Armless pianist wins on "China's Got Talent" TV show

Liu Wei, 23, has won "China's Got Talent"f or his piano playing. He has no arms. From Reuters:

Liu Wei... who lost both his arms aged 10 when he was electrocuted during a game of hide-and-seek, defeated 7-year-old standup comedian Zhang Fengxi at the final on Sunday at the Shanghai Stadium, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The pianist, from Beijing, who taught himself to play the piano at age 18, impressed the audience with his performance of "You're Beautiful," singing and using his feet to play the piano.

He also reported won over the judges by commenting: "At least I have a pair of perfect legs."

"Armless pianist plays with toes to win "China's Got Talent" (Reuters)

Short video profile of Liu Wei with subtitles here. (YouTube)


  1. I’m sorry, did that article say he lost BOTH HIS ARMS from being electrocuted? While playing hide-and-seek?

    I’m normally not a proponent of the anemic safety playgrounds we have in the States, but…. well shit.

  2. Electrocuted? Wow, arms or no arms, he looks pretty good for a dead guy. That’s the real story here. “Dead guy (who happens to have no arms) plays piano”. /snark

    That was f$#%ing amazing.

  3. Awesome talent and great story of what he managed to accomplish with his ‘handicap’ …

    then again .. it feels a bit like a freak show .. and I hope he does not get exploited as the armless piano player …

    Curious to see the 7 year stand up comedian ..

  4. Maybe it’s the odd angle of the closeup shots, but that doesn’t look like a normal piano to me. The key travel appears to be shorter than usual on the white keys, and the black keys may be elevated a bit. Regardless, it’s quite a (you should pardon the term) feat. I wonder if he can play anything else – and whether he can sightread.

    FWIW, as piano sales falter in the US, pianos are a hit in China. It’s estimated that at least 30 million Chinese children are studying piano. Some sources put the number as high as 80 million. The world’s largest piano maker, Pearl River, is a Chinese firm. In 2007 they built 100,000 instruments. Some were for export, but most of them stayed right there in China.

    1. The piano looks normal to me. Except that the sustain pedal appears to be locked down the entire time. Perhaps someone has inserted something into the mechanism to prevent it popping back up.

  5. I admire this young man for learning to play the piano at age eighteen.

    I remember reading that Lenny Bruce tried out for a talent show, but lost to a piano player with no arms. At least that’s what he said.

    My Sunday school teacher told us the parable “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.”

    “So I asked him, you wouldn’t happen to have a pair of shoes you’re not using, would you?”

  6. His dexterity is obviously compromised due to the way human feet are made, but he did well regardless. I’m actually more impressed by his singing voice. I was expecting to hear a distinctly alien and emotionally disconnected rendition of the song, but he did quite well with it. I’m impressed. The house band was also very good.

  7. RE: 7 year olds in these kinds of competitions – I saw a similar program in Thailand but it was all kids, maybe age 7-12. They were pretty awful and I think the only reason people liked them was that they’re kids and they’re doing things normally older people do (pop singer stuff but also comedy). It was a pretty big show, and very popular. I suppose they’ve got a Thailand’s Got Talent too but I don’t know, never saw it or anything about it. My point is though that this 7-year old comedian probably isn’t that good, just cute.

    I have to say though that I’m glad that a 7-year old comedian and an armless pianist got anywhere near the finals, much less winning.

    I’ve never actually seen these competitions from the US or England but the people who end up winning those don’t seem to be as interesting. Although I guess the only one I’m aware of is Susan Boyle. I think it’s the same story with her – she’s good but not spectacular – you just don’t expect it when you look at her.

  8. Think once, think twice, think don’t hide in a high-voltage transformer box when you’re playing hide and seek.

  9. I must be an evil person…

    #1 thought: “No WAY – He’s gonna play it with his face!?”
    #2 thought: “Why does he need arms on his suit?”
    #3 thought: “footjob.”

  10. First thing that popped into my head was an English joke from my childhood, ‘A man in his car spots a bloke hitchhiking beside the road. Getting closer, he realizes the man has 3 eyes, no arms and only one leg. He stops the car and says, “Aye, aye, aye, you look harmless, hop in.”‘ (It works well with the accent and the dropped ‘h’.)

  11. Electrocuted? No. That means he would be dead, a severe electric shock? Yes that is the correct term.

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