Nathan Hartono in top 12 of China singing contest

Local singer Nathan Hartono has done it again.

He got into the top 12 of reality TV singing competition Sing! China in last night's episode as part of mentor Jay Chou's final group of three contestants.

The 25-year-old first sailed through the blind auditions on July 15 and chose Mandopop star Chou as his mentor.

Yesterday's episode, which airs on Zhejiang TV, featured Chou's team of five battling it out in pairs against Chinese singer Wang Feng's team of five.

Hartono, who faced US-raised singer Karen Lam from Wang's team, told The New Paper: "I found out I was going up against Karen literally seconds before going on stage. I had prepared myself beforehand to stay cool no matter who I would face in the battle round.

"It was beyond my control and all I wanted to do was perform my best."

He added that he was "a little distracted" as out of all the other members of Wang's team, he was most familiar with Lam.

Hartono sang Chou's song Moonlight On Rooftop, as Chou thought it was "appropriate" for his musical style. He also mashed it up with jazz tune Moondance by Van Morrison to make his performance "a little more unexpected".

Lam sang Sam Smith's Writing's On The Wall.

For that round, the judges were a panel of 51 industry professionals such as producers, songwriters and music directors, while the mentors had no say in the voting. Hartono got 41 votes, whereas Lam had 10 votes.

He said the next round will see only five of the 12 contestants move on to the finals.

Hartono said: "I am currently in the song selection phase and figuring out arrangements, so it's a little crazy. I've never learnt this many Mandarin songs this quickly in my life!"

This article was first published on September 17, 2016.
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