Talent Shows

Les Solomon doesn’t rate talent shows


One of my clients recently asked about doing one of these multitude of talent shows.

Her idea was to get some recognition for her years of training and stage experience. I quickly suggested she forget it!!! Australia and the rest of the world have been plagued in the last few years by these high flying talent shows. They feature hysterical judges who jump up and down, either abuse or throw ecstatic praise upon the contestants. Everything is edited to within an inch of its life, nothing is real, everything is geared to play into an unthinking public’s idea of what they perceive as talent.

I recently saw a video of a little boy screaming a black diva’s songs, an unbroken voice looking sweet and innocent was enough to warrant one of the judges jumping on stage and kissing him.

“You are going to be such a star,” he yelled.

This is madness!! These shows have nothing to do with talent or training. In fact talented and experienced performers are of little interest to shows such as this. What they are looking for, is the inexperienced; the housewife with an unknown voice of gold, the downtrodden nobodies and the kids with unbroken voices, who can suddenly be flung into a maelestrom of madness, hype and publicity. Look at Susan Boyle, nice voice, average talent for an untrained singer, but because she was a little lonely woman from Scotland, she was elevated to the heavens.

Legit, trained performers should stay well away from these sideshow circus acts of shows. They are the latest in the gimmick world that has become mainstream television. I wonder how many people ever watch the movie “Network” and realise what seemed like a fantasy projection of what television would become, has become a reality.

Yes, it takes sometimes ten years of training to stand on stage in a legitimate musical or act and then most people dont know who you are. Rejoice in the fact that you know you are strong and talented, forget the fifteen minutes of fame that is often awarded these amateurs and continue to embrace the career you have. That is my advice to most artists.


As we see the plethora of musicals running around our country at the moment, I often spare a thought for the producers of these shows as they try and plan, two, three four years in advance sometimes, how long a show should run to be successful. How to  fulfill  budget expectations and fit into a jigsaw of ways to getting shows in and out of theatres so they can tour in a way that is financially viable

We have seen clever season lengths (Mary Poppins selling out all of Melbourne and moving to Sydney leaving people wanting more). We have seen too long seasons (Wickedvin Sydney and Melbourne, Billy Elliot in Sydney) and ones that get it just right (Jersey Boys in Melbourne, jury still being out about it staying as long as it is trying to do, in Sydney)

Sadly Australia is not New York or London where one company can settle into a theatre for years while another company of the same show can be created for shorter seasons, usually with a more touring friendly version of the show. Getting it right must be a nightmare!!! Yet if you get it right, the financial rewards can be enormous. 

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