SINGAPORE - Singapore's Joanna Dong has made it to the third round of televised singing contest Sing! China after defeating Chinese-American duo Chuan Hu in the episode aired on Friday night (Sept 8).
She wowed with her rendition of the jazz number I Want Your Love, earning the majority of the votes from the panel of 51 judges, which include music producers and critics.
The win was sweetened by her mentor Mandopop superstar Jay Chou's encouraging words. Chuan Hu are on Chinese singer Liu Huan's team.
Dong, 35, said: "Jay was really sweet. He said that he wasn't able to comment on Chuan Hu's performance, because my music was still in his head while they were singing.
"I was really flattered. Though in some ways, that was also self-praise on his part because he and his team were responsible for making my song arrangement more exciting."
The song was picked by Chou as he wanted to challenge his mentee to take a classic and "make it stand out" as her own.
After the results were out, he told her that the number of votes was proof that jazz is not just for a niche audience.
She said: "We performed to the best of our potential that night, so the voting really came down to a matter of what the panel preferred. That's why this isn't so much a victory for me, but a victory for jazz music."
There are two more singers from Singapore in the running: Olinda Cho and Curley Gao, who is a Chinese student based here.
Another Singapore contestant, Stella Seah, was eliminated in an episode which aired last month.
Moving forward in the competition, Dong will have to vie with her fellow teammates to represent their mentor in the grand finals. And there is a chance that she may have to compete against fellow Singaporean Cho, who is also on Chou's team.
She said: "Olinda and I have become close friends over the past few weeks. We have talked about this, that there is the possibility that we might have to battle each other, but we agreed that we would show each other the highest form of respect and love.
"I am very fond of all my teammates, and I would be pleased if any of us represents the team in the finals."
Sing! China airs on Jia Le Channel (Singtel TV Channel 502) on Fridays at 9pm, the same time as in China.