On 20th March 2021, Tony Yu Jingtian officially emerged as first place for Youth With You 3’s first rankings announcement.
However, his expression was not one of his extreme joy or relief. It was strange that he looked like this despite getting first place. He gave his first speech following the revelation of the rankings and boldly declared: who said the theme song center would be the final center?
This came after Tony Yu’s marginal defeat by Luo Yizhou during the theme song ranking announcements. The former lost to the latter by a mere two votes.
The candid speech brought much competitive tension to the atmosphere, as onlookers looked over at Luo Yizhou for a reaction. But it became apparent that there was a friendly rivalry between the two men.
Suffice to say, this season has been an anomaly when it comes to deciding the identity of the center. In the previous seasons, the center of the debuted group were also centers for the first round of elimination rankings.
This included Cai Xukun, Li Wenhan, and Liu Yuxin. Not only did all three debut as center of their group, they also scored first place in the first elimination rounds. However, owing to a foot injury, Tony Yu was unable win first place for the theme song challenge. This likely made him unhappy as it was not a battle where he could showcase his full talent.
When he finished his first place speech, the trainees cheered for him. The atmosphere in the training ground became even more tense. Yet, one must have some courage to say these words in front of such a large audience. A survival show should be a test of one’s abilities. Although Tony Yu is young, his performance is always expressive and professionally executed.
Perhaps owing to his relatively early entry into the entertainment industry, Tony Yu understood it all too well – the cruelty of competition. He knew that he had to explore every opportunity to perform on stage to the fullest. Or he might risk never debuting at all. Thus, he has been brave enough to challenge the traditional concept of the theme song center as being the ultimate center.
There is a general consensus that the speech is directed at Luo Yizhou. Though it is a fact that Luo Yizhou’s current ranking is not very high, as he was placed 14th during this round. As much as Luo Yizhou is good-looking and talented, his failure to emerge as top 9 for the first elimination round will be heavily scrutinised. The program team certainly excelled at taking advantage of such conflicts.
As soon as Tony Yu made his speech, the camera instantly shifted to capture the reaction of Luo Yizhou.
Luo Yizhou Responds To Tony Yu’s Challenge
As a person with naturally great charisma and stage presence, Luo Yizhou responded to Tony Yu’s challenge with an air of calm and composure. He rose up directly from his seat and asked the program team for a microphone to speak. Though the tense atmosphere still stood. He affirmed Tony Yu’s words first, saying that he admired Tony Yu’s expression just now. He also responded simply that they could continue to ‘talk’ via their future performances on stage.
The dialogue between the two felt minced with so many meanings. While there seemed to be mutual respect, there is also a sense of passive-aggression. Of course, hearing Luo Yizhou’s words, Tony Yu decided not to prolong the awkward atmosphere any longer and smiled in reaction.
After all, this is merely a variety show. If they debut, they would have to to train together in the future as good friends. It is not worth the risk of declaring full on war with each other. Both had a great deal of respect for each other, and Tony was also extremely respectful of Luo Yizhou.
He gave Luo Yizhou a bright smile in the end to defuse the tension. But Luo Yizhou obviously seemed more determined to prove himself on stage.
Perhaps the comedian of the day award would go to Liang Sen who was standing next to Tony Yu. After listening to both their speeches, he joked that he felt a bit “extra” in the room. But this is Liang San’s style, beneath his lighthearted jokes and casual demeanour, he remains someone who works extremely hard. This is an exciting showdown that makes it a hard time for viewers to pick between these talented trainees.
Watch Tony Yu’s full speech here:
As of now, the top nine trainees are: Tony Yu, Liang Sen, Lian Huaiwei, Li Junhao, Tang Jiuzhou, Wei Hongyu, Sun Yihang (Kazine), Liu Jun and Deng Xiaoci.
Who is your pick so far? Is Tony Yu, Luo Yizhou or someone else? At the end of the day, we can only wonder who might be the final center. For this season, the answer is less straightforward than before.