In the most bizarre story of 2021 so far, a Russian man has finally been eliminated from a Chinese reality TV show after begging fans to vote him out for three months.
27-year-old Vladislav Ivanov joined Produce Camp 2021 (CHUANG 2021) by accident, and ended up competing to be the newest member of an international boy band. As reported by The Guardian, he was eventually voted out on Saturday (April 24) after viewers ignored his pleas to leave and instead backed him all the way to the final.
Fluent in Mandarin, Ivanov originally joined the show as a Chinese translator, but said he was persuaded to become a contestant after producers were impressed by his good looks. Due to contractual obligations, he found himself stuck competing in the series until the public decided to vote him out. Ivanov, who competed under the stage name Lelush, went on to become one of 25 finalists on the show – 11 winners eventually joined the boy band – with his reluctant, unenthusiastic performances earning him scores of fans.
According to the South China Morning Post, Ivanov said on the show: “Becoming a member of a boy band is not my dream as I can’t sing and dance. I hope the judges won’t support me. While the others want to get an A, I want to get an F as it stands for freedom.”
In a video shared by the Produce Camp 2021 YouTube account, Ivanov said: “Dancing and singing everyday… I’m really exhausted and a bit regretful.” Though, as he celebrated his birthday during training, he added: “On one hand, I wanted to leave. On the other hand, I wanted to stay. It’s nice to have new friends. Still, I want to go home.”
Known by fans as “the most miserable wage slave”, Ivanov posted news of his relief via Weibo on Sunday, writing: “I’m finally getting off work.” In one final twist, the Russian embassy responded, telling the now-failed pop star: “Congrats, have a good rest.”
Please convince me that modern life isn’t just one long episode of Black Mirror.