Monday, May 21, 2007

Singing Contests

In USA, the highly followed American Idol has sent a craze throughout the world. Even in Malaysia has its own Malaysian Idol chapter.

In China, no Idol chapter but it has its own Idol equivalent singing contest for the girls and boys respectively. The girls' contest is known as the Super Girl while the boys' contest is known as the Happy Male Voice.

In winning the respective girls' or boys' contest, it will bring instant recognition and fame to the particular individual. Hence, parents or relatives for a particular contestant will usually get their friends/other relatives to vote for their beloved girl/boy.

In Happy Male Voice, a controversy arose:-
One of the contestant found out that the biggest problem is that the SMS voting can be manipulated. My understanding is that there are two ways to get votes. First, there are the big fan clubs in Changsha. If you can contact their leaders and pay them, they can make sure that your votes skyrocket in a short time. There are also many Internet voting companies who specialize in casting votes. When I was competing, my family organized friends to send SMS. But someone told me that it was useless to send a few thousand SMS votes! The other people are using fan clubs and Internet voting companies! I thought, what kind of stupid competition is this? Another industry insider asked me, Do you want to manipulate this? For 3 million yuan, I can make you number one in the nation. I turned them down. My family is not rich. If I can compete, I will compete; if not, I will back out." (source: Y Weekend)

Is this happening in Malaysia as well for both the Malaysian Idol and Akademi Fantasia? I have heard of one Datuk (a title bestowed by a Sultan in Malaysia) who bought the SMS top-up cards and pass around the company's staff for them to vote for his kin. He's rich enough to go round passing such top-up cards. But it would be a huge 'investment' for other contestants' relatives if they are not 'rich'.

The China Daily has been quoted as missing the point about Super Girl (after a publication on Super Girl) - it it was not about democracy, but audience participation. Super Girl contestants were taking part in a reality show. Whether they could sing was immaterial because such television programmes are about entertainment. Hype, drama and audience-pulling stunts are a staple of the genre to ensure viewers do not change channels. (source: South China Morning Post)

I agree on this point as the main criteria was how cute/beautiful they were instead of how in tune was their melody. Defeats the main purpose of getting a top notch singer.

In China, the SMS messages generated during the singing contests would generate a profit of 30% to 50% even after a 15% cut for the telecom provider. How about the Malaysian chapter? Great returns indeed! The main sponsor of China's Super Girl - Mengniu Dairy Company Limited, has risen from being the 3rd largest dairy company to the top of the league during the run of Super Girl show from year 2004 onwards. Great corporate strategy tie-up. Owing to China's large population, an estimated 400 million TV viewers tuned in one night to watch Super Girl 2005's final round. Can you imagine that!
Tags: American Idol, Malaysian Idol, Akademi Fantasia, Super Girl, Happy Male Voice, China, Mengniu Dairy Company Limited, SMS Message, SMS Vote

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