Friday, 8 February 2013

All-Star Lineup for Spring

The elaborate CCTV Spring Festival Gala is the most-watched show in China
The Spring Festival television programming in China is going to be very entertaining this year.

China Central Television will have Canadian singer Celine Dion belting out My Heart Will Go On from the 1997 -- 15 years ago -- Hollywood blockbuster Titanic.

The lineup will also probably include Mark Roswell known as Da Shan, who entertains the crowd as the laowai who can perform crosstalk, while pianist Lang Lang ma make an appearance tinkling the ivories.

Canadian Celine Dion will be performing on CCTV...
While CCTV's 2013 Spring Festival Gala is the most-watched show in the mainland every year, provincial-level broadcasters are upping the ante with their own star lineup.

For example Anhui Satellite TV will feature a performance by British singer and actress Sarah Brightman, and Shanghai-based Dragon TV has South Korean phenom Park Jae-sang or Psy to perform Gangnam Style.

As to whether he was really paid 3 million RMB ($481,140) to perform is not confirmed, but apparently that was what Psy was demanding for a 30-minute show.

Originally there were talks that he would appear on CCTV, but there was an uproar about a state broadcaster spending so much money on a foreign singer while thousands of rural children were starving. In the end both CCTV and Psy's representatives denied an agreement was reached.

So it'll be interesting to see how these foreign singers add or detract from the kitchy Chineseness of the Spring Festival shows.

... and Psy doing Gangnam Style on Shanghai's Dragon TV
The Chinese aren't sitting around the sofa rapt in attention watching the show; rather the television is on in the background and they periodically glance to see what's going on.

"For most Chinese people, it is an ingrained tradition to watch the CCTV gala on the eve of the Lunar New Year, even though the performances may not be that appealing," said professor Zhang Yifu, deputy director of Peking University's cultural research centre.

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