Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: TVB Golden Viva Spectacular

Only two weeks late for the New Year! But still just in the nick of time before we call things off for the celebration. Anyway, here’s a little review I did of some New Year programming that I happened to catch, performances headed under the country or city that they were held in. In the past, variety shows and special New Year programming was something to look forward to. I guess that is kind of changing though. You can watch the whole 4 hour event here. Relatively few highlights this year but there was at least one good performance from TVB’s side (ahem, ahem, George Lam). I hope you enjoy something from this! :D


Opening performance with Joey Yung and 80’s – 90’s group, Grasshopper. Though I do like Grasshopper, I’ve never liked that new song sung by Joey Yung. And I never did care for her dancing either. 

The magic act with the current Miss HKs and Wayne Lai was really quite boring.

Fast forward to this performance.

George Lam was THE MAN. Being able to pull off a performance with his moustache at his age was definitely no easy feat. I doubt that many singers could have the vocal chops and stamina to get through even the first half. This is what the New Year should be all about – absolutely no sad, slow songs and 100% fun, upbeat songs. Of course they could always just turn those slow catchy songs into upbeat arrangements and jam them into an epic medley. After all, there are so many songs to choose from. Haha, I like how George gets Alan into singing his own song and how he wants to continue singing. Looks like the Principal’s still got the skills. George was also what I consider to be one of the early or first pioneers of rap. Yes, rap. Cantonese rhyming and fast talking to a beat. Dude’s still got it, yo. It always makes me happy to listen to these 10 minutes and want to get up and dance, while singing along.


I switched channels a couple of times to watch another New Year's programme "2013 Super Star Red White Artist Awards" (here and here to watch)  and there were a couple of performances that caught my attention. Of course, they had way too much talking involved, like in a lot of Taiwanese-hosted programs.

Here's something I found after the whole family affair videos. I wasn't really digging Sally's vocal gymnastics (I thought she was going to sprain something) and the slow-downed version of <"A Dashing Life">. But somehow it's forgivable with Sally being a terribly charismatic Queen and all.

Father & Son

Ah Lam and son. Big Lam and Little Lam. Father and son. Alex, is pretty much like a younger, more handsome version of his father. Little Lam’s also got the moustache thing going down. Heheh.His voice is good, but not as strong as his father's. The English lyrics are somewhat suiting (LOL - pay the bet? Who did the subtitle?), but they just don't have the impact of Cantonese lyrics; which are colloquial, silly, sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. And why did Canon in D start randomly playing in the background? It doesn't quite fit, in my opinion. But good performance.

Husband & Wife

And naturally, you can't not bring your wife to the event. Because that would be awkward. Especially if your wife is someone who likes to sing and can do it as well as you can or even better. And it's this song "Choice", that they sung. Of course they have aged and their singing voices now won't be anything like they used to be back then but they both sounded great. And looked great too. I almost forgot how alluring Sally could be when she took the stage. It was really nice seeing and hearing them as a couple again. And it was sweet too. 

HK (Again)

Eric Tsang and his gang from the <”I Love HK 2013”> movie, with returning actress Veronica Yip, Alan Tam etc. As I was watching this, I couldn’t help but notice how this little skit put on was reminiscent of these boring skits that no one gets or enjoys at those Mainland Chinese spring festivals.

As for Virginia Lok’s star boy pupil singer-songwriter Jonathan Wong, a talented violinist and musician but, unfortunately a pretty bad singer. And not bad as in good, just bad. Another perfect example of this is, of course, Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter, Wang Lee-Hom. Good-looking in a boyish way, able to compose and play multiple instruments such as the violin and piano well but the singing leaves a lot to be desired. Or maybe a better example would be Jay Chou – just minus the good looks and more polished compositions and ditto as a musician. But again, horrible singing voice – it’s like he’s a baby eating mushy peas with no teeth with all that slurring he’s doing. So really just because you’re s talented musician doesn’t mean you’ll be a gifted singer. They don’t always translate over. 

Bouncing back and forth between different locations, everything kind of turned into a blur with the climax already reached because of moustache man George Lam’s performance. I know they had some performances from Fiona Sit and GEM, but to be honest, I don’t really remember that much. What I do remember is commenting on Fiona’s rather long neck and relatively large head size. And GEM’s unusual half shaved head.

The legendary “jade girl” – Vivian Chow came back in a suitably white dress singing a song about togetherness and “Most Beloved”, of course. She’s still remarkably likeable, even though she’s been married for some time now and first debuted as an artist like over 20 years ago. It’s not surprising that she still has many loyal fans. As for her vocals, pretty much the same as she sounded about 15 or so years ago. 

