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Does Britain Really have Talent?

May 28, 2014

Or, what I’m really trying to say is, how do we tell?

It’s struck me before (must learn to duck!) that much as I love “Britain’s Got Talent,” I’m always left depressed at how wildly over-praised too many of the acts are.

Now, I may be unusual; no, strike that, I am unusual; no, well, that as well, but I’m talking about in number of peak quality performers I see every year on stage in the West End.

What I’m used to is a fraction of a fraction of highly trained and skilled actors, working with the very best direction and design teams and producers to deliver an evening worth £150 a seat (as the Mormons charge).

On Monday, a group of men sang a piece of “Les Misérables” that had the panel (one of whom at least should know better) in raptures… and me wondering if my TV had faulty speakers.

Another time, it almost happened again with an opera singer. Sure, she had a sweet voice, but the next Kiri Te Kanawa? What is she doing on the Cowell conveyor belt of cash and broken dreams, rather than in the Covent Garden chorus learning her craft from those who will recognise talent when they hear it?

It’s rather touching that singing a piece of opera is enough to enchant the viewing masses (and, let’s face it, that audience seems more like a zoo at times!!! And yes, I’ve been in that type of audience and I swear they pipe something into the studio air supply to get us that way) – but I wonder if anyone much watching really knows what a top opera star actually sounds like. Even with my aversion to opera, I know quality screeching when I hear it.

Sensibly, many professionals actually avoid these talent shows for the very real reason that they don’t need a bunch of fellow performers (and a marketing genius) telling them how to do a job that has kept them gainfully employed for years.

Those who do venture into the pit sometimes know that it’s “about entertainment, not actual talent” and take it the right way. It’s dawning on some of the public too, but all I’m asking is for a little more “reality” in the critiquing, and a little common sense so that we can enjoy performers for what they are, rather than what Cowell and co would like us to think they are.

2 Comments
  1. May 28, 2014 8:17 am

    the children love it. I cannot watch it.

    • Steve Rich permalink
      May 28, 2014 9:10 am

      Fair enough. There is the odd act that is “wow” for me, mostly the true variety type, though.

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