Harlem Yu and Lee Min Ho Perform the Meteor Garden Theme Song at the CCTV Lunar New Year Gala

Happy Lunar Year everyone/da jia/yeorobun! It’s goodbye to the year of the snake and hello to the year of the horse. This is going to be a great year, I can feel it. Let’s all start by being optimistic and who knows if that’ll be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Last night was Lunar New Year eve and in China that meant billions of people spending the night at home eating and then watching TV. The most watched show was of course the CCTV Lunar New Year Gala and it was a long night of performances of all types not limited to just singing. Lee Min Ho became the first Korean entertainer to perform on the show and he actually sang in Korean as well. I’m impressed CCTV did not force him to sing the entire song in Chinese, though at the very end he did harmonize the chorus in Chinese with his co-performer Harlem Yu. They sang the Chinese-language theme song to Meteor Garden, the Taiwanese adaptation of the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango which ties in with Lee Min Ho since he rocketed to stardom playing the male lead in Boys Before Flowers, the Korean adaptation of HanaDan. The song is called 情非得已 which is one of those Chinese idioms that is so hard to translate into English because there isn’t a corresponding phrase. The literal meaning is someone doing something against their will, not like torture or pain, but more like “I’m sorry I did something, it was not my intention but it couldn’t be helped”. I’ve seen the song title get translated into Can’t Help Falling in Love with You which is an incorrect use of the phrase but in the context of the song is actually correct. Harlem Yu is one of Taiwan’s top music composers and singers but this song is one that he actually only sang but did not write either the lyrics or the melody. For this particular performance, Harlem personally reworked the ballad into an uptempo Chinese New Year tone crossed with cowboy twanged oddity. It was quite enjoyable to watch but the ear does take a few seconds to get used to it. Lee Min Ho and Harlem alternating verses in Korean and Chinese and then finished off with a Chinese version rousing duet chorus. Harlem was definitely having lots of fun but Lee Min Ho was clearly ready to do his best and not make any mistakes. The result is a mixed bag but I walked away kinda bopping the new melody for this song in my head. Check out below and a fair warning that it’s a pretty love it or hate it trippy performance

Harlem Yu and Lee Min Ho “情非得已” (Can’t Help Falling In Love with You):

[youtube id=”hDRTB5LcqeI” w=”625″ h=”445″]



Harlem Yu and Lee Min Ho Perform the Meteor Garden Theme Song at the CCTV Lunar New Year Gala — 47 Comments

  1. I seriously seemed like a school girl because I would not have thought I would have watched this one of American’s basic Chinese TV channel. Seriously, what are the odds? I was in my room and my dad was watching some Chinese Channel with the Lunar Year performances and I heard the familiar melody of Meteor Garden and my ears totally perked up and ran to watch it. And so I saw Lee Min Ho sing in Korean and Harlem Yu singing in Mandarin with such a cowboy twang. It was so fun to watch it! What a lovely unexpected surprise.

  2. The performance was a hoot. The “English” names crack me up – Harlem Yu & Alien Huang being two examples. Points for creativity.

  3. I guess since I don’t know the song I don’t get much from them singing it, but this was a little boring and a lot cheesy. They worked it a bit at the end, but otherwise mostly forgettable. Lee Minho can’t sing, but he’s not offensively bad so it’s hard to hate on him for his attempt. He shouldn’t quit his day job though.

    • Cheesy is the very pinnacle of a Chinese variety program performance, ergo this one fits the bill of what is considered perfect.

  4. Holy moly Ms Koala. I came to this article half asleep and now my brain is fried.

    I kept expecting Oklahoma with the ” yee har ” then I kept switching from Mandarin to Korean.

    Upbeat tempo alright but what a hot mess. Plus the dancers in them boots. And the yodeling?

    Eep. This is one song when it’s better you only understand one language.

  5. It was painful for me to watch. I don’t like the cowboy thing going on and LMH looks uncomfortable. Plus, they should of left out the back up dancers.

  6. I don’t see LMH uncomfortable, not more than usual. He even did go for a hug instead of a handshake at the end.
    His voice is okay but he better should stay with acting :P.

    Of course I like the original version better but it was fun to see and hear.

    • Conceptually I liked it, very Harlem to have fun with his own song and then realize the uptempo version was needed for this celebratory event performance. The folksy parts were almost like he was hip to be square and enjoying the audience comprised of very serious folks expecting a certain type of cheesy performing. Lee Min Ho did as well as can be, I agree.

      • We enjoyed the performance for the entertainment… Guess Harlem needed to add extra inches to his hair to catch-up with LMH’s height (^^)… Is LMH the longest legged oppa/ajussi in K/J/TW entertainment???? The inquiring mind wants to know…

  7. Wut? LOLOL to the max!

    LMH held his tune better than I expected, but the poor dear looks petrified.

    And, what’s with the prancing tutus? LOL

    One probably shouldn’t read too much into it, but I find it telling that Korea’s first representative on this mega show is picture PERFECT (That face! The height!) while only moderately talented. It’s all ok, because he’s insanely beautiful!

    • They picked him not because he is picture perfect or because he is moderately talented but because he IS the most popular Korean celeb in China. They even allowed him special entry at the airport because he causes so much chaos when he arrives.

      The undertone of your post is quite insinuating and suggestive. The undeniable fact is Lee Min Ho has more recognizability and is more bankable than any other Korean including your bias. Or else they would be there in his place.

      BOF, City Hunter and Heirs were all hugely popular in China even though they have access to all Korean drama online, his dramas are almost always successful there so he is considered the most bankable, that is why he was chosen. Out of all the Heirs cast only he and PSH saw a vast increase in their popularity there, moreso Min Ho though.

