Chinese host and variety show regular, Yang Di (杨迪), was trending on Weibo for the second time this month after getting himself into the hot seat on his variety show, “Youth Periplous 2” (青春环游记2). On the episode that aired on August 15, there was a celebrity guessing game where Lay Zhang’s (张艺兴) Chinese name, “Zhang Yixing”, was the answer. Yang Di mentioned a reference, “three missing one”, which sparked backlash as some people thought it was a diss to Lay Zhang.
Actress, Liu Mintao (刘敏涛), was a guest on this episode and was the one guessing. Cast member, Jia Ling (贾玲), threw out Huang Zitao, Luhan, and Kris Wu so that Liu Mintao would guess “Zhang Yixing”, but she didn’t get it. Yang Di, who was sitting on the sidelines, shouted out, “three missing one”, to help Liu Mintao. After the episode aired, the hashtag, “Yang Di, three missing one”, shot up to the hot trend list on Weibo with many people yelling at Yang Di in the comments.
In the Chinese fandom circle, “Return of the Four Sons” (归国四子), is often used to refer to the return of Kris Wu (吴亦凡), Luhan (鹿晗), Huang Zitao (黄子韬), and Lay Zhang back to China to develop their careers. As Lay Zhang is still signed with SM Entertainment and with EXO, he hasn’t worked with Kris Wu, Luhan, and Huang Zitao, whereas they have broke the ice and collaborated with each other on several occasions.
Due to the backlash, Yang Di recorded a video and apologized for the use of the term “three missing one”. He explained Liu Mintao couldn’t guess “Zhang Yixing” when Jia Ling mentioned Huang Zitao, Luhan, and Kris Wu. Yang Di said he was thinking of the “Return of the Four Sons” (归国四子) reference, and mentioned the “three missing one” mahjong reference, as one person was not mentioned from the “four sons”, which is Zhang Yixing. Yang Di explained netizens told him “three missing one” is actually used by antis to hate on Lay Zhang, which got him confused and led him to look it up on Baidu and discovered there were actually two terms.
The term Yang Di said he was using was, “three missing one” (三缺一), which is derived from the Chinese tile game, mahjong, and requires four people to play. The reference is used when three players are missing one person to start the game. The other term is “three missing Yi” (三缺艺), which sounds the same as “three missing one” (三缺一), but the last character, “Yi” (艺), is the the “Yi” from Zhang Yixing’s name. The term “three missing Yi” is reportedly a diss on Lay Zhang and his relationship with the other three former members as they are often collaborating and working together, while Lay Zhang is “left out”.
Yang Di followed up with another apology in the comments saying, “If I have offended Yixing and Yixing’s fans, I want to apologize here. I really don’t know how “three missing one” (三缺一) transformed into a bad term. Sorry.” However, some of Lay Zhang’s fans claim the yelling and complaining was not their doing and they were just as confused by the drama. They thought it was a trivial matter and kept explaining in the comments, hoping Yang Di wouldn’t feel overburdened. They suspect it was antis causing trouble.