Original title: The four years of idol draft variety shows: the hot draft business, the confused idol industry
In Bai Meijiadai’s opinion, the trainees on variety shows this year have a misunderstanding of the idol industry and lack awe in this profession: “Thinking that cuteness means pretending to be cute, and being handsome means being cool. It’s not that you say that you are acting cute. , Other aspects can be fooled, the emotional labor required to make idols is actually very high.”
“Creation Camp 2021” and “Youth With You 3” were launched almost at the same time, and the two idol drafts were facing each other, which was full of gunpowder.
Outside the screen, “Old Xiu Fan” felt a little tired. Xiaoqi, who has been paying attention to the variety show since “Idol Trainee”, began to feel a little distracted: “The excitement is other people’s, I have nothing.” Not long ago, her Pick’s brother R1SE returned to the scene of the game. , To record the group summary for the dissolution of this limited group. The boy group that debuted through “Creation Camp 2019” will officially disband in June this year. “Disbanding is an amateur.” She ridiculed CBN.
Draft battles are everywhere. In addition to “Creation Camp 2021” and “Youth with You 3”, “Let’s go online at the end of last year!” “Hua Cai Youth” was launched on CCTV, and Youku’s “Asian Super Star Cluster” was also launched this summer. Mango TV and Station B also have similar programs that have not yet been officially announced. How many variety shows there are, it means that a hundred times the number of idols needs to be delivered. There are more than two hundred contestants in the two variety shows “Creation Camp 2021” and “Youth with You 3” alone.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, since the “Super Girl”, the variety show has never disappeared. Instead, it has made a comeback in different forms, and has continuously supplied fresh star candidates to the entertainment industry. In 2018, “Idol Trainee” and “Creation Camp”, which successfully localized the Korean talent show “PRODUCE 101”, once brought new styles to the variety show, but today, it has also come to a bottleneck period. It can be seen that this year these two variety shows have tried many innovations in the competition system and program format. “Youth with You 3” held a tit-for-tat “media meeting” at the beginning, and “Creation Camp” introduced international students. Compete on the same stage.
But for fans, there is still a lack of freshness. “Every year, the scripts of the program group are written similarly. In fact, the royal family has decided on it from the beginning. The professional fan routines and words of online marketing are the same. It is like a pipeline, which is not true.” This time, Xiaoqi was not so good. I am willing to spend real money to vote for the players: “Everyone gradually discovered that the subsequent packaging and production of the limited combination that was once vigorous and genuinely selected did not bring them any good works. In addition, these idols are from different sources. Companies, together, more or less involve conflicts of interest.”
The idol draft is in its fourth year, and there is a different excitement inside and outside the restaurant circle. Fans pay money and love for the idols they picked. Most passers-by may only remember Cai Xukun and Yang Chaoyue. Nevertheless, every time the draft goes on, there are still capital, new companies and newcomers pouring into the track, pushing a new crop of new faces for this fast-changing market.
Too many drafts, not enough players
Last year, when Zhang Yixing recorded Youku’s “The Name of a Youth”, he said that he shouldn’t do this show, “Don’t worry about it. After so many waves, how can a good seed be grown?”
Although idol’s reserves are already stretched, platforms will not let go of the opportunity to fight. Bai Meijiadai, a lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communication of Liaoning University, analyzed to China Business News that drafting is a business. During the drafting process, several waves of money can be made in different ways. The way to make money can be to attract viewers to buy members or attract fans to go. Purchase sponsor’s products. This is consistent with the logic of the once smashing “Super Girl” and “Happy Boys” series. This series lasted from 2004 to 2017. Not every time it became a hit, the attention of the champion and runners-up was gradually decreasing.
After the airing of this year’s talent show, it was the bad stage performances of the trainees who took the lead out of the circle. With broken sound, out of tune, uneven dancing, and winking eyebrows, netizens joked that this is not an idol, but a happy comedian. When several young people in their twenties imitate the looks of elementary school students and become cute at the same time, the players, judges and audience in front of the screen all feel bad. One of the contestants, Han Peiquan, complained: “It’s not that the candy is super sweet, but the candy is salty.”
The decline in the quality of trainees is the most intuitive feeling for Xiu Fan. “”Idol Trainee” is the first edition, and the most top-notch seedlings are selected. Two or three years have passed, and there is more than one draft each year. To this day, most of the people who can be selected have already had debut experience, aptitude and ability. There are some impetuous trainees who may have just practiced for a few months and want to become popular in the draft. Few of them are really capable and idol potential people.” Xiaoqi said.
