BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT
Britain’s got talent, one of the biggest talent competitions in theUK and often abbreviated as BGT originated from the popular shownamed Got Talent Franchise and cast for the first time in June 2007.This British television talent show is produced in close associationwith the Syco TV and distributed by the Fremantle Media. While theshow is open for anyone to participate, different acts compete amongthemselves to gain public support. The winner is awarded the title“The winner of the Britain’s got talent”. In the past years,the panel of judges has remained intact with Amanda Holden, SimonCowell, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams being the presiding judges ofmost of the show’s episodes.
Immediately afterauditions, in the presence of judges and a live audience across theUnited Kingdom, judges are charged with the responsibility ofwhittling the most successful acts which then proceed to thesemi-finals. The semi-finals are then broadcast live from Wembley atthe Fountain Studios and two most prevalent acts from each of thechosen semi-final winning stand a position in the finals. Whereas inthe past years only the three judges would determine the presentationthat proceeds to the finals, nowadays, one more judge is added to thepanel to make four. In the case of a tie, the act that receives thesecond highest number of votes from the public is sent through to thefinals (Gunter, 2014).
Many differenttalents are showcased at the Britain’s got talent show. Among themost common skills include magicians, singers, keyboardists, dancers,impressionists, sword-swallowers as well as buzzers among others. Theshow does not discriminate anybody on the base on age both young andold people participate in the acts (Mansbridge, 2016). For instance,in the 2014 episode, despite the view of most individuals that oldpeople cannot engage in anything more complicated than just walking,a lady who was above sixty years participated in dance as one of theshowcased talents (Mansbridge, 2016). However, debates have beenstirred around the UK on whether or not youngsters should be allowedto take part in BGT. While many people have strongly objected theidea of having youngsters in the talent show, serious repercussionshave been experienced. As a result of being voted off which causesgreat disappointment, some of them have found themselves in rehabcenters or worse some have committed suicide. To avoid suchincidences, age variation does not matter all age groups are treatedfairly from the auditions to the finals (Brown & Hackley, 2012).
The Britain’s gottalent show is viewed as being so much significant both to the activeparticipants and the public as a whole. One of the significantadvantages is that it significantly promotes the concept of varietyand diversity. The fact that the show accommodates all people despitetheir ages is an indication that it supports range. On the same lineof thought, the concept of range is promoted since the show allowsthe presentation of various classes of acts. Each of the acts, aslong as they required some votes are attained, is given an equalchance in the competition. Additionally, as it is the case with thebeauty pageants in America, BGT has enabled people in the UK to boosttheir talents. The talent competition acts as a stepping stone forsome participants who wish to build up their talent. For instance,some people who have presented different songs and dances have grownto be productive singers and dancers respectively (Enli, 2009). Thecreativity of citizens has also been enhanced by the Britain’s gottalent show. Since there is a reward for the real win, participantstend to strive so that they can be slightly more creative as comparedto their competitors. This way, the level of creativity keepselevating with the different episodes of the talent show.
The aspect of publicmanipulation has been widely exposed in the Britain’s got talentshow. The public has been moved and consequently been controlledskillfully by the music, videos and other emotions that are presentin the diverse acts. For a certain program like the BGT show toachieve the required or the desired results, they must exhibit theability to manipulate the opinion of their viewers and the public atlarge regarding voting. The element of public manipulation isconsidered vital because directly influences the planning and overalldelivery of the live shows and ensures their highest qualitypossible. If the planning and delivery roles were purely left to thepublic vote, the desired outcome would never be achieved. Therefore,the public needs to be directed to whom to vote for during thecompetitions (Bower, 2012).
As some people putit, no single individual has ever won an award in the BGT withoutbeing a specially invited contestant or a preferred participant.Therefore, all the people who line up during the auditions and theactual competitions are usually wasting their time since the judgesand the producers are not looking for the most talented people, butthey already have those. While some individuals in the UK and allover the world think that the talent show promotes skills and isgenuine, it is not the case with the producers. At the onset of theshow, they have the chosen people whom they already know will win thecontest but they follow the designed procedure to shut the wholereality from the public. According to some viewers, the BGTmanipulates the audience into participating in the show withoutknowing that the winners are already known.
