Deal-breakers in TV talent competitionsBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SINGING tilts have always been part of the TV landscape, but a record number are on view this season. Among the imports are “The Voice” and “Duets,” and their local counterparts include the Philippine edition of “The X-Factor,” “Protege” and “Artista Academy,” not to mention a number of kiddie talent tilts.
We’re all for helping unknowns achieve their dream of musical stardom, but we have to note that past singing tilts haven’t really discovered as many significant and durable singing stars as expected, and originally envisioned.
So, perhaps we can be forgiven for being less than rah-rah and gung-ho about the new talent searches making their bid this season for our patronage and empathetic involvement.
Brought down to earth by past experience, we have opted to set some conditions for the tilts that we choose to more regularly follow and support:
The first deal-breaker is if the competition chooses its winners mainly by “votes” paid for and sent in by viewers.
Yes, we know that this “voting” system can determine the relative popularity of a finalist, and popularity is a factor in the creation of a new star. But, we still subscribe to the belief that exceptional singing talent is what a singing search should mainly be about. And that veteran experts in the field, as hopefully objective jurors, are the best people to determine finalists’ relative excellence, and thus should be the ones entrusted with the key task of choosing the winners.
Another no-no is a tilt’s risky ploy of making a contestant come up with a personal “sob story” to enable him to touch viewers’ heartstrings. We find this device questionable, because it can distract viewers from the contestant’s talent, which to us is the main factor up for judging.
So, if we see that a TV tilt is resorting to the “awa” ploy, we make a mental note not to take it all that seriously.
Finally, aside from the hefty prizes in cash and in kind that a tilt’s winners get, we look for proof positive that the competition’s staffers actually know how to turn a winner into a durable star.
If the post-competition phase is made light of, we sense that the singing search isn’t really all that serious about turning its winner’s victory into actual stardom.
The local show biz scene is littered with too many “winning” singers who haven’t attained real stardom. We don’t want to be complicit in creating more dubious “winners” who, months after their “victory,” remain stars only in name, not in actuality.
While it’s true that a number of today’s popular stars are the products of TV talent tilt’s—Sarah Geronimo, Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, etc.—many more bankable luminaries have made it in other ways, pretty much on their own.
So, the enormous time, money and attention lavished on TV talent and personality tilts may exceed their actual contribution to the local starmaking process—unless those tilts get their act together and actually produce major and durable stellar finds—as oh, so spectacularly and fervently promised!
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