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October 11, 2010

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Armless pianist takes China's 'Talent' title

ARMLESS piano player Liu Wei, from Beijing, won the "China's Got Talent" final at the Shanghai Stadium last night.

Liu, who plays with his feet, captured the imagination of a nation of viewers and their text message votes gave him the title over Shanghai's Zhang Fengxi, 7, who had delighted the television audience and tens of thousands of people who packed the stadium with her amusing standup performance.

Cai Xiuqing, a 23-year-old college student from Shantou of Guangdong Province, won third place for her song "Boundless Oceans Vast Skies," one of Hong Kong rock band Beyond's best known numbers.

Modest in victory, Liu told Shanghai Daily that he would rather the award had gone to his close friend Shou Junchao, a rap singer who was among the eight finalists.

At the award ceremony, Liu was invited by Taiwan singer Jolin Tsai as a guest performer during her world tour. He has the chance to perform at Las Vegas for three months.

He is also likely to receive a performance contract with Fremantle Media and Sony Music Entertainment.

Liu didn't put a foot, or a toe, wrong with an impeccable performance on the piano, and he was in fine voice, too, as he sang "You're Beautiful" to conquer the live audience and those watching at home.

Winning over the judges with his remark "at least I have a pair of perfect legs," Liu became the only finalist to move all three.

Liu celebrated his 23rd birthday last Thursday and he joined in last night as judges and audience sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

Gao Xiaosong, one of the judges, told Liu he deserved an even wider audience.

Last night's show also featured winners and finalists from the "Got Talent" series in Britain and the United States.

They included Paul Potts, the singer who won "Britain's Got Talent" in 2007, dance group "Diversity," who beat Susan Boyle in last year's program, 2008 finalists "Escala," a London-based electronic string quartet, and "America's Got Talent" finalists "Recycled Percussion."

Ever since its debut in May, the reality TV program has grown in popularity. Its semifinal round on September 26 got a viewership rating of 20.46 percent, the highest of all Shanghai programs at that time. Nationally, it also ranked No. 1. The show even replaced China Central Television's annual Lunar New Year's Eve Gala as the most watched program in Shanghai.

"Compared with many other talent shows, 'China's Got Talent' is not just about glitz and glamor," said Xu Jiayi, a local university student and fan of the series. "It's open to people of all ages and backgrounds. Many times I was moved by people's confidence, optimism and unyielding spirit."

The Dragon TV show's huge success means there will be a second season early next year. "China has so much untapped grassroots talent and we believe the show will maintain its nationwide vitality and popularity for three or five years," said Jin Lei, the show's director.


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