How 'The Voice of China' rose to success

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 15, 2012
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Renowned musician Liu Huan, pop diva Na Ying, mainland singer Yang Kun and Taiwan singer-songwriter Harlem Yu are the show's coaches. [China.org.cn]


This year a new TV reality show became an instant hit with audiences and forever changed the landscape of Chinese television broadcasting. Within a few hours of its first live broadcast on July 13, "The Voice of China" managed to capture the viewers' attention and hearts.

"The Voice of China", China's adaptation of a Dutch reality talent show, sees its hopeful contestants going through a blind audition, with four celebrity judges/coaches picking their teams of singers who will then go on to compete for a recording contract and a highly publicized concert performance.

The show turned out to be an unexpected success, especially at a time when the TV market is basically oversaturated due to the large numbers of reality talent shows similar to western programs that are coming to viewers on a daily basis, like "American Idol," "X-Factor" and "You've Got Talent."

As the NBC show secured Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine as its four U.S. celebrity coaches, Zhejiang Satellite TV managed to lure Chinese celebrities such as renowned musician Liu Huan -- who sang the Beijing Olympics theme "You and Me" with Sarah Brightman -- and pop diva Na Ying, mainland singer Yang Kun and Taiwan singer-songwriter Harlem Yu to come on as the show's coaches.

When the production team first approached Na Ying and Liu Huan, both were unwilling to appear on the show. Producer of Zhejiang TV's "The Voice of China" Tian Ming said: "The two simply refused. They did not want to participate in any kind of talent show."

But Tian did not throw in the towel just yet and flew to Beijing over ten times, repeatedly explaining to them the format of the show and showing them the tapes of the Dutch and U.S. versions. Eventually the two gave in to Tian and took their seat in the show's coaching chairs.

In an early internal memo exclusively obtained by China.org.cn, China's producers also tried to invite another legendary rocker, Wang Feng, to act as a coach, but Yang Kun ended up taking his place eventually. The original show, "The Voice of Holland", was created by famed Dutch television producer John de Mol and produced by Mark Burnett.

Wang Feng will however appear during the upcoming second phase of the show, the so-called battle phase. This stage will see two contestants from each team going head to head by performing a song together and ends with their coach choosing which one of them will go on to the next round of the competition.

In the Chinese edition, a coach will ask a fellow musician to come to help him or her decide which contestant to pick. Na Ying chose Wang Feng, Liu chose San Bao, Yu chose music producer Wang Chi-ping and Yang chose Coco Lee. The new phase will begin broadcasting on August 24.

"It's not a program, it's a campaign," the memo said, "We want to bring back China's belief in music and restore the people's cultural confidence."

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