From the perspective of trainees, regardless of their level, participating in the draft to increase exposure is always beneficial. Even if you don’t make a debut in the end, you can still get better job opportunities. For example, in “Creation 101”, Gao Qiuzi, a student ranked 16th and a former member of the Bee Girls team, did not make his debut, but participating in the draft still brought her many job opportunities: participating in variety shows such as “Supernova National Games”, in the TV series ” Appeared in “The Elite Lawyer”. In 2020, her contract termination lawsuit with her former company attracted public attention. The court judgment revealed part of the income details. From the judgment, it can be seen that after “Creation 101”, less than half a year, she participated in 14 activities for the company. Income generated 2.82 million yuan, after deducting company share, personal income exceeded 700,000 yuan.
It’s the consensus of Fanquan that even coffee can make money. Xiaoqi said that some professional star-chasers would actually pay for the doudou, “it’s the money of this group of people,” in addition, “they do some promotion, run business shows, and do a lot of live broadcasts.” Xiaoqi Pick’s idol is a former member of a men’s group, “It’s a silly group, but I have also played in concerts with thousands of people.”
Seeing “He is not as good-looking as I am, so squishy and still making money”, many young people have entered the track of trainees, but they are obviously not ready to become an idol. In the show, the contestants lacked artistic skills, so they could only use the “comedian” persona, which made the show look a little embarrassing. Fans will see the flaws after a few more glances, while passersby will think: “Don’t you want to sing and dance, why did it happen like this?”
What is an idol
The book “Broken Walls: Key Words of Internet Culture” edited by Shao Yanjun, Associate Professor of the Chinese Department of Peking University, defines idols as such: “A young idol who uses his own charm as a selling point in front of the public, does not necessarily have special expertise but may be familiar with everything , Is a profession.”
It is mentioned in the book that the difference between idol and idol is that idols are widely used. People sometimes call the athletes and scientists they admire as idols, while idols are under the modern entertainment industry system. Professional idol star is a special title and profession. The rise of idols is related to the developed entertainment industry in Japan and South Korea. Japan and South Korea have a strict system for cultivating idol stars, and idols are often taught the concept of “fans are God”. Judging from this interpretation, the star reserve selected in the current popular idol variety shows is actually closer to the definition of idol.
In Bai Meijiadai’s opinion, the trainees on variety shows this year have a misunderstanding of the idol industry and lack awe in this profession: “Thinking that cuteness means pretending to be cute, and being handsome means being cool. It’s not that you say that you are acting cute. , Other aspects can be fooled. The emotional labor required to make idols is actually very high.” Scholar Michael Hardt once pointed out that Affective labor is immaterial, and its products are intangible: It is a relaxed, friendly, satisfying, passionate feeling, even a sense of connection and belonging.
If a flight attendant’s smile with eight teeth is a quantifiable emotional labor, then the emotional labor required to become an idol is even more complicated. Bai Meijiadai said: “Emotional labor is hard to think about, and the level of performance is very complicated. He seems to have repeatedly performed a certain ideal in his work and life, and may be exposed in the private field, creating a fantasy of love or cultivation. . They acted out some kind of ideal fantasy as reality.”
For idols, it takes a lot of price to “live” as an idol in front of and behind the scenes, and you need to always beware of actions that will disillusion your fans. For an idol selling romantic settings, falling in love in reality must be unbearable for fans.
In 2020, the idols selected in the previous few years burst into “house collapse” scandals one after another: “It’s either falling in love, or doing some low-quality things. They don’t have the consciousness of idols.” Xiaoqi felt, love Beans have repeatedly disappointed fans and have low demands on themselves: “At the beginning, all the performances were fame and fortune. After their debut, the commercials and shows were mostly formal. The heat is at the forefront, the hard power is not so valued, and the performance is not good. Fans will pay the bill, so naturally they will deal with it.”
As an artist agent, Su Jie, CEO of Biya Biya Culture Media, feels that now it is becoming difficult to sign an artist. “When you tell them how much effort and hardship it takes to become an idol, it is usually better to talk about ideals and draw big pie.” However, he told CBN that the current problems in the idol industry should not be in the first place. Blame these children: “How bad can children’s minds be? They are in the process of forming values and worldviews. They are trained by the company and the ideas instilled by the company. If they have problems, who is the problem? Is it?”
Su Jie felt that the development of this industry was too fast and too fierce. Everyone is like throwing a bomb. This show is stuffed a little, and that show is stuffed a little; when an idol is launched, he did not treat him as a treasure or a beautiful person to run it. The only thing he thinks about is how to make money and how to realize it. “A variety show is on fire. Everyone smelled this piece of cake, and then dig it wildly. It takes time for children to grow up, and training always takes time. The speed of squeezing the wool is too fast, and the growth of children can’t keep up.”
Both the idol industry in Japan and South Korea have decades of development. The Chinese idol industry in its infancy is facing completely different markets, channels, and media environments. Unlike Japanese and Korean idols, which are mainly operated by firms and entertainment companies, in the development of China’s idol industry, the Internet platform has become an introduction to the entire industrial chain and plays a vital role.
Before the emergence of the idol industry, this commercial system centered on IP and the general equivalent of traffic has been built by the platform. The idols selected by the platform audition variety show have naturally fallen into such a realistic environment. Traffic and data have become the criteria for measuring the commercial value of idols, and there have been phenomena such as “traffic only theory” and “fake data” that have been criticized.
“What we are doing very hot is the business of the draft, not the industry that the idols daily operate.” Bai Meijiadai said: “The changes are too great, and the operation of the entire market is so flustered and speculative.”
The final selection of the Japanese idol group AKB48 began in 2009 until now. After 15 seasons of the “American Idol” talent show, it has changed channels to continue. “On the one hand, our country has policy unpredictability. On the other hand, after a program is popular, programs of the same type are swarmed. At this time, the trainees are required to consolidate their skills, and they may not be able to keep up with the hot wave. Stage. At that time, the technique is very solid, but he has no stage.”
When the form of “PRODUCE101” was introduced to China, it happened that some domestic companies observed the successful cases of South Korean EXO and other men’s groups, generated expectations, and signed a group of people. Then, they just caught up with the outbreak in 2018. “Some people just happen to be in the stake, just like investing. But if you train like this for a few years now, I don’t know if this program will be available. The trainees will concentrate on doing this, and in the end they will bear the results of all these changes. “An example is “Follow the Light!” Fu Longfei, Tan Jianci and Xiao Shunyao in “Big Brother” are members of the first generation of men’s groups. They were born in singing and dancing idols, but they didn’t catch up with their debut, so almost no one cares about them. Participate in “Chasing Light!” after becoming an actor “Brother”, the audience discovered that their singing and dancing ability is good, but at this time, they have passed the best age to make idols.
Some scholars have pointed out that if an industry wants to develop healthily, it must have a corresponding vocational training system and employment channels. The Chinese idol industry itself is very immature, and there is actually no way out from the training system to the job.
In Bai Meijiadai’s view, given the differences in geography, social environment, and national characteristics, it is difficult for China’s idol industry to follow the path of Japan and South Korea. Japan’s AKB48 relies on theater, with theater performances, and fixed output channels; South Korea’s characteristic is that it has a good singing and dancing foundation, and the country is not that big. When the singing stage is held, fans can go offline and shuttle back and forth between multiple stages. . In China, the cost of fans chasing idols is very high, and most people watch idols performances in front of the screen. Therefore, China’s idol industry is highly dependent on platforms, and it is difficult to develop independently: “The platform creates an idol image on the screen, and then produces copies of the idol image and continues to sell. Under this premise, most love Dou debuted in the form of singing and dancing, and will eventually go to variety shows and acting.”
This is the reason why idols always claim to have stage dreams when they make their debut, but they don’t pay much attention to stage performance when they really make their debut. “The stage is not the main goal for these idols. The main goal is commercial value. It is to raise the level of job opportunities received, and finally translate into some commercial results. idols themselves are still a relatively young profession, and finally they have to be transformed into More professional artists will not retain their youth for long, and their fans will grow up. With more family life, they will not invest so much in idols.”
So, can the idol draft variety show last three years? Bai Mei Jiadai expressed suspicion. As for the sustainable development of the Chinese idol industry, in her opinion, fans must at least feel that whether it is trainees, program producers or employers, they have requirements for themselves. At present, the possibility of fans resisting the capital and succeeding is relatively small: “Fans can make leeks, but you must respect leeks. As an idol, you must be ambitious and the producer must do a good job in the show. I can’t say that I don’t do Japan and South Korea. , Europe and the United States, to be a Chinese group, and then make nothing. If you don’t dance when you should dance, you can’t say that it’s our group’s own characteristics if you don’t dance.”
“What you are doing now may not be so perfect, but it still requires some clumsy work. Try to learn a new skill or a new language, even if it proves that these skills are not necessarily necessary, you need to try many times before you can find it. Appropriate direction.” In the 1980s, during TVB celebrations, Andy Lau performed a boulder on his chest, and Tony Leung used his teeth to pull a cart. They were also very serious about these juggling performances. Many celebrities have tried many possibilities, and have gone through some detours, and then gradually explored their own style and specialties. Fans can see the hard work in this process.
“It can’t be said that neither learning nor learning this nor that, just a head shot, a good route will fall from the sky for you.” Bai Meijiadai said.
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