The ages of the Chinese “women’s” gymnasts apparently were not the only things altered by China in its quest to create a perfect Summer Olympics.
Synchronized singing probably will never be recognized as an Olympic event, but if it ever is, China will be ready.
The country’s lip-synching prowess was on full display during the opening ceremony in Beijing when one girl, 9-year-old Lin Miaoke, was shown on TV “singing” the Chinese national anthem, “Hymn to the Motherland,” as another girl, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, was heard on a recording.
Yang reportedly won an intense competition to perform the patriotic song.
However, after a member of the Chinese politburo watched a dress rehearsal, he decided the girl, who has crooked teeth, wasn’t attractive enough for the role.
Bowing to pressure from above, Chen Qigang, the ceremony’s music director, trotted out Lin for the cameras to catch mouthing Yang’s words in front of over 90,000 fans at the stadium and millions more on TV.
Lin, who wore a red dress, pigtails and a picturesque smile, was feted as a national sweetheart after the show, compelling Chen “to come out with the truth.”
“The little girl (Yang) is a magnificent singer. She doesn’t deserve to be hidden,” Chen said. “This was a last-minute question, a choice we had to make. When we had the dress rehearsals, there were spectators from various divisions, including above all a member of the politburo who gave us his verdict: We had to make the swap.”
Chen, who revealed another girl had been replaced because “her image was not the most appropriate, because she was a little too old,” said the move was made in “the national interest.”
“Especially at the entrance of our national flag, this is an extremely important, an extremely serious matter,” he said. “So we made the switch. I think it is fair to both Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi; after all, we have a perfect voice, a perfect image and a perfect show, in our team’s view, all together.”
Yang reportedly took the situation in stride, saying “I am proud to have been chosen to sing at all.”
Fab Morvan, the surviving member of Milli Vanilli, had no comment on the matter.
• FAKE FIREWORKS, FANS — So much for the Olympics being reality TV. Besides the aforementioned lip-synching, the Chinese have admitted to prerecording, digitally enhancing and inserting images of 29 giant “firework footprints” that appeared to march across Beijing towards the stadium during the opening ceremony — “for convenience and theatrical effects,” said Wang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee.
Also, to combat unflattering images of countless rows of unfilled seats at certain competitions, the committee has brought in huge groups of yellow-shirted “volunteers” who attended several days of “cheerleader training” to prepare for the role.
“They are told to cheer for both teams to create a better atmosphere,” Wang said. “If the ticket-holders turn up, then they get up and go.”
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY REVIEW-JOURNAL