Is Zeng Yike A Happy Girl?

(China Daily)  Can you be a Happy Girl if you can't sing in tune?  By Gan Tian.  July 31, 2009.

Whether or not Zeng Yike advances to the next round of China's most popular reality talent show, the kudos and boos surrounding her will continue. Zeng - a contestant on Happy Girls, dubbed the Chinese version of American Idol - heads into tonight's competition ranked 10th out of 10, with three facing elimination.

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Yet unlike Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent, who swept people away with her voice, Zeng, a 19-year-old girl from Hunan, has been criticized for not being able to sing in key and has been told she sounds "like a sheep".

"I think it is a crime for a TV station to broadcast such music. They treat all Chinese people like they're stupid. TV stations are public resources - they are fooling people with their own taxes," Jin Zhaojun, secretary-general of the Chinese Musicians Association told Oriental Morning Post.

Jin said he is not disappointed with Zeng, but with the program's creators. He even said Happy Girls judges were "talking rubbish" during their interviews. But others have been smitten by Zeng's creativity and simple style, and how she plays a guitar to sing songs she wrote herself.

A month ago, judge Bao Xiaobo said as long as Zeng stays he could not be part of the show and walked off the stage during the live broadcast. "It is unfair for the other contestants," Bao said later. Many netizens supported Bao but Zeng's fans said the critics were too mean to her.

Musician Gao Xiaosong joined the jury in Bao's place and praised Zeng. "She has a couple of her own pieces. Her style is clear and easy to follow. As long as there is a style, she can (get help to produce an album)," Gao said to Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Weekly.

The story became even more dramatic when Bao returned to the jury. On the latest show, Bao drew a pictur e of a wooden house to refer to Zeng. "This wooden house looks stable, but it doesn't have a solid foundation, and if the wind blows, it will fall apart," Bao said. However, he showed a second picture with many tall buildings surrounding the wooden house. "The lucky thing is, you are protected by these buildings." Netizens interpreted Bao's comments to mean there had been shady decision-making to keep Zeng on stage.

"It certainly cannot be compared with the previous years' competitions, which made stars of Li Yuchun and Jane Zhang, who went to Oprah Winfrey's show. So the program uses these controversial people to fuel the debate and keep the audience interested," said Liu Xiaohui, a fan who has been following Happy Girls since 2006.

Li Hao, spokesman for the show's producer, predicted this year would see a 50-percent increase over 2006 and 2007. The July 17 show won a 12 percent market share, the top ranking show that night. But a survey on popular social networking site kaixin001.com shows 84 percent of the Happy Girls' audience is disappointed with the program this year. "It is no longer a program looking for divas-to-be, but clowns who attract audiences with stupid tricks," said Chinese music critic Ruan Hexiang with a Beijing-based newspaper.


(Southern Metropolis Daily)  August 4, 2009.

Last Friday, the Happy Girl song contest went from the Round of Ten to the Round of Seven.  The controversial "Queen of Out of Tune Singing" Zeng Yike was eliminated by Pan Chen in a one-against-one duel. 

Description

Last Friday, when Zeng Yike and Pan Chen were voted upon by the regular people, the host Wang Han introduced one voting member.  As the man placed his vote into Pan Chen's ballot box, the television shot suddenly cut to a Happy Girl promotion.  But the live audience members revealed that Zeng Yike had said aloud, "I want to scold someone" and that caused the producer to cut away suddenly.

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Response from Zeng Yike

Afterwards Zeng Yike wrote a blog post titled <Very sad, apologetic>.  She explained that she was trying to comfort Pan Chen and said, "Please don't cry.  If you cry any more, I am going to scold you."  She wrote: "If this sentence caused misunderstanding among people, I am sorry."

Netizen comment

"We have no reason to criticize Zeng Yike ... unless she did something that is against social morality.  If you don't like her, you can keep your silence."

