Idol Producer, Youth With You: the most Popular Survival Show in China
If you closely follow Chinese social media (or even from afar, actually) you probably already stumbled upon the name of “Idol Producer” or “Youth With You”.
In short, it is an incredibly popular dance-singing competition and survival show in China.
Let’s introduce to this show, it could well be one you become addicted to!
Chapter #1 – What is Idol Producer, Youth With You?
Chapter #2 – Only 3 Seasons
Chapter #3 – Where to Watch
Chapter #4 – Chinese Level
Chapter #5 – FAQ
Watching this reality show actually has a lot of benefits.
- You’ll discover one of the most popular TV shows in China
- Get to listen to Chinese songs from a variety of genres
- Discover Chinese pop stars (the mentors are all very famous)
- Watch great choreographies you wish you could replicate
- Find out more about the Chinese culture and music industry,
- Get used to hearing people speak day to day Chinese
- Learn lots of new vocabulary, expressions and slang,
- And more!
If you’re not convinced yet, well then, keep on reading, we’ll make sure you are sooner rather than later!
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#1 – What is Idol Producer, Youth With You?
First things first, let’s introduce the show.
What kind of Survival Show would that be?
The one where a hundred young Chinese dreaming of becoming idols (all round-up entertainers able to dance, sing or rap, with great looks and personality) compete against each other to make it to the final 9.
The final 9 become a group, and start their career in the Chinese music industry.
The groups resulting from the show usually release songs and music videos, appear in variety shows and commercials, and become famous celebrities thanks to all the attention brought during the competition.
How does it work?
Those hundreds of trainees come individually or as a part of a group, all of them represented and trained by major companies from the Chinese music industry.
Contestants without being signed by a company can also attend.
SPOILER ALERT – Cai Xukun from season 1 wasn’t represented by any company and still won the competition. Today he has become one of the most popular celebrities amongst the younger generation.
The trainees are voted out by the viewers. A very well-rounded online voting system is organised, and votes can be done on iQiyi if you have an account set up.
The voting system is as follows: 9 votes a day and one per trainee. You basically vote for who you think should make it to the final group.
The trainees live all together for the whole duration of the show, sleeping in dormitories and attending classes everyday for a duration of 4 months.
Classes are taught by mentors, one for each specialty being dancing, singing, and rapping.
Missions are given to the trainees throughout the episodes with a final performance show at the end of every mission, when viewers can then vote for their favorite trainees.
#2 – Already 3 Seasons
As of today, Idol Producer has three seasons:
- The first season of Idol Producer started in January 2018,
- With a second season that premiered in January 2019,
- And finally the third season started in March 2020. It is still not finished at the time of the writing.
Idol Producer – Season 1
Idol Producer (偶像练习生 Ǒuxiàng liànxíshēng) premiered on 19th January 2018 on iQiyi, and was presented by Zhang Yixing (张艺兴), a famous Chinese performer in Asia, also a member of the South Korean band EXO.
The mentors of this season were:
- Li Ronghao (李荣浩) – a famous Chinese pop singer, song writer, music producer and actor
- Jackson Wang (王嘉尔) – a singer/rapper and music producer from Hong-Kong, also a member of the South Korean band GOT7
- MC Jin (欧阳靖) – a Chinese rapper born in the US, also a television actor
- Cheng Xiao (程潇) – a Chinese singer and actress
- Zhou Jieqiong (周洁琼) – a Chinese pop singer, also member of the South Korean band Pristin
This first season brought together a hundred trainees, which the final nine contestants debuted as Nine Percent.
Idol Producer – Season 2
The second season started a year later, on the 21st of January 2019 on iQiyi, also presented by Zhang Yixing.
The show changed its name to Youth With You (青春有你 Qīngchūn yǒu nǐ), but kept the same producers, competition and voting system.
The mentors of the second season were:
- Li Ronghao (李荣浩)
- MC Jin (欧阳靖)
- Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) – a Taiwanese pop singer
- Xu Minghao (徐明浩) – a Chinese pop singer, also a member of the South Korean band Seventeen
- After Journey (艾福杰尼) – a Chinese rapper and music producer
As in the first season, a hundred male trainees were gathered together to compete, viewers voting their favourite contestants.
The last nine and winners of the show debuted as Unine.
Idol Producer – Season 3
The 3rd season and last to this day, is still going at the time of writing. It premiered on the 12th of March 2020 on iQiyi.
This time the show is presented by Cai Xukun, one of the winners of season 1 who gained a lot of fame after the show.
This year, the competition brought together a hundred female trainees from the most successful companies in the music industry.
The season three’s mentors are:
- Cai Xukun (蔡徐坤) – a Chinese singer and music producer, also a winner of the season 1 of Idol Producer
- Lisa – a Thai singer and dancer, also member of the South Korean band Black Pink
- Jony J (肖佳) – a Chinese hip-hop singer
- Ella Chen (陈嘉桦) – a Taiwanese singer, actor and host, also member of the Taiwanese group S.H.E
What’s your favorite season? Share your opinion by making a comment below please.
#3 – Where to Watch?
You will very easily find the episodes on iQiyi.
If you have an account set up you will be able to vote for you favourite trainees. You can check our blog explaining everything you need to know about this platform.
You will also find iQiyi on their official channel on Youtube, where they offer the first part of the first episode, with English subtitles!
A nice incentive to start watching.
Just a bit of a disclaimer here 👇
Be ready for an awful lot of commercials before and during the show!
Not only will you have to watch (or fast forward of course) commercials before the episode itself, but you’ll also see very obvious shots of trainees eating or using the product advertised.
Commercials are an irritant, so be prepared!
Disclaimer number 2!👇
Episodes are pretty long and go up to 3 hours long. Here you go.
So, grab the popcorn, get comfy and enjoy!
#4 Chinese Level
To immerse yourself into the language, we’ll say try to watch without the subtitles.
But of course if you are a complete beginner such a thing is not possible, feel free to display those most useful subtitles and enjoy the show!
You’ll get used to listening to the Chinese language and understanding a few characters while you’re at it.
BUT, honestly, the show itself is not too difficult to understand, most of the story you can understand just by watching.
People speak in a day to day Chinese, even though you might not understand specific dancing or singing related vocabulary, you’ll be able to understand plenty and learn a few slang words.
Watching the first two seasons I found myself repeating sentences people said, and that actually help learn a few colloquial sentences I can now use with friends.
It’s actually thanks to watching Idol Producer when I realised that doing the Chinese gesture of the number 6, repeatedly while saying the word, meant ‘cool’ or ‘very cool’.
👉 This show is great for someone who has a grasp on the basics of the Chinese language, looking for a fun and easy show to get used to hearing Chinese.
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FAQ’s – Idol Producer, Youth With You
Idol Producer is a Chinese survival show on iQiyi.
The show brings together a hundred of trainees from the most famous companies in the Chinese music industry. They have to compete against each other to make it to the last nine, to then debut as a group.
There are 3 seasons of Idol Producer, the last one still being aired on iQiyi at the time of writing.
There usually are 12 episodes in one season.
Idol Producer in Chinese is 偶像练习生 Ǒuxiàng liànxíshēng
Youth With You in Chinese is 青春有你 Qīngchūn yǒu nǐ
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