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Super Girl

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Super Girl
GenreInteractive reality game show
Created byLiao Ke
Presented byLi Xiang
Wang Han
Country of originChina
No. of seasons3
Location(s)Changsha, Hunan (1–3)
Chengdu, Sichuan (1–3)
Guangzhou, Guangdong (2,3)
Hangzhou, Zhejiang (2,3)
Nanjing, Jiangsu (1)
Shenyang, Liaoning (3)
Wuhan, Hubei (1)
Zhengzhou, Henan (2)
Numbers indicate the season(s) in which a competition was held there.
Original channelHunan Satellite Television
Original run6 May 200430 September 2006

Super Girl (simplified Chinese: 超级女声; traditional Chinese: 超級女聲; pinyin: Chāo Jí Nǚ Shēng; lit. Super Female Voice) is an annual national singing contest in People's Republic of China for female competitors. The official name is The Mengniu Yoghurt Super Girl Contest, after the company that sponsored the show. It is now one the most popular entertainment shows in China. However, after the third season, the show was banned by the Chinese government. The show was the feature of a 2007 documentary titled Super, Girls!, produced and directed by independent Chinese filmmaker Jian Yi on the 2006 Super Voice Girls contest, released at the Cambridge Film Festival. An ARTiSIMPLE Studio production, "Super, Girls!" is the only independent feature-length documentary ever made about the "Super Girls."


Six finalists during a 2005 national round event in Changsha, Hunan. From left to right: host Li Xiang, contestants Lin Shuang, She Man Ni, Yi Hui, Jane Zhang (Zhang Liang Ying), Guo Hui Min, Li Na and host Wang Han.

The competition was open to any female regardless of age, origin or appearance.[1] The audition sessions had females ranging from 4 to 89 years old.[2] The 2005 season of the contest attracted more than 120,000 applicants during the preliminary selection rounds, held in the provinces Hunan, Sichuan, Guangdong, Henan and Zhejiang.[3] Many applicants travelled long distances to take part in the competition. Each contestant was allowed 30 seconds to perform to judges and find out if they were selected for the preliminary regional rounds. To prevent another overwhelming audition season, the minimum age of 18 was later set during the 2006 season.[4]

Following the selection of contestants in the five regions, the competition began with the preliminary rounds. Preliminaries were held in each of the five locations where auditions were located. Vviewers were able to watch each of the preliminaries and vote for their favorite singers. Voting was conducted by telephone and SMS.

The regional preliminaries are followed by a weekly broadcast single-elimination (knockout) tournament held in Changsha, Hunan. The least voted two face-off subsequently in a "PK." The term "PK" comes from "Player Kill," a reference to kill-or-be-killed online games.[5] The singer with the least number of votes is then eliminated. The last event is contested between the final 3.

Judges for the competition were selected from different backgrounds in society. "Audience judges" were selected in addition to several professional judges.[6]


The original version of the show was known as Super Boy and aired in 2003 on Hunan Entertainment Channel, a local broadcaster based in Changsha, Hunan. The show was a success and the counterpart Super Girl aired at the beginning of 2004 and became the most viewed show in Hunan. However, the programme's impact was limited as the channel does not broadcast outside the province.

On 6 May 2004, Super Girl was introduced to a national audience by its producer Liao Ke through Hunan Satellite Television. In addition to broadcasting the original episodes created by Hunan Entertainment Channel, the network also developed this show in other 3 cities: Wuhan in Hubei, Nanjing in Jiangsu and Chengdu in Sichuan. This show attracted an average of 10,000 contestants in each city and received nationwide attention.

Hunan Satellite Television introduced a second season of Super Girl on 19 March 2005. The preliminary rounds were filmed in five cities: Changsha in Hunan Province, Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, Zhengzhou in Henan Province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, and Chengdu in Sichuan Province. By the middle of the season, the competition captivated a nationwide audience and became one of the most watched television entertainment shows in China with tens of millions of viewers.[3]

Cultural impact

The final episode of the 2005 season was one of the most popular shows in Chinese broadcast history, drawing more than 400,000,000 viewers, more than CCTV's New Year's Gala earlier that year.[7] The final peaked at 280,000,000 viewers at a given time, higher than the 12,000,000-viewer figure for the finals of Pop Idol.[8] Despite the show being condemned by CCTV as being "vulgar and manipulative", season 3 of the show was launched and finished in early October 2006.[9]

On 18 January 2006, China National Philatelic Corporation released a postage stamp issue featuring 2005 winner Li Yu Chun. The set was shortly earlier than Li's twenty-second birthday in her commemoration.[10]

On 11 May 2009, The Oprah Winfrey Show, a worldwide famous television show, invited Zhang Liangying, who ranked 3rd overall in the 2005 contest, to make an American television singing debut. The subtitle of the show was "The World's Got Talent" and Zhang Liangying was the only east Asian singer in the show.[11]

Some who were not chosen as winners have also been able to enter the recording industry through other means. Ji Min Jia, who ranked fifth overall in the 2005 contest, worked in Los Angeles in 2006 to help with production of the title song for Japanese anime series The Galaxy Railways.[12] On 15 March 2007, Japanese recording group Hello! Project announced Li Chun, one of the top 50 contestants in the 2006 Changsha regional, as one of two new members of Chinese ancestry of its pop group Morning Musume.[13][14]