"I watched the live broadcast that night and I make the following conclusions.  1.  At the time, Pan Chen was emotionally steady and not crying out of control.  2.  I heard very clearly that Zeng Yike's original words were "I want to scold someone."

Description

The second insertion during the live broadcast came when a Beijing voter was casting his vote.  Zeng Yike was crying on Pan Chen's shoulder.  The scene then cut quickly to a Happy Girl promotion.  Afterwards, the live audience revealed that the deleted scene was that of Zeng Yike and Pan Chen kissing each other on the mouth.  This led to much Internet discussion about Zeng Yike's sexual orientation.  Here is the still photo:

Response from Pan Chen

So far Zeng Yike has not commented on the wet kiss.  The broadcaster Hunan Satellite TV said that this has nothing to do with sexual orientation.  "Instead, the young people may have lost their heads in that atmosphere.  Let everybody be tolerant towards them.  Pan Chen said: "Zeng Yike only kissed my face.  Maybe it is the angle (of the television camera) that may have created misunderstanding."

Netizen comments

"It would be bad influence on young people to show this scene."

"PLEASE!  What is wrong if I feel emotionally moved at some moment?  Besides, who says girls can't kiss each other to show amity?"

The Pro-Zeng Yike Camp

Recently, it was revealed that Gao Xiaosong has gone ahead to arrange the original songs written by Zeng Yikie and the Tianyu Company had begun preparations for a record album two weeks ago.  When Zeng Yike was eliminated, Gao Xiaosong comforted her: "Go home and get a good rest.  Next week you start work on your album.  I will be your producer.  I will support you all the way!"

There was a recent post at Kaixin001 titled: "How many powerful people are there supporting Zeng Yike from behind the scene?"  The post named many famous music producers, composers and singers who expressed their support for Zeng Yike either in their blogs or during interviews.  These included the writer Jja Ping'ao, the musicians Xiao Ke, Cui Jian, Zhu Hua, etc.

Chen Xiaodu (CCTV director, nickname "the Godfather of Star Creation in Mainland China"):  "The little sheep" has the right to sing good songs.  Undeniably, she need to improve on the basics, but she has an extremely powerful affinity and stage presence ... Furthermore, we have to admit that she is a very spirited girl."

Liu Zhuofei (founder of Dadi Records, famous lyricist): The music scene does not lack mediocre singers.  You can improve someone's singing technique, but we actually need to encourage talent and spirit even more.  I use my thirty years' professional experience to support Zeng Yike (who was born in the 1990's) to enter the final 20.

Cui Jian: The panel of judges is a joke.  Music is an aesthetic choice.  Out of tune and out of rhythm music has to be bad music?  If everything has to be exactly on tune, then this is a robot.

The Anti-Zeng Yike Camp

Recently a ant-Zeng Yike song <Ke Ge Ke Qi> became red hot.  This song is a thorough critique of Zeng Yike including lyrics such as "what are there so many fans? They don't even know that it is unreasonable."

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This song also criticizes Hunan Satellite TV: "The voice can be wobble, the tune can be inaccurate, the sexual identity can be ambiguous, the look can be overlooked, and even music talent is unnecessary.  They only care that the television audience ratings are high."  The song ends with the variation of the current Internet popular phrase of "Jia Junpeng, your mother is calling you home to have dinner" into "Zeng Yike, you have been eliminated and so maybe you can really go home and have dinner."

Another online spoof video has someone getting videos of 15 famous singers (such as Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai, etc) singing the song <The Sign of Leo>.

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Over at Kaixin001, there was an online survey on Zeng Yike.

With respect to the question "How many powerful people are supporting Zeng Yike?", 10,357 persons have responded:
7,971: Their brains must been kicked by the sheep
627: Brother Zeng does have an extraordinary style
618: I like her songs but I don't like her singing
374: We bid farewell to Brother Zeng because she has given us some joy in the spoofs
439: I like Zeng Yike's authenticity, individuality andmusic
328: I detest Zeng Yikie's out-of-tune singing and strangeness