Former Taiwanese boyband F4's 'reunion' on stage leaves fans feeling cheated

Three of the singers were projected on stage through virtual technology.
Three of the singers were projected on stage through virtual technology.PHOTO: KEN CHU/WEIBO

The four members of Taiwanese boyband F4 sang their iconic song Meteor Rain for a show on China's Jiangsu Television last Friday (Oct 30), in a much anticipated performance.

But many fans were left disappointed by the so-called reunion.

Jiangsu Television announced last week that the quartet, comprising Jerry Yan, 43, Vic Chou, 39, Ken Chu, 41, and Van Ness Wu, 42, would reunite on its show, 1001 Night Festival. The news excited many of the group's fans, as it has been nearly eight years since F4 last performed together at Jiangsu Television's Spring Festival Gala in January 2013.

Last Friday, the four singers duly appeared during the show on Friday, performing Meteor Rain and another song First Time.

However, fans noticed something amiss when they kept a distance from one another and had zero interactions throughout the segment.

It was revealed later that three of the singers - Yan, Chou and Chu - were projected on stage through virtual technology after fans posted on Weibo photos showing only Wu on stage.

Many fans said they felt cheated by the so-called reunion on stage.

On Saturday, Chu confirmed that he was not in China when he wrote on Weibo: "Watching my own image on Friday and returning to school on Saturday. The image was illusory and only knowledge is the hard truth."

The other F4 members did not comment.

The backlash from the fans was so great that Jiangsu Television had to come out to acknowledge the "illusion". The station said that the F4 members were interested in gathering together for the reunion but could not travel to China due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wu was able to appear on the show as he is in China to take part in the finale of Chinese reality show Street Dance Of China: Season 3.

Incidentally, 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of F4's formation.

The band shot to stardom overnight after acting in the popular 2001 idol drama, Meteor Garden, an adaptation of the Japanese girls' comic Boys Over Flowers. The show led to a sequel in 2002 and also subsequent television adaptations in Japan and South Korea and a remake in China.

The show's theme song Meteor Rain also became famous and led to F4-mania in Asia. The four have gone their separate ways since 2009.

There have been rumours of discord between band members, although Chu said on a Chinese variety show in 2019 that they are like colleagues, with little interaction outside work.