Updated: Oct 3, 2020
s hard to turn on the television today without being bombarded with advertising for the latest version of a TV Talent Show. Whether it is America Idol
, X-Factor or The Voice, these shows have grown in popularity, both in the UK and overseas, over the past 10-15 years. While the telecasting of talent shows, and their ‘non paid or low-paid contestants’, is
not new, the promise of subsequent fame to competition winners is. For example, competitors on the longrunning (1983–1995) talent show ‘Star Search’ were offered the chance to win prize money. Comparatively,today’s TV Talent Shows offer recording contracts and a chance at celebrity.The ‘commodification of celebrity’ This newly formed environment presents itself as a challenge to modern singing teachers who are regularly confronted with students wishing to participate in TV Talent Shows.How should today’s singing teacher respond to the student who insists on auditioning for the TV Talent Show? In a recent online survey respondents were asked whether they thought TV Talent Shows further the career of participating singers. Eighty five percent of respondents acknowledged that ‘some’ of the participant’s careers are benefited by their participation of such programs. One respondent commented, The television exposure may assist those singers who already have a professional career as a well known tribute act or entertainer. This is presuming however that the stigma of actually being involved in the show does not detract from the pre-existing branding the singer has established in the first place (musically and image-wise). This insightful response highlights the need for careful consideration when participation is being contemplated. Anecdotally, I have observed that manyamateur singers do not apply this level of ‘pre-thought’ when deciding to attend the various shows’ auditions. It seems singing teachers are not offering much guidance either. Of those survey participants who had received singing lessons from a ‘qualified/experienced singing teacher’ 76% of respondents suggested that participation in TV Talent Shows was never discussed during lesson time. With the prevalence of these programs, and their apparent focus on singers, this statistic is a concerning observation and requires further attention.Why are singing teachers not engaging their students in conversation about these programs? Ethically, while not directly accountable for the singer’s well-being outside of their own teaching studios, teachers have a responsibility to direct and school the development of the student; both as singer and as artist.What psychological impact does the rollercoaster-like journey of these programs have on successful auditionees; not to mention the winners who experience the elation of winning, and the often short lived celebrity status (only to be absorbed back into society as if nothing happened). One contestant of X Factor told the judges that their singing coach from Splash Productions were very helpful in the process in going over the pitfalls and highs of doing talent shows and once the contestant made their mind up they wanted to do it he helped the whole way.
So what do we all think do these TV Talent Shows Help or Hinder your career