x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Armless pianist who uses toes wins China's Got Talent

Liu Wei, 23, lost his arms in an accident aged 10, but uses his toes for everything from typing at the computer to brushing his teeth.

Pianist Liu Wei before his practice session in Shanghai.
Pianist Liu Wei before his practice session in Shanghai.

SHANGHAI // A musician who lost both arms in a childhood accident and plays the piano with his toes has won China's Got Talent, performing his version of James Blunt's wistful love song "You're Beautiful" to a packed audience at the Shanghai Stadium. 

All three judges on the show yesterday praised 23-year-old Liu Wei for his determination, urging him to keep on pursuing his dreams. Liu, from Beijing, said he would try, quipping: "At least I have a pair of perfect legs."

For winning the Chinese version of the show that helped make Britain's Susan Boyle a singing star, Liu will be invited to play as a guest performer with the Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai. He also has the chance for a performing contract. Liu's arms were amputated after he suffered an electrical shock while playing hide-and-seek when he was 10. At the age of 18, he decided to pursue a career in music, using his feet to play the piano, much as he uses them to navigate on the computer, eat, dress and brush his teeth.

China's Got Talent, a weekly programme shown on the local channel Dragon TV, has helped draw attention to the hopes and challenges of disabled and otherwise disadvantaged Chinese. It featured scores of acts, including a 7-year-old standup comedian, Zhang Fengxi, who won second place. The programme, which began in July, is part of the British recording executive Simon Cowell's "Got Talent" franchise, which now has versions broadcasting in more than 30 countries. 

* AP