Discovering Musical Talent: A Britain’s Got Talent Case Study
If you’re British, there’s little chance that you haven’t heard of ITV’s hugely popular reality television show Britain’s Got Talent. The show was developed in tandem with its American counterpart – creatively titled America’s Got Talent – and was, in many ways, a natural successor to Pop Idol. The show was created by Simon Cowell, who had previously worked as a judge on Pop Idol but had expressed his displeasure over his limited level of creative control.
Britain’s Got Talent has been a fixture of British Saturday night television for more than a decade and a half as of 2023. The show has been broadcast every year with the exception of 2021 between the late Spring and early Summer and continues to enjoy widespread popularity with a large swathe of demographics.
Focus on Music
Despite his primary experience being confined to the music business, one of the key areas that Simon Cowell had stated he hoped to change with Britain’s Got Talent in comparison with Pop Idol was its exclusive focus on music-based acts. Britain’s Got Talent would, theoretically, allow any talented contestant to compete for the favour of the show’s judges, however, in practice the vast majority of successful contestants have continued to be confined to the music industry. This is not really surprising, especially considering the fact that almost every judge that has featured on the show during its run has also had a music industry background.
Reality television has had an enormous effect on the global music industry throughout the 21st century. Proponents of these shows will cite the obvious positive effect of opening up this notoriously hard to break business to a much larger segment of the population, whilst their critics argue that the talent that is found via the selection process used by shows like BGT has derailed the wider music industry and cheapened the fame of established bands and musicians.
One thing that is not in question, however, is the show’s popularity – millions tune in to watch out each week without fail, and this has led to offshoots in other areas of popular culture such as video games, toys, and even a 1×2 gaming Britain’s Got Talent Online slots Megaways that you’ll find exclusively over in the Unibet UK collection.
Around the World
Almost every act that has won a season of Britain’s Got Talent has enjoyed at least some level of commercial success immediately after their on-screen victory, although the shows schedule of being broadcast throughout the Summer has given its winners far less chance of obtaining a coveted ‘Christmas Number One’ than their counterparts who have won other music-based reality television shows such as The X Factor. Whilst the United Kingdom’s perception of these shows has been largely mixed as we previously mentioned, this hasn’t been the case for all versions of the show broadcast elsewhere in the world.
In Argentina, for example, the winners of the localized equivalent of Britain’s Got Talent have been able to achieve ongoing success over many years, even when competing with ‘traditional’ bands and musicians within the Argentinean music industry. It has been noted that, in addition to these shows providing a venue for musical talent to be initially identified, they also foster an environment of extremely tough competition that can actually make it more difficult for some high-quality acts to achieve total success in the competition.
It’s certainly true that if one year of Britain’s Got Talent features a high level of top-quality talent, there can end up being many such acts in the later stages with only one winning position available. Famous examples of this include Attraction, who narrowly missed out on the winning spot of season seven of the show. An even more famous example of the phenomenon can be found in fellow British reality music competition The X Factor – season ten runners up One Direction went on to be drastically more successful than that year’s eventual competition winner.
Claims of Bias
Many viewers criticized the judges of Pop Idol for being overly biased towards contestants with good looks or perhaps were fortunate enough to have traditional attractive body types or traits. It’s clear that some effort has been made to steer away from such issues in the results of Britain’s Got Talent, although critics continue to point to evidence of unbalanced judging criteria or pre-selection of winning candidates in contravention of the on-screen presentation of the competition at large.
The British public largely seems to have confidence that the people creating Britain’s Got Talent do at least have the best interests of its young musical talents at heart, and there is little hard evidence of any significant degree of rigging or injustice in determining the winner of any season of the show. Most importantly, the public has also reported – in one survey after the next – that the show continues to be an important contributor to the contemporary music industry.
For as long as that remains the case, it seems likely that the show will go on!