We are Young 2020
We are Young 2020, (alt. title 少年之名）produced by Youku is the only Chinese male idol group survival show airing this year. This show began airing on June 26, and faced great anticipation due to the mentor line-up. Some of the most popular mentors on this show include WJSN’s Cheng Xiao, GOT7’s Jackson, TFBOYS’s Jackson Yee, and EXO’s Lay.
Initially, in a pre-interview, Lay admitted that he initially rejected the invitation to join this show when he was first approached. He first asked the interviewer, “Are you guys sure you want me to say it? Are you guys ready to hear it?” when the interviewer said yes, Lay explained that in his opinion, the show should not be done this year. He said there was no hurry, and that rushing to produce another boy group would not bring good results. Historically, there have been many Chinese male idol group survival shows following the great success of CJ E&M’s Produce 101, the South Korean televised talent competition franchise. However, according to Lay, if “you churn out another one, how can you have good successors? Is that even possible?”
Ultimately, Lay stated that he joined We are Young 2020 as a backstage mentor purely to share his knowledge and skills with the trainees to prepare them for the stage.
Advice for Youths
As a “behind the scenes Youth Producer,” Lay saw it as his duty to teach the trainees right from wrong, in both their skills as well as their attitudes. He was glad to see that trainees he has met before on previous shows have improved in their sense of stage control when they performed EXO’s Monster for him. Lay suggested for trainees to use himself as their lowest standard. Lay recounted going to practice even when he was so tired he couldn’t move during his four and a half years of training because he believed he wasn’t yet good enough.
However, when Lay critiqued less experienced trainees, he warned them that they might be complimented for being fresh and cute, but they might also be asked if they came to the show to play around. Nevertheless, Lay warned them to take every mentor’s advice to heart.
Lay also defended trainees that have been labeled as “twice cooked pork.” This negative label is often given to trainees who have failed to achieve success on previous survival shows or in previous idol groups, and have joined the show in hopes of a second chance at a successful debut. Lay stated that in the end, “pork is pork. Meat is meat. Everyone is deserving of a new start. What about me? I can be considered as ‘twice cooked pork as well.”
Lay’s participation on this competing platform was shocking to fans because of his previous involvement in the iQiYi show, Idol Producer, along with WJSN’s Cheng Xiao and former PRISTIN’s Jie Qiong. Idol Producer was later renamed as Youth with You, in which BlackPink’s Lisa took part in as a dance mentor.