On China’s wave of cultural re-awakening with popular music and democracy. From the now defunct VBS in 2008.
Hunan TV’s Super Girl competition (formerly the Mengniu Sour Yoghurt Super Voice Girl) is the rough Chinese equivalent of American Idol. While pretty much every civilized country has their own Idol knockoff, China’s stands out among the rest by the sheer scale of the proceedings. Last year’s final episode was seen by over 400 million viewers, making it not only the most watched TV program in the history of ever, but giving it a larger audience than the populations of the United States and Britain combined. The show also drew in an estimated 1.2 billion votes over the course the 2007, which in a country that doesn’t even bother with show elections is a pretty major exercise in democracy.
VICE travelled to Shanghai to meet Yang Lei, last year’s Super Girl winner, and the best person we could think of to help guide us through the unyielding insanity that is 21st century China.