The Voice SG & MY: Participants Can Be Of Any Race Or Nationality, But Have To Be Fluent In Mandarin

Popular international reality TV show The Voice has now made its mark in Southeast Asia, with a new show aimed at Singaporean and Malaysian audiences.

The singing competition will now be adapted for the countries under one program, co-produced by mm2 entertainment along with cable providers StarHub (Singapore) and Astro (Malaysia).

They’ve now opened entries to aspiring singers from these two countries, and they assure that they’re “on the search for true talents with good voices regardless of their appearances.” But there is one curious catch: you must be able to sing in Mandarin.

“There is no restriction on race as long as you have a good voice, are fluent in Mandarin, and are able to perform Mandarin songs,” they state on the FAQ page on their official website.

It appears that this version of The Voice is primarily targeted towards Mandarin-speaking audiences. This differs from the Singaporean adaptation of American Idol, where contestants sang in English.

Social media users are understandably angry over this rule, raising questions over the show’s language exclusivity.

It’s likely that this show is aiming to reach the level of success of Sing! China, which was formally known as The Voice of China and mainly featured singers, which included finalist Nathan Hartono last year, performing in Mandarin. mm2 will not be allowing entrants to sing in Hokkien or Cantonese.

While some are crying foul over the show’s discrimination against non-Mandarin speakers, B-Quartet frontman Bani Haykal threw in a slightly different perspective on the matter on Twitter: speculating that the rule is likely a strategic move for the show to appeal to audiences in China, the same way Sing! China became popular with audiences in Southeast Asia.

He explains more in an entire Twitter thread, and it is an interesting argument: Sing! China‘s finals broke viewership records in China, and the country remains an extremely attractive prospect for foreign media to target (*cough* The Great Wall).

The Voice for Singapore and Malaysia could simply be an attempt at replicating the success of Sing! China, but with the emphasis on multi-racial growth in both countries, could this be simply a tone-deaf strategic move by mm2?


StarHub announced on Friday (May 5) that those aged 16 and up can begin to apply for a spot on the show as of 6pm.

Again, although participants can be of any race or nationality, “talents have to be fluent in Mandarin and able to perform songs in Mandarin”, according to a press release from StarHub.

They must also submit a clip of themselves singing. Clips must be no longer than 90 seconds, and dialect songs such as those in Cantonese or Hokkien are not allowed. Other than that, there is no restriction to the language or genre of the song selected, and applicants may choose between singing a cappella or with an instrument, said the press release. Singing with accompanying music tracks is not allowed.

The auditions close on May 31. Visit



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