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Celine Dion to Perform on China Central Television’s New Year’s Gala Show

UP: Celine Dion
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Canadian singer will become the first Western artist to appear on the Chinese state broadcaster’s annual festive program, which is the most-watched TV event in the world.

HONG KONG – Nearly a year after Titanic 3D’s runaway box office success in China, the country’s vast audiences will be treated to Celine Dion’s performance of the film’s well-known theme song on China Central Television’s annual New Year’s Gala show on Saturday night.

The Canadian singer’s appearance on the national broadcast, which will be shown on CCTV’s main terrestrial channel and most of its satellite portals, could be considered a landmark for Western pop music, given the gala’s officially-sanctioned pedigree and its large audience base.

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The show, which begins at 9pm on Saturday and will run well into the Chinese New Year’s Day on Sunday, is expected to be seen by hundreds of millions of viewers in China and among the global Chinese diaspora, and is widely considered the most watched television program in the world today.

In an official announcement on the show’s Weibo account (the Chinese version of Twitter), Dion is assigned the tenth slot in the program, in which she will perform the Chinese-language song Jasmine Flower with Song Zuying, a regular on the annual show and one of the country’s most well-known folk music icons.

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The Canadian singer will then perform My Love Will Go On, a song which will resonate with the scores of viewers who flocked to see James Cameron’s 3D update of Titanic last year. The film took 977 million yuan (US$156.5) during its Chinese run last spring, and was close to becoming the year’s highest-grossing release before homespun comedy Lost In Thailand topped the number by accumulating earnings of 993 million yuan during the last week of the year.

Dion is one of the very few non-domestic artists on the New Year’s Gala line-up. The other non-mainland Chinese artists flying into Beijing to perform include Taiwanese singer-actor Wang Lee-hom (who is known outside the region for his role in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution) as well as his fellow group members in pop-trio, S.H.E. Pianist Lang Lang will also feature.