Thoughts on: Sing! China


The last episode of the first season of Sing! China, previously known as The Voice of China, aired on Friday. Now, I no longer have something to look forward to watching every Saturday, when it gets uploaded to YouTube. I am upset and not just because the show ended. Despite promising preliminary results during the semi-finals, Nathan Hartono, our home-grown talent, failed to become the winner of Sing! China, and was triumphed over by Jiang Dunhao, who was on an opposing team. Nevertheless, it must be said that Nathan achieved tremendously impressive results, having been the first Singaporean to reach the final of the show. Commendably, he also managed to make it to the final two, and ended up as runner-up of the season.

I have to confess that I was originally very surprised at the enthusiastic reception that Nathan was receiving in Sing! China, especially since he is known to have a poor grasp on the Chinese language. During his blind audition, he completely butchered the pronunciation of many Chinese words, and the only saving grace was his singing of the English lines in the song. Nonetheless, despite my scepticism, all four judges/mentors chose to turn their chairs for him, an indication that they were interested in having him on their teams. Having all four judges recognise a contestant’s talent was a rare feat on the show and was usually meant that said contestant would make it relatively far in the show. I continued to have my doubts though, as the show has previous records of preferring local singers to foreign ones.

Nathan Hartono threw all my doubts out of the window. One thing is for sure: the man was born to be an entertainer. He makes up for his lack of proficiency in singing Chinese songs by exhibiting his overwhelming love for performing in front of a live audience. Nathan has a very captivating way of using the stage to the best of his abilities, constantly employing his various vocal abilities to gain the audience’s attention. One is always left wondering, what is he going to do next? Nathan has also acknowledged that his love for performing is the secret to why he is able to continuously impress the judges, the media experts and the audience. He goes into every performance without thinking of winning, but merely focusing on enjoying himself. Consequently, his relaxed state causes him to display a kind of inherent confidence, where he feels more than comfortable in his own skin and it becomes a joy to watch him. It also has to be said that throughout the course of the show, his grasp on the Chinese language advanced by leaps and bounds, to the extent that he only sang Chinese songs during the finals.

Having watched Nathan Hartono for the entirety of his journey of Sing! China, I am proud of his progress and am satisfied that he is the runner-up, considering the circumstances. Regardless of how the individual singers performed, the show’s final was also marred by controversy. When pitting the final two together, fifty percent of the assessment was taken from the votes of media experts. However, when the live voting came to an end, many noticed that there was a total of 92 votes, even though there were only 81 media experts present. The discrepancy suggested a rigging of the results, which darkened the winner’s victory. Nevertheless, the show should be seen as a platform to showcase talent to a wider audience, enabling the contestants to have greater opportunities. The real winner here would then be Nathan, since he already received many offers from Chinese companies to expand into the wildly lucrative Chinese market, a chance that he might not have gained for a very long time, if he had not participated in the competition.

Written By: Richelle Lum

Photo Credits: