Man ‘trapped’ on reality TV show for three months finally voted off

The three-month ordeal of a Russian bloke who signed up for a Chinese reality show by mistake and nearly ended up having to join a boy band has finally ended.

Vladislav Ivanov originally signed on to Chinese TV show Produce Camp 2021 as a language coach. But the show’s producers noticed the 27-year-old’s telegenic looks and persuaded him to join as a contestant.

Vladislav, who is from Vladivostok, realised almost immediately that he’d made a mistake and hated being on the show but he was contractually obliged to stay on until he was evicted by a fan vote.

Unfortunately for Vladislav, the fans loved his permanently grumpy manner, and voted to keep him on week after week. Underneath videos of Vladislav grumpily performing half-hearted rap numbers viewers commented “Don't let him quit," and "Sisters, vote for him!”

“The director saw that I am fluent in Mandarin and they thought I’m good-looking, so they asked if I’d like to have a try and experience a new lifestyle,” he said on the show. “Dancing and singing every day, I’m really exhausted and now starting to regret my decision.”

Viewers enjoyed that way that Vladislav, performing under the stage name Lelush, was a total contrast to the enthusiastic, eager-to-please contestants. He rapped, sang and danced with no enthusiasm at all, and told viewers "Don't love me, you'll get no results".

In another episode, he begged “please don’t make me go to the finals, I’m tired."

Vladislav was praised as a classic example of "Sang culture", a world-weary attitude to life that’s currently a popular concept among overworked Chinese millennials.

In one interview he said: “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”.

He could only leave the show, reports the Straits Times, by paying a steep cash penalty.

Saturday saw the show’s grand final, and Vladislav narrowly missed getting enough votes to end up being selected for the boy band.

"I'm finally getting off work," Vladislav wrote on his Weibo account on Sunday.

A report about his departure was reposted on Weibo more than 59,000 times, including by the Russian embassy. “Congrats, have a good rest,” the embassy said.

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