The production team of “Sing! China,” a rebranded version of “The Voice of China,” is facing backlash after an audio clip of Coco Lee accusing the show of manipulation went viral.
Lee, who was a mentor on the show in 2022, can be heard asking why two popular contestants faced elimination, while six other contestants with lower scores stayed on.
In another clip, Lee claims a director’s assistant grabbed her shirt and attempted to force her offstage for speaking up.
Lee can also be heard accusing the production team of sending cues to her mentee, Zepeng, to move to the other side of the stage during the show’s final day of recording. Lee had purportedly asked Zepeng to support her onstage due to a surgery she had on her left leg.
“I asked for Zepeng to stand by my side as I couldn’t be on my feet for too long, and I didn’t want to be in crutches or in a wheelchair,” Lee can be heard saying, as per The Straits Times
. “Do you know what happened on the actual day of filming? They took Zepeng away by cueing him to walk to the other side.”
Lee then says she collapsed onstage while wearing seven-inch heels, but this moment was not included in the show’s final episode.
“Has anyone thought about my feelings? Humiliated on stage despite having been a singer for 28 years,” she declares while crying. “This is called bullying. Does anyone care about my feelings? How can you let me suffer like this?”
Previous clip: In September 2022, a video clip circulated on Chinese social media, showing Lee asking the show’s directors why her mentee with a score of 88.3 faced elimination while another contestant with a score of 77 did not.
Lee reportedly took to social media to clarify that the issue was resolved, but in October 2022, she deleted all her posts about “Sing! China” following its season finale.
The aftermath: Broadcaster Zhejiang Media Group issued a statement on Sunday, declaring it would urge the show’s producers to display fair treatment and respect to everyone involved in the show.
Star CM Holdings, the show’s parent company, reportedly saw its stock fall by 23% or around $1.5 billion in market value on Thursday as a result of the controversy.
“Malicious” intent: The production team defended the show in a statement on Weibo on Thursday, stating that the nine-minute audio clip was edited with “malicious” intent.
“The misunderstanding was resolved at that time and we will not issue more explanations out of respect for Ms. Lee,” the statement read.