2009 Year-in-Review: The Rising Stars of Million Star/Super Idol

If boy bands and girl groups have been quiet for the year, 2009 was definitely a year dominated by singers from singing competition shows. At the Golden Melody Awards back in June, half of the nominees for Best New Artist were those from or relating to singing competition shows, specifically Million Star (Yoga Lin, Rachel Liang, challenger Jam Hsiao). The nominees and winner (Crowd Lu) all released new albums and spilled their heated battles over to the music charts. Yet even more competition was added into the mix, with many netizens already betting that Chang Yun-Jing and Xu Jia-Ying will be the favorites to win next year’s Golden Melody New Artist Award. With similar backgrounds, coming from the singing competition shows Super Idol and Million Star, the match-up is an interesting one.

Chang Yun Jing

If you’ve frequented the site the past week or two, then this former Super Idol contestant who later won it all the summer of 2008 needs no introduction. Chang Yun-Jing, otherwise known as Jing by her legion of diehard supporters and casual fans alike, shot to fame in the grueling eight-month competition from the uber-popular singing program. Since her knockout success from the program’s very first season, the highly down-to-earth singer hasn’t looked back since. It’s really hard for viewers of the program and listeners of Mandopop to not love this affectionate up-and-coming aspiring rock star, as Jing has been humble with her success and embraced the fan support on her journey to success, while eschewing the inflated ego that other singers typically develop when given a shot of intense fame in a short period of time. Regular fans aren’t the only ones who have been supportive of Jing, as famous Mandopop mainstays such as JJ Lin and Mayday’s Monster have lent their songwriting credentials in the mix for Jing to sing to. Having already released a chart-topping album at #1 on various music charts, as well as putting out half a dozen MVs that have seen heavy play on music stations and streaming sites, the question current fans are asking isn’t whether she will continue to succeed, but when she’s going to churn out her sophomore album for more Jing goodness.

Xu Jia Ying

Singer song-writer, Xu Jia Ying, was the champion of Million Star’s Season 3, which was the same season where Jing Wong finished sixth. After her success on the singing competition, Xu Jia Ying debut in May 2009, producing hit ballads including 失落沙洲 (Lost Sandbank) and 身騎白馬 (Riding a White Horse). With a total of eleven tracks on her debut album, song and lyrics all by Xu Jia Ying herself, she is a promising newcomer. Although not receiving as much fame as other fellow Million Star contestants, Xu Jia Ying has gained a following and continues to expand her fan base. In the history of Golden Melody awards, Xu Jia Ying may have an upper hand in winning the Best New Artist award due to her all-round talent in song, lyrics, and singing.

Yoga Lin and Jam Hsiao

Yoga Lin was the winner of Million Star season 1. Jam Hsiao, although not a contestant of the show, he became popular as a challenger on the show. Both Yoga Lin and Jam Hsiao released a new album this year. Jam Hsiao releases an album containing remakes of all time hits by female singers, while Yoga produces new stylish tracks. Jam continues his rock style and receives high praises for his remake of “New Endless Love,” naming him one of the contenders for best male performer at the next Golden Melody Award. Yoga also goes pop-rock on some featured tracks from his latest album, as well as big ballads such as “Fairy Tale.” Without the favorites such as Leehom Wang and Jay Chou (who did not release an album), along with Jam, Yoga is also considered to be locked in as a nominee for best male performer at the next Golden Melody. However, we should not forget David Tao, who has already been nominated several times for the category and is long overdue for the award. Then again, the Golden Melody Awards is as unpredictable as always, so anything can happen. We’ll just have to sit tight to await the final results.

Rachel Liang

Despite being a huge disappointment as an actress from her latest ratings disaster in last year’s “Roseate-Love”, Million Star Season 2 runner-up Rachel Liang has been anything but with her music career. The singer/songwriter’s success is evident from the release of her debut album back in February 2009 titled “Love Poem”, given that Rachel has received numerous awards from around Asia. That doesn’t come as a surprise despite her rookie status, as the former Million Star contestant has garnered rave reviews for her flawless and penetrative voice. Since then, the rising singer has her attention on her soon-to-be released second album and has already been on the receiving end of Taiwanese tabloid gossip that’s usually reserved to the trendiest. The fact that Rachel’s incredible voice and beautiful looks didn’t even win it all in one of Taiwan’s most popular talent show program demonstrated just how high the quality of signing talent is in Taiwan. Perhaps it’s a blessing and not a curse that Rachel’s debut acting in as drama ended up bombing (even by Jiro Wang standards), because she clearly needs to focus all her energies on churning out great music.

Jing Wong

Perhaps the most familiar in the blogosphere amongst everyone listed in this group, Jing Wong’s face has been plastered all over from guest co-hosting duties on the widely watched variety show 100% Entertainment to a supporting role in Taiwanese idol drama “Momo Love”. That’s very surprising, considering his pedigree stemmed from his singing background. Having been one of the lucky few Singaporeans to get the chance to fly to Taiwan in order to prove his talent, fan-favorite talent show contestant-turned-highly sought-after entertainer has been on a roll since. What makes Jing Wong stand out from his fellow male singers can be attributed to his unusually high-pitched voice and vocal range that extends the range above typical male singers. Not exactly the most talented of the singers in the group here, but his unique personality has helped garner surprising attention. One only has to witness his popularity in “Momo Love” exceeding those of his more handsome and better renowned co-stars for proof. A right mix of his unique singing and interesting acting talent drove him to much success in the Taiwanese entertainment industry, but the jury’s still up in the air as to whether it will be enough to prolong his burst of popularity.

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