TVB’s new reality-singing competition Voice of Stars <星夢傳奇>, a spin-off of TVB’s The Voice <超級巨聲> series, premiered on TVB Jade last night. Hosted by Carol Cheng (鄭裕玲) and Amigo Chui (崔建邦), the star-studded 10-episode talent show features TVB artists as contestants, where the winner will be determined by the viewers in Hong Kong. The ultimate winner will walk away with a $338,000 HKD diamond-studded gold microphone trophy.
According to TVB’s press releases, contestants were carefully selected through an auditioning process, in which the contestant was required to “test microphones” in the recording studio. The first seven TVB artists that passed the auditions and graced the premiere episode of Voice of Stars were Oscar Leung (梁烈唯), Mandy Wong (黃智雯), Carat Cheung (張名雅), Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪), Ronald Law (羅鈞滿), Stanley Cheung (張景淳), and Fred Cheng (鄭俊弘).
Bashed by Judges
Aside from Fred Cheng, who reportedly exceeded the judges’ expectations, none of episode one’s contestants succeeded in leaving lasting impressions on the judges. Oscar Leung, who managed to advance to the next round of competitions despite low scores, was harshly criticized by judge Eric Moo (巫啟賢) for “blindly singing” and “ruining” Danny Chan’s (陳百強) masterpiece “Wait” <等>, Oscar’s competing song. Some sources even claimed that as a promoted artist, TVB allowed Oscar to bypass the auditions and “fixed” him as a top three winner.
Mandy Wong, who sang Kary Ng’s (吳雨霏) “Love is the Biggest Privilege” <愛是最大權利>, was brutally bashed by Eric Moo for having “no range” and “singing off key.” Mandy made the awkward situation worse when she claimed that it was her first time singing the song; the judges unanimously expressed that she should have prepared well before joining the competition.
TVB Does Self-Censorship?
The poor performances by the TVB contestants were widely reported by the Hong Kong media even before the premiere of Voice of Stars, but on yesterday’s episode, viewers noticed that Oscar and Mandy’s results were heavily censored by TVB. The scenes of Eric Moo criticizing their singing were completely edited out.
In a phone interview with Oscar, he said, “Of course, it is better to air the original cut. I am glad and willing to accept all criticism. I know I didn’t sing very well, but I tried my best.” Asked if Oscar was fixed to be a top three winner, he exclaimed, “[TVB] didn’t just cut me, but everyone. I don’t know how my results were cut, but if I were fixed to be a winner, I’m pretty sure I’d get more praises than criticism! I don’t care if I am the one being talked, but please do not insult the judges and their reputation.”
Eric Moo said, “I already made my comments. The broadcaster has the rights to edit it however they want. I will respect that.”
Hoffman Cheng Hints at Fixed Results
Best known for his involvement in TVB’s Tung Wah Charity Show <歡樂滿東華>, TVB greenleaf actorH offman Cheng (鄭世豪), has recently been getting noticed for his capable singing abilities after performing in concert tours with his teacher, Lee Lai Ha (李麗霞).
With his experienced singing background, netizens wondered why TVB did not invite Hoffman to participate in Voice of Stars. To this, Hoffman replied on his Weibo, “After decades of hard work, I am still waiting for the right opportunity, but this opportunity is not always yours. Recently, everyone has been asking me why I didn’t make it to the final cut… but I am still happy, because now I know I have everyone’s support. There are still many capable singers out there that also need encouragement. Everyone, there are a lot of things that needs to be considered in order to be chosen as a participant for Voice of Stars. That’s why! Ha, we really cannot be too naïve. I will continue to work on improving myself… thank you everyone! It’s time to watch the show… add oil!”
Singer-songwriter Eric Kwok (郭偉亮) revealed that there were indeed many scenes which were cut from the original broadcast, especially Eric Moo’s comments. Eric Kwok believed the first episode would have been more interesting if Eric Moo’s brilliant comments were not removed from it. However, he also understands that the final decision lies with the producer. He explained that the judges have not been asked to be lenient to any particular artiste and stressed that the show is not staged. He said, “There’s no way the results could be manipulated. We submit our decisions separately. I personally have wanted Mandy to get in but she was eventually eliminated.” He implored the viewers not to compare Voice of Stars with The Voice.
When asked about the censoring of his comments, Eric Moo said, “I have done my job as a judge. Censorship is the television studio’s job. I will respect that!”
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