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2011/11/25 / Horace

Why do I love talent shows

This year’s Blossoming Flowers (花儿朵朵) has dropped its curtain, and I am worried  whether I could still see my favorite talent show next year. As the country’s censorship agency tightens its on TV entertainment, the show might be off the air.

I have been watching talent shows since 2005.  The first show I watched was “Super Girls”(超级女声), a Chinese version of American Idol featuring girls. Watching the show was a brand new experience for me, since never in my life had I ever been able to see a person, who was just an ordinary people like the rest of us, step into her stardom. I was not only a witness of a girl’s success but the creator as well. I voted for my favorite contestant via text messages, persuaded my friends to watch her on TV and bought her albums. Jane Zhang(张靓颖), the contestant I supported in 2005, has become one of the most successful artists in China. I feel very proud of Jane, and I feel very proud of myself, because I am one of the millions who not only appreciated her dream but also materialized it.

Talent shows have reshaped China’s entertainment industry. It is no longer a matter between talent scouts and candidates, but a matter of people’s choice. Talent shows have also reshaped our attitude towards artists. We have find they are not arrogant, extravagant and ignorant entertainers, but our peers and pals having  joys and fears, enduring pressure and misunderstanding and pursuing their dreams and happiness.

Jane Zhang lost her father when she was only 14. Her mother was also unemployed, so Jane started singing in bars to support the family. Laure Shang, winner of the 2006 Super Girl contest, was an excellent student from Fudan University who used to be as busy as any Chinese student preparing for the College Entrance Examination. Liu Wei(刘伟), champion of the 2010 China’s Got Talent, lost his arms but kept on playing the piano.

When I first saw Susan Boyle’s  I Dreamed a Dream, I couldn’t help crying, not only because her voice was so moving, but also because Susan told me that dreams, although far away, can be reached through persistence. Talent shows are not “excessive entertainment” nor “shoddy” nor “bad for children’s development” as some people say. They are encouraging, inspiring and much better than those hackneyed communist propaganda from Xinwen Lianbo we see at 7 p.m every day.

I strongly believe that I am not the only one holding such an opinion. Talent shows are headlines as often as they are in the UK and the US. Many of my friends watch them and feel inspired and moved. Talent shows are kind of symbol of our generation and a mirror reflecting what we think, what we adore and what kind of world we want.

I am a tune deaf and a karaoke hazard. I would never be able to sing as well as they do although I desperately dream so. Since my dream is hard to realize, why cannot I realize someone else’s? Since every one has dreams unrealized, why cannot people contribute to others’ dreams? We volunteer to bring hope, then why does the censorship agency deprive us of the right to dream and dream for others?

Yes, there are some problems in China’s talent shows, but they are generally good programs, and we viewers can make our own judgement. If a show is really bad, we won’t watch it and the show will disappear of itself. For now, all programs are doing good jobs, and I believe they will do even better jobs in the future. Please, let them sing, give all those who can sing a chance to sing what they want. Please, give us a chance to make our broken dreams realized in someone else’s voice.

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