That’s what we get for tempting fate. We go ahead and write the “Cui Jian will play on the CCTV Spring Festival Gala broadcast” piece, and of course, now we have to write the “oh no he won’t” post.

The New York Times received an email from Cui’s manager You You Wednesday, the same You You that guardedly confirmed Cui’s participation less than a week ago; the e-mail stated it wasn’t likely China’s Godfather of Rock would be appearing at the Spring Gala for exactly the same reasons he hasn’t ever performed on the show before: his controversial lyrics – the very thing that rubs radio and television officials the wrong way.

You said that while she and Cui were awaiting a final decision, it didn’t look good. “Because we cannot change the song lyrics,” was the reason she gave. Yeah, we figured that. Cui’s off directing his second film, so we’re guessing he’s only somewhat bothered by it. 

Still, it would be/would have been cool, kind of like Elvis Presley appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Except that Cui is now in the equivalent of his spangly jumpsuit phase, which means he would perform wearing his signature white baseball cap with the red star, both a statement and a bulwark against baldness.

At least Cui can retain the distinction of not having sold out in the corporate-sponsored world of rock n’ roll.

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