Singapore and Malaysia

Back to Singapore and Malaysia, Olivia Ong – a songbird, yes, but her music will only appeal to a certain group of people, since it’s acoustic based and is kind of like background music. As for Gin Lee, who is from Malaysia and has just recently broken into the HK music market and appeared as an overseas guest competitor on <The Voice>. Now this gal’s got a pretty smooth, singing voice – controlled with a sweet tone. That and she sing a Cantonese song, which is a refreshing change to Malaysian/Singaporean singers choosing to sing in Mandarin only. Ron Ng and Kenneth Ma got an easy song with Aaron Kwok’s <”Excitement”>. 

Bosco’s rendition of the late Anita Mui’s <“Break The Iceberg”>, I found to be really…well, try-hard. Obviously I’m going to find anything he sings try-hard, even though the arrangement was supposed to be a darker, grizzly, gravely rock one. Too bad it didn’t work. Nancy Wu and Edwin Siu did okay. Not great, but not bad either. 

Seoul, Korea

Ah, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. You could really see the difference between the hosting abilities of Kevin (of ZE:A) and his HK co-host Astrid Chan. But to be fair, Kevin isn't a professional MC, he's a performer. Still, he sounded much too over-rehearsed and over-scripted, looking at his cue cards everytime he had to speak (but can't blame him about being able to pick up a cue - seeing that he doesn't understand Cantonese). I referred to this as a 'Saturday morning' voice - better for announcing, since his script made him lose the sincerity and natural quality that comes with impromptu hosting. Now I know that Alex of Korean boyband U-Kiss is fluent in Cantonese. It would have maybe, possibly, probably been more appropriate for him to co-host or even send a greeting.

For the K-Poppers out there, you can watch the performances here. Though to be honest, I only watched SISTAR’s performance of their song <”Alone”>. Two words: booty dance. And f(x) fans – over to this side.

I don't really know on what basis of talent you would send candidates like Raymond Lam, Linda Chung, Myolie Wu and Kevin Cheng to Korea to represent HK. Actually, the same goes for Bosco Wong being sent to Malaysia (okay, I get that they didn't want to send Myolie and Bosco to the same place because that would just be awkward but you know).

Myolie Wu’s rendition of <“I Have A Dream”>. My goodness. After watching Susan Boyle and Anne Hathaway…I suppose this may have been meant for a particular ex-boyfriend, rather than a performance for the audience. Ditto for Linda Chung’s performance. Raymond Lam’s <”Nice”> performance was not very nice at all.

Kevin Cheng’s voice to me is kind of like Hacken Lee’s voice. In saying that, I mean it lacks a lot of color and emotional texture. Choosing a song like Sandy Lam’s <”At Least I Still Have You”> was bound to be aural genocide a aural suicide very boring choice. Even good looks won’t make up for that, Kevin.

My Last Two Cents

I know they were aiming for a spectacular event but putting on a 4-hour event isn’t exactly a smart thing to do. I know y’all want to push the artists to get exposure but having them perform at 10pm at night til about midnight is a little harsh. I’m all for entertainment, not enslavement. Many of the so-called performances could be done without (ahem, ahem, the magic act). 

Yeah, it was a spectacle alright, but just not the type I was hoping for. 


  1. @TAQ: Hey there my friend! Just saw your post today (I know…a little late…). Figured I’d drop by and throw in my comments about the Golden Viva Spectacular (though to be honest, I didn’t watch very much of it, so my comments will be quite limited).

    Part 1 of my comments (since Blogger has that limitation on characters):

    First off, definitely agree with your comment about TVB variety shows being something to look forward to in the past – now, not anymore. I remember back in the 80s and 90s, I used to watch practically every single TVB variety show religiously (including all the awards ceremonies, MHK pageants, anniversary galas, game shows, etc. etc)…nowadays, I barely watch any of those shows cuz frankly, there’s nothing worth watching.

    With the way that they hyped up the Golden Viva Spectacular, I pretty much tuned in out of curiosity to see what type of programming TVB was able to ‘muster’ together (sans any ‘big stars’ given the Big 5 dispute still ongoing) – needless to say, I was disappointed because the show was absolutely BORING (yes, literally ‘boring’ because I actually fell asleep in the middle of it…LOL). Though I did catch bits and pieces of the show (my mom had it on so I just looked up from what I was doing occasionally), I only TRULY ended up watching a few select segments (by ‘watching’ I mean REALLY paying attention) -- pretty much all the segments with the ‘veterans’ such as Grasshopper, George Lam, Vivian Chow, etc. So basically, those are the only segments I’m going to comment about.

