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'Laowai Idol' contest draws young talents

By Zhang Zefeng | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-31 07:51

'Laowai Idol' contest draws young talents

French student Corinne Zelman wins the first place in the Laowai Idol contest at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The Team Sauce performs at the same event. [Photo by Akash Ghai/provided to China Daily]

In a packed auditorium, the spotlight shines down on a young woman with Afro hairstyle standing at the stage center. She sings Schubert's Ave Maria while making hand gestures as if telling a story.

As the operatic song concludes, she runs backstage to don another outfit, and comes back onstage again with a dance team to wow the crowd with pop icon Beyonce's dance Flawless.

This was a scene from the 8th Laowai Idol competition at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing on May 17. The performer was Corinne Zelman, a French student who has been performing onstage since she was a child.

Among 10 outstanding performances ranging from hiphop dance to classical, Zelman's team stood out and grabbed first place.

"I have to do what I can do the best and what I love the most-so opera and Beyonce," says the 20-year-old international-business major. "Everywhere in the world, the audiences are the same. They like charisma onstage and good voices."

Hosted by the UIBE's School of International Education, this year's event attracted about 100 international students from a dozen universities, including Renmin University of China, Minzu University of China and Beijing Language and Culture University, to take part in the preliminary competition.

"It's a good chance for people from different countries to come together and see some good talent," says the event's host, Donnie Brunette, a US student majoring in international business Chinese at the UIBE. "I feel like it brings everybody together right here in China."

Tran Dirhh Hoang, 28, and Tran Thao Van, 21, jointly won third place for performing the traditional dance Yue Wang, a popular love story from Vietnam. They are studying at Minzu University of China.

"We wanted to depict the loyalty of Vietnamese women in our dance," says Hoang. "The competition is also a great chance to show our culture to people from other countries."

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