BEIJING (Reuters) - Bloggers were up in arms on Wednesday over China’s decision at the Olympic opening ceremony to have a pretty little girl lip-synching for the real singer who had crooked teeth.
Many said they felt cheated because one of the most touching moments of the critically acclaimed ceremony was not the real deal.
“Frankly, I think that’s disgusting. Honestly, they’re seven and nine years old! So young!” one New York teenage girl wrote angrily in her blog.
Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was praised for her cute performance but organizers admitted on Wednesday that she was a photogenic stand-in for the real singer, Yang Peiyi, who was rejected because of her appearance.
“I find it sad that they ruined an otherwise pretty awesome ceremony with those fakes,” another blog argued.
“So forget Beijing 2008. Best opening ceremony so far is still SYDNEY 2000! They didn’t see it necessary to use computer generated images to impress the world.”
The organizers have also admitted that the “live” television broadcast of the opening ceremony featured pre-recorded shots of fireworks.
A search on Google blogs showed what a can of worms had been opened. Indignation ranked alongside astonishment as their primary reaction.
“Apparently, the little girl whose voice was used, Yang Peiyi, wasn’t cute enough. It was deemed bad for China’s image to show a little girl with crooked teeth,” one complained.
Hollywood has been a persistent offender in the past — Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” and Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” were both dubbed by Marnie Nixon.
Bloggers accepted that practice but one commented “Something about passing over a child for crooked teeth just seems, well, wrong.”
They accused the Chinese authorities of being control freaks.
“China wants the Olympics as a stage to present a picture-perfect image to the outside world and perfection was clearly the goal for the dazzling opening ceremonies,” one wrote.
Accusations of hypocrisy were also leveled at Beijing.
“Eager to put on a perfect Olympics, Beijing has swept its streets of fake designer handbags, pirated DVDs and phony corporate logos. That dedication to authenticity apparently does not extend to Olympics ceremonies,” said another blogger.
But the organizers were unrepentant.
Beijing Games spokesman Wang Wei said: “The song was pre-recorded ... The artistic directors just picked the best voice and the best performer.”
Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann and Kevin Fylan; Editing by Jeremy Laurence