Last week saw several big name artists release albums, all vying for the top position in Taiwan's G-Music chart. Pop princess Angela Zhang, the multi-award winning Eason Chan and actor-turned-singer Joe Cheng all put out new CDs. However, in a real surprise, it was the debut album from a teenage newcomer, up until now probably better-known for her ample chest measurements than her singing, who took the number one spot. Love's Embrace (爱的抱抱), the mini-album from Guo Shu Yao (郭书瑶), affectionally known as Yao Yao (瑶瑶), grabbed almost 22 percent of album sales in Taiwan for the week September 25 to October 1. This was comfortably ahead of Angela Zhang's much-anticipated The Fifth Season, which accounted for 15 percent of all sales.
19 year old Yao Yao, pin-up girl for Taiwan's geeks, began her short career as a model, and was catapulted into the limelight earlier this year with her eye-catching appearance in a series of ads for a popular online game. The baby-faced but well-endowed teenager created controversy with the censors who considered the ads too risque. However the ads quickly led to a TV hosting job, on Taiwan's second-longest running game show Digital Game King (数位游戏王), and now the successful launch of a singing career.
The immediate impact of Yao Yao's singing debut has taken many by surprise, especially as she has outsold one of Taiwan's biggest singing stars, Angela Zhang, not to mention the reigning king of Cantopop Eason Chan. In Yao Yao's favour, her's was a mini-album and so more affordable for record-buyers. And the free poster of the busty model wouldn't have harmed sales either!
Poor old Angela Zhang has had something of a rough time of it lately. First a heart condition kept her out of the recording studio for 2 years. Then the promotional efforts for her long-awaited sixth album were hampered when she became embroiled in a very public family dispute with her mother who accused her of being unfilial and on drugs, amongst other things. To top things off, her first single from the new CD, White, was accused of ripping-off an Avril Lavigne tune. Some consolation for Zhang, however, is that The Fifth Season has reportedly had Asia-wide sales of 200,000, and topped two of Taiwan's major online charts, KKBOX and ezPeer.