The Appeal of Chinese Singing Competitions & Survival Shows

A bit of information about me: In 2018, I was invested in Singer 2018, which is a singing competition for professional and well-established singers. It took place in China.

Earlier this year, I was super invested in Chuang 2020, a girls trainee survival show that took place in China. The 7-member group, BonBon Girls 303, was formed. I voted every day when it aired.

I’ve also watched a boys trainee survival show called Chuang 2019. The 11-member band, R1SE, was formed. I’m currently watching Super Vocal Season One, which is a singing competition for opera and musical singers.

Each episode is around two hours and the finales are around four hours. Two hours for one episode is not enough, by the way. There’s so much content that gets left out. You can probably tell that I like these types of shows.

Why, though? Note: A lot of these reasons are applicable to non-Chinese singing competitions.

1) TO WATCH THE CONTESTANTS WE LOVE

A lot of the contestants already have established fanbases. I watched Singer 2018 for Hua Chenyu and I watched Chuang 2020 for Chen Zhuoxuan, Nene, and Joyce Chu. I’m watching Super Vocal for Zheng Yunlong and Ayanga.

2) TO DISCOVER TALENTED ARTISTS

I became a fan of Zhao Lei, Zhou Zhennan, and Liu Ye after I watched Chuang 2019.

3) FOR THE FRIENDSHIPS

Although these are competitions, there are moments of beautiful friendship between the contestants. In Chuang 2020, Nene cried because she was afraid that Wu Yalu was going to be eliminated. Nene had a secure ranking but the one she was worried about was her best friend. Liu Xiening and Xu Yiyang’s friendship was touching, too.

In Super Vocal, Zheng Yunlong and Ayanga’s friendship started from when they were roommates during their university years.

4) TO FEEL INSPIRED

The contestants are hard-working and determined to achieve their goals. I know I felt inspired when I watched this scene in Super Vocal:

The contestants have to face a lot of challenges during the show, too. Although it’s challenging for them and entertaining for us, it pushes them to learn and grow as artists.

5) FOR THE MUSIC

All the contestants are talented! Since these are singing shows, there’s obviously beautiful singing involved! Sometimes there’s rap, dance, and musical instruments too, depending on the show. Not only do they sing, they sometimes rearrange the music (Singer 2018, Super Vocal), write the music, and create the choreography (Chuang 2019). The art of performing in front of an audience is important as well as selecting the right song.

It’s entertaining!

6) TO APPRECIATE NEW MUSIC GENRES AND SONGS

Prior to watching Singer 2018, I didn’t really appreciate Chinese folk music. I changed my mind after I learned more about it and saw the hard work behind the scenes.

7) TO LEARN NEW THINGS

I’ve liked songs from musicals and opera for many years, but I didn’t know the meaning behind some of the songs. In Super Vocal, they explain the story behind the song.

8) YOU GET TO PARTICIPATE

This one is for survival competitions that involve voting. It’s exciting to support your favourites. There’s a reason to vote for them: So that they can debut (This depends on the show).

When Chuang 2020 aired, I had something to look forward every week.


Do you see why I like Chinese singing competitions now?

My Favourite Trainees in Chuang 2020

Chuang 2020 is a Chinese trainee survival show. There are 101 girls in the beginning. The remaining seven trainees will form an idol group. Tao, Luhan, Victoria Song, and Mao Buyi are the mentors. Kris Wu was a guest mentor for one episode.

My friends and I are so invested in this show. We remind each other to vote every day. We can only vote for two girls per day on the WeTV app so I rotate my votes. Here’s a list of my favourite trainees:

1. Nene

คลิปแรงไม่หยุด! NeNe เนเน่ พรนับพัน สาวไทยหนึ่งเดียวบนเวทีระดับ ...

Nene is from Thailand. She started learning Chinese a month before she came to the show and her Chinese is really, really good now. I knew Nene from the Thai drama, 2gether, so I actually liked her before Chuang 2020.

Nene had a rough life because she had to support her family. She even lifted bricks in Thailand. I can tell that it is her dream to become famous and that she is passionate about performing on stage.

Nene has consistently ranked #3 for a while. She’s really liked by Chinese fans and fans everywhere.

2. Chen Zhuo Xuan

chen zhuoxuan | Tumblr

One of the reasons why I started watching this show was to support Chen Zhuo Xuan. She played A-Qing in the Chinese drama, The Untamed. In the first episode, she sang a cover of Wu Ji and it sounded so beautiful. I love her voice.

Chen Zhuo Xuan has consistently ranked #2. In one of the previous episodes, she was really brave and asked the sponsors why she had not gotten commercials while other girls did. This was controversial but I’m on her side. She’s ranked so highly yet she is being treated unfairly. She’s been cut out of advertisements because of her boldness. WE NEED TO VOTE FOR HER!!!

I know a good amount of people started watching Chuang 2020 because of Chen Zhuo Xuan. This is how the show is treating her?? I’m so mad.

3. Joyce Chu

Joyce Chu performs new self-written song on “Chuang 2020 ...

I liked Joyce Chu before Chuang 2020 because she’s a successful singer from Malaysia. She writes her own songs and she’s really good at guitar and ukelele. I like her friendship with Nene. Her ranking is not that high, so we need to support her!

4. Curley Gao

Xilinnayi Gao | Produce 101 Wikia | Fandom

Curley Gao has consistently ranked in first place. There’s no doubt that she has a strong voice. She participated in Sing! Sing China Season 2 in 2017, so you know she’s good at singing.


I also like Zhong Feifei, Wu Yalu, Xu Yiyang, Xie Anran, and Jiang Zheng Yu. It’s kind of hard to put a number order to them because I like them all.

The full episodes with English subtitles are on WeTV and YouTube. New episodes come out every weekend.