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Passé Gala (2)

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

08:09, January 13, 2012

Celebrity rejection

The Spring Festival gala has long been a dream stage for performers, which can turn an unknown artist into a national sensation overnight.

That trend continued until recent years when some well-known celebrities denied requests to perform at the gala.

Song Dandan, 51, a famous actress, had performed in the gala for about 10 years by 2008, when she felt she had had enough.

Audiences are being increasingly picky as they can now fulfill their entertainment needs with jokes posted on Internet or on their mobile phones. Getting them to laugh often in a skit that lasts only several minutes is very challenging for an actor, Song was quoted by Kunming-based Life News as saying.

She was also quoted as saying ”Unless I am detained by the gala, I’m not going to join it,” by the Wuhan Evening News.

Zhou Libo, another stand-up comedian from Shanghai, famous for his controversial talk show style, rejected invitations from the gala in 2010 and 2011 and has never appeared.

"I won’t the join the gala in this lifetime,” Zhou was quoted by the Yangtze Evening Post as saying, explaining that his rejections were because of his respect for art and audiences.

The gala targets 900 million farmers in China whose lives he is not familiar with, Zhou said, adding that if he speaks to an audience he knows little about, whatever he says may not entertain them.

"Given that the gala is worsening year by year, I suggest it be cancelled and replaced with my talk show. That way the audience will see something new,” Zhou was quoted by CRI as saying.

Chen believes the gala’s reflection of the diversity in Chinese culture is limited.

"The majority of characters in the gala are from the north and present northern traditions in the show. I seldom see southern traditions represented,” Chen said, who is originally from Hubei Province.

On top of this, many people are also being put off by the increasing number of hidden advertisements in the show.

The cost of a hidden advertisement for an alcohol company in a short piece with famous comedian Zhao Benshan in 2010 was more than 10 million yuan ($1.58 million), Guangzhou-based Information Times reported.

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