Best Performances of Voice of China Season 4

The number of talented people they are showcasing on Voice of China Season 4 is incredible. Many of the contestants can sing English in addition to Chinese. And not the cringe inducing kind of English but very decent English and some even perfect.

My favorite for this Season is definitely R&B, Rapper, Queen T 陈梓童. A 25-year-old who can rap, ring, and dance extremely well. She remixed Jay Chou’s 双截棍 (Knunchuks) and made it amazing. You can listen to her version. Or you can listen to the Jay Chou version at your own risk because it is terrible. I say this even though I think Jay Chou is highly talented but he has had some truly terrible songs.

Another favorite of mine is Ika Zhao 赵大格 who remixed All About That Bass and我在人民广场吃炸鸡(I am at People’s Square eating fried chicken). Cannot find a clip. Can someone help?

But my favorite performance of the season so far goes to Gin Lee and 張暘 who did an alternate version of Jay Chou’s 紅塵客棧 with a Peking Opera flair. Listen to their version here. I think their version is also better than Jay Chou’s original.

The winner of Voice of China Season 4, though will probably be the supremely talented 16-year-old ballad singer 黄霄雲 who is hails from one of China’s poorest provinces and is currently attending The China Conservatory of Music. Listen to her audition here.

In A Good Way / My Freedom Era 我的自由年代

It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a Taiwanese drama series. Most of the time I find them draggy and fluffy so I have stayed far far away. I watched In A Good Way during its live broadcast earlier this year and waited until now to blog about it because I thought they were going to wrap up the series with a special finale, which they did not.

Nevertheless “In A Good Way / My Freedom Era 我的自由年代” will always have a soft spot in my heart. The drama is about finding oneself, gaining independence, navigating friendship, and understanding your family wrapped up in a love story set on a college campus in 1995 Taipei. On paper the plot sounds boring, but the beauty is in the execution. It’s a slow drama and episodes 1 and 2 weren’t that amazing. Episodes 3-13 is really where the meat is. Unfortunately episodes 13-26 went the way of draggy. I think this is due to the drama being shot in live time. In A Good Way became a hit, so it made financial sense for the producers to milk more episodes out of it. From a story standpoint it sucked.

But because episodes 3-12 were so awesome, I still feel compelled to write about it and recommend it.

Warning: This series will probably be of zero interest to most of the male population as there is no sex, no violence, and no gore. But I highly recommend it to those that love a sweet pure romance. [Below image via soompi]

In A Good Way Taiwanese Drama

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Chinese Drama: 金玉良缘 “Perfect Couple” Jin Yu Liang Yuan Review & Recap Part III

When I started watching Jin Yu Liang Yuan, I didn’t have high hopes as I didn’t care too much for the trailer. But this series surpassed my expectations especially the first 15 episodes. Jin Yu Lian Yuan has its share of flaws but it is still watchable especially if one is looking for a lighthearted tv series with a good ending.

One of the reasons I enjoy watching this series is because of Jin Yuanbao aka Wallace Huo. I never thought he could do comedy but his portrayal of Jin Yuanbao has me laughing out loud. Perhaps because he is producing as well as acting in this series that he is giving it 110%. Unlike The Swordman 2013, where he made a very bad Linghu Chong. So bad that I gave up after the third episode. As the producer for Jin Yu Liang Yuan, I have to commend Wallace on using Bian Jiang, as the voice of Jin Yuanbao (who coincidentally also did Linghu Cong’s voice in The Swordman). Honestly, if the voices of the main OTP’s were badly dubbed I wouldn’t have watched it. Bad dubbing was the reason I could never watch the immensely popular Chinese Paladin series. All the men’s voices sounded decidedly effeminate to me.

I also want to give a round of applause to whoever did the costume designs. I especially loved Jin Yuanbao’s wardrobe. It’s been a long time since a male lead in an ancient drama wore such fashionable clothing that is also consistent with the time period. I wouldn’t mind dressing up as Jin Yuanbao for Halloween except nobody would know who I am. My favorite of his outfit was probably the blue and white robes. [Below image via bengdibao]

If you missed any of the previous episodes see my recaps for episodes 1-15 & 16-30.

