Straits Times says he was stuck on the show for months after signing a contract that would force him to pay a penalty if he quit:
His lack of enthusiasm played out in half-hearted singing, rapping and dancing alongside the other, more eager contestants.
Performing under the stage name Lelush, he urged the public to vote him out, saying he did not want to be among the 11 winners of the show, who are contractually obliged to form a boy band.
Fans, some earnest and some ironic, dubbed him "the most miserable wage slave" and celebrated him as an icon of "Sang culture", a popular concept among Chinese millennials referring to a defeatist attitude towards everyday life.
As in Japan, South Korea, and other parts of Asia, fan groups have carved out a large niche in Chinese popular culture. Existing for the sole purpose of elevating the online popularity or album sales of a celebrity “idol,” such groups often adopt cute names in hopes of winning over new recruits. But because Sidorov was such an unconventional contestant, his fans chose an unconventional name for their collective: sunsi, which means “shredded bamboo shoots” and is also a homophone for “mean fans.”