Chapter 389: A situation at the Spring Festival Gala!
This was the sound of the New Year. When he awoke the next morning, on New Year's Eve, there were already people setting off firecrackers. The pila-pala sounds had awoken numerous people. Zhang Ye had also been woken up by these sounds. Hai, what inconsiderate neighbors. The neighbors downstairs had set off a string of firecrackers that faced his bedroom, and there was even the sound of double bang firecrackers in the distance that could be heard! That sure was loud! Eh, but it was Chinese New Year after all. It was a time of family reunion and joy, so it wasn't good to tell off anyone.
Taking a look.
It was only 5AM and the sky was still dark.
Mom, who had also been awakened by the sounds, said, "Which family set that off?"
"It's better to be up early. A new year, a new outlook." Dad was also up.
Zhang Ye heard his parents talking in the living room. He could only smile bitterly, saying, "The issue is that it's not even New Year today! There's no need to have such a differing outlook yet, as it's still only New Year's eve. I'm going to sleep in a while longer. I received so many calls last night and ended up sleeping late. I'm so tired."
His mother said, "Sleep then. Later today, we'll be going to your paternal grandma's place to have lunch. Then in the afternoon, we will go to your maternal grandma's house. Whether we will stay overnight will depend when we get there. Anyway, don't plan on returning home before midnight. We have to wait at your maternal grandma's place at least until the clock strikes midnight, so sleep as much as you can so that you will be able to stay awake tonight."
There were a lot of tasks planned for today.
"OK." Zhang Ye lay down once more.
His father had gone downstairs to buy breakfast while his mother switched on the TV.
Suddenly, Zhang Ye, who was wrapped inside his blanket to hide from the sounds of the firecrackers, heard his mother shout for him in shock, "Son! Son, come and take a look!"
Zhang Ye came out from under the blanket, "Mom, I'm still sleeping!"
Her roaring voice came once again from outside his room, "Come over, quick!"
"What's there to see?" Zhang Ye could only put his winter clothes on and get out of the bed. He went out to the living room to see what was on TV and then froze.
He did not see the first part of the news and only watched from the middle, "...first round, there was no sign of this, but during the second round of rehearsals for the Spring Festival Gala, our reporter has already received confirmation the relevant authorities. The second round of rehearsals has added a segment involving popular Korean pop singer, Lee Anson, who will perform 'LOVE-ONE'. Lee Anson has had great success in China this year with his concerts and his popularity has soared. His popularity is second to none as he has won numerous fans in the country. The production team expressed that Lee Anson's appearance for this year's gala was only arranged last minute. Then, with the addition of a new performance, they had to take into consideration the overall time allocated. Naturally, there would be a reduction or cutting of other performers' time and the latest news our reporter received is that the list of performers for tonight will have two artists cut from it. One of them is veteran singer, female soprano, Zhang Xia, who would have performed 'Ethnic Ties', and the other one being Heavenly Queen, Zhang Yuanqi, who was slated to perform 'Wishing We Last Forever'. This news has also been confirmed by the production team!"
Old Zhang's program has been removed?
Old Zhang won't be able to make it onto the Spring Festival Gala this year?
Zhang Ye found it unbelievable. The name list for the performances had already been set, how could they just remove someone just like that? And it was even a celebrity at the level of a Heavenly Queen, Zhang Yuanqi?
His mother cursed angrily, "Is this a joke!?"
His father, who had just returned from buying breakfast, happened to push open the door at this moment. "What are you shouting for?"
"Our son's song has been removed from the Spring Festival Gala!" His mother was furious, "I've already told all our relatives and friends about it and also informed the neighbors a few days ago. I reminded them that our son's song would be on the Spring Festival Gala and told them to watch it. How can they remove it just like that!"
His father said in an understanding manner, "The Spring Festival Gala has very strong competition, so they must have had no choice."
His mother said, "Even if there's strong competition, they shouldn't sacrifice my son's work. What's so good about that Korean singer? I've never even heard of him before! How can he compare to Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi! Zhang Xia is such an experienced artiste, that we grew up listening to her. Zhang Yuanqi might not be young anymore, but she's not old either. She's already such a familiar face at the gala, why aren't they letting them perform?"
Zhang Ye was earnestly watching TV when he said, "Mom, keep listening."
His father also sat down to watch.
The television report continued, "Ever since the Spring Festival Gala first began, Teacher Zhang Xia has taken part in 13 galas, while Zhang Yuanqi has taken part in 6 of them. It can be said that they are old friends of the gala. For this year, Executive Director Peng Yiyu invited the Korean celebrity, Lee Anson, to perform, removing both gala veterans, Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi from the list. From this, we can deduce that Director Peng Yiyu has plans to change the outlook of tonight's gala."
