2021 update: I've read that the government censors have gotten rid of the "American Idol" type tv shows.
My students, when asked "What do you like to do in your spare time?" pretty much always answer, "listen to music." They like bland Euro-pop mostly, and insipid Chinese pop music. The radio stations here play just about every genre of music, including pop, rap, hip hop, Whitney Houston-style ballads and even Country &Western.
Flip on Chinese television and you'll likely see a singing contest, the Chinese version of "The Voice" and "American Idol." I'd say these types of shows are incredibly popular, but maybe it's just because the heavily censored Chinese networks have to fill up the airwaves with something.
There are also lots of big blowzy variety shows of a sort that haven't been produced in America for at least 30 years...
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But here is a Chinese singer I'd like to commend to your notice -- Han Hong, from Tibet. No delicate Oriental orchid is Han Hong. She wears men's clothes and keeps her hair cropped short.
Her beautiful voice and commanding personality have made her a popular artist. Here she is singing "Heavenly Road," about the Tibetan plateau and the train that travels there.
"The Myth" is a duet from a Jackie Chan movie about the love between a Korean princess and the Chinese soldier assigned to take her to be married to the Chinese emperor.
Traditional Chinese music also has lots of fans. We recently watched a live show that featured (more than a) thousand-year-old music from the Tang Dynasty and I recognized some of the melodies as songs I've heard people performing in the park. More about that another time....