Wednesday, 23 January 2008

American Idol

Hot off the heels of UK talent series X-Factor, American Idol has launched on to our screens in the UK this week. The series premiered a couple of days earlier in the states that it was aired in the UK where it is a weekly ratings winner on Fox and in a prime time slot. Here in the UK we have to tune in to ITV 2 to catch the first screenings at a decent hour or wait and hope that it is shown during the day on the main ITV channel.

I think it is brilliant to be able to see talents shows from different countries as by watching them we can make general assessments about talent levels in comparison with our own nation and know if we are falling behind.

I feel American Idol has a very different feel to UK shows like X-Factor. On American idol when they show the audition stage its edited together in a way which makes you think that all the auditionees think they are great and that the judges expect to have quality performers in front of them. As soon as they get in to the audition though it’s like the judges can’t wait to bring them down. The programme seems to be very orientated around the American Dream philosophy.

Now I’m not saying the judges don’t like bringing them down on the X-Factor but I feel our contestants on the whole have lower expectations and that the judges don’t go in expecting greatness like they do in the US. Also the way it’s edited is different to American Idol, it’s not done in the same set the contestant up for a fall type of way.

I enjoy watching both shows, as I love seeing the talented people shine through. It’s also good to see different types of talent and different voices shine. In the UK the voices are influenced by Pop and Indie whereas in the US it’s more of a Country, Gospel, Classic Rock influence.

The one thing about these shows that scares me is burnout. I will always want to see talent shows on TV but with the constant 12 month cycle of talent/celebrity shows the ITV have at the moment they will soon lose their appeal to the masses. As soon as a talent shows loses its appeal to the masses then there is little point to it. On ITV you can almost tell beforehand without seeing adverts what the next series is going to be when the current one finishes as we cycle through shows like Dancing on Ice, Soapstar Superstar, I’m a Celebrity, Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor, American Idol etc. I know the BBC aren’t much better in this respect with their dance and musical programmes.

I will leave you with one last thought. I know we all like to be entertained but when you are laughing at the auditionees who maybe not so good as others remember they are human beings and are brave for giving it a go on national TV.

As part of our discussion topic of the week we would love to hear your thoughts on American Idol. Have you caught the first few episodes? What do you think? Do you prefer it to X-Factor? We want to know, follow the link to join in:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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