Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Not Ignoring American Idol

As the title suggests I am not ignoring American Idol--I just have nothing to say about the show.

I have been professing that I watch all reality television shows when that is not entirely true. My credibility may be shot, but I hate watching singing shows like American Idol. I watched the first couple seasons to see what the fuss was all about but after seeing the "idols" perform, I knew I did not idolize anyone from the show. Simon, Randy and Paula, at their peak, were hilarious and insightful; after a few years, Simon and Paula became bitter and it was not fun to watch. I will sit next to a railway track to see the trainwreck.

The success of the Idol contestants is not extremely high for a show that gets the top ratings in the United States. Besides the few that have succeed to tell their story, there are hundreds of others who are as talented that fall off the stage. Besides the regular 15 minutes each gets in the spotlight, what's the success in saying you were an American Idol contestant? Just as much success as saying you were a Canadian Idol contestant, I guess.

Right now the drama surrounding the shocking eliminations shows just how the voting system works for the show, which ruins the show. If the judges were smart, they would not have saved Casey Abrams and waited for Pia Toscano to be in danger. Look at Sanjaya Malakar: he outlasted many others to the disappointment of the judges and Seacrest, but it was America's decision.

It goes back to my bias against letting the fans vote, but talent competitions are different from adventure series. Rewarding the true victor should lead to their futher success, but if they are going to fade fast then it's the fault of the judges for selecting a dud.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Canada needs more reality TV

When I was 10 I wanted to be on the Canadian show "Uh-Oh", which (for those who don't remember) was a children's game show in which contestants spun a wheel, answered questions, played fun games, and got slime poured on them--how cool is that?!

When I was 13 I wanted to be on Survivor; at 14 I wanted to be on Big Brother; at 16 I wanted to be on The Amazing Race--do you see a pattern here? With the growth of reality television shows I want to be part of the phenomena as a contestant. It was not my 15 minutes or a guest spot on The King of Queens that pulled me into the trend, but it was the games themselves that have always intrigued me.

When I was 19 I wanted to learn to dance to be on So You Think You Can Dance or learn to cook and become a great chef to be on Top Chef. Now that these shows are offered in Canada, my talents are not honed in enough to be able to compete, but that's alright by me. I still want the chance to prove myself on one of the above shows but the producers of those shows own North American rights to the adventure shows, but only produce American content. In my eyes that's not fair, and somewhat discriminatory. Since Survivor's start in 2000 Canada has been watching carefully as the contestants outwit, outplay and outlast each other for the 13 week program, and the show always ranks in the top 10 each week. Last year's edition of Heroes vs. Villains saw the show ranking higher than the first round of the NHL playoffs-- doesn't that say something?

When Wipeout Canada was auditioning for its northern edition, I immediately applied and searched for fun things that could get me on the show. Sadly I did not make it but am excited to be watching the series, besides how tacky it is with the product placement and over-theatrics of the contestants. Top Chef Canada premieres tonight and I'll be watching the series, after each food so I don't get too hungry. But if these shows are making it to Canada it's time Mark Burnett gets off his high horse, stops picking contestants that no one likes (Fiji is all I'll say) and get some Canadians on there. Why not a Canada vs. United States battle? It'll show true patriotism on both teams and get great ratings between the two countries.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All-Stars = Celebrity

For many reality television shows my favourite seasons are usually the "all-star" versions. Past contestants come back to compete once again for the chance to be the "sole survivor," "first-place team" or "final houseguest." In all forms of competition reality television, from outdoor adventure to cooking, there are all-star seasons, if there have been enough regular seasons to collect an all-star cast. A lot of people I have talked to ask why Survivor hasn't ever had a celebrity version of itself (the U.S. version hasn't, but many other countries have had a celebrity Survivor). I think the use of celebrities is a desperate attempt to regain the audiences once have.

Survivor hasn't had a celebrity version, but has had two "all-stars" and three seasons with returning castaways. Aren't these seasons celebrity versions of Survivor? Bringing back past contestants who garner a lot of media and public attention, like Rupert, Russell, Jerri and James, will draw in the money that CBS and Mark Burnett need to make the game stay alive. But are we not celebrating those who have played before by showcasing them once again? Just like in Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Mole, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here we are celebrating the characters we love from the previous seasons of the past Survivors. In the ten years of the show, the all-star seasons have gained the most media attention, in comparison to the first season. Season 20, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, ranks in the top five seasons of the hit series because there was a clear division of true human spirit: you either cheered for a hero or a villain. But, in all reality, you're cheering for your favourite Survivor celebrity.