That's right, I'm going to be the Chinese Ryan Seacrest.
A friend of mine (the pretty girl from the double dumpling date) told me she was at the mall the other day and stumbled upon a registration booth that was accepting sign-ups for a Pop-star Host competition.
Chinese TV is split approximately in thirds: you have your soap operas, your traditional culture bits, and then you have the "popular entertainment shows," which can range anywhere from SuperGirl singing competitions to bizarre game shows to celebrity hack-performances. This lattermost is always hosted by an MC of more or less likeability, and the contest my friend was in was an amateur MC competition.
So we show up at the competition site (a big shopping mall plaza), and find out that only four people have registered. Somehow -- SOMEHOW -- I allow myself to get talked into signing up last minute to participate in this ridiculous contest.
The format is simple: you get on stage, introduce yourself in the most elegant/quirky/hip/whatever-style-fits-you-best manner, and talk for a minute about Chinese pop-culture. Then they play 30 seconds of music, and you give it a 30 second summary/review. Then the judges (yes, three judges, just like on American Idol) ask you questions and you do your best to be charming.
So I went to this thing to support my friend ... and wound up totally stealing the show from everyone else.
Having prepared the most sketch of introductory remarks, I pretty much winged the whole thing, but the combination of novelty (a doofy American in a wife-beater commenting on Chinese pop-music in Mandarin) and my natural awesomeness (I mean, actually, the job kind of suits me) had the judges in love. After complimenting my Chinese and fawning over my "American style," they asked me to sing them 月亮代表我的心 ("The Moon Represents My Heart"), a Chinese classic love ditty I had named as a favorite. So I crooned it on the mic, broadcasting my moon-shaped heart across the entire shopping plaza and bringing spectators from three balconies.
To top it off, the music they played for me to review was a Chinese remix of "We Will Rock You," the song that won me and my buddy the Audience Choice award at the karaoke competition we attended last year.
All in all, I had a great time, and am pretty sure I'll be getting a call about the championships to be held next weekend... the first place prize is 2000 RMB (like a month's living expenses) and 500 RMB worth of gift certificates at the competitions' sponsor restaurant, a Taiwanese noodle shop.
I fucking love this country.