Oddly Enough

No weirdness, vulgarity for TV talent show?

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s broadcasting watchdog has issued a list of rules governing the airing of its latest take on the “American Idol” television series, urging the singing contest “Happy Boys Voice” to uphold high moral standards.

Contestants on “Happy Boys Voice” must choose songs that are “healthy and ethically inspiring” in order to create a good atmosphere for China’s 17th Party Congress, the Communist Party’s five-yearly leadership meeting to be held later this year.

“No weirdness, no vulgarity and no low taste,” said the notice seen Friday on the Web site of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

“Happy Boys Voice” is the follow-up to “Super Girls,” a smash hit that amassed more than 400 million viewers for its final round -- an enormous figure for China’s huge but fragmented television market. Both are broadcast by Hunan Satellite TV.

The rules also stipulate that contestants be over 18 and dress and wear their hair and make-up in a manner that is in keeping with the “aesthetic values of the masses.”

Judges are to refrain from mocking or humiliating contestants in the manner of “American Idol,” whose confrontational hosts are part of its popularity.

Despite the mass appeal of “Super Girls,” the show sparked public debate after a former vice-minister of culture described it as vulgar and degrading, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Liu said the new show “preached the wrong concept of instant riches and fame,” Xinhua said.