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2019-03-06 13:45:33

An Australian violinist duo who gained viral fame last year by calling out a fellow artist claiming to be the world’s fastest violinist have set their sights on a new target: a pair of Chinese pop idols.

Self-described “classical music detectives” Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, who perform together as TwoSet Violin, have accused Chinese stars Ju Jingyi and Ma Xueyang of giving a “fake performance” during a television show last year. In a video posted Friday on their Weibo microblog, the pair claimed that Ju and Ma had only pretended to play the violin during a two-hour live performance on Hunan TV, one of the country’s largest state-owned broadcasters.

“As musicians, we should practice a lot. And if we go onstage, we should perform honestly for the audience,” TwoSet told media outlet The Beijing News on Tuesday.

Hunan TV, Ju, and Ma had not responded to Sixth Tone’s requests for comment by time of publication.

The Chinese singer-violinists — one an ex-member of girl group SNH48 and the other a member of boy band Top Combine — were among a number of celebrities who took part in the TV special, which aired on June 24. The video of their performance shows the two stars playing the violin confidently, sometimes while gazing directly into the camera.

But Yang and Chen — who are known online for their musical aptitude, humorous videos, and critiques of fellow violinists — pointed out inconsistencies in Ju and Ma’s performance last week, arguing that the two were shown using fingering techniques that didn’t match the music.

“There must be dubbing or something, I don’t know, but they’re faking — there’s something fake about this performance,” Chen said in Friday’s video.

TwoSet’s video has since garnered significant attention on Weibo, with a hashtag translating to “Violinists accuse Ju Jingyi and Ma Xueyang of fake performance” having been viewed over 170 million times by Wednesday evening. Many netizens have said they agree with Yang and Chen’s claim and feel disappointed by the musical chicanery.

“The violinist is playing an open string, but the vibrato can be clearly heard in the music,” Shi Yehong, a Xiamen-based violinist, told Sixth Tone in reference to Ju’s appearance on Hunan TV. “This one mistake is enough to prove that it’s not a live performance.”

Wang Shiqing, a 24-year-old who has been following pop culture for over a decade, told Sixth Tone that it’s shameful for pop idols to deceive their fans. The Shenzhen-based attorney added that all mimicked performances, from pretend fiddling to lip-syncing, are betrayals of the audience.

“[Ju and Ma] were invited on the show because of their talent, so they should have practiced a lot and demonstrated their techniques well,” Wang said. “It’s not like actors performing [in a movie]. This kind of live performance should be authentic.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Musician Ju Jingyi performs with a violin in a program aired by state broadcaster Hunan TV, June 24, 2018. IC)