Asian reality stars go overseas in search of fame

Like many Chinese girls her age, Qi Ji enjoys singing and dancing and dreams of becoming a star. But rather than trying to make a start in vast and crowded China, she is pinning her hopes on Taiwan.

The 18-year-old is the first of many Chinese contestants expected to enter a Taiwanese reality show aimed at creating a girl band that producers hope can rival supergroups such as Japan's AKB48 or South Korea's Girls' Generation.

With such televised contests now a major part of the global music industry, in Asia they are spurring a migration of talent between countries as performers and producers look to crack domestic, regional and global markets.

For Qi, who grew up in northeast China and attended a performing art school in Beijing, this could offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a fast track to stardom in China's market of 1.3 billion people -- and perhaps beyond.

"Many young Chinese people like me dream of becoming a star," Qi told AFP prior to a recording session for "Asian Idol Group Competition" aired in mid-May.

"I hope to start in Taiwan and eventually have a career both here and in China."

Growing numbers of young Chinese performers are coming to Taiwan in search of a big break, reversing a trend that saw famous Taiwanese performers such as A-Mei and Jay Chou focus on China.

The show's producer Lee Fang-ju, the mastermind behind reality shows both in his native Taiwan and in China, is holding auditions in several major Chinese cities this summer to select more contestants to come to Taipei.

"Taiwan has a special allure as many young Chinese idolise Taiwanese singers. They think that making a mark here could turn them into pop divas such as Taiwan's Jolin Tsai and Elva Hsiao," Lee said.

"We hope to combine Taiwan and China's strength to create a pop idol group so that our idols won't be replaced by the Japanese or South Koreans," he said.

The most successful case so far is arguably Hu Xia, a 22-year-old from Guangxi in southwestern China, who was signed by Sony Music Taiwan after winning the "One Million Star" singing contest in 2010.

His latest record "Flame of Love" hit number one on Taiwan's G-Music chart in March.

"Winning a title in Taiwan is a big boost for a young Chinese performer since it has a leading role in Mandarin pop music," said Hsieh Tsung-han, a music producer and lecturer at China University of Technology in Taipei.

A-list Entertainment, which is based in Taipei and offers courses for those aspiring to become singers, models and show hosts, is meanwhile getting plenty of interest from China.

Last year, it recruited about 100 Chinese nationals aged between 14 and 35 from as far as Mongolia to take performing lessons in Taiwan for an eight-day programme at a cost of 15,000 Chinese yuan ($2,380).

"Many Chinese youth follow Taiwan's TV programmes closely and they are attracted by Taiwan's colourful, diverse and free entertainment scene," said A-list publicity officer Stella Teng.

"China is huge and so you are less likely to get discovered."

While many Chinese acts look to get noticed in smaller markets first, one English-speaking Asian act has looked to use their ethnicity to do the reverse and crack the United States -- despite a history of such attempts falling flat. "Blush" is made up of five women from the Philippines, India, China, Japan and South Korea who beat hundreds of other pop star wannabes during a talent search across Asia in 2010 called "Project Lotus".

Based in both Hong Kong and the US, Blush have opened for Justin Bieber on the Hong Kong leg of his 2011 tour, recorded with US hip hop star Snoop Dogg and are supported by an A-List of Los Angeles-based producers who have worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

"Asian singers have not crossed over although many attempts have been made," said Project Lotus producer and Blush manager Jon Niermann in Los Angeles.

"What we've tried to do is take artists from the region, but develop them in a very western style with western producers, western songs and a western way of sound and that's what is helping give Blush the recognition and some initial success."

In February the band's single "Dance On" hit number one on the Billboard dance club chart, above Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson. The band's debut EP "The Undivided" was released in May.

"We're in it for the long run and we are serious about our music," said Blush's Victoria Chan, who is the band's Chinese member. "We have been waiting for this for a long time."

"You lead with the music and the rest of it becomes a public relations angle as to who this group is to set them apart, which is important," said Niermann. "But it ultimately comes down to talent.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington will never be deterred by "acts of violence" as the ambassador was rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. In a brief …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options