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McCormick senior competes on singing show in China

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McCormick senior competes on singing show in China

McCormick senior David Harris performs on

McCormick senior David Harris performs on "Huan Qiu Shen Qi Xuan," another Chinese TV singing competition he competed in. Harris traveled to China last summer with the hope of performing in and winning competitions like this one.

Source: YouTube screenshot

McCormick senior David Harris performs on "Huan Qiu Shen Qi Xuan," another Chinese TV singing competition he competed in. Harris traveled to China last summer with the hope of performing in and winning competitions like this one.

Source: YouTube screenshot

Source: YouTube screenshot

McCormick senior David Harris performs on "Huan Qiu Shen Qi Xuan," another Chinese TV singing competition he competed in. Harris traveled to China last summer with the hope of performing in and winning competitions like this one.

Danny Kelleher, Reporter

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Studying abroad provides students with cultural and lingual experiences in different countries, but for David Harris, it will soon make him a televised star.

The McCormick fifth-year senior will appear on the Chinese singing competition television show “Xing Guang Da Dao” (“The Avenue of Stars”) in January. He flew to Beijing to film the competition last month.

For Harris, being a contestant on the show is the culmination of an audition process that began more than a year ago, when he first studied abroad in China in spring 2012. After his study abroad program ended, Harris stayed in Beijing for the summer, working at the U.S. Embassy by day and playing guitar and singing for a bar by night. One day, his neighbor suggested that the two of them audition for “Xing Guang Da Dao,” a show whose popularity Harris said is similar to that of “American Idol.”

“I thought trying out was absolutely ridiculous and we would never make it,” Harris said. “But my friend was always certain that we had a chance despite more than 300,000 people trying out each year.”

Both Harris and his friend were chosen as contestants on the show, but it took about six months before Harris was informed. By that time, he had already returned to NU to continue pursuing his industrial engineering degree.

“When I tried out in 2012, they didn’t call me back until November,” Harris said. “But they couldn’t contact me on my local Beijing phone because I was already out of the country at that point.”

The show finally reached Harris in May 2013 through his former neighbor. He had already been planning to travel to China again in June for a foreign language program run through the U.S. Department of State, and after the program ended in August he appeared on other China reality and talk shows that had heard he would be a contestant on “Xing Guang Da Dao.”

During the show’s October taping, which will air in January 2014, Harris said he competed to be the winner of the week. If he is successful, he will vie to be the winner of the month. Until the episode airs, Harris is contractually obligated not to disclose the results of the round he filmed.

Although Harris said he is confident that success on “Xing Guang Da Dao” would get him record deal offers, he has yet to decide whether or not he will continue his musical pursuits.

“I have job offers (in industrial engineering) now,” Harris said. “I don’t know if I want to push them back or just give up on them to follow this route of performing in China.”

Abinav Raja, a friend of Harris, said he believes Harris will make the best decision for himself.

“It sounds pretty cool for a friend of mine to be a Chinese pop star,” the McCormick junior said. “In the end, he has to do what he’s passionate about. … As friends, we’re there to support him regardless.”

Harris said he does not plan to make any decisions about a music career until he graduates in June.

“Being on television and doing that rock star kind of life… not everyone can do it,” he said.

Email: dannykelleher@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @dannykelleher3

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