It’s a tale as old as time: a Russian man gets trapped on Chinese television for three months after ‘accidentally’ joining a boy band show!
To the relief of the 27 -year-old Vladislav Ivanov, he was finally voted off the show-Produce Camp 2021 last weekend after many, many pleas to the Chinese public to do so.
So, how did this all go down?
Ivanov, who speaks fluent Mandarin, got a contract to be a behind-the-scenes teacher on the ‘BTS’ type star-training show.
A Russian Man Was ‘Trapped’ on a Chinese Reality TV Show For Three Months!
Originating in South Korea, this popular reality TV genre puts aspiring young performers through demanding singing and dancing trainings, fitness boot camps, and the wannabe stars are even put super restrictive diets.
The home audience watches as the their new idols struggle, then flourish and perform a set each week. They then vote off their least favorite performer.
Basically it’s what happens when American Idol meets the communist regime.
Ivanov was noticed by producers, even though he was not meant to be seen on camera, due to his striking “K-Pop” type look.
“They asked if I would like to try a new life,” Ivanov explained about how he was asked to sign on as a contestant instead. Unfortunately, it was a signature the Russian man regretted almost immediately.
Produce Camp 2021 saw the contestants live together on a tropical island in China’s Hainan province. Doesn’t sound so bad, so far. Their phones were confiscated as soon as they were moved into their dorm rooms and then the grueling training began.
Ivanov immediately hated the long hours and exhausting rehearsals, but to break his contract meant he would be charged a hefty fine that he could not afford, essentially trapping him into his contractual obligations.
Performing under the stage name Lelush, he gave lack-lustre performances while singing, dancing and rapping alongside the other, very eager and talented contestants.
“Don’t love me, you’ll get no results,” he warned in one episode reminding the voting audience over and again that he did not want to be among the 11 winners of the show, contractually obliged to form a boy band.
However, his lack of enthusiasm and repeated appeals to the Chinese public unintentionally made him a fan-favorite. Ivanov, now Lelush’s dour persona and dejected-look kept audiences voting for their “Sang” hero to stay with the show for nearly three months.
“Sang culture” is a popular new concept reflecting a lowered work ethic, a lack of self-motivation, and an apathetic demeanor felt by urban, middle-class Chinese millennials. Think Darlene Conner circa 1989 with a higher bank balance.
Lelush’s defeatist attitude saw him being celebrated as a Sang icon and he was dubbed “the miserable wage slave.”
The unlikely star made it to the final episode of the show this past Saturday where he, happily did not receive enough votes to join the newly minted boy band.
“I’m finally getting off work!” a relieved Mr Ivanov rejoiced on Sunday.
I’m pretty sure he is heading back to mother Russia as we speak!
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