    Ok so here goes…

    I honestly didn’t care for the Grasshopper / Joey segment – probably cuz I’ve never liked Joey as a singer so I could really care less whenever she performs. Grasshopper was entertaining though (as usual) – and happy that they sang at least one old song (loved their classics from the 80s/90s). Outside of the Grasshopper song, I pretty much tuned out for the rest of the performance.

    1. My fellow sister! Thanks for dropping by! And don’t worry about being late, I haven’t been around all that much myself. I think it’s good that you didn’t decide to take the masochistic way and choose to endure it.

      And yeah, I’m glad we see eye to eye on that. The quality of these shows is really getting very bad. They’re supposed to full of variety, hence the name variety shows (go figure) and we still have several tapes that we still watch time and time again. Last time we made the mistake of renting a music show VCD in the 2000’s and I think my mother fell asleep and I just stopped watching it all together. I don’t know about you but do you feel like there aren’t as many variety programs in general? I sometimes feel that way – or they’re too short/long, no substance etc. I think variety shows should serve as a breather from dramas and let us see the artists in a different light.

      And agreed about Joey. It was pretty good to hear and see Grasshopper perform again. Catchy songs.

    2. Hi again!

      Yes, definitely feel that there are fewer variety shows nowadays. I'm thinking that's probably cuz TVB just hasn't been able to come up with anything of substance for one but it also relates to the fact that they've been severely lacking in artists the past couple years. Of course, the Big 5 dispute has a lot to do with it as well (since a lot of the 'grand' shows usually have a singing component and TVB can't keep having the same singers on over and over again). And the special programs (interview shows, informational programs, game shows, etc) have been lacking as well. Kind of sad, but then when I think about it, it's probably not a bad thing, since the shows nowadays are so poorly made. Luckily I still have my collection of videotapes so I can relive all those great shows from the 80s and 90s when I feel like it! LOL!

  2. Part 2 comments:

    George Lam’s segment was THE BEST PERFORMANCE of the entire 4-5 hour show!!! (Honestly, in my opinion, there was no need for anyone to watch the rest of the stupid show – just watch George’s segment and that’s it). The reason why I loved his performance so much was because 1) I love the particular song he sang (that remix is truly a ‘classic’ that has endured close to 30 years) – in fact, I was able to sing along with him because I knew every single song that was featured in that remix (love my 80s Cantopop….LOL!) and 2) the great atmosphere he was able to create with that song (all the artists coming together to sing and dance to it) reminded me of how the HK music industry was back in the 80s (and early 90s to some extent) – a time when the industry was actually united and the artists supported each other – I felt as though I was transported back to that time!

    The other interesting thing about George’s segment was how Alan Tam also sang a few lines when it got to his songs that were being featured (it’s ‘interesting’ because the Big 5 dispute isn’t officially over yet so technically Alan wasn’t supposed to sing at any TVB events). But see, that’s how ‘impactful’ that song is – you can’t help but sing along to it.

    On a side note….have you ever seen George’s performance of that song at the JSG Awards ceremony back in the 80s (I think it was 1986)? If not, you definitely should watch it because it was one of the best JSG performances ever!! Since that particular song is a remix of various artists’ hits from the 80s, when George performed it at JSG (back when the artists actually got to perform the entire song when they received a JSG Top 10 award) back in 1985/86, almost every artist whose song was featured in the remix was sitting in the audience, so he would actually go up to them and either stand next to them while singing or actually sing along with them. It was awesome seeing him sing along with Leslie during his segment as well as Alan, Roman, Sam, etc. during their segments! :0)

    Oh and yes, absolutely agree – George was definitely one of the earlier pioneers of Cantonese rap! In my opinion, some of the so-called Canto rappers of today probably can’t even sing the songs he did back then without butchering it them to bits (I would love to hear one of the younger artists even try George’s “numbers” song…LOL!)

    1. Ah Lam’s performance was AWESOME. And yes, best performance of the night. Haha, it was pretty much the highlight of the show. This is one of the best medleys I have ever heard and I think everyone who’s heard it just can’t help but sing along. A definite lack of camaraderie within the entertainment industry as a whole is evident nowadays. But it was nice to see everyone together, even if it was only for like 10 minutes. LOL. We gotta see more of that.

      And that’s a bummer about the Big 5 thing still going. I mean, geez. But if I was from one of the Big 5 companies, I’d probably ask for more money from TVB too. LOL. And yup, <“Love Trap”> was definitely one of the defining songs from the 80’s (and of Alan, of course).

      I just had a quick search for the video on YT and yes, I’m pretty sure I did see this sometime back (just not in ’85). It was really great to see all the artists sitting together and grooving along to the song. And audience participation! LOL.

