The news that television footage of the fireworks shown outside the stadium at the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony were computer generated fakes has spread online in the last 48 hours, but the latest news will be an even bigger shock: the 7 year old girl singing (China’s version of Nikki Webster) was not only miming, but the voice played wasn’t hers.
Chen Qigang, the General Music Designer of the Opening Ceremony, revealed that the voice everyone heard singing at the Opening Ceremony was actually a pre-recording of another child, Yang Peiyi, a student of the Attached Primary School of Beijing University at Zhongguancun on a television interview, according to a report at China Digital Times.
This is the translated transcript
Chen Qigang: The first condition was that the director wants the image to be very cute. We selected about ten children… Then we had to choose one from those who had a good image who can sing well…
We chose one ten-year-old child, whose voice was really good. All the rehearsals were using her singing… In the end the director thought her image was not the most appropriate, she was a little too old… so regrettably, we had to let her go.
Then, as we chose another singer, the standard was that she needs to be seven years old. Lin Miaoke (林妙可) was one of them, another was Yang Peiyi (杨沛宜), and there were others.
Then we went to the Central People’s Radio Station to do the recording…
Finally we made the decision that the voice we would use was Yang Peiyi’s.
TV Host: Yang Peiyi?
Chen Qigang: Yes.
…The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression.
Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in the aspect of voice, Yang Peiyi (杨沛宜) is flawless, in each member of our team’s view.
TV Hostess: … So the one in front of camera is Lin Miaoke, but the voice [we heard] is from Yang Peiyi?
Chen Qigang: Yes. This was a last minute decision, we had to do it. We had been through several inspections，they were all very strict. When we rehearsed at the spot, there were spectators from various divisions, especially leader(s) from the the Politburo, who gave the opinion: It must change. This is to say, we had no choice.
… We have a responsibility to face the audience of the whole country, to give this explanation. Everyone should understand this in this way: this is in the national interest. It is the image of our national music, national culture. Especially the entrance of our national flag, this is an extremely important, extremely serious matter. Then we made such a choice. I think it is fair to both Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi.
That is to say, we have a perfect voice (in our team’s view), and a perfect image and representation, two combined together.
…But as far as Lin Miaoke is concerned, since we have two recordings – one from Lin Miaoke, another from Yang Peiyi – and their voices are not too different, so when Lin Miaoke was singing, she may not have realized that was not her own voice.
Here’s the fireworks in action for those who missed it: