China’s Produce 101, the hit pop idol-creating TV show that’s been making international headlines in recent weeks, reached its climax on Saturday evening, amid a whirl of cute outfits, hugs, and tears — lots and lots of tears.
Having started out with 101 contestants, the group was whittled down to a final 11 members who will go on to perform as Rocket Girls. But there was no room for break out star Wang Ju, who made global headlines earlier in the show’s run for “challenging Chinese beauty standards” and became known as “China’s Beyoncé” in some quarters. After all the hype, voters went with a pretty conventional line-up for the final group.
The show was ultimately won by Mei Qi, who picked up 185,244,357 votes in the four hour-long finale; Xuan Yi came second with 181,533,349 votes. The top two placings immediately led to some Asia pop world confusion given both Mei Qi and Xuan Yi are already part of Cosmic Girls, a South Korean and Chinese singing group, but will now be contractually obliged to also perform with Rocket Girls.
While Wang Ju failed to make the final group, there was at least a spot for another of the “less conventional” contestants as Yang Chaoyue — who was at the center of an epic online beef earlier this month — made it to third place.
Wang might not be a Rocket Girl, but it seems unlikely that this will be the last we hear from her. Soon after the final episode streamed on Tencent’s QQ Video, she appeared in an advert for cosmetics brand Lancôme (along with several other contestants from the show) and surely a solo career beckons for her now.
In many ways, this might be the best outcome for Wang Ju. She’s already shown that she’s willing to take her own path to success and struck a chord precisely because of her independent nature — performing outside of the girl group formula may ultimately make her an even bigger star in her own right. We look forward to seeing what moves she makes next.
Cover photo: Xuan Yi congratulates Mei Qi on her Produce 101 win (from QQ)
You might also like:
Co-founders of the Beijing mag discuss rising icons on the Chinese LGBTQ scene, pervasive stereotypes, and China's so-called "masculinity crisis" Read More