Sacrificing Our Artistic Young

TV Talent Show: Sacrificing Our Artistic Young

It happened again last night!

The Australian season of the TV Talent show started with the first teaser advertisement for “The Voice Australia (Season 6).” Wow. Is it that time already?

I must admit that TV Talent shows remind me of an ancient pagan ritual during which we lay our young singers on a slab of stone, offering up their artistic blood to the gods of celebrity. Our futile offerings do little to placate our insatiable hedonistic deity. We know this because no matter how many voices we sacrifice, and regardless of the ever-increasing exhibition of public humiliation, we do not seem to exhaust the need to surrender fresh meat to the slaughter every year.

Yes. I am painting a bleak picture. Yes, I am framing it within a purpose-driven view. However, sometimes we need to polarise our lens to see clearly. Remove the glare of the TV studio lights, along with the smoke and mirrors of 21st-century television production and you are left with a process that churns through young artists at an alarming and bloody rate.

There is a growing stench wafting from the back alleys of TV production houses across the world. The putrid smell is the discarded carcases of our artistic young. For years, our ignorance concealed the plight of these nameless martyrs. However, surely now we know too much. Ignorance is no longer a decent excuse. The overwhelming evidence suggests that the only beneficiaries of these no-win contests are the celebrity judges and their puppeteers, the TV producers.

So, as we head into another bloodthirsty season of TV Talent Shows I would ask you to contemplate the following facts before you mindlessly consume the souls of young singers:

Contestants have NO control

Yes, participants willingly audition, but once they step onto the stage and the music starts, they relinquish all control. Song choice and musical keys are just two of the tools used by the producers to manipulate outcomes. Clever editorial work displays each contestant in a defined light, honing perceived persona towards a predetermined result.

King Arthur Syndrome

Despite the removal of all artistic rights, young hopeful’s line-up for their chance to win big believing that it will be different for them. This naivety is, in part, fuelled by youthful narcissism – something I like to call the King Arthur Syndrome. Watch the following video to learn more about this all-too-prevalent condition.

Exposure. What exposure?

The promise of exposure is no more than a lie of enticement designed to lure the unsuspecting victim into the trap. Having been stripped of all artistic dignity, the only exposure the young artist receives from these programs is to be paraded through people’s living rooms with nothing more than a loin cloth for a modicum of decency. The real nature of the exposure received inevitably concludes with a national audience being informed that the contestant does not have anything worthy of continued interest. In truth, TV Talent Show exposure is synonymous with “nothing to see here!”

The High Priest and the Celebrity Coach

There is a hierarchy within the modern temple of TV Talent Shows. Ultimate power sits with the program’s executive producers – the High Priest of TV Talent Shows. Make no mistake, this ritual of entertainment exists for no other reason than to sell advertising space. Moreover, the High Priest will ensure that the ritual of artistic bloodletting is conducted in just the right manner to garner the highest profit yields possible. The main ‘public beneficiary’ of the TV Talent Show is the celebrity coach. While it might appear that these celebrities act autonomously, they are being directed in every way by the High Priest. The celebrity coach is nothing more than a public acclaim addict submitting to every instruction of their sugar-daddy producer.

Teachers: check your motives

Once upon a time, I viewed the TV Talent Show as an exciting opportunity for my students to enter the music industry. Moreover, if I am honest, I also hoped that a bit of their limelight might spill onto me, revealing me and my teaching studio to the world. I now understand that if I recommend the TV Talent Show journey to one of my clients, I become an active player in the ritualistic sacrificing of yet another young artist. Effectively, I was leading them to the stage, holding them down, and whispering, “stop squirming while we expose your innards for all to see!” I can no longer, in good conscience, knowingly lead my lambs to the slaughter. Singing teachers, I ask you to carefully consider your self-directed motives before you recommend the highly vulnerable artistic psyche of your developing singers to the brutal and destructive journey of the TV Talent Show.

The words I have written above are informed, not only by logical reflection but also from working with students who have been ‘successful’ participants in national TV Talent Shows. Without exception, the experience leaves a significant impression upon the inner-self of each of these singers. Questions of inadequacy penetrate deep into the subconscious and entrench the imposter syndrome so deeply that many shelve their singing for years, believing the lies that their TV Talent Show journey collected. Sadly, for some, they never return to the joy that singing once provided them. The associated memories are simply too painful.

Please take a moment to share your experiences about TV Talent Shows in the comment section below. Perhaps you view the TV Talent Show process differently to me. Your comments are also welcome. Finally, take a quick moment to share this post with those who are considering auditioning for a TV Talent Show. The article might not serve to dissuade them from participating, but it might make them aware of a few of the pitfalls that await those willing to sacrifice themselves on the ritualistic stage of celebrity.

Sing well, Dr Dan.

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