When SNH48 revealed last week the theme of its 7th General Elections (“创造炙热的青春“), fans were quick to notice that this was pulled directly from the three survival shows SNH48 Group participated in this year: “青春有你2″ (“Youth With You 2”), “创造营2020″ (“CHUANG 2020”), and “炙热的我们” (“We Are Blazing”).
Many at first thought it was just a way for management to capitalize on the recent popularity surge caused by the shows as the numbers of new registrations on the “Pocket48” APP have skyrocketed since March, but it appears that they had something a bit more fundamental in mind.
Changes to the election rules
It all came to light when the group opened it’s 7th General Elections web site on June 8th and details of changes being made to the event were announced.
Let’s go through the key rule changes.
Following the pattern familiar to survival show fans, SNH48 Group will now make weekly announcements of results between June 27th and the beginning of August. Every member that has been with the group for 1 year or more and ranks in the bottom 20 positions at the end will automatically be demoted to “IDOLS Ft”.
Not only can members be demoted as a result of the vote, but they could also be left out from the election event altogether. The group currently has approximately 200 members who could be eligible to participate in the election. Only the ones who rank within the top 148 in votes will be allowed to attend the event.
Another thing apparently taken directly out of the survival show playbook is looking at the Top 16 members as a “team formed to represent” SNH48 Group at major events going forward. This is not entirely new per say but the approach is stronger then the usual SNH48 “team for an MV only” from the past.
SNH48 Group will present preliminary results a total of 6 times ahead of the actual election (twice as many times as in the past). They, however, will not be complete lists with vote totals.
Starting July 7th, the list of the members in the Top 50 will be released without numbers). That will be followed on July 12th with the Top 50 listing, the voting numbers, and how the Top 7 on the list are progressing. All the dates after, except for August 2nd, will only indicate movement within the Top 50 without actual numbers.
The obvious purpose is to create suspense and incite fans to vote more. In the past knowing exactly where the numbers stood and the fan clubs publishing their results regularly allowed you to predict who would win weeks in advance. Fan clubs also mostly stopped voting when their idols were in Top 48 and it became obvious there was no chance of reaching Top 16 or even Top 32.
Be careful what you wish for
Fans of SNH48 had been asking management to send members to survival shows for nearly two years. What fans didn’t see coming though is how popular those shows would become and how much potential for new fans they would create. STAR48 noticed.
It went on not 1 but 3 shows this year and they learned quite a bit from them including the fact that the audience loves a good suspense and will look at the show every week not to see who won, but to see who didn’t.
So SNH48 Group decided to adopt some of the best ideas of those shows to create suspense including the eliminations. There is also a very strong probability that these decisions are the outcome of the boycott several top member fan clubs applied to the 6th General Elections in 2019. Those members failed to rank at all but their fans continued to expect the company to behave as if they had.
STAR48 is basically saying they either support their idols so they can rank or they watch them being demoted to “IDOLS Ft.”