In my first blog, I talked about a popular music competition in China named “I am a singer“. After eight weeks, they started to apply new elimination rules in the show.
The former rules were simple; they eliminate one singer and invite a new singer every two weeks. An interesting thing is that every singer can’t choose their own songs after the first performance, which means every single song they perform in this show will be unique. The new rule is more challenging and compelling. Now, they are using a template to help the singers choose songs, instead of giving them complete freedom of choice. The audience votes for the song they want to hear.
It is obviously that the new rules make the entire competition more fun and worth watching. The abilities of all the singers are being challenged. Some people maybe think singers who are adaptable and able to deal with different music styles will win. For me, I tend to think the opposite; the new rules are asking the singers to stick to their own style. From a PR perspective, these singers have to adhere to their already formed style and personality. Maintaining this is also a kind of personal branding. There’s a Chinese saying, “以不变应万变”, which means Counter changes with changelessness. If a good singer can perform different music in different styles, someone who can expertly perform different songs using the same style is better. A good singer can make every single song labeled by his/her name.
So who was eliminated this week? Shang Wenjie. She is famous for her unique style, both in music attitude and dressing. Actually, she came from an old music competition named Super Girl. She and her PR team have been developing her unique personality and outstanding style since this competition which took place in 2006. In her words, at the beginning it is hard to keep this image in front of the audiences. Some people don’t like her over-dressing style, so they call her “Chinese Lady Gaga”. Her music is different from all other Chinese music. Many professional music analysts give her great credit and respect her braveness to develop new music and stick to her own style, which maybe weird to many common audiences who like Pop music or R&B. She is always overwhelming on the stage and never changes her “weird” singing style no matter what others say to her. Actually, before the 9th week performance, she was one of my favorites among the competitors. Her version of “Let’s get it started,” for me, is even better than the original one.
One mistake she made is that she gave in to her music team. She changed her always unique style by performing a popular teenage girl song without any recomposing. Imagine Lady Gaga using a girlish voice to sing a Carly Rae Jepsen song. Actually, it is quite stupid to give up the original image which has been accepted by most audiences, especially when it has taken seven years to build her strong image.
It is smart for the TV station to change the rules. But it is also a challenge to the artists and their PR teams. Their clothes, choices of songs, and the way they talk all have something to do with PR works. In the weeks before Shang Wenjie was eliminated, her team maintained her image by picking up special clothes, choosing difficult and not-that-popular songs including “Man in the mirror“, a Michael Jackson original and so on. If you want to know how important sticking to your own style is, you should note her experience and watch the following video. It is also a good lesson for PR people to know how personal branding matters in changing people’s lives. This is why a innovative and ambitious artist got eliminated. A simple choice.