The judges and theBritain’s got talent at large of course seem to seem to act in amanner that attempts to sway and consequently influence theiraudiences to react in a particular desired way towards apresentation. According to Cowell, who is the owner of the SycoCompany, most are the times when the public is wrong or poor judgesof their taste (Cushion, 2012). He has managed to become one of themost manipulative people since he controls the audience at times forhis personal gain. It is believed that the public is capable ofgetting tired so quickly of the people that they vote for. As such,it is never very clear as to whether the final of the shows acts as adoor closing or a door opening for the winning contestants.
In many episodes ofthe Britain’s got talents show, music has been used as a tool forthe manipulation of the public. When the Syco scouts first met RonanParke as he was singing at a birthday party, they auditioned himtwice before appearing at the BGT auditions as an “invited”contestant. Ronan was signed n by Simon Cowell for life contract andhas no chance of ever leaving the firm unless Simon decides toterminate the contract (Bower, 2012). Even after Ronan was clearlyunable to sing during the competition, having seen the audition tapesthat the scouts had provided, Simon pulled him through. All along,his tests were arranged, and the producer did everything to ensurethat he succeeded in the talent competition. In the 2011 BGT episode,it was arranged that Parke had to be the winner. However, at thistime, he had broken his voice the producers worked their way out ofthe quagmire. He has declared a winner after all (Turner, 2014).Therefore given this event, it is evident that during the competitionthe public was manipulated to vote for Parke through the presentationof the music tapes that had been recorded earlier by the scouts aswell as in other successful auditions.
Another way in whichthe Britain’s got talent show exposes the element of publicmanipulation through music mainly is in the cases where the judges orthe producer chooses a song for a participant. Andrew Muir, a BGTfinalist, was faced with such a situation in which the judgesselected a song or him to present. Despite the fact that Andrew madeit to the finals, most of his fans criticized him claiming that hehad such a bad choice of song, little did they know that he had beendenied the chance to choose his song to perform at the show. However,both at the BGT finals and when he was invited to the ITV2 show, hemade it public and clear that the song he had presented was chosenfor him by the producers. Additionally, he said that he had no choicebut to accept their decision. The reaction of the public towardsAndrew’ final performance at the show was controlled by theproducers. They chose the song for him, consequently triggering theirreactions towards a particular direction which in this case wasrather negative reactions and disappointment among the fans.
Further still, theBritain’s got talent seems to expose the element of publicmanipulation via the performances that are showcased in the casewhere the judges sway the audiences’ reactions towards theirdesired direction. During the BGT auditions in 2008, Michael Machell,a keyboardist played a unique re-arrangement of the theme “StarsWars”. During the auditions, Michael’s presence was greeted witha high level of hostility and mockery by both the judging panel andthe audience, something that is claimed to have been encouraged bythe producers. It is stated that Simon pressed his buzzer, that ofAmanda and Piers’ during the first audition. Although Simon Cowellseemed to be displeased by the piece, all the other judges werecontent, and they thus approved it for progress to the semi-finals.Simon described Michael’s piece of work as the worst he had everhad to listen to, and he suggested that such things should be banned.Even though Simon’s comment manipulated part of the audience to booMichael, he was sent through. However, in the semi-finals, Simonstill pressed his buzzer and Michael did not go through to the finals(Brown & Hackley, 2012).
Emotions have alsobeen used to manipulate the public in the Britain’s got talent TVshow. Andrew Johnston was a contestant on the second series of theBGT and told a story of how he and his parents lived in astereotypical council estate. Additionally, in the auditions, Andrewhad claimed that he had earlier been bullied. Later on, after theshow, his mother came forth and admitted that his son’s story hadbeen over-emphasized and that the bullying that he had mentioned wassustained at the early ages of his life and not on a regular and mostrecent occurrence as he had put it. Iven the mother’s admission, itis clear that the public’s emotions and reaction towards theenhanced “sob story” were manipulated. The show had influencedthe viewers to feel sorry for Andrew, yet the story had beenover-egged.
