The great Ronan Parke caper seemed to just fizzle out yesterday. Pre- the Britain’s Got Talent final, it seemed the final hype was upstaged by a rogue blogger. The disgruntled record exec-come-whistleblower touched a raw nerve with his well-written conspiracy theory suggesting that Britain’s wannabe Beiber had actually been ruthlessly groomed by the Dark Lord, Cowell.
This creative provoked the TV mob to launch a complaint to the Kensington and Chelsea rozzers. The Saturday final audience watched a wounded Cowell’s emotional appeal for the nation’s trust. Heaven forbid that an entertainment mogul would consider manipulating the career of a starlet!
I thought this plea for trust was like Stevie Wonder asking a car hire company to allow him to take a family saloon.
To ensure the quality of any reality show is difficult. When all is said and done, Britain just isn’t brimming with world class talent waiting to be discovered. Reality show formats prove that, no matter how much hype and primetime TV exposure, very few global superstars are likely to be unearthed. This is a primetime format, hooking a nation and desperate advertisers.
The glycaemic rush of hyperbole is inevitably followed by a low as the punters recognise the tell-tale signs of yet another humdrum finale. Turd polishing is an impossibility, but we feel more cheated by the lacklustre. The time has arrived when the hype that intrigues and engages us must produce a star or a glittering career. If the hype fails in that task, the spectre’s crooked finger of disengagement beckons.
It’s been widely suggested that production teams are forced to prime the pump and unearth genuine entertainment hopefuls. The format can’t survive on a diet of freaks and Jeremy Kyle wannabes; to make good TV there have to be some certs. So I think the suggestions that Parkegate was one giant PR stunt is rather naïve. In this age, great stunts contain no risk. Why would the format guardians allow prying eyes to take a good, hard look into production tactics?
To play with a highly valuable format for the sake of some column inches or allowing executives to get their piranha-like jaws into Britain’s Got Talent is the equivalent of contracting format Syphilis. Sure, the tabloids were sniffing blood and were close to unsettling the pack, but my guess is that the PR minders and TV execs reminded the potential kiss-and-tell contestants of the enormity of the NDA they had signed and not to suggest any impropriety.
Why would the showbiz ghetto destroy Britain’s Got Talent? Better to keep the format alive. There will be a time for this show to be put to the sword a few years down the line. The Dark Lord loves hype, he understands its force for ratings. Parkegate did add interest and got the nation talking – but let’s face it, we all know who the real winner is.