The glorious trend of talent shows to our screens is an amazing and exciting revolution, whole countries, genders, ages, and groups get caught up in the celebrity fever which takes over when these events are being broadcast and there is no doubt they have brought in many a pretty penny to the organisers and other stars involved in the productions.
Many people view these programs with different eyes. Some see them as a lot of people clinging to their ideal of fame and fortune, some see them as a waste of time, and some people will defiantly switch off so as not to be included in the sheep growing herds following these programs. However the program designers have become more and more confident and ploughed more and more money into these events knowing that as people, we love watching other people. We do get a bit of a giggle when things do not go according to plan, or an act obviously appeared to be so much better in their sitting room singing into a long handled broom, but there is no doubt it is an opening of our eyes to the fact that the world is full of amazing gifted and talented people.
But there is a downside as well, sometimes the young or fragile who sang or performed quite happily to family and friends are not always prepared or ready to take on global mass attention and it can produce long term damage psychologically. It is understandable that over a short period of time, the supermarket worker who suddenly finds themselves under the viewing of millions and performing to thousands of applauding fans can falter in disbelief. The price of fame does come heavy, it can destroy old friendships, families, and futures, it can take over a life and sweep those involved along in a fantastical way in complete contrast to what they have been used to and that is even before the press and paparazzi get involved.
Suddenly from packing someone's bags as they leave the shop, or checking out a loose spark plug in a mechanics world, they are spotlighted and their lives are in every media outlet from newspaper to online. Every event they are involved in, every venture from their homes they make, every action they do is watched and taken by the ever hungry throng of journalists and sensationalised. Whoever cared before if you bought your pasta at the little corner shop down the road? Whoever asked you did you buy your underwear from Marks and Spencer or John Lewis? Such trivialities of life which were private and in some ways totally not anyone else’s business suddenly are projected to world fame along with your picture. Hiding becomes a very serious option.
Friends from the past can become envious and suddenly reveal their deepest darkest secrets, unheard of relatives arrive out of the blue to comment on the close relationship they had with you as a child, when they had only ever seen you at family weddings and funerals. People who you have known well suddenly eye you as a cash machine and not the person who shared a glass of wine or two with them on a night out in the local pub. The expectation of what you should and shouldn’t be doing becomes a blurred line and it is all of this that is secondary to the appearance on stage the very first time, or the signing with a Publisher who gave you an advance for your first book. For the lucky winner they trade something in their life, they have to be strong minded and determined and take on not only a new found career but a new life. They need to be prepared for criticism and spitefulness, and in some cases may even need protection.
Of course the niceties outweigh a lot of the negatives which is why people still do it, there is the money security and the acclamations and the feeling of success at something they love. Interestingly a class of children were asked what they would like to be when they grew up and over half of them were enthusiastic in their response of “a celebrity”. In the world today the rise of such success has now in some of our children's minds become a career prospect.
The money making wheels keep on turning, the viewers keep viewing and for a long while ahead it seems talent shows are here to stay. Everyone who steps out on that stage, who fills in their application form or who dreams of transition from dancing in front of the mirror to performing all over the world, should remember the price of fame, it is not always a bargain to be gained.