The Reality of Reality TV

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Reality TV is something that takes up most of people’s times these days, after all, everybody loves a good human interest story, and reality TV is absolute gold for seeing as blubbering wannabe pop-star fighting their fears and embracing the stage. With shows like Made In Chelsea, Geordie Shore and The Voice, there’s a weekly dose of feel-good TV out there for every kind of person – whether you enjoy watching rich people muck about making the most of their endless wealth and free time or you love being shocked at the antics in the Toon. However, being one of those people that shunned reality TV after the billionth episode of Simon Cowell scowling on X-Factor, I fail to see the appeal of sitting in on a Saturday night and watching the same tired show again and again.

One of my biggest reality TV pet hates comes from the fact that we churn out these brand new pop stars, in an effort to dominate the charts, and once they’ve achieved that Christmas number one, they disappear off the face of the earth, never to be seen roaming the music world again. I can’t help but think that if you wanted to make music so desperately, you’d be driven to do more than be a one hit wonder and go back to being nobody. And if you don’t believe me, let’s see how many names you recognise from this X-Factor winner line-up: Steve Brookstein, Leon Jackson, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle? Yeah, that’s what I thought. The Voice is the most recent reality TV phenomenon, with judges such as The Script frontman, Danny O’Donoghue, Tom Jones, Jessie J and Will.I.Am. Whilst I appreciate Mr. Jones for the legend that he is, I find it difficult to believe that Will.I.Am should have any authority of what makes good music after his ear-splittingly awful collaboration with Britney Spears. Luckily for me, whilst reality TV shows about rich kids might live on, shows about boy band wannabes are a dying breed. According to reports, X-Factor hit it’s peak in 2010 with an average of around fourteen  million viewers, and since then has dropped to around nine million.

But I can see the bright side of reality TV, whilst you get some serious crap and absolutely ridiculous people thinking they’re the next big thing – Cher Lloyd anyone? – there are also times when these shows help people to be discovered. Susan Boyle, for example, has received criticism for not being what we would call ‘traditionally beautiful’,  and yet probably has one of the most astonishing voices Britain has heard – receiving a standing ovation during her audition in 2009 on Britain’s got talent. Despite only achieving second place in the competition, Boyle has gone on to enjoy viral and personal success, releasing multiple albums (#susanalbumparty) and even landing a film role. And I’ll admit, I’m not perfect, I love me some Geordie Shore – if only to thank god that my life is much less dramatic. I can see why reality TV shows are appealing, if you invest your time into a show about a bunch of people you’re bound to want to know how they’re doing. One of my housemates is emotionally invested in Made In Chelsea, if only to see Andy Jordan’s impressive flared nostrils.

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