'China's Got Talent' judge detained for drunk driving

08:30, May 11, 2011      

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Members of the audience cheer during a recording of the television show "China's Got Talent" in downtown Shanghai yesterday. China's version of the internationally popular show began its second season on May 1. Yesterday's recording went ahead without popular judge Gao Xiaosong after he was detained by police in Beijing on Monday night over a drunk driving incident.

A "CHINA'S Got Talent" judge apologized to the public yesterday after he was detained by Beijing police for drunk driving.

The incident forced the TV show's producers to change the judging panel at the last minute for a show recorded yesterday.

Gao Xiaosong, a 42-year-old songwriter and the most outspoken judge on the popular show, was detained for drunk driving that triggered a chain-reaction collision involving four cars and injuring four people on Monday night.

Gao, famous for his campus ballad "My Deskmate" in the 1990s, was driving from a late-night feast at a downtown Beijing hotel when his white Infiniti SUV crashed into a car stopped at a red light at an intersection near the diplomatic area of Dongzhimen Street at 10:50pm on Monday, police said yesterday.

The collision caused a pile-up that involved two other cars. Four people sustained slight injuries.

A blood test showed Gao had 243.03 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood - almost three times the legal limit.

Gao was detained yesterday morning, and may face detention from one to six months under China's newly-amended Road Traffic Safety Law that came into effect on May 1.

Gao told police he had drunk a bottle of white wine and a bottle of liquor before taking the wheel.

At Beijing's traffic police headquarters, Gao wrote on a slip of paper: "Sorry, never drive when drunk." He told police: "I broke the law and I am willing to take all the responsibilities." Later he issued a public apology.

On Monday, courts across China sentenced at least nine drivers, who were among the first to be caught after the new law took effect, to prison terms.

In recent years, a number of fatal car accidents have triggered a public outcry for stricter drunk driving penalties.

Meanwhile, the producers of "China's Got Talent" said the show would go on and they had already appointed a new judge, Antonio Chen, a Taiwan music producer and composer, to fill Gao's slot on the judging panel.

Lu Wei, a spokesman for the show, said Chen appeared alongside Shanghai stand-up comedian Zhou Libo and Taiwan singer Annie Yi at yesterday's recording of a program to be aired on Sunday night.

"Gao went through some out-of-expectation situation," said Zhou when introducing Chen.

"Now I can turn around and see a handsome guy next to me," Yi added, which prompted laughter from the audience.

The organizers said Chen was temporarily taking the place of Gao and they were still discussing whether to have Gao back or find a long-term replacement, depending on the punishment Gao receives.

"We will contact the Beijing police to check the penalties Gao will receive," said Lu. "Based on the investigation result we will make our decision on whether to find someone else to replace Gao as the judge."

During a break in recording yesterday, Zhou said: "Gao is a talent, but talent also makes mistakes. I think God will forgive him."

Gao is currently directing his new era martial arts movie "Da Wu Sheng" in Shanghai. Production and promotion of the movie is likely to be postponed.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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