A 23-year-old man who lost his arms in a childhood accident could become China's answer to Susan Boyle after wowing judges and the audience on a TV talent show by playing piano with his toes.
Liu Wei's performance on ‘China's Got Talent’ earned him a spot as one of the competition's 40 finalists, and his appearance has already been seen more than 200,000 times on YouTube and Chinese video sites.
The Beijing native lost his arms at age 10 after touching a high-voltage wire during a game of hide-and-seek, the Shanghai Daily reported.
"I don't know why people always believe my life is so painful because I don't have arms," Liu told the newspaper. "I am a happy man living a colourful life, just like other young people."
He started playing the piano at 19 to pursue his childhood dream of being a musician. His first teacher quit because he thought it was impossible for someone to play with their toes.
But Liu, who was studying music theory, persisted and taught himself in secret how to play, creating his own style of "toeing", he told the newspaper.
When he performed for his parents and friends for the first time, he told them he had picked up the skill accidentally.
Liu said the melodies he can play are limited due to the length of his toes and there are some pieces he loves but cannot play because he is not able to reach across octaves.
But that did not stop him from bringing the studio audience to their feet and leaving one of the competition's judges teary-eyed when he played Richard Clayderman's famous piece ‘Mariage d'amour’ on August 8.
Liu has already been compared to Boyle, an unemployed Scottish spinster who became a global phenomenon last year when she stunned judges on ‘Britain's Got Talent’ with her performance of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from ‘Les Miserables’.
The second round of ‘China's Got Talent’, which has been winning major TV ratings, starts on August 29.