Jessie J Wins Chinese Talent Show ‘Singer 2018,’ Is Her Next Big Break Ahead?
Leave it to Jessie J — a consummately talented and frequently forgotten singer — to win a Chinese competition show on which very few of her former fans knew she was even competing.
The "Domino" singer, who, herself, had served as reality TV show judge on The Voice U.K. and The Voice Australia, turned the tables on her fans in January, when followers began to notice that Jessie had become a contestant on China's Singer 2018 on Hunan TV. The show is pretty similar to existing singing competition shows, except contestants are established acts, and Jessie was its very first international one.
Week after week, Jessie blew audiences away with renditions of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" and Chaka Khan's "Ain’t Nobody" among others, and routinely placed first after audience votes were tallied.
Finally, after a stunning performance of "I Will Always Love You," and having received 48 percent of the final round of audience voting, Jessie was named the winner of the series ahead of runner-up Hua Chenyu. And she was positively gobsmacked.
“I was the first international artist to ever be asked to compete. An honour alone. I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out. Like why would I compete in a singing competition. I’m probably the least competitive person I know," she wrote in a grateful Instagram post. “For them to see a western performer and hear music some had never heard before and visa versa. For the performances to be seen by millions outside of China and visa versa. And those people to discover the show was the best part. The respect being shown for both cultures and the love was [love]. Seeing the boundaries break down and the rules be shifted made this whole experience incredible.”
So, with new exposure and a huge, additional fan base considered (clearly, China loves Jessie), could Jessie J 2.0 be just around the corner?
Jessie, who’s released three albums, an EP and delivered nearly 20 singles, first tore into the British pop scene in 2010 with “Do It Like a Dude.” It was follow-up “Price Tag,” though, that made an international splash — released in January 2011, the track shot to No. 1 in the United Kingdom and landed inside of the United States’ Top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The momentum set into a motion a string of pop hits, and with “Domino,” Jessie’s fifth single, she finally landed inside the Billboard Top 10, hitting No. 6. And with 2014’s “Bang Bang,” Jessie's massive single which featured Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande, she hit No. 3.
Still, momentum has slowed, and Jessie hasn't released an album since 2014’s Sweet Talker. But R.O.S.E., which is due out later this year, could signal a turning point, especially if Jessie sticks to her strength: her raw talent.
Clearly, Singer 2018's audiences responded to Jessie’s untouched voice over big pop productions or slick vocoder effects, and if she remains sincere to her skill for balladry, she might just have a second wind in her yet.
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