The show, which has been streaming on the YouTube-like platform Youku since November 20, is currently the third most watched variety show in China, according to Maoyan – a Chinese ticketing platform that ranks television programmes in terms of ratings. Youku is the video platform arm of Alibaba Group Holding, which owns South China Morning Post.
Ng tells the Post that Hong Kong entertainers lend themselves well to variety shows in China, as many received training in dancing and singing at a very young age.
“Rehearsals started immediately after I arrived in Wuxi [a city near Shanghai],” the actor says. “I rehearsed for the first episode for around five days. For the street dance [performances], I didn’t even need to rehearse as I was born with the skills.”
In the first episode of the second season of Shine! Super Brothers, Ng sang Forgotten Time, a song featured on Infernal Affairs II (2003) in which he played a cunning and ruthless killer.
Despite having appeared on stage in 2019 in musical First Date alongside singer-actress Ivana Wong Yuen-chi, Ng says that singing live is stressful for him.
“It might sound incredible but I seldom listen to music. I’ve been listening to more music lately and the only song I listen to is Forgotten Time. When I am at home, I don’t like noise. I don’t do anything that makes a sound.”
Ng says joining Shine! Super Brothers has been a big challenge for him: “This is a contest of performing talents and I have to collaborate with a team. But I am happy that there are young people on set who teach me about music.”
Fellow contestant Dicky Cheung says he finds the show invigorating, especially the dance segments. He says wants to have a “breakthrough in dance” as he also wants to join the fifth season of the hugely popular Street Dance of China.
To stay in shape, Cheung says he does 60 push-ups and 300 jumping jacks in his hotel room on days when shooting involves a lot of physical activity.
“I think the show producers can be more demanding,” he says.
Both Hong Kong stars look younger than their age – a factor that no doubt has helped win them scores of fans in China – and Cheung says the key to staying young is to not think about getting older and to be optimistic.
“Whether for my work or personal life, I expect the best to happen but also prepare for the worst outcome. I apply this mental strategy to whatever I do,” he says.
Ng says sleeping and meditation helps him stay youthful. “I love meditating, reading and cooking. There are 21 stars on Shine! Super Brothers. It’s a long night when shooting is done,” he says.
“I meditate during the intervals before it’s my turn to perform. I actually suffer from a bit of social anxiety, and meditation helps me calm down.”