Hit Chinese variety shows in 2018

By Li Ping | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-12-29 16:11
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Editor's note: In 2018 we saw a diverse array of TV and internet variety shows in China, all offering amazing entertainment.

Hit musical programs Idol Producer and Produce 101 brought us a new wave of music idols; passions for traditional culture and heritage permeated pop culture; hilarious talk shows won new fans; rappers from Xinjiang, a region bubbling with cultural diversity in Northwest China, were brought to the center stage of Chinese hip-hop. In adventure reality shows, people found connections with people from across the world; mouth-watering food documentaries gave insight into the links between food and nature, and performers' acting skills were judged by the general public.

Here are some of the most popular variety shows of the year. It's never too late to start enjoying them.

Girl band Rocket Girls 101 performs Rocket Girls. [Photo/Official weibo account of Produce 101]

Picking China's next pop idol

The popularity of China's musical talent programs continued in 2018, with the country's youth picking up their phones to vote for China's next pop idols.

Cai Xukun, 20, became an instant star on Idol Producer, which piloted in January. Produced by popular video-streaming platform iQiyi, the program selected 100 contestants from entertainment companies across China. They competed for nine places in boy band Nine Percent. Cai, the group's lead singer, has so far garnered more than 18.8 million followers on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

In April, all-female counterpart show Produce 101, which is also a Chinese remake of a South Korean show of the same name, inspired droves of young people to vote for their favorite contestants from 101 aiming to win a place in the 11-member band Rocket Girls 101.  

The two-month show, broadcast on Tencent Video, gave us some of 2018's hottest words, such as "pick" (your idol) and "C position" (center position) – the most important position. It also made a star of Wang Ju, hailed by some as China's Beyonce, as she challenged traditional beauty standards for Chinese women: big eyes, fair-skin and sweet, cute smiles.

Other well-received musical shows included Sing! China 2018 by Zhejiang TV and The Next Top Bang from Dragon TV.

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