This video shows netizens singing covers of the recent hit “You Exist in My Song” and celebrating the new talent show The Voice of China (VOC) by comically imitating the way judges spin their chairs as a gesture of endorsement. (The popularity of “You Exist” has received a significant boost from its inclusion in the show.)
Produced by Zhejiang Television, VOC premiered on July 13, 2012 and is broadcast every Friday night at 9 pm. The show has obviously won the hearts of the netizens. Each time it is aired, millions of tweets and retweets overwhelm the most prominent Chinese social platform, Sina Weibo, with real-time comments on the show, the songs and the judges, while contestants enjoy their own “15 minutes” as weibo celebrities. What differentiates VOC (modeled after The Voice of Holland) from other reality talent shows, such as Hunan Television’s once mighty Super Girl, seems to be the initial blind-audition stage. Sitting on pricey rotating chairs (each one costs around 126,000 USD), four celebrity judges (who are singers themselves and become mentors and coaches in later stages) have to turn their backs to the stage and immerse themselves solely in the sound. They will not push the magic button to turn around and look at the contestant until they are certain he or she has the voice they are looking for.
In the aftermath of Super Girl’s enforced cancellation for potential “spiritual pollution” on orders from the central censorship organ, VOC has tried hard to draw public attention to its professional methods of discovering talent; public polling will not be introduced until the final stages. For netizens, viral videos have been favored as an alternative to enhance the sense of grassroots-level participation in reality shows, if only as an escapist indulgence in the fantasy of popular consumerism.