The contest has also inspired television producers to create other talent search shows.[15][16]

Democratic expression

One of the main factors contributing to the show's popularity was that viewers are able to participate in the judging process by sending SMSs with their mobile phones to vote for their favorite contestants. During the 2005 regional contest in Chengdu alone, 307,071 message votes were cast for the top three contestants, each vote costing ¥0.5 to ¥3.[3][17]

Over 800,000,000 text messages were sent during the third season of Super Girl, and fan clubs began to appear throughout the country. After the large response to the ability to vote, the Chinese government banned the show from continuing to a fourth season. The show was the feature of a 2007 documentary titled Super, Girls!, produced and directed by independent Chinese filmmaker Jian Yi on the 2006 Super Voice Girls contest, released at the Cambridge Film Festival.[8] An ARTiSIMPLE Studio production, "Super, Girls!" is the only independent feature-length documentary ever made about the "Super Girls."

While some culture and media experts praised Super Girl in blazing "a trail for cultural democracy" and breaking elitism in China's entertainment industry, others stated that "the show represented a superficiality in society, propelled by behind-the-scenes manipulation and state-of-the-art pomp and circumstance".[18]

Economic impact

Mengniu reportedly paid ¥14,000,000 to Hunan Television for rights to sponsor the show's broadcast outside Hunan province beginning with the 2005 season.[5] The 2005 contest was estimated to have drawn in a total of ¥766,000,000. Indirect business impact of the competition was estimated at several billion yuan.[10]

Television advertisement slots cost an average of ¥33,400 for 15 seconds in 2006, compared to the average of ¥28,000 in 2005. Advertising sales were expected to reach ¥200,000,000, nearly double that of the previous year.[19]

2004 season

The first season of Super Girl aired from 6 May to 22 September 2004. Although the winners of the competition were not promised recording contracts, the top three winners signed such deals.[6]


Region 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
Chengdu[20] Wang Ti
Zhang Han Yun
Yin Ting Ting
Nanjing[21] An You Qi
Zhang Yue
Liu Ning
Wuhan[22] Sun Yipu
Chen Wenya
Guo Juan
Changsha[23] Strings Yang Yang
Zhang Chen

Final contest

  • An You Qi (安又琪) - champion
  • Wang Ti (王媞) - second place
  • Baby Zhang (Zhang Han Yun) (张含韵) - third place

2005 season

The second season of Super Girl aired from 19 March to 26 August in 2005. There was much controversy about the Li Yu Chun being the season's grand champion as she had the most votes even though she had "the weakest voice among the top finalists".[18] Despite the heavy criticism that arose during the competition season, the three 2005 finalists have been considered the most successful singers from the entire show.[24]


Region 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
Contestant Votes Contestant Votes Contestant Votes
2 April20 May
Zhao Jing Yi
106,967 Huang Yali
87,118 She Manni
19 March6 May
Zhou Bi Chang
113,535 Yi Hui
67,310 Li Na
1 May10 June
Zhu Yan
524,595 Song Lin
473,327 Guo Huimin
21 May1 July
Li Yu Chun
206,564 Jane Zhang (Zhang Liang Ying)
58,172 He Jie
22 May8 July
Ji Min Jia
37,385 Ye Yi Qian
36,736 Lin Shuang

Final contest

No. Name Chinese Name Rank Vote of Final 3
08 Li Yu Chun 李宇春 1 3,528,308 votes
07 Zhou Bi Chang 周笔畅 2 3,270,840 votes
01 Jane Zhang (Zhang Liang Ying) 张靓颖 3 1,353,906 votes
02 He Jie 何洁 4
04 Ji Min Jia 纪敏佳 5
10 Huang Ya Li 黄雅莉 6
03 Yi Hui 易慧 7
06 Ye Yi Qian 叶一茜 8
09 Zhao Jing Yi 赵静怡 9
05 Zhu Yan 朱妍 10


The third season of aired from 2 April to 30 September 2006. Shang Wen Jie's selection as grand champion over Tan Wei Wei, who is a professional vocalist from Sichuan Conservatory of Music, raised questions at each candidate's public appeal. Speculations arose that Shang, who appeared to be a copycat of Li Yu Chun's image, was voted grand champion due to the appeal of her Cinderella story.[30]


Region 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
Contestant Votes Contestant Votes Contestant Votes
Changsha[31] Li Na
152,133 Zhang Ya Fei
137,925 Xu Fei
Hangzhou[32] Reborn 131,948 Tang Xiao
113,721 Zhang Yan
Chengdu[33] Tan Wei Wei
241,593 Zhao Yuanyuan
156,621 Yang Lei
Shenyang[34] Ai Mengmeng
237,478 Zhang Chu Ge
169,714 Gong He
Guangzhou[35] Liu Li Yang
359,808 Shang Wen Jie
142,803 Han Zhenzhen

Final contest

No. Name Chinese Name Votes
06 Shang Wen Jie 尚雯婕 5,196,975 votes
04 Tan Wei Wei 谭维维 4,818,125 votes
08 Liu Li Yang 刘力扬
03 Ai Meng Meng 艾梦萌
05 Li Na 厉娜
07 Xu Fei 许飞
01 Han Zhen Zhen 韩真真
02 Reborn (None)
09 Tang Xiao 唐笑
10 Yang Lei 阳蕾


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