      I would count him and also Roman Tam to a certain extent, haha. And the ‘numbers’ song – haha, I can’t even get the numbers bit right – 302…something, something! I recall seeing one where George was singing the 10 minute remix as a duet with Eason Chan. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Eason, good voice, funny guy but still not enough vocal stamina to keep up with Lam the man.

    2. In terms of the Big 5 dispute, the piece I'm most concerned about is not the money part, but rather, whether Big 5 will cave in to TVB's restrictive criteria (for example -- trying to monopolize all the singers by not allowing them to appear on other stations and also making them interview with non-TVB affiliated tv stations in Mandarin). If the Big 5 is able to stand their ground and force TVB to back down on those requirements, then it will definitely change the HK music industry for the better!

      About Alan singing a few lines during George's performance...did you hear what Alan said when he started to sing and people were reminding him about the dispute? He said "wah ji kui!" (Loosely translated as "who cares about that!"). Haha...definitely got a kick out of that! You go, Alan! Live for the moment!!!

    3. Of course – I concur, it isn’t just the money thing but the whole degrading quality, with the “I want it my way” kind of things.

      About Alan, LOL. I didn’t seem to catch that line - you sure have some very sharp ears, llwy12! Haha, I would have probably translated it as “F*** that!”. LOL. And because of that we got to enjoy a few lines, so I’m not fussing. Haha.

  3. Part 3 Comments:

    On to the other segments….

    Thanks for the links to the Taiwan shows – obviously, I didn’t watch those cuz I don’t have Taiwan channels…but since you provided the link – plus I love the Lam family – I’ll watch those when I get a chance and comment on those later (if I remember that is…hahaha)…

    I actually didn’t pay much attention to the I Love HK segment cuz, well, frankly I didn’t care….I already knew that Veronica Yip was going to sing that ‘one-hit wonder’ song of hers (of course they weren’t going to waste her time inviting her on the show to do absolutely nothing but stand there and look pretty…LOL) so that wasn’t much of a surprise….not a fan of Veronica nor of that song so didn’t really pay attention. Oh and sorry, but I skipped that lame skit that they did (I had more ‘important’ things to do with my time…LOL).

    The rest of the segments were pretty much a blur for me too (and I didn’t even switch channels! LOL!). In fact, I couldn’t even remember who else sang in the subsequent segments….all I know is that the next (and pretty much last) segment I actually “watched” (meaning “paid attention to”) was Vivian Chow’s performance. Just for the record, I’m not a fan of Vivian Chow’s in any way, shape, or form, but as a fan of 80s (and 90s) Cantopop in general, of course my ears would perk up anytime I hear any songs being sung from those eras….and of course, both songs that Vivian sung (I think it was only 2?) were her ‘classics’ from way back when which I (of course) was familiar with and could sing along to (80s nostalgia again…haha).

    AS for the performances by the TVB artists (Kenneth, Ron, Bosco, Linda, Myolie, Raymond, Kevin, etc.) – well, let’s just say that I pretty much cringed and covered my ears (man, someone needs to teach those ‘kids’ how to sing live…LOL). Saying that they were all ‘horrible’ is an UNDERSTATEMENT (I know I’ll probably get shot by fans but hey, I have to say it cuz it’s the truth)! My advice to them: Stick to acting please (though even the acting piece is ‘suspect’ with a few of them…but that’s a different conversation altogether…LOL)…

    1. Haha, no problem about the sharing of the Lam family performances. I got no problems with them. And it’s always great to see a Queen perform again.

      That’s great you didn’t watch that segment. And yes, the one-hit wonder, it would have been pretty lame if they just got her to stand there. HAHA. I’m not a fan of Veronica either. Don’t be sorry! Be happy that you didn’t waste your time. It was just a promotional activity anyway. LOL.

      I’m also not a fan of Vivian either but I do find her to be very amicable (unlike cough cough some arrogant artists, Raymond Lam).

      Those performances were indeed cringe worthy. They don’t just need to learn how to sing live, they need to learn how to just sing. And what’s up with Kevin? He debuted as a singer like over 20 years ago. I’m not sure why I expected him to better since I’m not a fan of his singing at all. And haha, it was probably an understatement – they shouldn’t inflict aural damage onto others. Treat others how you want to be treated.

  4. Hi Taq, I basically agree with what llwy12 has said. Ah Lam's performance is the best part, no doubt about that. His artistic level is unreachable to those "kids" (Bosco, Linda, Myolie etc). I guess the industry nowadays just doesn't give rats about artistic value, people just care about looks, sad but true.

    1. Hey there Max - thanks for stopping by too. Well I'm glad Lam was able to perform and save the show from being an absolute disaster. I agree, there's just too much an imbalance with talent and physical appearance. But to be honest, I always thought the idols in the past even trumped the current artists on looks and charisma.