How I despise televised talent shows

(March 01, 2014)

Hate is a strong and fearful word. It conjures up demons that offer nothing and take everything. It has connotations that should make humans shudder. Having said that it’s hard to find a less violent but equally accurate word that describes how much I despise televised talent shows. So called ‘extravaganzas’ such as Britain’s Got talent’, The Voice, X-Factor do nothing whatever to promote the art of music and song.

You may as well revert to watching cock fighting or hare coursing. They are equally demeaning and belong on the scrap heap of history. The only difference being, the individuals that control those abominations make far less money and prefer not to reach for the dizzy heights of vacuous celebrity as those marketing moguls that drive talent shows.

Why do the ratings soar in the ‘early rounds’? It’s when poor unfortunate individuals who only want their five minutes of fame subject themselves to the mind numbing embarrassment of being told on national television, what everyone already knows. They cannot sing. Not a note. Not one. Not at all. It’s immaterial if you’re an unemployed but stunningly good looking single mum from Bradford or a faintly deluded, well-over-sixty grandmother from Staines, if you cannot sing, you cannot sing. So why do these people continue to try? Because these appalling shows dangle that elusive nirvana of ‘fame’ before the eager eyes of the deluded. The reward has nothing to do with music

You only have to listen to what they say: “I want to be a celebrity” or “I want to be as big as (insert name of some ‘plastic’ performer that will last as long as the snows of spring)”. They gush about fame, they glorify ‘celebrity’. Nobody enthuses about wanting to sing, to ‘make music’, wanting to tear from their soul that which is crying out to be born. There’s no artists here aching to expose their souls to reach people and with their talent make music.

Now I know many musicians. Talented, hard-working, dedicated individuals who are driven by their music. The overwhelming need to express themselves and share that expression. An encompassing passion that excludes all others. Some make a living (just) through their music, some achieve recognition, a tiny few achieve renown. However, none of them, not one, not a single artist I’ve ever spoken to has told me they wanted to be a celebrity.

Television shows like those cited above and many more currently sat on the desks of marketing executives waiting their chance to shuffle out to be born, do nothing for music. Not a damn thing. All they do is cheapen it and herald in another dark age that in our massively over-communicated world is disgustingly pervasive.

Then again ‘celebrity is a powerful drug. So pass us the mobile it’s time I shot another ‘selfie’ and sent it off to Simon.

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