Chapter 634 No Optimism for The Voice?
Everyone read the proposal.
Beside them, Zhang Ye explained, "This name of this program will be tentatively titled The Voice of China, or simply just The Voice. This is a large-scale singing talent show. The competition format is the same as other traditional singing programs, starting from the preliminary auditions, then letting the coaches choose their contestant students before proceeding to the group stages, and the finals after that. That's the general process of the program."
Jiang Yuan raised his head.
Fu Sihong and the others all looked at him as well. They no longer read from the proposal and were just listening to Zhang Ye explain it directly.
Zhang Ye explained fervently, "But if you all think that the program is just going to be this simple, then you've got it wrong. The program's format might be the same as the traditional singing show format, but it's core and selling point are different. When we do the studio setup, the seats of the four coaches are the key. During the auditions, the coaches' seats are all facing with backs to the stage. They won't see the contestant and won't know their gender, height, or looks. They will only be able to hear their voice and singing talent, using these factors to decide if the contestant will pass or fail. This is also why the program's name is The Voice!"
How does that sound?
Everyone must be stunned?
Everyone must be shocked? Right?
After Zhang Ye explained his proposal, he looked at them in satisfaction and waited for their reactions. He had predicted that everyone would feel shocked and clap or bow in amazement, but contrary to his expectations, the outcome was very different from how it played out in his mind. Everyone was shocked alright, but they were shocked from being horrified!
Zhang Zuo: "..."
Fu Sihong was badly shocked. "Are you serious?"
Zhang Ye said, "Of course."
Ha Qiqi also drew a gasp and said, "This...how can this work!"
Zhang Ye asked, "What's the matter? Is there a problem? Is this program's proposal so difficult to understand?"
Fu Sihong said, "Although you claim that it is different, but to me, it sounds just the same as any other singing program that the other television stations are doing. At most you have an additional segment where the chairs turn around?"
Zhang Ye said, "The turning around of the chairs is just a means and strategy of the show. But with this additional segment, it would give the audience a totally different feel and experience while they watch the show. We're basically telling them that our The Voice chooses the contestants based not on their backgrounds, their stories, their height, and especially not their looks. As long as they have a good voice and can sing well, they can show themselves to the world on the stage of The Voice! Essentially, this program's aim is to go back to the basics of singing. We do not care about looks or stories, we will only listen to the voice!"
Zhang Zuo said in a stunned manner, "Only listen to the voice, this..."
Fu Sihong had a different view from him as he shook his head vigorously, saying, "But have you thought about this? If the stage will be adorned by only short, fat, or not good-looking contestants, then it would greatly affect the quality of the program. The image and effect would be totally shattered, so why would the audience want to watch that? In this industry, a competition-based program's bottom line-if I may put it honestly-is the requirement of the contestant being a talking point. We need them to have outstanding appearances and great singing ability so that they can hold the stage and attention of the audience. If we're talking about the program that you did earlier, that Do You Remember, then maybe this can be overlooked, since it isn't a talent show program. But as long as it is one, then we can never escape that. A singing competition that does not have handsome guys or pretty women taking part-I do not see why the audience would want to watch something like that on their TVs. That is why I find this proposal to have very serious problems as it goes against the rules of a variety program!"
Zhang Ye shook his head and said, "Why can't a talent show escape association with handsome guys and pretty women? That is only the mindset of the industry professionals; it's a cage that they've placed themselves in. This program of mine precisely wants to target that mindset by not following those rules. It will be precisely because of this that the audience will want to watch, and like to watch, the program. Besides, I have never stated that the stage for The Voice will not have any good-looking people gracing its stage, did I? If the contestant can really sing, and also look good at the same time, then naturally it would be fine. But the only thing about the stage for The Voice is that the proportion of good-looking people might be smaller since the contestants would mostly still be fairly average-looking people."
Fu Sihong insisted, "I feel that this program will not do well!"
Zhang Ye did not get angry at this but said, "The singing shows these days are unable to bring excitement simply because every other such program is doing exactly the same thing, being trapped by their traditional mindset. How I judge whether a program will be successful is not to see how the industry insiders analyze it with their performance indicators or experience. What I am looking for is the viewpoint of an audience on such a program."
Fu Sihong retorted, "For a program producer, experience is the most valuable asset that they can fall back on."
Zhang Ye looked at him and said, "Experience is molded from learning and references and is limited to this moment while the pace of innovation and the wisdom of humans are the only things that are limitless. If the ancient people based everything on their experiences, then they would never have believed that there would be a day when humanity would go to the Moon. Do you think that what their experiences told them was correct then?"
The two of them wrangled over the matter, both making a stand for their own side of the argument.
But it was clear that after a few exchange of words, Fu Sihong had succumbed and could not outtalk Zhang Ye.
When Zhang Zuo, Ha Qiqi, and the others saw this, they simply decided not to retort at all. They knew very well that they were not as eloquent as someone who was a professional host like Zhang Ye and would not be able to outtalk him even if they combined their efforts together.
Honestly, Zhang Ye could not understand their concerns either. Why would anyone feel that such an innovative idea like The Voice would be bad? Wasn't that an international joke? It seemed to him that, even if they felt at the proposal stage that the talk show was not be good enough, it would be acceptable. After all, there was no precedent of an entertainment program like a talk show in this world. If they also felt that Do You Remember was not going to be good, that was also acceptable since this world did not have a low-barrier entry variety program for citizens to join and compete in an all-out PK match with other people. But that was not the case for The Voice at all. This program had such mass appeal and the features of the show could be clearly seen too! So why would a bunch of television industry professionals not understand that?
