English speech contestants have to be very versatile nowadays. They should not only have a terrific command of English language and public speaking skills, but also be able to comprehend and appreciate classical music!
Contestant No. 54 is very intelligent and innovative to keep juxtaposing his comprehension of The Blue Danube and his journey with public speaking. Just like music may transform a person and fill him/her with wonder and awe, the contestant feels he is also transformed and feels like a totally different person once standing on the stage, glowing with energy and conviction. He is particularly praise-worthy for his sense of humor, which is a unique trait for popular public speakers. His speech is full of similes and metaphors that add beauty and vividness to it, such as music is “like an outstretching hand reaching out for me”, or “[music] is like a grand celebration”, “my journey is like a symphony”, to name but a few. His use of musical terms such as note, crescendo, texture and so on enhances his credibility for this music-related topic. His passion, natural gestures, poise and cadence in delivery are fantastic.
Contestant No. 50 rightly points out that music (and art) is a universal language that transcends the boundary of gender, social background, nationality, and culture, and conveys love, beauty, hope and life. Contestant No. 68 picks up similar messages from this piece of music. For her, music can transcend national boundaries and bring peace, love and hope to people who listen to it. Both of them recall their first association with The Blue Danube in middle school, which inspired them to imagine and to grow. As Professor Pober suggests, the question “What have you heard in the music” doesn’t relegate to now, so it’s perfectly fine to talk about one’s feeling of listening to this piece of music at an earlier age. But the audiences and judges would also love to know how one may understand it differently now and how it means differently to hear it from a different orch/span>
Also worth noting is that the contestants are asked to talk about what they have heard from this particular piece of music, i.e. The Blue Danube, not just classical music in general. All the three contestants have more or less deviated from this a little pan>
This is obviously an animated and energetic group of speakers with the three boys all assuming a pleasant and resonant voice.
Contestant No. 2 gives a categorically affirmative reply to the question asked. However, rather than suggesting any specific words or actions that might be adopted by both Chinese and American astronauts when meeting Chang’e on the moon, he expounds on the metaphorical or symbolic aspects of the hypothetical scenario: it is the dream we share as two peoples and unity of mankind that we strive for that determine or regulate what we do on this planet or in the outer space. This of course is a reasonable interpretation of the given situatian>
Unlike Contestant No. 2, Contestant No. 82 offers a “no” answer to the question raised and he attributes the reason of the different choices possibly made by the Chinese and American astronauts to the cultural differences of the two countries. Also unlike Contestant No. 2, Contestant No. 82 proposes very specific responses for both American and Chinese astronauts. While it’s certainly a good perspective to try to analyze the cultural factors behind the choices one makes, the notion of “heroism” (suggested by the speaker as a key word for American culture) and treating Chang’e as an idol (suggested by the speaker as the response of the American astronauts on the moon) doesn’t seem to connect well. Also, the concluding part seems to deviate a little from what he has been discussing and therefore sounds a bit abrupt.
Contestant No. 3 is probably the most powerful speaker among the three both in terms of what he speaks and how he speaks it. Similar to Contestant No. 82, Contestant No. 3 believes that the Chinese and American astronauts will behave differently when meeting Chang’e and he also composes specific wording for the two. What is unique about this contestant, however, is that he uses this scene to humorously criticize America for some of its deeds and express people’s dissatisfaction with China’s current poor air quality. Even more impressive is the speaker’s effective way of expressing his idea. He recounts and performs the face-to-face contact between Chang’e and the astronauts of the two countries through both verbal and non-verbal means in such a vivid way that we audiences can even visualize what might be happening up there on the moon.
If there is one thing that Contestant No. 3 could make improvement on, it is his response at the Q & A session. When asked “which of the two astronauts do you think would ask Chang’e for the pills of immortality”, he responds that it is the American astronaut who would do so because one of American philosophers once said that immortality is what Americans have been pursuing. He doesn’t provide the name of the philosopher. But I doubt pursuit of immortality is part of American culture or philosophy. As a matter of fact, it is China’s Taoism that advocates attainment of immortality through self-cultivation and alchemy. When dealing with a question like this, if we think neither of the two choices seems ideal or can be fully justified, we may simply say that neither of the astronauts would ask for the pills of immortality. Instead, they would persuade Chang’e to go back with them to the earth to enjoy the realistic and earthly love. Such an answer may take the audiences (and perhaps the judges as well) by surprise, but it can well be a delightful surprise.