The past three weekends that I have been at my parents house, the 'talent' show Britain's Got Talent has been on TV. The contestants are trying to win the honour of appearing at the Royal Variety Show (or whatever its called now).
Clearly there are some genuinely talented people out there who have never had the break that they needed. But I found myself watching the programme, not to hear talented singers or see talented dancers, I found myself watching it to see the people whose performances lacked any kind of talent whatsoever. It would seem I'm not alone in this, otherwise they wouldn't show quite so many of the really bad performances in the first place. Having seen a few episodes of the 'X Factor', the early rounds of the programme are stuffed full of people whose performances are excruciatingly bad. It's arguably the modern equivalent of a Victorian 'Bearded Lady' or similar type of fairground show.
The possibilities for 'Britain's Got Talent' to be even worse 'train wreck tv' though, comes from the fact that the performances need not even be musical in nature. Some of the 'acts' are painfully bad, and therefore incredibly more memorable (and maybe the sole reason for some people watching) than the good ones. With this genre of show, what checks and balances exist to make sure that vulnerable people for instance are not shown on TV performing acts that in their minds are sheer brilliance, but in reality are so bad they would bring tears to a glass eye? (bearing in mind one man's meat is another's poison etc). When people go to auditions for this type of show, just how aware are they that their audition can go on to be featured in other programmes that show the "best and the worst" of the auditions for that programme. The editing of these shows can be quite quetionable too. Someone walks in to the audition that maybe doesn't fit the showbusiness stereotype, and the camera's cut to show a horrified Simon Cowell or some other visibly bemused judge.
I won't be watching this programme, or ones like it again. Its cheap TV, winning ratings at the expense of individuals, and given the telephone voting scams that seem to happen all too often, even the audiences are made a fool of.