Chasing dreams...

2010-10-15 10:22

Here we are in 2010. ­Following much ­controversy, season six of Idols has been ­running on DStv and we are ­getting closer to determining (for those who vote) and discovering (for the rest of us) who South ­Africa’s new Idol will be.

This person will be following in the tradition of previous winners such as Heinz Winckler, Anke ­Pietrangeli, Karin Kortje and last season’s joint-winners Jason ­Hartman and Sasha Lee Davids.

I generally watch Idols during the early audition process but lose interest once the proper singing starts because of the lack of ­comedic value.

Frankly, I am not much of a fan of the show or, for that matter, ­reality shows that involve singing.

But where are these artists? The winners all seem to have faded ­into the obscurity of corporate ­performances and small towns.

On e.tv, another season of ­Popstars is, surprisingly, also ­unfolding as judges PJ Powers, Azania Ndoro and Zwai Bala ­identify the singers who will form a band and follow 101, Adilah and Ghetto Lingo; although I am sure they are hoping to follow closer in the steps of runners-up Jamali.

I say “hoping” because they are probably the most successful group created by the show and even their reach, in comparison to a lot of other singers out there, seems modest.

The fascinating thing is that, across the globe, most groups put together through the Popstars process have disbanded.

I am not in any way trivialising or overlooking the talent of the ­individuals who reach the last stages of reality shows of this sort, but rather questioning the validity of continuing to pursue them from a South African perspective.

American Idol has produced ­artists who have gone on to build relatively solid careers.

Artists like Carrie Underwood – who was the season-four winner and five-time Grammy Award ­winner – and season-three winner Fantasia, have become a part of the US music landscape and ­international stars.

The South African music industry is hard enough to get into and, once you are there, you are not guaranteed windfall sales, a flurry of bookings or superstar status.

Many of our musicians have paid their dues. It’s thanks to ­perseverance, commitment and, in some instances, blind faith that they survived the industry.

History has shown us that these reality singing shows haven’t quite lived up to expectations in terms of creating music stars.

They make great television and draw in viewership for the ­respective broadcasters but, in terms of launching music ­careers, they seem to fall short.

Surely there must be an ­alternative?

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