Summer’s coming, school’s out, and like a recurring virus, The Coming One is back for a third season.
To make up for the lacklustre ratings of the second season, the show’s producers have promised big changes in the new season, and swapped boys for girls. The abolishment of the three-track format of the last two seasons seems wise, for one would imagine the existence of a beauty track in a singing competition for girls will not go down well with a history of the objectification of women in the entertainment industry and the resulting PTSD. This year, all contestants have been grouped into two tracks – the Start and Restart tracks. While the Start track features stage debutantes and first-timers, the Restart track consists of mostly social media stars and contestants who have already worked in the industry as performers/celebrities.
The audition area and waiting rooms have also been upgraded with more lighting and spray-painted with an overdose of sparkling pink glitter, as if to repeatedly remind the audience that this is the “all-girl season”, or that the set designer is Dolores Umbridge. On top of that, every frame of the show contains at least one of those stereotypical “girl thingies” – diamonds, stars, crystal balls, and plush animals scatter around the filming area, not to mention the waiting rooms whose interior designs seem part Barbie house and part Frozen-inspired. Imagine, for a second, if the boys’ waiting rooms were decorated with swords, cars, and action figures and were designed like an apocalyptic wooden shed. During one memorable audition, the show sent home a child star clinging to the image of a kawaii Hello Kitty cutie-pie dating back to her childhood stardom for being too typecast and over-trained, thus lacking “heart and soul” in her performance. All the while, every aspect of the show keeps reinforcing a stereotyped expectation of girl celebrities, from set decoration, colour scheme, prop design to the preferred singing styles. The lack of self-awareness on display here is astounding.
Possibly in the hope of injecting freshness into a stagnating show, this season doubled its number of judges and re-fanged them with voting power (at least in the first episode), unlike in previous seasons where the viewers’ votes decided the fate of the contestants and the judges were mostly toothless tigers offering colourful commentary. In an attempt to mix things up a little in this season’s panel of judges, music powerhouse and three-time coach Hua Chenyu is joined by Singaporean songstress Stefanie Sun, comedian and actress Song Dandan, producer Long Danni, member of Rocket Girls 101 Meng Meiqi, and Season One winner Mao Buyi.
Also, don’t miss this absolutely electrifying performance of “Aliens” by Hua Chenyu in this episode.
So far, this year’s opening auditions have yielded the usual hodgepodge of the young and hopeful, the struggling underground singer losing hope in a cutthroat industry, the ingénue, the girl next door, the anachronistic artist, the rediscovered has-been, the also-ran shooting for a second chance, the tragic child star, the opportunist, and the androgynous songstress.
But so far this season seems more promising than the last one given its bloated genre, and hopefully the show can finally find the right note after two seasons.
Watch The Coming One Season 3 Episode 1 with English subtitles provided by Hua Chenyu English Subs (show starts at 20:00 UTC+8 on Saturdays on Tencent Video on Sundays on YouTube)
Or you can also click here to watch it on Tencent Video.
In other news, on a Yizhibo livestream on June 22, Hua Chenyu revealed that he’s been learning to be a better mentor on The Coming One, and would be gentler when coaching girl contestants. He said he did not know whether a second date would be added to this year’s Mars Concert, and that he had almost finished his fourth album. There’s one song he has not finished yet and he would like to invite a mystery guest to collaborate with him.
You can click here to watch a recording of the livestream.
Last but not least, a couple of Hua Chenyu photos from June 22’s BMW 3-series launch event and June 21’s The Coming One Season 3 press conference.