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April 28, 2010

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Music student sings and dances to win talent show

"SUPER Family," the Expo-themed family talent show, has chosen its champion, a 22-year-old Shanghai music student who will sing at the opening ceremony of the World Expo 2010 on Friday.

First prize was awarded on Sunday to Ding Zhenying from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music who survived the 18-month competition.

Ding distinguished herself with her singing talent and charm, performing ancient-style dance based on a scene from Zhang Yimou's film "Fight and Love With a Terra-cotta Warrior." She also starred in a mini version of the musical "The Sound of Music." Ding received the highest number of SMS votes from audiences, as well as judges' votes.

Second prize went to Bi Huixian, a versatile folk song singer from Yunnan Province who can deepen her voice and sound like a man.

Third prize winner was Ukrainian Iryna Novikova from Shanghai, who is married to a local singer.

Ding says the purpose of participating in the contest was to try to persuade her family to accept her Russian boyfriend.

"My parents didn't expect that I would choose a foreign boyfriend," Ding says. "But throughout the contest, they witnessed his love and support for me. Now they're proud of us and we have a very close family bond."

The contest opened Ding's eyes to a career in musical drama, though at first she had planned to be a music teacher. Now she is thinking about Broadway.

On Friday, Ding will perform at the Expo's grand opening ceremony and sing an Expo song "Better City, Better Life," together with kung fu star Jackie Chan and famous soprano Song Zuying.

She also won one year's free rent for herself and her family in a new stand-alone villa.

Other finalists will become Expo Goodwill Ambassadors. Their virtual 3D images will guide Internet surfers around Expo pavilions and direct them to updated information at

"Super Family" is not the only program that expresses ordinary people's hopes for the Expo. During the six-month event, residents will perform folk art activities outside the Expo site.

On weekends at the city's 12 major outdoor plazas, such as Century Plaza and Jing'an Temple Plaza, a total of 700 cultural performances by ordinary people will be staged.

They will give visitors a feel for the city's embrace of different cultures.

Throughout the World Expo Shanghai, the city's museums will present thematic exhibitions covering china ware, stone carving, ancient books, architecture and Chinese folk traditions.


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