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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Newsmaker – Olympic Switch: ‘Ode’ Was Lip-Synched

August 14, 2008

By Cara Anna

BEIJING – One little girl had the looks. The other had the voice.

So in a last-minute move demanded by one of China’s highest officials, the two were put together for the Olympic opening ceremony, with one lip-synching “Ode to the Motherland” over the other’s singing.

The real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, with her chubby face and crooked baby teeth, wasn’t good-looking enough for the ceremony, its chief music director told state-owned Beijing Radio.

So the pigtailed Lin Miaoke, 9, a veteran of television ads, mouthed the words with a pixie smile for a stadium of 91,000 and a worldwide TV audience.

Yang later told China Central Television that just having her voice used was an honor.

In a brief phone interview with AP Television News on Tuesday night, the music director, Chen Qigang, said he spoke about the switch with Beijing Radio “to come out with the truth.”

A member of China’s Politburo asked for the last-minute change shortly before the ceremony, Chen said in the Beijing Radio interview.

“The little girl is a magnificent singer,” Chen said. “She doesn’t deserve to be hidden.” He said the ceremony’s director, film director Zhang Yimou, knew of the change. He declined to speak further about it.

The switch became a hot topic among Chinese and raced across the country’s blogosphere.

“The organizers really messed up on this one,” Luo Shaoyang, 34, a retail worker in Beijing, said Tuesday.

Originally published by Cara Anna Associated Press .

(c) 2008 Commercial Appeal, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.