British singer Jessie J recently became the first foreigner to win a singing competition on Chinese television.
On Friday, the 30-year-old Londoner, who is known for her international hit songs “Price Tag” and “Flashlight”, won the top prize for “Singer 2018” (歌手), a widely popular reality show in China.
The program made some interesting changes in the latest season, allowing well-established performers from different parts of the world to perform against each other. According to Shanghaiist, a billion people watched the program on Hunan TV when the English singer finally won her trophy.
During the elimination round, the singer was able to defeat Chinese rock star Wang Feng, Mongolian singer Tengger, and Taiwanese songstress Angela Chang, generating almost 50% of the votes.
In her final round performance, in which she sang one of her own songs, “Bang Bang,” she was joined by singer-songwriter Coco Lee and fellow contestant KZ Tandingan from the Philippines, who was eliminated earlier in the competition.
She also sang a heartfelt rendition of a Whitney Houston classic, “I Will Always Love You”:
Despite facing some really tough competition, Jessie J’s victory did not come as a shock to avid followers of the show as she showed true top form in every performance since day one.
What many may find surprising was her decision to join the show in the first place since she has already established a successful international music career.
After the success of her chart-topping albums, she served as coach/judge to “The Voice UK” and “The Voice Australia” for several seasons. She also starred in the 2016 animated flick “Ice Age: Collision Course.”
In an Instagram post right after her win, the singer explained why she joined the competition:
Last year I was asked to compete in a singing competition in China. Performing alongside the biggest established singers / artists across Asia. I was the first international artist to ever be asked / compete. An honour alone. I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out. Like why would I compete in a singing competition… I’m probably the least competitive person I know. I said yes because I LOVE to do the unexpected and I LOVE to represent the UK and singing everywhere I go. I LOVE to sing. But also it was an opportunity to bridge a gap between two cultures. For them to see a western performer and hear music some had never heard before and visa versa. For the performances to be seen by millions outside of China and visa versa. And those people to discover the show was the best part. The respect being shown for both cultures and the love was ❤️ Seeing the boundaries break down and the rules be shifted made this whole experience incredible. China is an amazing place and so different to anywhere I have ever been. I have never been made to feel more welcomed and loved as I have done here. My team and I have been in China for 3.5 months. It’s been an amazing learning experience for all of us! We worked hard! THANK YOU! I love you all! 💫 I won the show last night. But what we all won was the beginning of something really magical. I am so happy I got to play a part. Here is to me being the first but not the last international artist to be on SINGER. And for the boundaries to continue to be broken. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU! I still cant believe I came 1st! 🏆 Last night a billion people watched the show | MAD ✨😭🙏🏻🌹❤️
She also made a separate post thanking China for giving her the “Whitney Houston moment”:
“I will always love you is the song that made me want to be a singer when I was 4 years old. I have wanted to sing this song for YEARS. Trust me, but I only ever wanted to sing it if and when I felt I had earned it and deserved it. Singing Whitney is an honor. She is the BEST to ever do it. This moment was LIVE on TV in China and just before I went on someone said: “A billion people are watching tonight”. I fought back tears/jetlag / my voice legit going to sleep before I could lol and sang as BEST I could. I wanted to make the four-year-old me / Whitney / my Mum and Dad / my team and all my heartbeats around the world proud. I cried like a baby after the last note 🙏🏻❤️ Thank you China for giving me this moment.”
Featured Image via Instagram / jessiej