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November 16, 2011

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Jailed judge returns to 'Talent' role

A JUDGE on "China's Got Talent" who was jailed for drunk driving earlier this year has resumed his TV role.

Yesterday, Gao Xiaosong, who was released from prison on November 8 after serving a six-month sentence, attended a recording of the show's elimination rounds at Shanghai Concert Hall together with local stand-up comedian Zhou Libo and TV host Ni Ping.

In May, Gao crashed into a car stopped at a red light in Beijing causing a four-car collision in which three people were slightly injured.

The Chinese film director and songwriter was also fined 4,000 yuan (US$630) and banned from driving for five years.

Gao appeared calm and collected yesterday but told reporters he was still not very well-prepared for appearing in the public eye.

"I am grateful to so many people who didn't abandon me," Gao said. "Actions speak louder than words. I will make up for my mistake by presenting more excellent works in music and film."

He said he was to shoot a public service ad highlighting the dangers of drunk driving in collaboration with traffic police.

Gao said his eyesight suffered while he was in jail as he spent a lot of time reading, writing songs and translating Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella "Memories of My Melancholy Whores."

He said his prison stay was a "special experience" for him.

"After talking with prisoners from varied backgrounds, I found how superficial my previous understanding of the world was. Their experiences gave me some new inspirations for new works of art," he said.

Gao celebrated his 42nd birthday on Monday. Accepting gifts from the producers and contestants of "China's Got Talent," Gao told them life had been good and his wish for the future was happiness and tranquility.

At the recording Zhou joked that Gao was looking better than ever, with fewer pimples on his face.

"I'm happy to find the public of today show much more tolerance to those who make mistakes but want to have a new start in life," Zhou said.

The show's future recordings are expected to see more celebrities joining its judging panel, including actress and China's "microblogging queen" Yao Chen, Taiwan actress-singer Annie Yi, Taiwan pop singer/composer Jerry Huang and retired basketball star Yao Ming.

The first elimination round of the show will be aired on Dragon TV on Saturday at 9pm.


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