and bury yourself anywhere you want.” Or “An apple fell on Newton’s head, and he suddenly turned into a great scientist. Just think; what if it had been a shot-put that had fallen? Newton would have died.” Regardless of whether it be a major event or a trifle matter, he’ll mock it, and anything goes. In the talk show he hosts, “The Zhou Libo Show,” he even made up dance moves to go along with the Korean pop song “Nobody” and danced on stage with a bunch of beautiful women. One time he said with a note of pride, “Northerners love garlic; it makes you smell good and makes others stink. We people from Shanghai love drinking coffee; it’s bitter to us and smells good to others. How can the level of appreciation for eating garlic and drinking coffee be the same?” As soon as he said this, it drew attacks from millions of internet users. Beijing’s famous comic dialog performer, Guo Degang, “returned the compliment” to Zhou Libo by saying, “If you listen to the symphony are you elegant? If you listen to comic dialog are you vulgar? If you listen to a pop singer lip-synching are you elegant? If you listen to an original song published on the internet are you vulgar?” The two men hit each other tit for tat and led to a broader war of words among the collective internet users.
Perhaps precisely because it has Zhou Libo, this “expert” who has been a subject of controversy, “China’s Got Talent” has no lack of outstanding contestants with all sorts of characteristics.
Sweet Cauliflower Mother is a lady who sells vegetables , and whom the public has nicknamed “China’s Susan Boyle.” She has never received any professional training , and does not know the 26 letters of the English alphabet, but can sing the classic English and Italian works of such European and American operatic superstars as Maria Callas, as well as being able to sing Chinese folks tunes. During the competition, she added Chinese words to Pavarotti’s classic opera, “Nessun Dorma,” turning it into a song for selling vegetables called “I’ll Give You An Onion,” using her beautiful natural soprano voice to sing out, “Chicken legs, chicken wings; carrots, tomatoes, leeks… quick, come buy some and I’ll give you an onion.” Within a few days the video of this performance had gone viral and even swept the globe. When Susan Boyle came to Shanghai, she even spoke those three words in Chinese, “I’ll give you an onion,” to express her admiration. A netizen joked: “It’s become popular to give away onions at the Shanghai vegetable market. Ever sing Sweet Cauliflower Mother sang, giving away onions has become a codeword for love. It’s blown up!”
As soon as 44-year-old Inner Mongolian contestant Jiang Renrui walked onto the “China’s Got Talent” stage, he caused the audience to burst into laughter. With a pair of squinting eyes and a back chocked full of peacock feathers, when the music began his special equipment on his back “opened.” He began dancing a rigid and hilarious peacock dance; the hat on his head turned in time, and his clothing began to glow. At first, all the judges one after another said “no,” saying that he had given a “mechanical performance” that would be difficult to find a place on the international stage. To their surprise, he gave them his background story, saying that he was just there “to make [his] fully paralysed wife smile,” deeply moving the audience. And reportedly, he has applied for invention patents for the pair of devices he used during his performance.
The top prize of the first season of “China’s Got Talent” was finally won by “Armless Piano Master” Liu Wei. When Liu Wei was 10 years old, he lost both arms from an electrocution-related accident. But he taught himself the stunt of playing the piano with his feet, and in just one year was able to play a piano tune that is the equivalent of a level 7 tune played by hand, “Dream Wedding.” In 2011, he successfully performed the famous Chinese piece, “Butterfly Lovers,” at the Golden Hall in Vienna.