Title: The Voice of China – Season 4
Native Title:中国好声音 – 第四季
Country of Origin: China
Airing Date: 17 July 2015
Episode Length：90 minutes
I watched Season 3 and loved it, and have been looking forward to Season 4 ever since. The judges/mentors for this season are Jay Chou, Harlem Yu, Na Ying and Wang Feng. Na Ying and Wang Feng are both mentors from Season 3 while Harlem Yu was a mentor in Season 1. Jay Chou is completely new and he’s the youngest mentor ever in the history of The Voice Of China. There was an unofficial pilot episode which was a practice episode for Jay Chou to get used but I think the video was unfortunately removed.
Initial worries about Jay Chou not being able to fit in are gone the moment the show started. He managed to integrate very well with the rest of the judges. In fact, he was one of the most talkative judge amongst the four. He had a cute banter going on with Harlem Yu and an alliance with Na Ying. It was Wang Feng that seems to be exceptionally quiet and not very fluent with speech, which I thought was a stark difference compare to the him in season 3. Wang Feng‘s pet phrase/question “What is your dream?” has also been passed on to Jay Chou. I’m guessing they planned this so Jay Chou would have stuff to say and won’t be the awkward new kid around the block. It’s not needed though, cause Jay had definitely adapted well.
One of my favourite non-singing part of the show is the Jay Chou-Harlem Yu banters. The two are extremely funny and Jay even shared a story about Harlem in order to dissuade the last participant from joining Harlem’s team. It was a story about Harlem that he himself did not know happen. It happened when Jay was still playing piano at a restaurant before he got famous. He had saw Harlem coming into the restaurant and hence played a song of Harlem. However, there was completely no reaction from Harlem and Harlem didn’t even leave any tips for the effort. Harlem was completely amused and embarrassed and while he tried to talk his way out initially, he eventually went, “ok I give up. I cannot get out of this embarrassing situation.” Haha. Interaction between the judges was great and I would watch just for that.
Next, the singing! We started the episode with each of the judges singing each other’s songs. [Just a disclaimer – I am not good with music and my ability in reviewing is limited to “I like it”, “I don’t like it” and “I think it’s good but I may be wrong”. So whatever I type below is basically what I, someone worse than an amauteur, think and does not (and probably will not) represent what the majority thinks.] Na Ying sang Jay Chou‘s 青花瓷 (White Porcelain) and it’s one of my favourite songs of his!
There were 7 contestants, of which 6 were chosen. The only one not chosen was 16 year old Langgalamu from Thailand. She sang 千言万语 by Teresa Teng and she sounded really good. Even though she didn’t know Chinese initially, she was able to learn how to sing Teresa’s songs after listening to it two or three times. The judges all agreed that her voice was precious and she sang really well. Jay also pointed out that her techniques were good so I was pretty surprised that nobody turned for her. What I gathered was the judges were all not confident of mentoring her well because she was already very good and they did not know how to mentor her style of singing.
For the 6 remaining contestants who got through, 3 went to Team Jay and the remaining mentors had 1 contestant each. Jay also introduced his team name and said that it was not 菊花台队 (Chrysanthemum Terrace Team), named after one of his popular songs, but instead 哎哟不错队 (Aiyo, not bad Team) which is coined after his pet phrase ‘Aiyo, not bad’. Seems like Jay is the hot favourite this season but it’s no surprise because the participants in this episode were all in their twenties and probably grew up listening to Jay Chou. While the other judges are good at expressing how they feel about listening to the participants sing, Jay is able to point out the technicalities and clearly express what exactly was good about each singer. At some point, I felt that the rest of the judges were turning to Jay to look for approval of making a right choice because he can explain factually why they made a right choice.
My favourite performance this episode is from Tan Xuanyuan 谭轩辕, 26 years old, wandering singer. He performed Still Loving You and got turns from 3 mentors – Harlem, Na Ying and Wang Feng. Jay commented that he sang very well and managed to control and hit a very high pitch satisfactorily and that he didn’t turn because he wasn’t confident of winning over the rest of the 3 judges who turned. [Amauteur gibberish ahead] I like how strong his voice sounded and even though I have never heard the song before, I like how he portrayed it. When he was asked to make a choice, he shared that he had been admiring Jay Chou for twelve years even though Jay was the only one that didn’t turn which made Jay go on stage and hug him. Well, everything is worth it already, no? Haha jokes aside, he eventually joined Harlem Yu‘s team and I think he’s gonna go far.
Special mention to Beibei, 27, on the left and Xu Lin, 27, on the right. Beibei sang Wang Feng‘s 花火 and joined the latter’s team while Xu Lin sang 姐姐 and joined Jay’s team. I’m not a fan of rock songs and hence can’t really appreciate Beibei’s singing fully but I think it was pretty well done in the sense that I actually found the singing enjoyable. Plus she had great stage presence as well and that will probably help a lot in the future. On the other side, I think Xu Lin would go a long way in the music industry, if not in this competition. He looks like a drabby, nerdy boy who doesn’t take this competition seriously (wearing a t-shirt and jeans, really?) but he turns out to be quite the musician who is adamant on having his own attitude in his music, refuses to be mainstream and composes his own music. He kinda reminds me of Hua Chen Yu, winner of Super Boy. Plus, he’s quite a witty one too. Looking forward to see more of them.
Next up, an overview of the episode:
As of now:
Team Jay: Chen Zitong (25), Xu Lin (27), Leon (21) = 3 members
Team Na Ying: Zhu Qiang (24) = 1 member
Team Wang Feng: Beibei (27) = 1 member
Team Harlem: Tan Xuanyuan (26) = 1 member
On a whole, the first episode has still been satisfactory and I can’t wait for the next episode already! I’ll be catching this every week without delay because it’s airing on a local channel but I probably will not be updating every week because this post alone took me quite a few hours. I might post a short ‘highlights’ post on interesting episodes though.
[UPDATE: The youtube link with english subs is apparently removed, check out the raw version here instead.]
Check out my recaps for the The Voice of China Episode 2 Part I here.