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The Morning Show – Are Reality Talent Shows Not Nurturing Talent?

I was lucky enough to be on a panel this morning on The Morning Show for a discussion on whether reality shows are the only way to get a break in the music industry. Think Australian Idol, The X Factor and Australia’s Got Talent. The segment came from an article in the Daily Telegraph where Tina Arena said these shows put making a dollar ahead of nurturing talent. A tad ironic considering she was a guest judge on Australian Idol a couple of years ago.
Maz Compton from Nova, and Glenn A Baker rock historian also joined in on the debate.
My view is that these shows actually gives the opportunity for people who would not normally be able to be noticed by the people that matter.
People from lower socio economic backgrounds and regional areas who would find it difficult to start or sustain a music career have been given this level playing field of these shows. It takes money to go to the Brent Street’s or to get singing lessons, make demos etc or even just move to the city.
But also prior to Idol in Australia, the music industry was pretty anglo focused and this program showcased the depth of talent from people in this multicultural country.
Would Guy Sebastian a Sri Lankan/Malaysian been able to get noticed by a record executive? I think not.
Also it gives opportunity for people outside of the box to gain a fan base. Would Sally Chatfield be able to break through the traditional way, and Altiyan Childs would not be given this final opportunity to become a rock star.
I agree with Maz Compton when she said there is still a variety of ways to break into the industry and this is just one of them.
Glenn A Baker who was positive about some of the talent from these show, quoted Elton John who said he would not have made it on those shows, as he was fat and pudgy piano player.
I actually disagree, I think an audience is discerning when it comes to talent. Also Elton would have found it far more difficult to break through in the ’80’s and ’90’s with the start of MTV, and video clips, this was when pop and rock stars had to come out of the cookie cutter mould.
Reality TV talent shows broke away from this stereotype.
Your thoughts?


1 Injera { 10.28.10 at 4:27 pm }

Lots of clips over the talking – was that you asking Glenn about Tina’s YTT start and the validity of her comments?

2 bella vita { 10.29.10 at 12:09 am }

TV Talent shows are a great way for people to get exposure and get that break they may have been so desperatly trying to get.
I was a huge fan of YTT and the first couple of seasons of Popstars and Idol were ground breaking for tv audiences, advertisers and record companies.
I have never seen a launch so big than when Bardot released Poison, and likewise people were stopping everything the night Idol had Guy vs Shannon. It has poured money into what was becoming a very slow and depressing aussie music scene.
Industry figures can scoff all they like, these shows are producing new artists, dont begrudge them because they get instant sales from appearing on TV as oppossed to slogging it out in the pub scene for 30 years.

I remember seeing Guy get into the finals of a Bic Pen competitin a couple of years before Idol, he was one of the finalists who submitted an original song to be used in an ad. He didnt win, so along with lots of these contestants…most of them have been trying to do everything they can to be seen.
The record companies here all had major cutbacks around 9 years ago…they rarely sign new acts…and if they do…it is now on the back of a TV show appearance…and these companies still bag the ones bringing in the most money!!
Will post more later

3 brain dead dave { 10.29.10 at 12:11 am }

At thirty five ,Elton wasn’t riding a forklift, hiding in caves and blowing smoke up his …. or lowering himself to regurgitating the material of others all the while bunging on the “tortured artiste” routine.

4 bella vita { 10.29.10 at 2:56 am }

LOL Brain Dead Dave

I am a huge fan of people like Elton who are musical genius’s, but if by providing entertainment and opportunities that these shows promote.. I don;t see the problem.

No record company A & R rep would have ever signed Shannon Noll or Guy Sebastian before Idol, nor Anthony Callea (who went on to release the highest aussie single of all time…yes it was a cover, but his performance was sensational)
Elton, Billy Joel and people like them in the 70’s/80’s would have done the same thing if an avenue like talent shows would let them be seen. Need we be reminded that Elton now has the record for the highest selling single of all time with the Princess Di version of Candle in the wind? This wasnt because he “wanted” to do it for his own personal reasons..his career was in a lull, and he knew the millions of people in TV land would buy the single and thus promote his new album. At least the profit went to charity…but Elton will always be remembered for this!

Yeah Altyian obviously has a few screws loose…but guess what? You’re the one talking about him! If he gets a chance to do what he loves, i don’t see the harm in it….no record company would give the guy a second chance..

Look at Andrew Lloyd Webber. Did 3 reality talent shows to find stars for his new musicals. The guy really doesnt need to work another day in his life, but in previous interviews he wanted to move with the times and provide opportunities to unknowns who had talent but nowhere to show it. Connie Fisher the winner of the Maria series has gone on to critical acclaim in shows around the world.

American Idol hasnt been the biggest show in the world for the last 8 seasons for no reason. I have heard rarely negative reports from contestants about the show being a bad experience.

SYTYCD has provided work for dancers in this country that would never have been able to without the important coverage the show brang. These are hugely talented people. A top 20 finalist from Season 2 (i think) who got booted out 1st week, went on to win Australia’s Got Talent last year as part of Justice Crew (Emannuel)…good luck to him! Justice Crew, who I believe are a group of young guys from a lower financial background are now booked a year in advance. These are the types of stories that are so important. Likewise Mark Vincent from AGT 1 who is getting $10,000 a show for an 18 year old and is releasing his 3rd album at Xmas…another huge talent.

2011 will be another big year for reality talent shows with AGT, X Factor, Got to Dance, Don’t stop believing and a couple more in the mix. Times have changed and will continue to change as the years progress…and new talent of all ages and levels of development will hopefully always have some sort of avenue to showcase whether it is a Star Search, Pot of Gold or a YTT type show.

Sorry for my long postings tonight!

5 Culinary Boner { 10.29.10 at 2:56 pm }

Glenn A Baker seems to have forgotten that Elton John’s success is more to do with his longterm songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. Armed with Bernie’s arsenal of professionally crafted, ‘quality’ songs Elton was able to launch a pop career, from inauspicious beginnings in the 60s as a pub pianist, hitting the ‘big time’ from the early 1970s – much as I hate the drivel he inflicted on the world at a time when Led Zepellin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and early funkmasters like Parliament and Funkadelic were pumping out the amps.

6 Anonymous { 10.30.10 at 8:42 am }

Bella Vita – thanks for giving such an insightful point of view.

Brain Dead Dave – but Elton was getting married which was aberrant behaviour for him.

Injera – no that was Kylie asking.

7 Anonymous { 10.30.10 at 9:47 am }

It’s just a shame shows like Idol and X Factor are the only prime time avenue for exposing new artists. That’s why I’m so glad that Hey Hey is back (even if its future looks uncertain). This show has supported so many talented Aussie artists when no one else would back them.

8 bella vita { 11.01.10 at 2:35 am }

I agree Hey Hey was once a fantastic avenue for up and coming artists as well as obvious established ones. A little promo on Hey Hey and suddenly they were Top 10….Merril Bainbridge anyone?
These days though…even Hey Hey and Rove type shows all pretty much have charting artists OR artists they may have nurtured over the years to come back and catch up and suck up to them. Molly is missed on Hey Hey.