Hong Kong - Former One Million Star judge Phil Chang was placed second last in last Friday's opening episode of I Am A Singer 2, Hunan TV's talent show for professionals.
More Mandopop and Cantopop stars, including Malaysia's Gary Chaw and Hong Kong's G.E.M., signed up for the successful Chinese television show - and the humiliation - in the second season, said Apple Daily. Chaw was placed fourth last Friday, and G.E.M. fifth, behind mainland singers such as Han Lei and Wei Wei. In last place was Zhou Bichang, a runner-up in Hunan TV's first successful talent show, Super Girl.
An adaptation of a South Korean reality show, I Am A Singer was a huge hit last year and breathed new life into the careers of singers such as Taiwanese balladeer Terry Lin. The first season of the Chinese contest also featured former Beyond rocker Paul Wong, who was the first star to be booted.
The success of the show led to similar contests including Jiangsu Satellite's Celebrity Battle, where stars such as David Tao and Kenji Wu were given scores of zero.
According to Apple Daily, Wong was said to have been paid 2 million yuan (S$418,000) to appear on I Am A Singer, and Tao, NT$10 million (S$423,000) for an episode of Celebrity Battle.
This year, I Am A Singer 2 faces fierce competition from other star-studded reality shows, which also debuted last Friday night: CCTV's Sing My Song, a contest for songwriters judged by Tanya Chua, Wakin Chau, Yang Kun and Liu Huan, and Jiangsu's The Brain, a science- themed talent show judged by Jay Chou.
NetEase website said Sing My Song was ahead of I Am A Singer 2 in the ratings and The Brain was the most discussed show. For recruiting veterans such as Han and Wei, I Am A Singer 2 was mocked online as I Am An Old Singer, said the report.
But Chang, who is also the emcee of the contest, got good reviews for his hosting. As for G.E.M., she said she was "so happy" to have been placed fifth. She told Apple Daily she had expected as much, as the results were voted by the audience, who may not know post-1990s Cantopop stars like her.
As for the talk of stars being drawn to Hunan's pay cheques, she said: "It should be the opposite. I'm doing this show regardless of costs." She said the show was her chance to increase her visibility in China and she was prepared to spend money on her performances.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.