Chinese Idol-style show riles censors

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Li Yuchun, winner of reality show "Super Girl Voice' 2005," performs in 2007 in Nanjing, China. A more recent incarnation of the talent competition, in which audience members vote to select winners, has been abruptly cancelled.

It turns out the Chinese are hellbent on votingā€¦ for their favorite singer on an American Idol-style show called "Super Girl."

Perhaps they enjoy voting a bit too much.

According to the Financial Times, the wildly popular televised singing competition has been cancelled, "following government pressure on a programme that some officials saw as subversive because the audience voting too closely represented Western-style democracy."

Anyone with a mobile phone in China can nudge their favorite "Super Girl" towards victory with a text message.

The show was viewed by 400 million in its peak, a viewership that nearly amounts to every human being with a pulse in the U.S. and Mexico. As you can imagine, all these votes build great fame and fortune for both the winner and the runner-ups as well.

All this apparently makes communist party censors uncomfortable.

According to a Time Magazine piece from 2006, written during an earlier run of the show, censors were already concerned that Super Girl was not "constructing a harmonious socialist society" and should not "make a hubbub about things as they please and must avoid creating stars."

But don't Idol-style shows prove the lameness of democracy? That's the contention of theĀ state-managed media outlet China Daily, which wrote this in 2005.

"How come an imitation of a democratic system ends up selecting the singer who has the least ability to carry a tune?"