TV review – Reality TV is killing us softly

2014-09-14 15:00

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Last weekend SA’s Got Talent and The X Factor debuted their new seasons on our small screens this weekend, while the 10th season of Idols has been on air for more than a month.

Why, dear TV gods, do they all have to be on air at the same time?

The rivalry between The XFactor and Idols started in the UK in 2004 when the creators of Idols filed a lawsuit against Simon Cowell, the man behind The XFactor, citing glaring similarities between the two.

The case was eventually settled out of court with the agreement that Simon Fuller, the creator of Idols, would get a 5% stake of The XFactor. Early this year, Fox cancelled The XFactor and the once-mighty American Idols franchise is reported to be on its proverbial last legs.

If the audiences are shrinking and the market’s becoming saturated, why bring The XFactor to South Africa 10 years late? And why has SABC1 only realised now that there’s a show called The XFactor? Maybe, finally, with this show, SABC1 feels it is time to take the fight to its rival,

M-Net. The main differences between the two shows is that while Idols takes a hardline judging stance, The XFactor manages to hold back on outright criticism, with judges being mentors rather than just critics.

They are required to be nice and help contestants with song selections, styling and moral support.

It’s still a long way off before they select their best six for home visits and even further off from the finale, when the star walks off with a recording contract and R300?000 in cash, but things are looking rather promising.

But the spotlight falls squarely on the judges.

Zonke, Oskido and Arno Carstens have been tasked with shaping the contestants and they seem to be following their script well.

Zonke often becomes emotional and got on stage to hug a devastated hopeful on the first day of the show on air.

Oskido entertains, sympathises and motivates. He makes the show tick with humour when contestants get too nervous to continue with the audition. He got a contestant to do press-ups on stage, a light-hearted moment of the first show.

While these two have impressed as judges, Carstens seems to be in no-man’s-land and out of place. His opinions have been pedestrian for an accomplished musician and he agrees with the two other judges without adding his own views.

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