Episode 31, 32, 33 Recap: An edict requesting the presence of Jin Yuanbao and Yu Qilin from the dowager empress forces Madame Jin to make a decision of whether or not to pretend that Yu Qilin is Jiang Xiao Xuan. She seeks the couple out and finds them at a tavern and tells them that as much as she wanted to make Yu Qilin disappear off the face of this earth she can’t because she knows how much Jin Yuanbao loves Yu Qilin. Therefore the only thing she can do is go on with the pretense that Yu Qilin is Jiang Xiao Xuan. Our OTP is relieved to hear that they no longer have to run away to the ends of the earth to be together and the three of them go off to the meeting with the dowager empress who tells them that under no circumstances is the marriage to be dissolved because it will weaken the power that the crown prince will have over the royal court. (Does this part make sense? Not really as the entire reason that Jin Yuanbao and Jiang Xiao Xuan had to get married was tenuous at best). [Read more…]

Chinese Drama: 金玉良缘 “Perfect Couple” Jin Yu Liang Yuan Review & Recap Part II

My husband thinks I am crazy for watching and recapping this drama. Often he glances over at my screen and sighs and shakes his head while making fun of whatever scene happens to be on. But like I stated in my previous post, Chinese romantic dramas are directed at the female audience and not the male. I am really enjoying Jin Yu Liang Yuan regardless of how much he is making fun of it. Sure the plot lines are contrived and does not always make sense but there is a lot of hilarity in the first fifteen episodes. Episodes 15-30 is considerably weaker. [Below image via gywb.cn]

Bonus: I really like the ending theme song of Jing Yu Liang Yuan. Listen to it here.

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Recap of Episodes 1-15

Episode 16, 17, 18 Recap: At the banquet Madame Jiang does not to expose the switch because the second prince had just arrived without being invited. After the introductions are made, it was to late to correct the mistake then and there so she decides to confront them later. The second prince is here to tell Liu Wenzhao that Jin Yuanbao must die within the year so that the military tally can then fall into the second prince’s hands. Unfortunately, Xier (Yu Qilin’s maid) hears their conversation and was choked to death by them.

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Chinese Drama: 金玉良缘 “Perfect Couple” Jin Yu Liang Yuan Review & Recap Part I

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Chinese Dramas set in the olden days especially those set in the Han, Tang, Song, Ming, and Ching dynasties. Watching those dramas makes me forget all the pressures of modern life and brings me back to my high school and college days where I watched them all the time. One of the reasons I particularly like them is because they do not contain profanity, violence, and are generally wholesome with the bad guys getting their just desserts. And don’t forget romance, the kind that females generally love as Chinese Dramas mainly cater to the female audience. Really after all the disturbing scenes from the current season of Game of Thrones, Chinese Dramas are a much needed cleanse. [Below image via wikiaddicts]

Perfect Couple, Jin Yu Liang Yuan

Jin Yu Liang Yuan started it’s run on 4/21/2014 and it is a fairly enjoyable drama. However it would be a great drama if they condensed the story into 20 episodes instead of dragging it out to 45 because I was bored out of my mind after episode 15 and only wanted to finish recapping it or else I would be fast forwarding it like crazy.

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Chinese Drama: 三国 “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” San Guo Review

Question: Could this be the best historical TV series that China has ever produced so far?

Answer: Yes!

Question: How good is it?

Answer: So good that it the entire 95 episode series is hardsubbed into English by Jianghu. As fantastic as Jianghu’s translation is, the series is much better if one is fluent in Mandarin. And I do mean fluent because most of the conversations are worded in formal old style Chinese along with many idioms. So much of the cleverness of the idioms is lost in the translation. [Below image via wikipedia]

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110425033243/koeifanon/images/3/33/3Kingdoms.jpg

At 95 episodes and approximately 40 minutes each episode, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms 2010 is not for the casual watcher. It will need your entire focus as the story is complex with lots and lots of characters whose courtesy name is often used along with their given name with sometimes their art name thrown in as well! I would say plot wise ROTK is akin to Game of Thrones, minus the sex and the gore. Of course there is still some violence but of the PG13 kind where the fake blood looks really fake. On the whole, I found Romance of the Three Kingdoms 2010 to be more entertaining than Game of Thrones. Mostly because in Game of Thrones there is just way too much gratuitous sex and violence that it takes away from the otherwise beautiful visuals, great acting, and good storyline. [Read more…]

Fraiser: My Favorite TV Series of All Time

Growing up in an immigrant household, I did not have many chances at watching American TV. My parents hid the remote when they were not home to force me to concentrate on my homework. And when they did watch TV, it would always be Chinese/Korean drama series rented from the Chinese video stores that were so prevalent in the 1990’s.

Though the Chinese/Korean TV series were entertaining in their own way, they never portrayed real life. It was just a bunch of beautiful people parading around having all sorts of love triangles. It was not until I went away to college that I started watching US primetime series. My favorite of them all is Fraiser. [Below image via wikipedia]

Frasier TV Series

Fraiser introduced me to a world that I did not know existed. Growing up, my parents were too busy working to take me anywhere. Besides, we were poor and lived from paycheck to paycheck in the early years. The classiest American restaurant I ate in my childhood was Sizzler’s which was considered a huge treat. I still have fond memories of their corn fritters.

Prior to Fraiser, I was never exposed to culture, fine dining, art, architecture, decor, and a myriad of other facets of upper middle class American life. I did not have any aspirations. All I know is that my parents wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer, but I did not know what I wanted. [Read more…]