Xu Xiaoming (M) with judges [chinanews.com.cn]
Susan Boyle in Britain's "Got Talent" TV singing contest made the world sit up and listen, despite her not-so-appealing appearance. And in China, a 26-year-old guy with a very big build made his way to the throne of karaoke in a Budweiser beer singing contest.
Xu Xiaoming, a 26-year-old software development lecturer from Jiangsu Province, won the use of a BMW for one year and a chance to perform in a concert with professional pop singers this coming Saturday.
Xu was judged the winner last Sunday in the "I Love Music - Budweiser King of Karaoke Contest." Budweiser calls itself "the king of beers."
The competition traveled through 17 cities throughout China from June to September to select ordinary people who really love singing and are good at it.
About 30,000 young people took part in the program. Thirty-six made their way to the Shanghai final to compete for the championship.
The judging panel was comprised of pop singers Shunza, Sky Wu, Xue Zhiqian and Rex Wong, vice president for ABI China, in charge of marketing and new products.
"The contest provides a chance for ordinary people with music dreams," says Wong. "Instead of judging the competitor with complicated standards combined with appearance, background and music as most programs do, we only select the best voice and love for music, regardless of all other criteria."
After three rounds of elimination selecting the top 10, top five and the champion, Xu took the crown for his excellence and passion.
Wang Zhilong, winner from Zhejiang Province section, and Rong Cuiman, winner from Guangdong Province section, won the second and third prizes.
Song Jinyi from Kunming, Yunnan Province, was voted Most Popular Singer with "millions" of Internet votes, according to the competition publicist. Song won a cruise to the United States, together with music fans from around the world.
The top three will perform at the Shanghai Budweiser All-Star Concert this Saturday with pop singers David Tao, Tanya Tsai and Huang Pinyuan.
"It had never occurred to me that people like me could become the champion," says Xu, who was surprised when his name was announced as the winner.
"I always thought that only the handsome and the beautiful could win the crown in these programs."
Xu has never had professional music training, his only PK (player killer) "partner" is the music from the 1960s that wafted upstairs from another tenant in his building.
Xu's ability to emotionally touch the audience set him apart, according to judge Shunza.
"I did not compete for fame, but to improve myself in music," says Xu.
"Whenever I stand on the stage, I try my best to interpret every song. I enjoy the feeling of being a king in my own music world."
Everybody can be a king in his own music world, though there is only one champion in this contest this time, says Wong.
Budweiser All-Star Concert
Date: September 26, 7:30pm
Venue: Shanghai International Gymnastic Center, 777 Wuyi Rd
(Shanghai Daily September 22, 2009)