Vladislav “Lelush” Ivanov is a 27-year-old man from Vladivostok, Russia, who has wanted nothing more than to be voted off a Chinese reality TV show about constructing a boy band for the last three months. At long last, after fans refused to let him go despite him publicly urging them to do so with warnings that he would be a terrible pop star, he’s been freed from his terrible, self-inflicted burden.
As The Straits Times reports, Ivanov initially signed onto the show—Produce Camp 2021—not as on-screen talent but as a translator. He was “invited to sign on as a contestant after the directors noticed his good looks. He “appeared to regret his decision almost immediately.” Ivanov, a fluent Mandarin speaker who adopted the stage name “Lelush,” couldn’t leave the reality show without paying “a steep fine” for breaking his contract, but he also knew that if he won, the same contract would require him to be in a boy band with his team.
Ivanov’s strategy was to “[urge] the public to vote him out,” which he did by telling the audience things like, “Don’t love me, you’ll get no results,” answering interview questions about why he picked certain songs to perform by stating, “I have no choice,” and complaining about his training regimen.
“His lack of enthusiasm played out in half-hearted singing, rapping, and dancing alongside the other, more eager contestants,” the article says. Evidence of this is widely available. Here, for instance, is Ivanov halfheartedly working through a performance.
Despite everything he did to sabotage his chances at winning the show, “viewers took to his dour persona,” referring to him as “the most miserable wage slave” or saying he was the perfect representation of “‘Sang culture,’ a popular concept among Chinese millennials referring to a defeatist attitude toward everyday life.”
After three months of enduring this, Ivanov was set loose during Produce Camp 2021's April 24th finale. Now that his long, entirely avoidable trial has come to an end, we wish Ivanov the best, and hope he’s brooding on his own terms, far away from any cameras or fans.
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