Monday, January 17, 2005

[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun 18/01/05]

With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, TVB sent out its New Year cards yesterday, continuing the tradition of featuring 36 of the company's salaried artistes on the front of the fold out design. This year, they were split into five groups, each consisting of some already popular stars and some who are currently being promoted. Although they were in groups, within each group, they were carefully placed into positions that reflected their rankings within the company. Roger Kwok and Jessica Hsuan sit comfortably in the middle of their group, indicating their No 1 status for male and female leads, whilst Raymond Lam, Kevin Cheng, Moses Chan and Ron Ng are in the middle of their respective groups, indicating their importance. As for the female artistes, Charmaine Sheh appeared in the sexiest outfit of a tube-top, but not to be outdone, Anne Heung, Gigi Lai, Myolie Wu and Michelle Ye all appear in strappy tops, with Gigi positioned beside Moses Chan despite just recently signing with the company. On either side of Ron are Bernice Liu and Mandy Cho and other stars making an appearance include Sonija Kwok, Tavia Yeung and Melissa Ng.

TVB aired new series "Master of Kung Fu - Wong Fei Hung" last week and it reached average ratings of 29 points, peaking at 33 points, doing well for a new series for recent standards. As for "Virtues of Harmony", it stayed steady, keeping an average of 28 points. "Shades of Truth" rose by one point, but still only managed an average of 26 points. The Yan Chai Charity event only gained a 20 point average.

[Em's note: You can see the other pictures from HK Image online through these links:
Roger & co, Kevin & co, Raymond & co, Moses & co, Ron & co ]


(L-R: 1 Gaynor Chin (Sydney), 2 Jess Young (Melbourne), 3 Annie Chang (San Francisco), 4 Lisa Wang (Chicago), 5 Jolene Chin (Kuala Lumpur); 2nd Pic: No 3 Annie Chang; 3rd Pic: Jess Young)

[Ta Kung Pao 18/01/05]

The Miss Chinese International Pageant will be taking place on 29th January and as there is no international shoot this year, the 22 contestants have already began shooting their film clips for the final show. In order to tie in with this year's theme of "Eternal Beauty - Five Thousand Years Touching Hearts", the contestants have been split into four groups, which are Tang Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and Dunhuang styles. The Ming girls will appear as fighters and the Qing as princesses.

The first group to be filmed were contestant numbers 1 through 5, who appeared in Dunhuang themed costumes and in line with the feeling of fairies in heaven, they had to be suspended by wires. Luckily none of the girls were afraid of heights and although they were four metres above the ground, they all had a great time. No 1 Sydney's Gaynor Chin felt rather chilly wearing the sexy Dunhuang dress and this was her first experience of wirework. She says they had begun rehearsing for this two days ago and although it was hard work being pulled up in the air, it was a lot of fun. When asked if she was used to life in Hong Kong, she says that they have three weeks to train and she is gradually adapting to it.

No 2 Jess Young is from Melbourne and when she was waving her ribbons around in the air, the crew praised her beautiful pose. She says that she has been learning ballet since she was three years old and did it for ten years, she then moved onto singing when she was older and has taken part in musical productions. As for the praises from the crew, she smiles: "Thank you, this was not actually that difficult or hard really. (Does this add to your confidence?) Yes, but anything to do with singing or dancing makes me confident because I have done this since I was young." As she emigrated when at a small age, she no longer has any relatives in Hong Kong, but on the 29th, her mother will be arriving in Hong Kong to support her.

No 5 Jolene Chin hails from Kuala Lumpur and she says she likes extreme sports, so she feels that wirework is great fun. Her eyes were very red yesterday and she said that she did no know why. When jokingly asked if she was envious (Cantonese "red-eyed"), she responded in good humour: "I am envious of myself!"

The remaining contestants 12 through 22 had their official portraits and measurements released today and also revealed some rather impressive figures. Among them, No 14 Kelly Wong tops the list with measurements of 35.75,25,35, closely followed by No 20 Montreal's Cecilia Liu (35,25,36) and No 21 Tahiti's Elodie Chung (34,24.75,35) together with No 15 Vancouver's Leanne Li (34,24,36) were not far behind. After the makeover, by far the most eyecatching was No 17 Kate Tsui representing Hong Kong.

After disappearing from the small screen for a little while due to problems with his record company, Eason Chan will be making his comeback for 2005 by appearing at the pageant as the special guest star. In order to show his sincerity to TVB, he will be taking a few days out of his hectic schedule to rehearse and make the performance something special.


[Ta Kung Pao 18/01/05]

Hacken Lee will soon be hosting TVB's new gameshow "The Cruel Bell", based on the American Talent Show "Fame". Hacken says that he had earlier turned down the job because he will be heading to England in February to record the Manchester United Club anthem before heading out to America and Canada in March. However, after the sincere invitation from TVB General Manager Stephen Chan, who insisted that this show was especially made for him and even offering to adjust the filming schedules, then Hacken was rather touched and could not turn it down any more.

When reporters laughing referred to Hacken as "TVB's Godson" and therefore unable to turn down work, he says: "Luckily it is already past the beginning of the year and things are not as sensitive now. However, I do hope that the show will do well, just like 'Fame' in America." As for whether he will give contestants a hard time, Hacken syas that he will not be too nasty because he is a rather friendly pop star and will not make it difficult for the contestants. However, it is hard to speak for his co-host Joey Leung, because he is not a singer and does not have an image to keep up, so he can be the antagonist, whereas Hacken is the good guy! The contestants shouldn't be too worried because the rule is for every second that they last, they will receive $100, so if they win for several weeks on the run, then they will earn more than some professional singers!

Hacken was a judge at a singing competition two nights ago and his judging criteria is very rounded, including appearance as well as singing ability. He also says that it is not easy being a newcomer nowadays because you have to be able to sing, dance as well as know martial arts and be able to cook, so you really do have to be multiskilled. He adds that if he was to enter a contest now, he would never have made it, so is he glad he entered the contest early on? He laughs: "Yes, otherwise a very talented singer will have been buried and lost."


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