Now, you’re probably going to laugh when you read this, but the fact is that reality shows are actually good for the music industry and performing arts in general.
Of course, not everyone likes them, and there are always going to be issues with talent shows of this nature. But, in all honesty, what TV show doesn’t come with its own set of problems?
So, why are they so good, you ask? Well, there are multiple reasons, but here are the ones that have the most positive impacts on the industry.
They show us the real life of a performer
When we look at our favourite musicians and performers, we often think about how lucky they are. Yes, they’re talented, but they’re still so fortunate to be doing what they love. In fact, their life must be so very simple—write (or co-write) a few tunes, record an album, play at awesome festivals and watch the bank balance multiply before your eyes.
Talent shows like Britain’s Got Talent—or even the Rock Star series in the US—show us the blood, sweat, and tears that go into rehearsing and then performing live. And often these performers aren’t even singing or playing their own songs, but doing cover versions.
Even shows such as Strictly Come Dancing offer an insight into just how hard life as a dancer can be. Even though current favourites on the show David James and James Cracknell were both formidable athletes, they still find it incredibly difficult to keep up with their partners. And since the show began, millions of people now have a much deeper respect for the skills a professional dancer possesses.
The same can be said for pretty much every niche in performing arts that has been showcased on a reality show. From comedy to music, dancing to acrobatics, the viewing audience discovers a newfound respect for these artists and the hard work that they go through just to get their moment in the spotlight.
They inspire us
When we watch our favourite performers, we have a sense that they’re only there because they knew the right people or met the right mentor at the right time—and in a lot of cases, this is true. We also assume that many performers were born to talented parents who played in a band or ran a ballet school.
Reality shows about the performing arts show us that nine times out of ten, the people on the stage are from similar backgrounds to ourselves. And often they simply worked really hard and never gave up. This is inspiring and often encourages people to take a chance and put themselves out there. I mean, who couldn’t be inspired by Paul Potts’ story?
They give people a chance
So, this is the big one, of course. Talent shows and any form of reality show that follows unsigned performers offers aspiring talent the opportunity of a lifetime. Here is the chance to win yourself a record deal or sign up with the most prestigious talent agencies in the world—not a chance to turn your nose up at.
Sure, you can spend five years gigging around the country and perhaps get noticed by the right people. But when you have an opportunity to not only present your talent to millions of people but also build a public image in the process, you’d be daft to turn it down—all of which leads us to our next point.
It’s great exposure
Do you know what Dave Chappelle, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Adam Lambert all have in common? They all entered reality talent shows on TV and didn’t win. But each one has had a hugely-successful career since.
It’s easy to assume that the winner is set for life, but those who finish in lower positions also have great opportunities to kick off their careers. Their exposure to audiences of millions and their popularity on their respective shows means that they’re often a safe bet for any agent. Now, this is hardly a benefit to us, the watching audience, but it’s a significant benefit to those who enter, regardless of how well they fare.
Anyone remember that Greek guy and his son who did the whole funny Riverdance thing on stage? Guaranteed those guys made tons of public appearances and performed many live shows in the time since they appeared on TV. They weren’t amazingly talented, but they had great personalities.
Like I said earlier, you may laugh at the suggestion that reality TV shows about the performing arts are a good thing, but trust me, they really are. Now Geordie Shore and Love Island, on the other hand—don’t get me started on them.
Watch this space for updates in the Opinion category on Running Wolf’s Rant.