Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 16 News List

A doll not a diva

Jolin Tsai put on a big show for 30,000 at Zhongshan Soccer Stadium and won points for style over substance

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORER

Jolin Tsai, with Jay Chou, below center, goes through her paces at her concert on Saturday night in Taipei.


As promised, Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) presented a night of glamor for her first Taipei concert and gave herself "95 points out of 100" after the show.

But if the "little queen of pop" is to secure her position as the leading pop diva -- with competition from female Mando-pop singers such as Sun Yan-tzi (孫燕姿), Faye Wong (王菲) or Elva Hsiao (蕭亞軒) -- Jolin needs to work on her stage charm.

As 30,000 fans packed the Zhongshan Soccer Stadium on Saturday evening, the concert opened with an exotic solo dance from Jolin. She appeared in a golden-colored satin dress at the center of the stage, blending herself into the crescent shape of the moon, in a yoga dance that she had practiced for more than five months.

Then she was lifted up by a half-naked man and sent to the main stage in a palanquin to begin singing the first of a number of R 'n' B songs. The crowd showed its appreciation when she sang Magic (看我72), the song that made last year's album sell like a hot cake. Then she danced and the crowd responded.

Jolin showed her timidity, however, when she began talking to her fans. "I'm not good at talking, so please be patient with me and give me applause to back me up, ok?" She also begged the photographers in a fake, little girl voice, not to take bad photos of her. She was a cute talker, but failed to raise the crowd.

In the latter part of the concert Jolin began to sing a few slow ballad songs. She sat elegantly on a huge "J" and was lifted high above the stage. Her vocals were good and she remembered most of the lyrics to her songs. The atmosphere went a little cold, though, when she challenged herself by singing famous songs by other divas, such as Coco Lee (李玟), A-mei (張惠妹) and Faye Wong.

She could not emotionally move the audience, either by words, eye contact or any arousing gestures. She pretty much dutifully finished the Karaoke-style songs. The large stadium then turned into a huge KTV room and people began to walk around, chat, or find food to eat.

Fortunately, the atmosphere was heated up again when Jolin, dressed like a black kitten and then in a cheerleader's outfit, sang some more of her recent dance tunes including the latest single Up, Up, Trademark Gesture (招牌動作). She finally began to run around the stage, up the long catwalk way and even invited fans to shake their buttocks with her.

Jolin's six different outfits, slightly exposed cleavage and mini skirts were other attractions on display. She wore a red-colored, patched-up style dress for an ethnic feel; then she was in a bright, yellow-colored dress, reiterating her little princess image. Finally, during her encore,she was again back in a golden hip-hop outfit, baring her belly and doing a duet Rewind (倒帶) with her "best friend" Jay Chou (周杰倫).

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the concert. The two danced in a well-matched street dance sequence. They both had solo parts, kicks and knee twisting from Jolin and some flips from Jay. The crowd went crazy and screams and fireworks filled the air.

Throughout the two-hour concert, Jolin was disciplined, hard working and showed off her vocal abilities to their best, all the while charming with her big eyes and various outfits. She is cute and is a good student of the stage, but no more than that. To keep 30,000 fan interested she needed to be a diva and not just a doll.

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