By CCTV correspondent Iain Mckinnell
The Year of the Horse has arrived. Hundreds of millions of people welcomed in the Chinese New Year by tuning into the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the most watched television event in the world. This year’s gala included both traditional and modern performances, bringing together Chinese and overseas stars.
Getting into the Year of Horse while watching the Spring Festival Gala. As usual, the gala included singing, dancing, mini dramas, as well as the traditional cross-talk dialogues, martial arts and opera performances. To draw in younger viewers, South Korean pop star Lee Min-ho was invited to the 2014 gala. Lee sang a Chinese pop song in both Korean and Mandarin, with Harlem Yu from Taiwan.
Also adding to the international flavor this year was renowned French actress Sophie Marceau. The former "Bond girl" took the CCTV stage for the first time. She performed the famous French song La Vie En Rose with the Chinese artist Liu Huan.
Hong Kong singer Kelly Chen and actor Tony Leung Ka Fai danced the waltz together as they sang. The pianist Lang Lang was in the lineup. And young singers selected from TV talent shows also joined the show.
Since it is the Year of the Horse, the animal found its way into many of the performances.
With more than 700 million viewers each year, the gala has been an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations since it was first broadcast in 1983.
This year, well-known comedy film director Feng Xiaogang was appointed the general director of the gala. It was the first time someone outside of CCTV had been chosen to lead the program.
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