Sunday, 20 April 2008

I'd Do Anything...sort of

So here we go again with another BBC/Andrew Lloyd-Webber reality audition TV show, ‘I’d Do Anything’ where another West End star will be chosen by the public. You know what the worst thing is about TV singing talent shows? It’s the way the results can be manipulated. In the case of the ‘competition’ type shows like IDA, the control of manipulation lies with the organisers, judging panel and ‘trainers’. So if you want to create your own show, this is how you do it.

1. First plan out your talent show and then decide who is going to win.

2. The potential winner is then given an extremely well known and popular song to sing. This is absolutely key because an audience will always respond to a favourite song almost irrespective of the talent or personality of the singer. The song should be chosen so that it fits the audience demographic, so a sixties song is matched to a middle-aged audience and so on. There are always memories attached to songs, most of which are happy, so a well-matched song is bound to strike a few chords. (Note - the ‘Stars in their Eyes’ entrant who won with Chris de Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ got it absolutely right. His was not a killer impersonation but the song chosen was a tremendously popular, sentimental song that virtually everybody in that audience had last-danced to in their youth. How could he fail?)

3. Conversely, the most talented singer in the competition is given a slightly bizarre yet extremely difficult song to attempt. When it doesn’t quite come off, the judging panel sympathizes with the following:
‘We gave you a tough song this week because we felt your talent could do it justice, but unfortunately it didn’t quite convince. Nevertheless it was still a great performance.’
Of course the last sentence attempts to show balance but the damage has been done and the seed of doom has been sown with the audience.

4. The remainder of the competitors are given slightly less popular or wrong demographic songs than the proposed winner (so Bing Crosby in front of a twenty-something audience and Puff Daddy for old age pensioners). This ensures that they will not shine in quite the same way. Of course, if it doesn’t work one week there is always the following week and eventually the ‘right’ person will emerge.

In these sorts of shows it is really the music that is under scrutiny, not the performers and the music is the one thing that the organisers have under their complete control. Hence results can be influenced, as generally the performer has little control of the song choice and must perform as best they can on an uneven playing field.

Simple really. Good luck with your show.


TR1-Guy said...

Personally, I'd like to find the person who originally came up with the "reality" show format and string them up. You may or may not know, but I started my career back in 1977(yes) as TV News Director. I was ruined by Network TV "standards" of news. It was not about news, but ratings. When I wanted a "good" story inserted, but the producers felt it would be "unpopular" then they'd cut the story, even though it was NEWS!

So reality shows are the lowest form of TV shows. Networks program the "least objectionable programming" (LOP), meaning, what's the lowest form of trash we can put on and folks will still tune in as NOTHING else is on. What? I was trained in that theory and couldn't stand it. It meant we, as TV producers, would never try to challenge ourselves, but merely put out what's least objectionable. Crap, that's not how creativity works! So, in 1979, I bid TV Land fairwell and ended up here!

So, "reality" shows are anything but real. They are just so CHEAP to produce and SO MANY watch, they continue to pop up. Do me a favor, watch PBS or anything but these damn things so they'll go away. Thank you! :)

Jayne Ferst said...

I stumbled on this fascinating fact recently - Sir Joseph Bazalgette created London's sewage system, but his great grandson, Peter Bazalgette, helped pump cr*p back into everyone's homes by being the man that brought us "reality" tv show Big Brother. I bet his ancestor is proud, eh?

musicobsessive said...

Jayne - I love it! One of the most appropriate facts ever uncovered, I'd say.

Tr1-Guy - Hey, I'm supposed to do the ranting on this blog! Anyway, I totally agree and when you find the culprit, I'll help with the stringing up! My theory has been proved this week. The contestant named Keisha has been voted in the bottom two for the last two weeks but this week she was voted up the list by the public, and why? Because she was given to sing, 'My Heart Will Go On' from 'Titanic' which is a hugely popular song and was number one for squillions of weeks in virtually every country in the world.
Case proved m,'lud.