Different peopleexhibit varied reactions and concerns about the way the show has beenused to expose public manipulation. More so, most people feel thatmanipulating the public should not be encouraged but rather, peopleshould be allowed to have independent views about the performances.For instance, in the case where the judge presses their buzzers andthus influence booing of the audience, most authors are concernedthat it is a wrong act. The fact that one of the judges is notpleased by a presentation should not be used as a tool to manipulatemore viewers towards their direction despite that sometimes theaudience can be poor judges of their taste as mentioned earlier.Independent decisions from the public or the viewers should beencouraged by not using such tools as pressing of buzzers once aparticipant is performing.
Another concern thatarises is based on the fact that even though BGT show’s mainobjective is to promote talent, it seems not to be performing itsprimary goal. This is presumed s because, in most instances, thejudges have seemed to already have the winner of the talentcompetition before the actual competition. On the realization, somecompetitors have gotten discouraged since justice does not appear tobe served something that concerns most of the fans of the show bothin the UK and globally.
Furthermore, somestories, like in Andrew’s case are often over-emphasized thusleading to extreme reactions among the viewers. Therefore, concernedviewer’s advice that stories, when told, should not be over-eggedso that the correct emotions are expressed for the stores and thusavoid wrong feelings. Most listeners and viewers treated Andrew’sstory as an extreme “sob story” yet according to his mother, hehad exaggerated some parts of the story. To avoid such instances,producers should not push the participants into telling false storiesto capture the emotions of the viewers. Since different singersperform specific songs that they are conversant with, producers andjudges should also avoid choosing songs for the participants sincethere have cases where fans get disappointed by that.
In conclusion, it isclear and evident despite all the challenges, criticisms, andnumerous drawbacks that the Britain’s got talent show faces it hasto a substantial level been able to enhance and improve talents allaround the UK. The talent competition has been an opening door forsome prominent musicians, dancers, magicians and many other groups oftalented people (Rodan, Ellis, & Lebeck, 2014). More so, the showhas enhanced creativity among the people both in the UK and the restof the world which is a positive thing. Since everyone wants to bethe best in the competition to win the prizes and be recognized, newinnovations have been made, better and newer dancing styles have beendiscovered. People all over the UK have also been given a forum wherethey get to showcase their different talents and since there is nodiscrimination on the basis of gender or age, diversity has beenpromoted.
However, the levelof public manipulation through music, videos and emotions has stirredup debates among authors and other expertise in the field with mostof them having negative views on the same. The viewers and thegeneral public have been controlled to behave in rather “unnatural”ways towards the music and other performances that are made. Forinstance, as stated earlier, judges have altered and controlled thereactions of the audiences by pressing buzzers which encourage themto boo or treat a participant with hostility. Public manipulation ishowever not wholly bad as most people view it. From a differentperspective, it can be regarded as a way of encouraging the audienceto stand firm with their decision regarding a particular performanceand not to be swayed by the judges or the producers. They do not haveto be told or directed to whom to vote for in the competitions(Bower, 2012). Overly, the aspect or element of public manipulationis very well exposed in the Britain’s got talent show and has bothactive and negative indications but according to the views of mostpeople, the public should not be manipulated by any means to achievethe desired results. Their decisions should be independent notcontrolled by anyone.
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Rodan, D., Ellis, K., & Lebeck, P. (2014). Disability, obesityand ageing: popular media identifications.
Enli, G.S., (2009). Mass communication tapping into participatoryculture exploring strictly come dancing and Britain’s got talent.European journal of communication, 24(4), pp.481-493.
Brown, S. and Hackley, C., (2012). The greatest showman on earth: isSimon Cowell PT Barnum reborn? Journal of Historical Research inMarketing, 4(2), pp.290-308.
Bower, T. (2012). Sweet revenge: the intimate life of Simon Cowell.https://www.overdrive.com/search?q=4E0A6719-001E-44CB-B470-15D64B6CBA91
Gunter, B. (2014). I Want to Change My Life Can Reality TVCompetition Shows Trigger Lasting Career Success? Newcastle uponTyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1753475
Mansbridge, J., (2016). Fantasies of Exposure: Belly Dancing, theVeil, and the Drag of History. The Journal of Popular Culture, 49(1),pp.29-56.