British Contestant on 'China’s Got Talent' Gets 'Famous' Singing Communist Folk Songs
One Iain Inglis, originally from Wales, is suddenly a famous face across China, thanks to a brief run on China’s Got Talent, the local version of the Simon Cowell franchise.
The 30-year-old broke through the show's early rounds when he took to the stage wearing a traditional Red Army uniform and gave rousing performances of communist revolutionary folk songs.
"I'm a tall, white foreigner from Wales singing songs about communism in Chinese," Inglis told British paper the Telegraph in an interview. "It was a bit of fun to start off with, but the more performances I did, the more I was hooked. For some reason, the Chinese people seem to find it quite hilarious."
For his first appearance, Inglis sang "I Love Reading Chairman Mao's Books Most," a propagandistic folk number that most Chinese still know by heart -- by all accounts, the audience went wild.
Inglis continued to advance on the show, his following growing, but he says he was held back from breaking through the final 16 by Chinese government authorities.
"As far as I knew, I was through to the final round," he said, "But the day before I was due to perform, I got a phone call saying the Bureau of Broadcasting said I wasn't able to go on,” he told the Telegraph.
"There was no real reason given -- perhaps they weren't very keen on having a foreigner singing songs about communism. I was very disappointed, but that's just how it is," he added.
Inglis, who has lived in China for eight years and is fluent in Chinese, has managed to parlay his 15 minutes of Chinese fame into a fairly lucrative sideline. He says he now plays local gigs in the country and earns as much as $7,500 per appearance.