Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being a Reality Show Talent Contestant II

Many people are fans of American Idol, but I have never been one of these. Not only do the judges seem wholly incapable of judging talent, they seem to comment in ways that merely influences the bottom line of the show and not that of the contestants. This is okay so as long as those competing understand this. Unfortunately, many contestants seem totally oblivious that there is really not much in it for them. I touch on this in an article written a few months back. It can be read here.

There is no real talent search here and very few contestants make it big, not to mention many like Susan Boyle, of the other Simon Cowell show, Britain's Got Talent, were means to an end. The end was never them. Imagine how much is being netted by Cowell's shows off of the desire of many young struggling artists and not so young hoping to be heard and make it big time. How much does it cost to rent a hall for auditions and the show? How much does it cost for guest artists? But the contestants themselves are not paid.

Yesterday it was announced that Ellen DeGeneres will be a judge on American Idol. Can anybody please tell me how this comedienne is qualified to judge singing contestants? Of course, this goes to my point. The show is not about talent or the contestants. I wonder if at its core these shows are more about the business of dreams deferred and profit, more than entertainment. To a certain extent there is nothing wrong with these entertainment shows. Millions of people watch them. But I'm not big on them because they muddy the waters between entertainment and exploitation, not to mention that the very best Amercian singers we will never hear of.


Marion said...

I'm with you on this topic, Judith. I've never been a fan of the show and I can't see how someone with not one iota of singing talent or background can presume to judge other folks' talent.

And why in the world was this so-called 'news' announced on the NBC Nightly News last night? That pissed me off because it is NOT news---there are much more important issues out there to report on! Okay, I feel much better now. LOL! Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

Is Ellen's show on NBC? It's all about rating, eh? I don't watch her, but it seems like tons of people do and she seems rather affable.

But I did read a quote online moments ago where she said something like, "I'm going to be like most Amerians. I'll have a day job and a night job."

That statement was incredibly insensitive and foolish. She is by NO MEANS like most Americans. How ridiculous!

This brings up another point. I'm sick of seeing recycled stars. Are we in America that lacking in talent?

Marion said...

Recycled stars...I like that. You have a wonderful way with words, Judith.

Yes, where is all that so-called new talent they keep discovering? You're right about Ellen being on NBC. It was just more promo, I guess. I used to watch Ellen's show, but it got too silly/stupid for me. And that statement she made was in very bad taste seeing as how almost 10% of all Americans are without even a part-time job. Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

LOL, Marion! But silly and stupid can be entertaining just so as long as everybody knows what's at play. Think "The Three Stooges." :-)

Judith Ellis said...

And, yes, Marion. Thanks for the mention of the some 14.9 million Americans who are out of work. Bad taste indeed. This also points to the lunacy often of a certain positioning and public presence. Although, not all are as insensitive. I can't imagine, for example, Bill and Melinda Gates making such a stupid statement, not that Ellen is in the same position by any means, a slight pun intended. :-)

zorro said...

The reason why someone without one iota of singing talent makes a good judge is that she reflects most of the people in the show's audience. People know Ellen and like her and for the most part, have exactly as much singing talent as she does. And these people also get to vote. A few years ago, I got XM radio. They play lots of music of all styles. One of the first things that occurred to me was that there is an big over supply of great musical talent. Talent shows on TV that crown people winners by votes of panel members and audience members allow the 'talented' contestants to get name recognition and a stamp of approval that makes them more marketable. Ellen is someone many people like and so these people be interested in how she votes and what she says - its that simple - its not about discovering actual talent at all. Talent in and of itself is no where near enough.
Personally, I don't like these talent shows, but so what. These shows are like sporting events. They probably capture audience who want to see eveything that happens and therefore don't channel surf as much. A repeat on a show like this doesn't cut it. Tvo (sp?) wouldn't be very useful to a true fan of one of these shows, so commercials get viewed by the audience and this is all that really matters to the people paying for the show.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - Thanks for your comment. You make some good points for sure. I would also like to add that these talent shows are also very much like some game shows; more than a few have been proven to be rigged and emotion manipulators.

"Talent shows on TV that crown people winners by votes of panel members and audience members allow the 'talented' contestants to get name recognition and a stamp of approval that makes them more marketable."

To a large extent I agree that this is the charm of such shows. But when it comes down to it, how many contestants have really been successful at even getting small steady gigs even with such marketing? My assumption is not many. The producers are the big winners here, of this there is no doubt.

I also very much agree with you with regards to advertising. Good point. People tune in for various reasons The "genius" behind the model is the desire of many contestants to be stars, the desire of many viewers to sit in the judgement seat, and the minimum costs it takes to produce these shows.