Musical talent meets reality t.v. and we find that young artists are taken to task for being sooky, petulant, and intense. Isn’t that what artists often are? Oh dear that’s a stereotype isn’t it.
We are led to believe that raw talent will be polished and the gem of giftedness will shine brightly. Enter our illustrious glammed up celebrity judges and coaches. Are they still current or are they trying to recapture their own fame through mentoring others. Then enter contestants.
We are told stories of their struggles to arrive at this point in time. It is amazing, lost children, ill health, several attempts to get on the show, struggling families and parents, ditching school, ultra small towns – We are expected to gush tears, and vote more? But do we?
They are dressed in finer clothes than at home, given lighting, a backing band and a voracious audience.
They are told to lose weight, as hair is cut and styled in new ways and they are garbed in a new personality, be it quirky, African tribal, innocent country boy in the city, blind girl diva, street kid come good, or urban gay cowboy.
Yet lately fans have been likening popular shows to The Hunger Games, a book (and now movie) where children are sent into battle for their towns and only one victor will emerge alive. They are quoting the book in seeming defiance of its lessons but coming back for more.
Those who make mistakes are thrown out of the musical arena, without pity for their succumbing to the fame machine and their own egos. They are consumed and then spat out by the ever relentless machine that made them. Little is said about their actual sin on the actual programs that launched them, this is deftly left to the tabloid media machines for they can show the specifics and grab ratings for themselves.
Fans watching from home have been complaining it’s all about the light, gaudy sets, and the screaming in house fans in the audience and ‘we can’t hear the music.’ How simple it could be, a guitar, an artist, a song and a sense of purity. Oh no then they give us that all manufactured with some smoke machines and a new hairstyle; that was not we dreamed of.
Now how to vote for your favourites when they just go anyway and your money goes to line to pockets of the talent makers, who could so easily be called the talent breakers. It is so very Orwell’s 1984, but who would have guessed 1984 would have been so chique.
Social media spreads rumour after rumour and people call out ‘rigged’. They sense they are being manipulated at every turn, but like to forget that when the talent dazzles.
How then should we nurture talent? Should we send them back to the seedy back room pubs, university bars, and hotels, and have them sneak in under age to do their gigging rounds. Should we have them do the rounds of shopping mall talent shows, fete entertainment, or Eisteddfods where their Mum’s are told off if they whip out video cameras or mobile phones to tape the performances.
Yet sometimes there is hope, for there are those who have innocence and seem beyond the manufacturing of their fame attract the most votes. Is their humility and innocence true or false? It’s anybody’s guess.
(c) June Perkins all rights reserved