In June, China Central Television (CCTV) announced that it would hold open auditions in the U.S. to find new talent for the CCTV New Year’s Gala.
The Gala has been running since 1983 and is shown live on the eve of Spring Festival. It consists of various performances including singing, dancing, music, crosstalk and skits. The program is watched by some 800 million viewers, making it the most watched entertainment program in the world.
This year marks the first time that organizers are looking abroad for performers, hosting auditions in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Netizens act as judges, deciding which programs they enjoy most, sending those candidates through to the next round.
One hopeful participant, American drummer Kwame Opare, described his experience in an interview with China Radio International, “It was a great opportunity. It’s good to be able to do cross cultural things so that we all get a better understanding of each other’s cultures and art forms. So it was a true honor to be a part of this and I’m looking forward to the next event.”
The D.C. audition organizer Lillian Wang says she wants to use this opportunity to inform Americans about Chinese culture. She told CRI:
“Many Americans know nothing about the Chinese New Year Gala before, well, through this competition, we released many information on the internet and then more people get to know about it. Many thought it’s interesting and participated in the event. We want to spread the essence of Chinese culture through this event and on the other hand, to enrich the community life of the overseas Chinese here.”
We think it’s great CCTV is engaging in cultural exchange with the U.S. through the arts. If this competition continues in future years, we hope to see one of our Pengyous make it to the big stage!