Despite its seemingly squeaky image, reality survival show Produce 101 China is not without some skeletons that production probably wished would stay buried forever. In a recent interview, former trainee Kimberley Chen gave audiences the 411 on some never before revealed happenings trainees of the show were forced to experience.
One of the things the singer shared were the methods employed by the show to amp up the appearance of how tired everyone was after a grueling training schedule. In reality, Produce 101 staff would knock on everyone’s doors at four in the morning to hustle them all downstairs… only to wait around for three hours doing nothing.
Working Under Next to Zero Sleep and Red Bull
In the beginning, Kimberley said she went along with it until she found out that it was all part of a ploy to keep the girls from getting some much needed shut eye. The singer added that they usually finished work quite late especially when they had to shoot individual interview scenes. Because there are quite a number of girls lined up, trainees often had to wait until three or four in the morning for their turn. However, she once overheard staff instructing the younger trainees that they don’t need to sleep, and to “just hurry up and retouch your make-up then to come back out”. As a result, most trainees heavily relied on drinking Red Bull to keep their energies up.
Kimberley Chen also said that she felt quite distressed seeing everyone being treated that way. Later, she and her roommates boycotted the staff’s behaviour, locking their doors and putting on headphones to drown them out when they come knocking. At one point, program staff even asked hotel management to remove the locks from their doors which management thankfully refused. It’s unsurprising then that they were slowly cut out in latter parts of the season says the singer.
Now we all know that reality shows are pretty much scripted up to a certain point but who knew the extent the girls were forced to endure just to give the show a heightened sense of verisimilitude?
Before joining Produce 101 China in 2018, Kimberley Chen had already gotten her feet wet in the entertainment industry with a few stints on Australian television and Broadway and later as a trainee for JYP. Despite placing under the A+ group (the highest ranking in the show) for her outstanding singing and dancing skills, she was later eliminated at 26th place. The singer is also known for her debut song 愛你 Ai Ni which she released in 2012.