Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The unlikeliness of Susan Boyle

My mom sent me this seven minute YouTube clip (embedding disabled) from last Saturday's "Britain's Got Talent" broadcast. If you haven't seen it I'd encourage you to give it a look rather than read my half-formed yammers about it.

I hate these shows. And while I am not a fan of the reality show in general*, by "these shows" I mean specifically the reality (and celebrity-reality) talent show. I hate the cruelty, the commerciality, the artifice, and the garish expressions of the lowest common denomination of taste. Oh and how I hate the padding.

But I cannot deny these shows' appeal. Which finds somewhat of an apotheosis in these seven minutes.

There is still much to be cynical about here: the bassoon underscore playing up the awkwardness of the contestant, the maudlin praise, the underlying condescension of the format. But as much as I wanted to dismiss this, or deconstruct it, there is something undeniably genuine and awesome in this moment.

Because despite all of the forgettable hours of ridiculous costumes, hairstyles, and product placements what everyone involved--the producers, the judges, the audience--most wants, deep down, is to witness is a nobody stepping out on the stage and coming back a star.

See it for yourself.

*Excepting Top Chef, The Amazing Race, and for a while I was able to enjoy Survivor.

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