Change? My ass!
Our country's Spring Festival Gala, it's our country's Spring Festival Gala! Why would they invite a Korean to take part! And because of his participation, our own countrymen's programs were withdrawn?
Does that make sense?
Your brains must be clogged with water!
All of a sudden, Zhang Ye did not feel sleepy anymore. He was furious now!
On the internet, the discussions were getting heated. Some people had heard the rumors last night and were already discussing it online. As there was no way to verify the rumor's authenticity, they were not sure about it, but now that the news had confirmed the rumors of Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi not taking part in this year's gala, the discussions exploded over in Weibo, Tieba, forums, and even the video website's comment sections!
"Great, Lee Anson will be here!"
"Lee Anson, my male God!"
"I wasn't planning on watching the Spring Festival Gala tonight, but now I will definitely watch it! Lee Anson, I love you!"
"Lee Anson, all of us are rooting for you! Ah! It too exciting! What a surprise!"
Some were praising.
Some were also scolding!
"Peng Yiyu, you idiot!"
"Peng Yiyu shouldn't have been given the helm for this year's Spring Festival Gala! He's such a troublemaker!"
"Sister Zhang's program is canceled? The production team should go eat shit?"
"Grandma Zhang Xia is already past 60 years old! Yet she's still fighting on the front lines of the performing arts! How can the production team do something like this? Do they even have a heart? If you didn't want Grandma Zhang Xia to appear on the Spring Festival Gala, you could have said so earlier! Why did they change the list after it was already released to the public? That's so disgusting! How do you people do things! My parents have always been fans of Grandma Zhang Xia! They grew up listening to her songs!"
"Grandma Zhang and Sister Zhang are both veterans of the Spring Festival Gala. Now that you have different plans, you just remove them from the lineup? That's too disappointing!"
There was a lot of criticism, and a lot of people had given up on watching the Gala!
At this moment, the gala's production team's Vice-Director posted on Weibo to clarify, "After the second round of rehearsals, there had been some changes to the program list. It was after much consideration that we decided to try something new for this year's Spring Festival Gala to create a livelier gala full of energy. We also respect and admire Madam Zhang Xia and I personally like her songs very much too, but because of her age, we do not wish to subject her to round after round of rehearsals, as that is very draining on her body. Regarding Teacher Zhang Yuanqi, I especially like her movies and songs too, but after the second round of rehearsals, the production team brought up that "Wishing We Last Forever" sounded more like a Mid-Autumn Festival song, we felt that it might not be so suitable for the Spring Festival Gala. We are very sorry to make this very difficult decision, but if Teacher Zhang Yuanqi has a more suitable song for tonight's event, we would still be open to reconsideration."
There were countless of people below leaving comments ridiculing them!
"Afraid that Grandma Zhang would suffer? Why didn't you say that at the very beginning? You only came up with some rubbish excuse after they went through two rehearsals?"
"You want to host a dynamic and strong Spring Festival Gala?"
"So what you mean is that Teacher Zhang Xia and Sister Zhang are old!?"
"Teacher Zhang Xia and Teacher Zhang are not strong and lively? What the heck!"
"Yea, Grandma Zhang might be over 60 years old, but her vocals are stronger and better than a young singer! She's not old at all!"
Suddenly, Zhang Xia's official Weibo posted a reply below saying, "My health and body are still good and my spirits are high. I can stand the rehearsals because this is what I love to do. No matter how many rehearsals we have to go through, as long as everyone still wants me, I will do this until I'm 70, 80, or even 90, but of course if the Spring Festival Gala feels that I am getting old and should make way for the young ones, I will do so, as it is my duty as a senior. Thank you to all the friends who support Little Zhang and I."
When this Weibo was posted, everyone did not know what to think anymore!
"Grandma Zhang! You are always, always the best!"
'You and Sister Zhang are the best singers in the country!"
"Why does my heart feel so much pain!"
"This production team is full of beasts!"
Everyone had different feelings and their own views and judgment on this matter. What the Deputy Director said was politically correct, but everyone knew that it was just an excuse. The song was inappropriate? Afraid that Grandma Zhang would not be able to take the toll of rehearsals? These were all excuses! The Spring Festival Gala's real intention was to change everything to a brand new outlook for this year! Zhang Xia was too old, while even though Zhang Yuanqi's age wasn't that advanced, she had started out as a child star. She had appeared on the Spring Festival Gala many times, one of the most among the Heavenly Queens and Kings, so she was also considered an 'old' person on the gala. This gala was being led by Director Peng, and since he wanted to revolutionize the outlook of it by making changes, the easiest way to do it was to get rid of the 'old'.
