Strong Start For Chinese ‘Voice’

The Chinese version of American singing show “The Voice,” appropriately titled “The Voice of China,” made a strong start when it debuted on satellite television July 13.

The first show garnered a 2.77 percent audience share, which is apparently very good, according to The Global Times. It was certainly the highest rating for any music-related TV show this year.

The show is almost identical in format to its American counterpart, itself adapted from a Dutch TV show, with four celebrity judges choosing teams of singers to compete for a recording contract. Already one singer, 20-year-old Huang He, who hails from a remote rural area, has become a superstar with her version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

The show’s success was surprising since experts say there are too many foreign-derived reality shows on Chinese TV right now. Some have gone so far to distinguish themselves from the pack that the government has issued a restriction of what it calls “overly entertaining” reality shows, by which it means programs that tip over into vulgarity.

However, the success of “The Voice of China” only underlines the reality that the country’s television industry still has to import ideas from abroad in order to pique viewers’ interest.

Inevitably, as the series continued it invited some derision from viewers who questioned the “amateur” status of some of the contestants.

The producers, however, said they did not prevent professional singers from applying. In addition, some of the participants were known from other reality shows, pointing up the fact that, despite China’s huge population, there may not be enough real raw talent to fill the demand for all these TV shows.