"Super Girl" winner Li Yuchun, with her tomboy-style hair and a shy smile, appears on the cover of the latest edition of Time Asia Magazine, issued on Monday, as one of the 25 Asia Heroes of 2005.
Six people from China were on the Asia Hero list, including actress Zhang Jingchu who played the heroine in the Silver Bear Award winning movie "Peacock" at this year's Berlin Film Festival and Taiwan dance artist Lin Hwai-min who founded the Cloud Gate Dance Theater.
The other Asia Heroes are from Japan, India, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, including volunteers who helped search for missing people in last year's havoc caused by tsunami.
Time said the 21-year-old Li, a pop singing major at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, has become a new pop icon for her boyish charm and unconventional personality.
Li polled more than 3.5 million votes via cell phone text messages at the finals of "Super Girl," the Chinese version of "American Idol."
The gala finale attracted about 400 million viewers, nearly one-third of China's population.
According to the magazine, the influence brought by the "Li Yuchun phenomenon" goes far beyond her voice in China. Her "attitude, originality and a proudandrogyny" are challenging the country's traditional customs.
Time said actress Zhang, "with her taste for traditionally inspired dress and her reverence for ancient Chinese aphorisms," may be a perfect ambassador for China.
Described by Time as "Asia's synthesizing dance genius," dancer Lin's outdoor performance in Taipei could attract an audience of more than 60,000.
It is the fourth consecutive year the magazine has elected Asia Heroes.
The listed heroes are considered brave, courageous, persistent and can encourage locals.
Last year, Athens Olympics champion Liu Xiang and prima ballerina Tan Yuanyuan from China were on the list.