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Daily Drip

Xiao Zhan Returns Triumphantly, Despite Viral Onstage Mishap

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Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo couldn’t stay out of the news if they tried. Not that they’re trying — Xiao Zhan’s name has once again graced Weibo’s trending charts, this time due to a confusing onstage mishap.

The Untamed star performed as the special guest for the finale of the TV show Actors Take Your Places. Crooning out a ballad on a variety TV program, Xiao Zhan’s appearance was seen by some as an attempt by Xiao Zhan’s team to ease back into the limelight in the wake of his infamous AO3 scandal.

The song was “Run to You with Everything I Have,” an emotional tune’s whose lyrics, referencing scars and armor, were interpreted as a love letter to his fans, and the up-and-down relationship they’ve shared with their idol.

However, when the song ended and Xiao Zhan moved for a short onstage interview, fans were confused to see the star’s mouth moving silently.

Due to an audio mishap, the fated moments of the interview, and the idol’s message to his fans, were lost, causing the internet to erupt in search queries — what did Xiao Zhan say?

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Some thought it was a deliberate sleight from the producers. Some thought that the 16 million fans who tuned in had overloaded the broadcast. In the end, it seems it was just a technical mishap, with the producers explaining that the mishap would be fixed in the on-demand version.

Still, that didn’t stop the topic from shooting to the top of Weibo’s trending charts, seizing both the #1 and #4 spots. Fans have made efforts to reconstruct his short quote:

“I am very happy to come to this stage as a guest performer,” said Xiao Zhan. “As a new actor, there is still a long way to go on this road. I also give this song to everyone who runs on the road.”

The star then gave a formal 90-degree bow and left the stage.

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Despite the mishap, this was huge for Xiao Zhan. Coming off a string of scandals, learning to manage overzealous fans, and navigating his expanding role as a young actor in the spotlight, the past year hasn’t been easy for the idol.

To return to the public eye in front of 16 million viewers, endure technical difficulties, and then trend on Weibo for smiling through it all, the show was just what Xiao Zhan needed to open a new chapter in his career.

“We had tears in our eyes, and we were so excited,” wrote Jun Xin, a writer who covers Xiao Zhan extensively. “The Xiao Zhan we know is back.”

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan