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The return of ‘Bling Empire’: was it worth the wait?

Anna Shay, Kane Lim, Kelly Mi Li and Jaime Xie in season 2 of Bling Empire.

Anna Shay, Kane Lim, Kelly Mi Li and Jaime Xie in season 2 of Bling Empire.

Published May 21, 2022


When “Bling Empire” premiered in early 2021, it was an unexpected hit. We gobbled up the episodes, quickly finishing what was on offer, before digging into the people whose lives we had started being obsessed with.

We wanted to know just how much Anna Shay was worth, whether Christine Chiu is friends with anyone in the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” universe and whether Kelly Mi Li continued her relationship with the abusive “Power Rangers” actor, Andrew Grey.

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We consumed loads of content about the stars of the show, followed them on social media and then when we got over the excitement, began the vigil to the next season. Almost 18 months later, the second season has finally premiered and I feel like I could have waited longer.

Here’s why. Last season, the core story was about Kelly and her relationship with Andrew. The first season ended with a cliffhanger about their relationship, when she showed up at his door and wanting to try again.

We were all outraged. So for the show to pick up with another party, celebrating a couple we don’t know, was odd.

The trick to shows like these is continuity. Scripted or not, reality shows are still telling a story and the audience needs to feel like it’s told as organically as possible.

That we only got to Kelly talking about what happened with her on Drew on the fourth episode, confirmed my feelings about the show’s second season.

It’s disjointed and a little all over the place.

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I guess a lot has to do with the impact of the first season and how it catapulted them from being members of the 1% to genuine fame.

We see Anna chide Christine for suddenly changing her demeanour and leaving her mean-girl persona for a more worldly person who is in touch with how privileged she is, compared to the rest of the world.

It did appear calculated and disingenuous. Which explains why Christine went from being one of the cast members the show focused a lot on, into a bit-part player.

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Kevin Kreider, the “poor” friend in the group, is still the soul of the group. He gets along with everyone and even if the scenes of him trying to date DJ Kim Lee are irritating, he does have a grounding effect on the cast.

We see him show off his new apartment and, like most new homeowners, his mattress is on the floor, he has dodgy linen and he allows them to mock him for his economic status.

While he is not anywhere close to being a billionaire, like his co-stars, he still has a few millions in the bank.

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The first three episodes are all about the gossip that rocks the group regarding the truth about Cherie Chan and Jessey Lee’s relationship. It derails the group and it takes Anna’s disciplining to nip the chattering in the bud.

However the younger cast members feel betrayed that Cherie did not tell them about how she and Jessey became a couple and how Jessey was married with children when they met.

DJ Kim Lee in Bling Empire

When Kane Lim keeps harping on about Cherie and Jessey’s rumoured affair, Anna quickly reminds him that he also has skeletons in his closet and we are able to find out that the Lim’s family business faced some trouble, resulting in $3.5 billion of their assets frozen by the Singaporean government.

This drama led to Cherie and Jessey leaving the show. They got married last year, which the show couldn’t document, meaning fans lose out on what could have been the highlight of the second season.

The addition of “Rich Kids of Hollywood” alum, Dorothy Wang, doesn’t pan out as well as they thought; and that’s the thing, this season is not fun.

It actually paints all of them as vapid brats who have nothing better to do with their time than to just party and be silly. That’s not want we want.

We want Christine and Anna’s power struggles. We want Kane, Kevin and Kelly to have fun. And we want Jaime Xie to show us her shopping trips.

We want messy, good fun and outrageous wealth.

Give us that, please.