Friday, 10 July 2009

The Show Must Go On…But Who’s Judging It?

With reality shows set to hit our screens again in September, those of you without Sky Plus (seriously, it’s a great investment!) will undoubtedly be torn between channels as prime time TV sets in at the weekend. As many of you will have seen, today’s headlines herald Alesha Dixon as the latest judge to high kick her way on to the Strictly Come Dancing panel, knocking Arlene Phillips off the dance floor.

Obviously Alesha Dixon, one time winner of Strictly is considered far more well equipped to comment on the dancing ability of the show’s latest contestants, exercising all of her five months experience, over Arlene, world renowned choreographer! And the reason behind Alesha’s appointment? - ’her charisma and charm’ say BBC1. So is the focus of the show being placed on the contestants’ actual dancing abilities judged by its panel of well equipped and leading experts, or on the way in which the judges can present themselves? If we are to assume the latter, then this year’s show should certainly be interesting to watch – let’s hope Alesha Dixon’s ‘charisma and charm’ can offer the celebrity contestants the choreography advice that they need to help them dance their way to the top!

If that wasn’t enough, we are also faced with the ongoing battle of X Factor judges! Remind us, are they searching for that ‘X’ factor amongst a sea of unknown faces, or amongst the judging panel? If you cast your minds back to the days of Pop Idol, we were watching the likes of Neil Fox (long-time radio and TV presenter), Pete Waterman (songwriter and record producer), Nicki Chapman (famously managed the Spice Girls) and of course music industry guru Simon Cowell. Even its progression into X Factor started off well with Boyzone and Westlife band manager Louis Walsh and the well renowned Sharon Osborne who of course spent years managing rock legend husband Ozzy. But remind me – what experience does Home & Away star Danni Minogue have to offer? Maybe it’s just me but I’m sure it was her sister Kylie that was the pop legend? Or cast your mind over to Cheryl Cole? Yes she herself faced the wrath of the judges as she headed for stardom via reality TV, but do her famous footballer husband and few short lived years in the music industry really give her the credentials that she needs to identify the next big thing?

These days, it seems that all too much importance is being placed on the panel of judges that the show has to offer, when in fact all we mere mortals are interested in are the actual contestants themselves! Is all of the ongoing publicity and hype around the latest recruit on the panel of judges just a mere PR ploy to up the ante on the battle of the channels? Is the logic behind recruiting the judges to have someone that looks good, or someone that is well respected in the industry? When did the focus switch to being about the judges, and not about the actual talent demonstrated on the show? Could it be that reality TV now opts for style over substance?
Do we honestly believe that Cheryl Cole, Danni Minogue and even Alesha Dixon, whilst being pleasing to the eye, are better placed to judge the UK’s talent over world renowned music industry experts? Personally, and don’t get me wrong, I am indeed a fan of Cheryl Cole, but I do believe that we should leave the talent spotting to the ones who really do know best and let celebrities such as Cheryl do what they do best…

But hey, who knows…maybe next year the new reality show initiative to hit our TV screens really will just focus on the judges; The Judge Factor? Strictly Judging? Britain’s Got Glamorous Judges? Or perhaps we can look forward to ten years of ‘Big Judge’ accompanied of course by ‘Big Judge’s Little Judge?’

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