Friday, March 6, 2009

Taiwan Super Idol--The Adventure Begins

The past few weeks I have been focusing most of my time and efforts on my performances for Taiwan's hit TV show-- Super Idol. I guess I've subconsciously, or maybe just purposefully, been delaying announcing that I auditioned for the show until I saw how the earlier rounds went. But now that my first episode has already aired last weekend showing me enter the national top 46, there's not much point trying to hide it any longer.

Just before Chinese New Year, a friend of mine invited me to watch the live filming of Super Idol's Season 2 finale. As I sat there in the live studio audience watching the contestants compete, I felt that familiar rush of excitement and knew that I wanted a chance to stand on that stage and perform for Taiwan.

People keep asking me "Do you really think that an American guy has a chance at winning Taiwan's Super Idol?" It's a good question. I've competed in a similar competition in Mainland China, and as a foreigner I was subject to certain restrictions. I was informed by the TV producers and knew from the beginner of the show that foreigners would not be allowed in the top ten, and subsequently I was cut from the competition the week before the top ten was announced. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that the winner and runner-up from Season 2 of Super Idol were both from Malaysia. Apparently talent is more important than nationality in Taiwan's Super Idol.

But winning Super Idol is not what I want to be thinking about right now--I just want to focus on giving my best performance possible this week! You can watch my performance from last week on youtube at

Last week before going on stage for this performance I seriously thought my Idol journey was over before it ever really began. I was feeling completely calm before the show started but I was second to last to sing so I had to sit and wait for a few hours before actually going on stage. The longer I sat and heard the judges rip each contestant apart, the more nervous I became. Half-way through the show I suddenly realize--I can't remember the lyrics to my song!!! aaaghh!! I started freaking out. No matter how hard I tried, I could not remember the lyrics. I just kept thinking--I am about to go on stage to sing in front of all of Taiwan and I can't remember a single lyric beyond the first line. I have worked so hard for my dream and come so far, this is my last chance to make it happen and now I am going to throw it away before I ever really had a shot. How can I ever live this down? What will I tell all my family and friends? My whole life I'll have to look back on this pinnacle moment when I lost my dream in one fell swoop. I'm better than this-- I can't let it end this way. I'm not ready to say goodbye to my dream.

So Super Idol has been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster so far...haha (no really though, that's not even the half of it). But as you can see from the youtube clip, I remembered the lyrics just in time before going on stage and I managed to keep my cool for the performance. That experience has helped me remember to stay focused on why I auditioned for Super Idol and why I do what I do. I sing because I love to sing. When I get too caught up in the competition, wanting to sound good to the judges and the audience, that's when the nerves really kick in. I may not be the best singer in the world but I LOVE to sing--it's part of who I am. I feel like I have something to share and express, and I want to share it with Taiwan.

Who knows, maybe an American boy really can be Taiwan's next Super Idol : )


  1. Awesome, man! Keep it up... you'll get there!

  2. Thanks JD! I appreciate the encouragement! : )

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  5. You sound great and I'll be sending good vibes your way from Chicago.. I am just thrilled that youre doing it, and I have to say I am also happy because I can understand about 60% of your introduction-- I studied for about 6 months and I really want to get back into it-- im the opposite of you, I already speak spanish and want to improve my chinese! Break a leg!

  6. Hi Benji--This is Jonathan and we met on the subway the other day in Taipei (group of us from Seattle, Monica and I were talking about mormonism). It was great to meet you and I hope all is going well with the show! I'd love to follow you--do you have facebook?

    Break a leg and knock 'em dead. So to speak of course. :)

  7. Hey thanks Jonathan, Si, and Clark. Yeah I do have facebook
    It was good meeting you guys the other day. Hope you're enjoying your stay in Taiwan so far.

  8. Randomly came across to your blog page. Saw the clips of your performance via youtube. Very impressive that an American boy can speak such fluent Mandarin and even enter the equivalent of American Idol competition in Taiwan. You're doing really good, keep it up. Wish you the best.

  9. It was entirely too fun having someone give real insight on my "Life's Questions." I am not-so-secretly wishing that you could come back as a Chinese man with that saying on your chest/cheek/area of preference.

    And way to go, Mr. Super Idol! What a charmed life you lead =) You sounded phenomenal (even though I didn't understand a word) and they really seem to like you!

  10. great show benji! i hope you would do the performance like 'just dance' more often. love it!

  11. Hi Benji, I just randomly found your blog and I just want to say congratulations! Not just for getting onto the show, but also trying to so hard to make your dreams come true and sharing your thoughts. I was really shocked when I read about the dog ncident when you were younger, I did teh same thing when I was 10 with my niece and I've never forgiven myself since, only tried to be abetter person.
    Whats happening with the show? No more updates??? Don't forget about us readers will you?
    Kind Regards

  12. Hi Benji,

    I'm an ABC visiting Taiwan for a few weeks and happened across Super Idol as I was flipping channels tonight. I saw the last part of the show (I don't know what episode this is, but it's the one where you got kicked off...hehe :P) and was really amazed at how good your Chinese is. I thought I'd Google "Benji in Taiwan" to see if you have a blog...evidently you do!! Congrats on making it thus far in your quest to become the first American pop star in Asia!! You seem like a very interesting person and if you are around Taipei the next couple weeks, I would love to meet you and hear more stories about your travels. I wish you the best in your endeavors!

  13. Hey Benji,
    I just watched the latest super idol and i'm so sorry u got out.
    God has blessed u with such great talent!
    Kepp up singin! u can do it brotha!
    I have faith u will become a huge hit in Taiwan!!
    God Bless u!

  14. Thanks everyone for all your comments and encouragement.
    Littlee--ok, so I went to your blog and have a lot of fun reading some of your posts. Unfortunately I couldn't find any way to comment or contact you though.
    You can contact me on my facebook page at
    or my Chinese blog at
    It'd be fun to get together for lunch or something while you're in Taiwan

  15. great show there man ...

    i m watching ur show always...

    i like ur performance =D ... good luck in ur future career

  16. dude, how've you been? sorry to hear you were voted out.. onto the next thing now, huh? what is it BTW? hah.
    Going to another Vipassana course on September.. I'm so pumped!
    Take care bud!