China’s first international boy band selection ‘CHUANG2021’ ends with congratulations, complaints and considerations
Published: Apr 25, 2021 05:58 PM
 Mika Hashizume (left) and Liu Yu are in the final of CHUANG2021. Photo: screenshot of video posted on Sina Weibo

Mika Hashizume (left) and Liu Yu are in the final of CHUANG2021. Photo: screenshot of video posted on Sina Weibo

Idol competition show CHUANG2021, which tried to stand out from similar series by recruiting some foreign trainees, came to an end on Saturday to applause and tears, and considerations on how an international boy band can promote the development of C-pop.

On the day of the variety show's final, fan donations to their idols exceeded 40 million yuan ($6.16 million). The total number of views during the finals reached 4.77 billion on video platform Tencent, and the related hashtags on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo have earned more than 14.7 billion views as of Sunday, the Shanghai-based The Paper reported.

The new 11-member boy band INTO1 will stay together for two years. "INT" refers to "international" and "internet," and "O" represents the Earth, while the "1" symbolizes the idea that the 11 members will unite together to become one group and try their best to become No.1.

There are seven foreign members of the band, Mika Hashizume and Zhou Keyu from the US, Uno Santa and Chikada Rikimaru from Japan, and three members from Thailand. Chinese idol Liu Yu attained the most votes from fans, so he will be the boy band's leader. 

"Although it is an international band, it will mainly operate in China. The entertainment company might adjust its strategy and add some international elements while managing the boy band," Fan Zhihui, a music industry analyst, told the Global Times. 

"If running operations are well done, the band can accelerate C-Pop's expansion into overseas markets."

On social media, many fans of the new band said they felt that political issues out of their control could be the largest potential risk to the band. 

For example, earlier in the season the show found itself involved in a scandal related to some foreign trainees and their entertainment agencies.

Chinese netizens called for five foreign trainees to "get off the show" in March after entertainment agencies Avex Group in Japan and RBW in South Korea became embroiled in a controversy concerning China's national sovereignty.  

While some fans of the show were happy with the line-up for the band, some fans of idols who failed to make it through to the end complained that the variety show was unfair. Similar complaints always appeared when a variety show ended in previous years.

Some netizens commented on Sina Weibo that the young Chinese idols should improve their singing and dancing capabilities as quickly as possible, or the next time not even four Chinese contestants will make it into international band.

A trainee from the US, Caelan Moriarty, gained quite a following on social media as his fans felt his singing and dancing abilities more than qualified him to make it in the band, but in the end he didn't make the final cut. 

"I regret that Caelan Moriarty wasn't able to join the boy band. His performances have been undoubtedly good," a fan of the show living in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, told the Global Times on Sunday.