Why did they choose Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi?
Because the two of them did not have many new works and their fame was going downhill!
Grandma Zhang Xia only had old songs to perform at every Spring Festival Gala, while Zhang Yuanqi, even though no other actress could compare with her in the field of acting and she could be called the top actress of the movie industry, when it came to the field of music, she had had a hard time in recent years. There were even rumors that she wanted to give up her music career to focus on movies, but as everyone knew, not only did she not give up on music, she even did extremely well with a song that was written and composed by the controversial host, Zhang Ye. The song was released as a single called "Wishing We Last Forever" and became very popular. It had revived the Heavenly Queen's music career single handedly, but it seemed like that wasn't enough for Director Peng. To him, maybe in terms of music, Zhang Yuanqi was already a thing of the past. She was past her shelf life and it was now the world for fresh new faces. He felt that it was time for Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi to retire.
But the production team did not think about how their changes to make the Spring Festival Gala a livelier event would have such a great effect on Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi. Their inconsistent treatment towards them caused people to feel disgust!
Heavenly Queen Zhang had made a good comeback with "Wishing We Last Forever" and was slowly coming back to the origins of her musical roots from all those years, but now, they want to remove her just because they found her to be 'old'? How would that look to her fans? Those who did not know better would think that Zhang Yuanqi was really a thing of the past. It was even more difficult for Zhang Xia. An old lady would be no match for the younger ones. They could still do movies, but could she? The young ones could do commercials, could she? The young ones could release albums, could she? She couldn't do any of that anymore. The only place which she could shine was on stage at the Spring Festival Gala! Without this stage, the old lady's performing chances would literally be zero. She might not want fame or money, but she would be missing out on the stage that she had loved all her life. The only thing she looked like she could do now was to retire back to her hometown, but did the production team consider that?
Maybe they did consider it, but they still did it anyway.
This was also the reason why Zhang Ye and many others were so angry!
"Let's not watch this year's Spring Festival Gala!"
"Zhang Yuanqi will not be appearing! There's no reason to watch it!"
"My parents just told me they won't be watching it either!"
A lot of dissonant voices started speaking up.
"If you don't want to watch, then don't watch!"
"Heehee, who cares whether you all watch or not!"
"As long as there's Lee Anson! Lee Anson is so good looking!"
"Inviting Lee Anson while getting rid of an old lady and an auntie, Director Peng a smart choice!"
Some people picked on issues and others fought back!
A lot of them started scolding back at them, some of which included fans of Zhang Ye. He was also known in his circle of fans as - Professional Korean Insulter! Whether it was on the internet, in his own words, or on television programs, Zhang Ye had shown his firm stance on this. For example, in "Zhang Ye's Talk Show", he had even spent a full 30 minutes of an episode scolding Koreans. In other episodes, he would also occasionally scold them. If you were to identify someone who was the most consistent in scolding Koreans, Zhang Ye would definitely be No. 1! Being Zhang Ye's fan, firstly, they liked Zhang Ye because of his values and national pride. Secondly, fans would also be imperceptibly influenced by the celebrities that they followed!
So if there was a need to say who had the angrier set of fans, Zhang Ye's fandom would definitely claim top spot, as there were many people similar to Zhang Ye within his fans!
"Brainless fans of the Koreans, get lost!"
"Who dares to say that they are an old lady and auntie?"
"I won't stand for this! How can anyone be as brainless as this?"
"Is this our country's Spring Gala Festival or Korea's Spring Gala Festival? How can you say such things about your own countrymen? Is Lee Anson your dad or your mom?"
The war of words was never-ending!
The online discussions had become a free-for-all!
Many of the bigger stars in the country also stepped out to have their say. Of course they were standing on the side of Zhang Xia and Zhang Yuanqi. Zhang Xia was an elder of the singing world and had a good network of friends. Zhang Yuanqi was also well known for her good relations with others and also was a big shot in the entertainment industry who has helped many of her juniors!
Some stars even openly questioned the directing team.
Others were more tactful and did not burn any bridges. All they did was show their support, but did not implicate themselves in the argument.
Zhang Ye did not say anything. He did not make any comments, nor did he post on Weibo. When he finished reading the news online with his parents, he switched his phone off.
It no longer had any effect!
Zhang Ye had his own plans, since this was an outcome that he could not accept!