      • I think that it is sad when a celebrity is popular more for his height and good looks than for his talent – like an athlete being popular because of his looks and physique rather than his ability to play the game well. I personally don’t have anything against LMH, but while his dramas are popular, his acting is at best a B+. Moreover, his roles are basically, ‘safe’ roles. And while he can carry a tune, he is not spectacular – let’s just say that he won’t win any singing contest!

        In the performance, it’s very clear who is the professional and who the not so professional. Harlem Yu was certainly enjoying himself and showing his talent by adding in variations to his part, while LHM, simply kept to his tune (clever boy) and did look a trifle nervous.

  8. Thank God it went well. I was nervous for him.
    I want to be his stylist. Not only to be close with him, but i will put him in better clothes, i’m sure.
    His movie shooting will start in March, how he get in shape in one month? Is it possible? He looks skinny now.

  9. thanks for posting this LOL video. Still love the original version but this one is so cute. Noticed that Harlem even injected some Chinese opera elements into this song – he was really having fun with it. LMH looked kinda sheepish about it and the audience seemed stunned by this unusually eclectic remix. The dancing girls I could do without but the backdrop was cute with the origami inspired elements. Thanks, Ms Koala!

    • I was strangely entertained by the middle section Chinese opera elements. It shows Harlem’s creativity and he made it work.

      • Yes! It was Harlem Yu that made the whole performance work! Kudos to him. It’s like a professional tennis player having to play doubles with an amateur, and having to make sure that they win!

  10. Very cute! All in all, looks like both guys had fun. I’m not blind to LMH’s musical limitations, but I luff him anyway. Fangirls are loyal like that. ⌒.⌒

  11. I love it. I am watching this show right now on ICN channel(I have never watched this channel before). Sophie Marceau just finished sining a french song with a chinese singer and it was cute. I am still waiting for Lee Min Ho to appear.

    • Hello kazuha,
      I remember Sophie Marceau from her movies “La Boum” and “La Boum 2,” known in English as “The Party,” and “The Party 2” (from the early 1980s). I was wondering, do you know if Sophie Marceau is popular in China? I don’t have an issue with her singing “La Vie En Rose,” I was just wondering why she might have been chosen to represent France, I am guessing?

  12. My ears never got used to it. The beat was fun, but at the end of the song I was shaking my head and thinking; NOOOO… Why would anyone mess up 情非得已 like that?

  13. The county music thing and yodeling was definitely bizarre, but for me the most disturbing aspect of the show was Harlem’s outfit.
    Funny how everyone is criticizing LMH’s clothes, but at least I can see where he was going with it, what with being on a Chinese TV station, performing for CNY. I can appreciate the satiny material of his jacket, reminiscent of a qipao, and also the red color, which is a must for any CNY celebration.
    Harlem’s outfit, on the other hand…..oy where do I even start?
    The fur collar? The shiny zebra pants? The silver pocket chains? The black high top sneakers? The Elvis-inspired Iroquois hairdo?! Just wow.
    LMH’s singing was pretty good and he even nailed the fast-paced Chinese lyrics at the end! And I can’t stop staring at his endless legs.

  14. Eeeehawwww….LOL…. I’m not a country music fan let alone sung in Chinese and Korean but since LMH is singing I bear it to the end

  15. Oh,LMHot….you’re too cute…I love you through warts and all(Personal Touch -watched at least 6x);i would tell you to keep your day job,but all my chingu’s told me about yout latest hot mess(Heir),so this is …good job??
    Hehe,this brings back memories of TVB’s CNY specials…yup,happy celebratory singings…Happy Lunar Year,everyone…esp to my dear chingu,@ockoala and family \(^.^)/***

  16. …I’m lost for words; I have such fond memories of watching the Taiwanese Meteor Garden (okay, I was young and gullible then), but I really liked listening to the song for weeks on end. To hear this eclectic musical bricolage of Chinese opera, cowboy guitar twanging, and Chinese musical instruments thrown randomly together, it’s odd at first listen. Haha, did you see how all the audience is stunned and taken aback, laying back slackly in their seats and the applause did come a tad later at the end. While I can’t say they really pulled it off, but it’s definitely an adventurous experimentation on Harlem’s part, and memorable. Seriously though, lay off the backup dancers fluttering around in their frothy pink puff skirts -.-

  17. Oh boy oh boy… not a fan of the tempoor type of background music but once the lyrics were.out it brought a smile to my face. Lol. Cheesy so cheesy but loved the song. Brings back memory of t/drama and first love of vic zhou. Gonna go rewatch it…

  18. How can this be anything other than adorable?
    I was smiling ear to ear the whole time.

    Felt like a flashback to what would have been on a Chinese version of a very high budget 70’s variety show.

    LMH looked nervous, but cute, with his robotic “this is the part where I point nonchalantly at the crowd”
    Harlem Yu kept giving “You can do this!” looks. He had enough confidence for the both of them. Loved it.

  19. Hi Ms Ockoala,

    Totally agree with you that there’s no translation of 情非得已 to English! It depends on the context.

    The yoldling was a creative play on the horse year, and the oriental touches came in the form of modern Chinese opera. I found this pretty refreshing!

    Not sure if you’ve caught the 18 mins interview he did on the show. LMH did mentioned he took 2 weeks to do the end chorus in Chinese, and couldn’t do more due to time constraints. On the whole, I would say he did well and Koreans proud.

  20. There is nothing wrong with lee min hos style its very unique and is not the least ugly but the exact opposite ! Ppl need to find another thing to takk about lee min ho ! If u could find one ! Good luck with that !

  21. I enjoyed the performance for what it was. Lee Min Ho did a good job and I love the tone of his voice.

    He was also the most talked about celeb of the gala and most talked about on weibo. He has basically caused a cyber storm.

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