I was just shown this article by a friend which brings up lots of interesting points:
The article is about how certain talent show programmes a large number of failed artists as it does successful ones. For example until I read this article I would never have remembered that Steve Brookstein was the first winner of X-Factor. The name doesn't even ring a bell to me. He clearly had only his five minutes of fame and then the lime light has gone out. I have noticed this many times before with these kinds of programmes.
Obviously not all acts that are successful suffer this fate. Will Young is a prime example mentioned in the article. I personally don't watch these shows any more, I find it to be simply boring now, dull and repetitive. X-factor has been going for years now and after a while they all merge into one. Big Brother was suffering this very fate and at least had the decency to try and have a noble death before it became too milked. I really enjoyed the first three or so series of Big Brother. Now however I could only tell you a couple of the winners and even with that only a few more of the other contestants featured.
What really surprises me is how each year for X-Factor so many people with genuine talent do still appear. I would have thought if you had not been discovered on the first two or three sagas then why are you entering now? I know the age cap is part to do with this but even so.
Britain’s Got Talent had an interesting turn out this year when Susan Boyle had a nervous breakdown and the entire house the contestants were kept in is reported to have descended into chaos. Personally I think this was media hype and things probably were not so bad.
On a slight side note do you remember the media making a big deal out of Jedward looking at porn whilst in the hotel place? They made it out that Jedward were cracking under the pressure and going mental. This is absurd, they are teenage (I think? Slightly older now?) boys. Of course they are going to look at porn; it does not mean that they have gone off the rails.
Anyway, back on track, the public love these programmes and they clearly generate a huge income but is it actually worth sending people into meltdown with pressure? For me it is not so much the fact that contestants are becoming famous and then losing it which is the problem. Artists in music and television suffer this fate all the time. For me the problem is the sudden transition. You get average Joe or average Jane standing in the queue with a number associated with them one moment then the next they are living the celebrity life. That has to mess people up; with most artists in the music profession the change is gradual, or at least more gradual than literal overnight changes in the public opinion towards you.
There is then the problem when it doesn’t stick that you then have the sudden shock of going back to normal again. To go from no-one recognising you to absolutely everyone recognising you, back to no-one recognising you has got to generate income for counsellors. I know I’d be messed up if that happened.
But naturally the psychosocial well being of the contestants doesn't really matter as the amount of money created by these shows more than makes up for it. (Note sarcasm.)