In the past few years the talent show has made an enormous comeback on television. No doubt that everyone reading this knows of shows like Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice and many others. Lately thought, there have been questions as to how successful these shows are. Dancing On Ice is ending in the coming year and Britain’s Got Talent is rumoured to be suffering from dwindling viewing figures, because of this I feel the need to ask; is this the end of the TV talent show?
First, a little back-story. Talent shows are nothing new, they’ve been going for thousands of years; the Ancient Greeks had them, the Victorians had them and they were a staple of 20th Century holiday camps. It was in the later 20th Century that talent shows began their first foray into television with shows like Come Dancing, Opportunity Knocks, New Faces, Search For a Star and other things by Bruce Forsyth
Who, incidentally, is old enough to remember the Crusades AND the birth of Christ
Talent shows sort of went into a mild lull for a while, until the 90’s where shows like Stars in Their Eyes which inevitably lead to the rise of music based talent shows such as Pop Stars, Pop Idol, Fame Academy, The X Factor and many more. These shows were all incredibly successful but in recent times talent shows have taken a hit; why is this? The answer is very simple, the large-scale television talent show is inherently flawed. It was one thing where we had talent shows at holiday camps or small scale shows with a handful of contestants but the talent shows we have now are on a much larger scale; millions of people enter every series, This is a problem because it means that the shows are draining their contestant base very quickly, there have been plenty of cases of next to nobody showing up to auditions on shows like The X Factor and this is because everyone who wants to be a contestant probably already has been a contestant. Think of all the times in recent series where someone from an earlier series has come back to try again, and multiply that by 100, the types of people who have the confidence to go on these shows aren’t going to be put off by Simon Cowell telling them they can’t sing. My prediction is that in the next 10-20 years The X Factor/Britain’s Got Talent type shows are going to become extinct and be replaced by shows that are either aimed at ‘celebrities’ such as Strictly Come Dancing or shows that entirely skip the audition stage and have 10ish contestants that have already proved themselves, such as New Faces or Opportunity Knocks. The talent show still has a lot of room to evolve but it is by no means dead and I don’t see it dying any time in the future.