Oh, Talent Shows. They have been around since what seems like the dawn of time, and as the years have rolled by some still stand strong. Perhaps the most memorable (and seemingly never-ending) is music Mogul Simon Cowell’s baby – no, not the literal one – The X Factor. With the arrival of the eleventh season hitting our screens later this year, and with Simon and Cheryl Cole back to ‘grace’ our screens, the show seems unstoppable. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Dancing on Ice, whose Ninth series recently marked the end of its run on television.
So, what makes for a successful and long running TV talent show? Apparently, we Brits just love programmes where we can see other people succeed and fail in equal measure. With long-running talent shows like The X Factor there is always an auditions round; a chance to see an array of ‘talent’ parade across our screens vying for attention. And it would seem with every good ‘act’, there is inevitably around 30 more not so good. The eccentric, the wacky and sometimes the downright crazy, all seem to manage to ‘entertain’ in a similar manner to all the so called ‘good’ acts. This is perhaps why shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent garner so much appeal and are sustainable – they feature a variety of hopefuls, instead of just the best of a bunch.
So, maybe we as a nation just enjoy seeing people try to realise their dreams and become a mega superstar – or maybe we just love being entertained by those who don’t. It’s clear that talent shows do inevitably come to an end (as is the case with Dancing on Ice), but they still seem to have some of the longest runs on television.
As is the nature of TV talent shows, they are often claimed to be democratic because they are (allegedly) decided by the public vote. Perhaps it is this sense of democracy and public control that keep viewers tuning in. If audiences like an act, they have the ability to ‘save’ them from elimination, which puts the public in control of the outcome, giving them a level of power.
With more TV talent shows cropping up, like The Voice and RuPaul’s Drag Race, it seems that a certain amount of ‘talent’ will never be wiped completely from our screens. So whether you love them or hate them, it would appear that these types of programmes are able to attract loyal, large and frequent audiences, which pretty much ensures their continuation.