Beijing - Kit Chan came in last in the debut of the third season of the Hunan TV contest I Am A Singer, but she is winning hearts in China.
After the episode was broadcast last Friday night, Chinese fans who fell in love with the Singaporean singer's performance of Shino Lin's Tempting Heart regretted not knowing her earlier, said NetEase website.
Last Saturday, the fans were angry on Weibo after a rumour went round online that Chan had become the first star to be eliminated this season, after taping Jacky Cheung's Heart Cut By A Knife in the second episode that will air this Friday, said NetEase.
One fan wrote: "If Kit Chan is eliminated, I won't watch I Am A Singer, we must revive her!"
Chan, 42, is the first Singaporean in the contest that pits professional singers against each other. The singers are ranked by votes from the studio audience, and the first elimination in a season is announced in the second episode, after a tally of the votes at the first two tapings.
Chan has been adamant that she will not sing showy songs for the sake of winning. In an interview in the episode that aired last Friday, she said: "I know the song I chose and my performing style aren't really for the competition. I hope that through my performance, the audience in China and in other places can fall in love."
Later, she took the fewest votes from the 500-strong audience, who ranked Chinese pop stars Han Hong and Jane Zhang and Taiwanese singer A-lin - the stars with the biggest voices - first, second and third. China's Sun Nan and Anson Hu and Hong Kong's Leo Ku ranked fourth, fifth and sixth.
In a ballot among the stars themselves, however, Chan was ranked third by her peers, after Han and Zhang.
Han also gave Chan effusive praise, saying she liked the Singaporean's performance from the moment she opened her mouth. Han said of Chan: "She was plaintively singing, not noisily declaiming anything. Between loud and high-pitched and subtle, I definitely prefer subtle."
On Weibo, singer Tan Fei was among Chan's Chinese celebrity supporters. Tan said the rumoured elimination, if true, "should be in the director's control, and there should eventually be a big reversal". Either that, or "those 500 people have inflamed middle ears".