News / Asia

A Controversial End for Super Girl in China

Fans of Chinese singer Li Yu-chun, Super Girl's Voice 2005 winner, show their support during an event in Hong Kong, Dec. 24, 2005, file photo.
Fans of Chinese singer Li Yu-chun, Super Girl's Voice 2005 winner, show their support during an event in Hong Kong, Dec. 24, 2005, file photo.
Alice Liu

One of the most popular TV programs in China has been cancelled, again. The removal of Super Girl (快乐女声) from the airwaves has caused a stir on Chinese microbloging sites.

The show was an American Idol type TV program started in China in 2004 by state TV in southern Hunan province.

After a three year suspension, it was re-launched in 2009 as “Happy Girl” in Chinese (even though it was still called Super Girl in English). But last month (September, 2011), the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) ordered the show to stop broadcasting.

The reasons for the cancellation are varied, depending on who you ask. The official reason is the show was too long.  But many commenters are pointing to the show's use of an audience text voting system for the contestants and what some Chinese officials have called the "vulgar" use of young women singing pop songs.

A clip from the final broadcast:

A sample of the online reaction to the show’s cancellation.

Sina weibo user Dajiabai longmenzhen said: “The reasoning of the management behind the stopping “Happy Girl” include: 1. You must listen to us, and comply with our regulations (whether it’s reasonable or not), otherwise the consequences will be severe; 2. Whatever you do, make sure your program isn’t the best, just average, otherwise others will be unhappy, affecting social stability and harmony."

快女停播背 后隐含的管理思路包括:1.一定要听我的,服从管理规定(不管是否合理),否则后果很严重;2.千万不要做到最好,做得一般优秀就成了,否则别人会不舒 服,影响社会稳定和谐;

Baidu’s Super Girl postbar user qq920966254 said: “Stupid idiots, stop broadcasting Super Girl for one year, why not get the person who ordered it to stop broadcasting to go plow fields for a year! If we don’t have “Happy Girl” and “Happy Boy” I’d be bored to death during the summer. It has seriously overrun its time slot, but you can broadcast the show earlier!"

麻痹的,停播一年,那不如叫那个停播的人去耕田耕一年去吧!没了快男快女生活夏天无聊死了,虽然说是严重超时,但是可以提早播放啊!鄙视停播的人,以为自己官大就可以无视我们这些青少年,如果觉得我说的对就顶我吧!

Sina weibo user Xiaoxiaolu said: “Happy Girl” is going to stop broadcasting. I’ve seen many netizens’ comments saying that it should have stopped a long time ago; if this kind of contest can be broadcasted, then Adult Videos should be broadcasted as well. What is a reality show competition? It’s just a shortcut to realizing the vanity of people who are greedy and lazy: crappy programs are teaching the audience the wrong lessions."

快女停播咯,看到很多网友的评论是早就该停了;这种选秀能播,av也能播了;选秀是啥?就是好吃懒做的人实现虚荣心满足的捷径;烂节目把观众都教坏了

Sina weibo user Limited Edition – Zhan said: “Happy Girl will stop broadcasting, yeah!”

快女停播,好野!

Xinhua, China’s state news network, reports a show that “promotes moral ethics, public safety and provide practical information for housework” would be replacing Super Girl.

Meng Jing, a popular entertainment reporter associated with Sanlian Life Weekly (三联生活周刊), a current affairs and culture magazine, spoke to me online about the program being censored by SARFT. “Super Girl was the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of Hunan TV’s entertainment programming. But Hunan TV had their own problems as well,” she said.

I talked with Adele Huang, an editor at Hunan TV, about the quality of the show.  When asked if the show had gotten weaker since 2005, she said “It really did get worse. It’s hard to talk about the two periods in the same breath.”

In conservative circles, Super Girl contestants were still viewed as source of moral corruption for youth. The lives and deeds of Super Girl contestants have been chronicled by Chinese netizens, who are not always supportive.

In one example, bikini photos of 2005 contestant Chen Yi (陈怡) were spread online after she tried to break into the entertainment industry in Japan.

The most popular winner of all time, Li Yuchun (李宇春) started an androgynous, or sexually neutral, haircut fad for girls and became a lesbian sex symbol. This was another aspect of the show’s  supposedly “corrupting” influence.

Similarly, plastic surgery scandals meant that SARFT was eager for Hunan TV to give themselves their own facelift.

Wang Bei (王贝) was a contestant on Super Girl in 2004. News emerged in 2011 that she died while undergoing cosmetic surgery to help her enter the entertainment industry. Her death shocked the nation and renewed not just the debate on cosmetic surgery, but also on the nature of Super Girls.

Controversy has plagued other popular Chinese TV programs like Jiangsu TV’s dating show If You Are The One (非诚勿扰) where the appearance of a model named Ma Nuo sparked an online as well as real campaign against “money worshipping girls.”

Meng Jing blames Hunan TV and the industry around Super Girl. “They can’t digest all the people who are involved in it. It’s an awkward competition. Afterward, the contestants have very hard lives. In 2007, our magazine concluded that only five contestants ended up having commercial value in the long run,” she said.

She pointed to Yi Hui (易慧), who was booked for commercial appearances after she came in  eighth in 2005. Meng Jing said the young woman went from earning 50,000 yuan per performance to less than 500 yuan per show.

Many younger Chinese TV viewers now prefer to watch Qinghai TV’s Blossoming Flowers (花儿朵朵), and Liaoning TV’s Chinese X Factor (激情唱响), which are both new programs.

Meng Jing told me “The life cycle of a singing show with contestants in China is only five years at most.” It’s no surprise that people are willing to switch over their allegiances so quickly. With the show making a loss in both advertising and audience numbers, and with a top to bottom official system that wanted to “cleanse” its entertainment programs, there was nowhere to go but to close up shop.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid