中国好声音第三季 The Politics of Selection Rounds

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Season 3 is heating up.


It would be an understatement to even say disappointment with Season 3... it began with so much promise and then it just kind of faltered in the middle during the PK rounds because of politics and scheming. And then everything is history when they removed a lot of good singers prematurely just to protect a particular singer that they want. Or to protect the TV station's reputations. Most viewers who purely watch the show without finding out more about the backstory wouldn't think too much into it. But you can tell how much strategy had gone into the selection rounds by the choice of the judges' comments that they let slip.


Blind Auditions: Yang Kun promising Chen Bing that he will protect her till top 4 (or champion of his team) if she were to choose him.

1. Cannon vs Cannon Fodder - 炮弹/炮灰
One of the most overused analogy during the blind auditions - cannon (炮弹) refers to the contestant that will be protected and sail through safely, while cannon fodder (炮灰) refers to the contestant that will be sacrificed for the 'cannon' to advance. This analogy is mostly used by Yang Kun and Na Ying, who are the most competitive and goal-oriented among the four judges, when they try to convince the contestants to choose them. From this, you can already tell the judges have personal favourites (often, more than one, that's why we see them struggling) when they publicly promise some of them that they will be the cannon.

The alleged results leak screenshots
2. Results Leak
There were screenshots of four pieces of paper circulating online during the first week of September. The last line written on each paper states who the overall champion would be, with four versions: Geng Si Han 耿斯汉、Chen Bing 陈冰、Pa Er Ha Ti 帕尔哈提、Chen Yong Xin 陈永馨. It seemed to seal the fates for three of the champion-worthy contestants already, with Geng Si Han, Chen Bing and Chen Yong Xin eliminated during the Final Test (终极考核) rounds. This is possibly because the Voice of China producers want to purposely debunk the possibility that the screenshots are real. Does it mean Pa Er Ha Ti has no luck with the championship? There is more to be seen...



3. Singing the same genre of songs
The most perturbed reason for elimination is: you only know how to sing a certain type of songs. The ones who were axed include Chen Bing (who can only sing fast and furious songs, massacring slow and beautiful ones), Geng Si Han (who can only sing Wang Feng's songs), and Chen Yong Xin (who can only sing slow, beautiful and love songs). Now, why didn't anyone, especially their own teacher, warn them of this pitfall which all the judges were aware of (and criticized)? :(

Their selection criteria seems to be as follows for each stage (according to priority):
Blind Auditions (导师分班 - 盲选): Own Personality in Singing Style, Strong Voice
PK Rounds, 16 choose 4 (导师考核): Playing Favourites, Most Improvement, Age (Too young or too old but not spectacular - ie. champion-material? Ousted.), Stage Presence
Final Test (终极考核): Flexibility/Range of Genres, Element of Surprise, Playing Favourites, Most Improvement, EQ



4. Element of Media
The 101 media representatives added an element of instability and made the judges' bias more obvious. When it came to Yu Feng vs Chen Yong Xin, you can bet that Yang Kun wished the latter would advance, based on his facial expressions. The media's presence allows a glimpse of reality because beyond being the judges' favourites, public popularity is also very important. I liked Yu Feng's performance, but after I knew what he said to the media representatives to edge out Chen Yong Xin, I felt a little repulsed by how scheming he could be. In a nutshell, he said something about understanding how tiring it must be to stay up till 4am for the recording. Then again, Chen Yong Xin should have chosen a faster-paced song to give herself a better chance.



5. You won't advance if you're too popular.
This set of speculations is quite convincing if you've followed the turn of events during the Final Test (终极考核). Who's most popular in Na Ying's team? Chen Bing. But second-most-popular Zhang Bi Chen advances. Who's most popular in Yang Kun's team? Chen Yong Xin. But the most unexpected Yu Feng advances. Who's most popular in Wang Feng's team? Okay, Geng Si Han and Pa Er Ha Ti are quite comparable, but Geng Si Han is dubbed as Wang Feng's darling so if he were to win, it will be too predictable. Who's most popular in Qi Qin's team? Wei Ran. But UZ advanced. Do you see the pattern yet? I can't help but feel so indignant for the fallen ones, they've been removed for the 'surprise factor' and 'discussion potential' of the show. This still remains to be a speculation, not a hard fact of course.

Conclusion:
Cruel, cruel truth... the final four is very saddening for me because I don't actively support any of them. Too many wonderful contestants have been sacrificed too early, like Li Wei as cannon fodder for Li Jia Ge, Liu Ming Xiang as cannon fodder for Zhang Bi Chen (eliminated when PK-ing against Chen Bing, because if it is Liu Ming Xiang vs Zhang Bi Chen, you know it'll not be a clear win). So much calculations have gone into the selections. How I miss the first season when the final 4 are so awesome, their mere presence on stage will strike everyone with awe. 梁博, 吉克隽逸, 吴莫愁 and 金志文. It's not a retrospect sort of remark, but even while I followed Season 1 live, I could feel it. But with Season 3, it's not as exciting anymore. It began with so much promise and hype, especially during the PK rounds, but it just went downhill from there. For more of such evaluation/speculations, click here. Here, enjoy Na Ying's top 4 with at least three godly voices:


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