- They are addictive. It’s very hard to stop watching once you’ve been hooked – we know!
- It’s not even a competition any more. Nowadays, most of the contestants ‘win’, ie, they end up cast in a West End show or are picked up by touring productions. This phenomenon has come full circle with Gareth Gates, runner-up to Will Young in Pop Idol, playing the role of Marius in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables (OK he did have to wait ten years)
- They simultaneously boast about giving a ‘shot in the arm’ to Musical Theatre whilst benefiting from vast amounts of free advertising that would be prohibitive in cost for any normal commercial theatre
- They favour good-looking and TV friendly candidates – qualities which are actually irrelevant to the Theatre – extremely relevant to TV advertising though
- They create ‘stars’ and promote them whilst seasoned performers are kept anonymous – more here on this particular bugbear
- They give young people the impression that this is how most performers get into the business and that years of hard work and training are not necessary, often downplaying any formal training the contestants may have had.
- It’s not just amateurism from the performers – suddenly everyone is an amateur casting director as well
- Andrew Lloyd Webber still has the power to override the public vote – and he often uses it
- They feed on misery and humiliation. Who could forget the Josephs blubbing in their loin cloths after failing to ‘perform’ in front of their mums? And need we mention the ‘kissing exercises’ the prospective Marias had to endure with John Barrowman? Nominations for your favourite toe-curlers gratefully received.
- Now they’ve started exploiting dogs
We will be returning to this theme very soon, so your comments and suggestions are welcome