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The Reality of Reality TV

April 22nd, 2009

Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent

Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent

The Internet went crazy last week when video of Susan Boyle - a homely, 47 year-old Scottish woman who lives alone with her cat and has never been kissed - revealed that she has a great singing voice on an early audition round of Britain’s Got Talent.  Suddenly, Miss Boyle was everywhere.  All over YouTube, trending on Twitter, a guest on the Today Show.  She does have a good voice and the song she chose (from Les Mis) was inspirational.  But, Miss Boyle is now famous mostly because she’s not very pretty.  Patti LuPone does what she did eight performances a week.  Meredith Vieira called Miss Boyle the front-runner for the competitive talent show - that was until a 12 year-old boy singing soul blew them away this week.

I like Susan Boyle - I think she will make something of this opportunity.  It’s actually too bad that no one discovered her years ago, because she would make a fine character actress.  But, this was the first round of a show designed to go several months.  She’s going to have to sing many times and many different songs.  We’ll see how that goes.

The rather astonishing thing is how the press has reacted.  It’s like they’ve never heard of competative, televised talent shows.  American Idol - what’s that?  America’s Next Top Model - do you mean to say that Tyra Banks had a program before her talk show?  Nashville Star - are you joking?  What do you mean that there have been 3 seasons of America’s Got Talent and that Britain’s Got Talent has already produced an “Everyman” star - a former cellphone salesman who sang Puccini?

I get that reality TV is not everyone’s cup of tea.  But if a journalist - even an early morning talk show host - is going to cover entertainment, they should do a little research.  Maybe even download some videos from YouTube or Google a couple of shows (heaven forbid I suggest they actually watch TV).  I don’t care if it’s the lighter side, if you’re sending information into media stream, you shouldn’t be relying on all of your research coming from a clatch of college interns (who assume you know about reality TV).

Meanwhile, I think Adam is going to win on AI, all of the women on this season of ANTM are totally bland and forgetable, I miss Mike and Mel on TAR, it’s so tight on DWTS that I really don’t know who’s going to win, TG the new season of PR is finally going to be released - and I’m waiting for Susan to sing her second song.

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  1. Vince
    April 22nd, 2009 at 21:45 | #1

    Youtube, what’s a youtube. Did we talk about that at the news meeting?

  2. April 23rd, 2009 at 09:18 | #2

    I totally agree with every point you made here. I didn’t have an absolute fave on AI until this week when Adam slowed down “If I Can’t Have You.” Not for the first time in my life I thought, “What a shame that you’re gay.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  3. Carol Ver Wiebe
    April 24th, 2009 at 12:43 | #3

    Very interesting–other than the last paragraph, where I totally got lost. I’ve got to get a new cartridge–poor Susan Boyle came out purple.
    I guess what I worry most about (back to the subject at hand) is how this innocent woman is going to take her sudden fame. I wish her luck.

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