Zhang protege wins X Factor

Zeng Yiming on TV earlier last month.

BEIJING - Zhang Ziyi, reality TV contest judge, has had the last laugh.

A singer the actress mentored became the champion on the first season of The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice. The finale was televised last Friday.

The first person winner Zeng Yiming, 30, thanked on stage was not teacher Zhang, however.

After receiving his trophy on stage, he created a stir in the audience by saying, "Thank you, teacher Na Ying."

His remark was a reference to criticism by singer Na in April when Zhang, 34, was announced as a judge on the Hunan TV show, a version of Britain's The X Factor television contest.

In remarks to reporters, Na, 45, had queried the credentials of Zhang, an actress, to be a music coach on a singing show.

Na, who produced a winner on another singing show, also predicted that Zhang, unlike herself, would not be able to foster a champion.

Following his win, Zeng told reporters that Na's remarks had spurred him to prove himself and defend Zhang's dignity, website Sina.com reported.

He also said his victory was due to Zhang's guidance and "Na was just inspiring me to work harder".

Zhang told reporters: "I respect Na Ying as I am not an insider. There is nothing to compare.

Being a judge was a big challenge for me. Whether or not we turned out a champion, this has been a most meaningful part of my life."

Judges/mentors also included singers Eason Chan, Lo Ta-yu and Zheng Jun.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

Become a fan on Facebook