May 15, 2009

Super Girl Sings Her Way to Oprah Show

francesca @ AF News

Jane Zhang ended up as second runner-up in Super Girls '05 but the star singer has gone one up on the winner by appearing on Oprah Winfrey's show.

The talk-show host introduced Zhang as the "Dolphin Princess" for her May 11 show called The World's Got Talent.

Oprah picked a select group of singers who made it big in television contests ranging from the UK to Afghanistan. Jane Zhang represented China and appeared in person, unlike Briton Susan Boyle who was beamed via satellite from her Scotland home.

The Chinese singer was unaware of the power and stature of Oprah, thinking it was just another television appearance. "So, I did not feel much pressure," Zhang told China Daily. The taping was in Chicago on May 8, and Oprah's producers selected two Chinese songs, merging them into a three-minute medley.

"I loved singing Chinese songs to the American audience," said Zhang, "and for English songs, I covered those they're familiar with."

Zhang sang "Loving You", which was not included in the American broadcast, and snippets from "Hero", the Mariah Carey signature hit. Simon Cowell, the British judge on both American Idol and Britain's Got Talent, looked on with studied nonchalance, winking at one time.

During the brief verbal exchange with Oprah, Zhang showed off her accentless English. "I did not major in the language, but rather picked it up by imitating English songs," she told China Daily.

Now that she has been hugged and blessed by Oprah, Zhang is receiving an overwhelming amount of attention, including offers from U.S.-based agents. Her contract with entertainment giant Huayi expires soon, but she said she would not give up her career in China to sail for the U.S.

"Maybe just a gig or two," she said.

She understands the difficulty of launching a career in that competitive market, citing the case of Coco Lee, the Chinese-American who performed the theme song for the Oscar-winning film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", but still did not have much going stateside.

Oprah may be highlighting the success of breakout talents worldwide, but what she called "Super Voice Girl" may be dying out.

The new Super Girls season, as approved by regulators, comes with so many strings attached it is doomed to low ratings. The show has been pushed out of primetime, and emotional outbursts are banned.

You might as well sing in shower, or karaoke, for that matter. Nowadays there are so many karaoke shows on Chinese TV you may sooner catch one chirping off-key rather than the next Jane Zhang.

By Chen Nan and Raymond Zhou

Woo! Congrats to Jane! I gotta search for that Oprah Show now....

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