The Truths about Reality singing Competitions, Love them or hate them – reality singing competitions have been around for over 40 years now and although formats may change I see no end to them. They have launched the careers and many of today’s chart toppers and even agents have sent their singers to the auditions as a viable launch pad. However some are adamant they have destroyed the music industry completely. Whatever your opinion today I will lift the lid on what happens so you can decide if they are for you or if your path to success lies elsewhere:
Truth 1: Remember it’s a TV show:
I am regularly called by The Voice each year because they are already scouting for up and coming talent long before the show starts. Although not as successful as its US counterpart there have been a better caliber of singer – it’s backers are Universal but they certainly didn’t know what to do with the first series winner so having a great voice alone is not indicative of overall success. On the other hand X-factor and BGT being run by SYCO (Simon Cowell) have a very big engine. This really is about the stories behind the singing, the drama, the look and the age range 16-25 to really be in with a shot.
Truth 2: You have several producers to sing to first
Singing Competitions, no matter what the program trailer says, behind the scenes you are either being invited to sing and ear-marked to listen out for or you are singing in front of several TV producers and A &R reps first and anything up to 5 separate auditions before they rehearse you for a TV take in front of the judges. That’s why the crazy auditions are so watchable. By the time the deluded have been put through 5 rounds it makes amazing TV to tell them the truth!
Truth 3: It’s not a magic wand
Even if you get through boot camp or onto a few of the live rounds, TV exposure alone (unless a very distinctive performance) will not guarantee open doors. Just being visible is not enough; many have no experience of how to knock on those doors or use that exposure afterwards and return back to their old lives. They were hoping someone would rescue them and tell them they were OK. The only ones I know who went a few rounds and got anything out of that were singers who were prepared and knew how to market themselves when the cameras were off.
Truth 4: Sometimes the losers win and the winners lose
How is it that you can win the X-Factor or The Voice and not have a career?? Why did Olly Murs come out on top while Joe Mc… who? Didn’t? Personality is the answer to this. Even though Joe, Lianne etc had amazing vocals and their boy and girl next door stories resonated with the voting public at the time, neither had a sense of their own style and were dare I say it plain personalities outside. It just doesn’t sell records! We want our rock and pop stars to be a bit exaggerated and over the top. Olly succeeded because he was able to craft a look and sound after the show was finished that found a gap in the market. The people behind the scenes would have known he was easy and fun to work with. People at the end of the day buy people. End of.
So be prepared before you go. It can be a life changing experience for some, but for most don’t pin your hopes on it, or wait before you craft your own style and personality.