A Russian model trapped in a Chinese reality show was finally voted off after months of self-sabotage
- Vladislav Ivanov was working as an interpreter on a Chinese reality show when producers spotted him.
- Ivanov's indifferent attitude turned him into an accidental star.
- He begged to be voted off, saying he wanted to go home, but fans kept him on for three months.
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A Russian model who was effectively trapped in a Chinese reality show has finally been eliminated after months of self-sabotage.
Vladislav Ivanov, 27, from the east Russian city of Vladivostok, became an accidental star in China after he was drafted to compete in "Produce Camp 2021," a bootcamp-style Chinese TV show where people compete to form a boy band.
After three months of putting on one half-hearted performance after another, Ivanov - better known by his stage name Lelush - was finally allowed to leave the show after being voted off in the competition's final round.
According to The Washington Post, Ivanov never formally auditioned for - nor intended to compete in - "Produce Camp 2021."
He was initially employed as an on-set translator to help two Japanese contestants, but producers noticed him and asked him to sign on after staff mistook him for a competitor.
"The director saw that I am fluent in Mandarin and they thought I'm good-looking, so they asked if I'd like to have a try and experience a new lifestyle," he said in an interview. "Dancing and singing every day, I'm really exhausted and now starting to regret my decision."
In early clips from the show, Ivanov said: "I hope the judges won't support me. While the others want to get an A, I want to get an F, as it stands for freedom. I want to go home."
But that was not to be. Chinese fans seemed intrigued by how little he cared about the show, and kept voting for him to stay.
"According to the rules of the show, I won today. But to me, I've lost again," he said during the show's second round of ranking. "I don't want to be in the group. My dreams are to make designs, enjoy my freedom and be a model."
To his dismay, members of his newfound fandom were mesmerized by his lackluster and off-key performance of a Russian rap song, Jackpot.
As part of the show, Ivanov was monitored on the show's 24/7 TV feeds. Clips circulated on China's Weibo social network of Ivanov staring out of the window "looking longingly towards freedom," or grinning whenever he came close to getting kicked off the show.
According to the Guardian, his fans even encouraged each other to vote for him and "let him 996," a Chinese term referring to chronic overwork where people work from from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. Some paid thousands of dollars to rent billboards on the front of shopping centers encouraging people to support him.
Ivanov's wish came true after three months of competing. He was eliminated on April 24 after again asking fans to help him escape having to debut in a Chinese boy band.
"Once the program ends I will smile more. Now that I'm here I have no mood to smile," he said in a live stream before the show's finals.
"Thank y'all for your support. I am finally clocking out," he told his 1.5 million Weibo followers on Saturday.
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