Chinese abuzz over lip-syncing singer in Olympics opening ceremony

By | August 12, 2008

China’s $100-million Olympics opening ceremony Friday, the most expensive and lavish in history, set a new standard for spectacle and pizazz and impressed viewers around the world.

As the afterglow gives way to the thrill of competition, however, some Chinese have questioned the expense, aesthetics — and why organizers apparently misrepresented some elements to the public in their quest for perfection.

When Lin Miaoke, 9, belted out “I Sing for My Country” as the Chinese flag entered the national stadium, she became an instant celebrity and was quickly dubbed a “smiling angel.” The image of her dressed in a pretty red dress appeared around the world.

But she apparently wasn’t the one singing. Chen Qigang, the ceremony’s music director, told state broadcaster CCTV that the voice hundreds of millions of people heard was that of 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Yang had the voice and was supposed to perform but was yanked at the last minute because she had crooked teeth.

“It was for the national interest,” Chen told CCTV. “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression.”

The Chinese Internet quickly lighted up, with many online users condemning the apparent bait and switch at the government’s big show. … China’s propaganda ministry moved in today, deleting many online discussion entries and blocking access to video links showing Lin’s lip-syncing.

Another sleight of hand involved the massive fireworks display that exploded the length of Beijing at the culmination of the ceremony. The display was real, involving 29 pyrotechnic “footprints” exploded sequentially from Tiananmen Square to the Olympic Village. But the 55-second version that most TV viewers saw was an animated three-dimensional studio re-creation, Gao Xiaolong, visual-effects team leader at the Crystal Stone animation company, told the Beijing Times. Only the last “footprint” closest to the stadium known as the Bird’s Nest was filmed in real time. “Most viewers thought these were live shots, so our work achieved its effect,” Gao said proudly. – lat

I am purposefully going to keep my teeth slightly crooked to protest human shallowness.

2 thoughts on “Chinese abuzz over lip-syncing singer in Olympics opening ceremony

  1. Pingback: 北京奥运的背后 « 天命 Vs 50

  2. chorusofweasels

    What I don’t understand is how NBC aired the CGI shots of the footprint-fireworks without knowing what they were. Wasn’t everything else in that show shot with NBC cameras, operated by NBC employees? Did the Chinese say to NBC, “We’d like you to intercut a video feed we’ll supply at just the right moment with the signal from your cameras. Don’t ask why you won’t be able to shoot it yourself.”? I don’t see how NBC wasn’t a willing participant in the subterfuge.

    The lip-syncing would be easier to pull off without NBC’s knowledge, since I presume that NBC was supplied with live audio feeds from the Chinese stadium PA system.

    I’d be interested to understand the division of labor between the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee and their staff of international specialists.

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