Were their standards really that low?
Zhang Ye pondered over this for a very long time before finally coming to a conclusion. In Zhang Ye's previous world, when he was considered an audience member and outsider of the television industry, he immediately started looking forward to The Voice of China when its trailers began airing. Thinking about it now, it was probably not because his standard was higher than Fu Sihong, Ha Qiqi, and everyone else's, but more likely had to do with the understanding of his previous world's people's understanding of singing programs compared to the people here.
In Zhang Ye's previous world, The Voice was already very famous before it started its broadcast in China. This program was also shown on Dutch and American television where it did very well. When the television station in China purchased the rights to do The Voice, the local audience base was already built up due to foreign influence. Zhang Ye was also one of those people who already knew the format of the program, and as a result, anticipated its airing in China. Another point was that the singers from Zhang Ye's previous world came in the form of good-looking people as well as not good-looking people. Even those top singers, whether they looked good or ugly, were not too different in popularity from each other. Was Han Hong good looking? Was Sun Nan good looking? Was Wang Feng good looking? Was Hu Yanbin good looking? Was Huang Qishan good looking? Was Xiao Huangqi good looking? Was Zhao Chuan good looking? Was Lee Zhongsheng good looking? Some of them had very average looks, some of them were really not too good looking at all, yet they all got very popular based on their talent and vocals, even though there was an element of luck at times too.
However, in this world?
Those A- or B-list singers were basically all good-looking men and women, among whom were scattered some who were not pretty or handsome, but couldn't be considered ugly either and were above average looking. If it really had to be insisted that there were ugly singers, it was also true, but such singers were really few and rare.
Those were the differences between the two worlds!
The perception of singers was different to the people of both worlds!
In this world, whether it be the programs or the media, they had always been advocating that you should have good looks if you wanted to be a celebrity. That was the bottom line before the focus would shift to whether you could sing or not. There was just such an unhealthy tone in the overall environment of the industry. Their understanding of a singer was different and Zhang Ye could understand this deeply, since he had also experienced being judged on his looks in his first interview back at Beijing Radio Station and was deemed unsuitable for the role. But if you thought about it, what was the point of a radio host being so good looking? Shouldn't it be fine as long as he wasn't bad looking? But that was not how they saw it. That was just how their perception in this world was, and thus resulted in the current state of the entertainment industry!
Fu Sihong and the others believed that a talent show had to be judged on looks first and foremost; the contestants' vocals were secondary, so if the proposal stated that the program would only care about the vocals and not the looks, they felt that it was just asking for it to fail since this concept itself was basically challenging the cognitive mindsets of how singing program should be!
But was it really asking to fail?
Would the audience really dismiss it?
Only Zhang Ye knew that this would definitely not be the case. It was just because the industry professionals believed that the audience would not accept it. Yet back in Zhang Ye's previous world, this had already been proven that the audience were accepting of such changes. Not only did they accept it, they even praised and recognized such types of shows. There were many people who specifically liked a show which portrayed the average-looking contestants in a competition since it more closely related to them! Zhang Ye wanted to tell Fu Sihong and the others that the audience was not as fragile and simple-minded as they thought. All those other singing programs were in themselves unhealthy existences in the entertainment industry!
However, whether The Voice would be accepted by the audience in this world was still unknown to Zhang Ye. But Zhang Ye was also an example himself. Didn't he look very ordinary? Wasn't he also not a handsome guy or pretty boy? But look at him now. He could still stand on the national stage and be recognized and loved by many people in the country. That of itself already explained something. The environment and history of this world might have changed, but the hearts of the people remained!
There was silence in the office.
Nobody knew what to say.
Ha Qiqi, Zhang Zuo, and the others were all looking at each other.
This type of program was indeed controversial. If you said it was good? It was too extreme and would break all the rules of a talent show! But if you said it was bad? It sounded like a very innovative way of doing a show by basing it only on the voice, where the coaches would not be to see the contestants. This idea was totally unheard of in all singing programs at television stations all over the world!
Finally, Jiang Yuan spoke. He looked at Zhang Ye for a long time before he said, "In this industry, everyone says that you're bold, daring to do the things that no one else dares even think about. I can say that I've finally seen that boldness for myself today."
But Zhang Ye said, "To be honest, I've never had much courage. The reason why I dared to say that and want to do it is because I have one hundred percent certain that it will work out."
Fu Sihong said in a speechless manner, "Why can you be so sure? You're being too absolute!"
Jiang Yuan looked at Zhang Ye and said, "I've already mentioned to you our expectations when the television station invited you to join us. What we need is a program that will receive high viewership ratings consistently. Although you're the executive director-and we've also agreed that the program production will be fully dictated by you-there is a clear disagreement right now about this proposal, which also shows that there is a problem with it. Why don't I do it this way instead? I will bring a copy of the proposal back to discuss with the other leaders before I give you an answer. But it's for the best that you also prepare another new proposal if The Voice does not pass the management's approval, so then at least we can still have a backup." From the sound of it, it also seemed like he did not have much confidence in the proposal.
Zhang Ye shook his head and said, "There's no need to prepare another proposal. The Voice will not have any problems, that I guarantee. As for the quality of the program, everyone can judge it once it has finished recorded. Director Jiang, although I am a host, I am also a professional program planner and producer. Whether it be the programs or advertisements that I have done up before, I have never disappointed. You have to believe my most basic judgment as a professional."
Having listened to all of this, Jiang Yuan could only say, "Alright, I'll see what I can do."