Monday, June 18, 2007

The wrap special: Britain's Got Talent

UPDATE: An interesting article by the Daily Telegraph attributing the success of the show to its essential Britishness. I'm not convinced, but not being British, what do I know? :-p

I knew vaguely that Britain's Got Talent was on, but not owning a TV, didn't follow it at all. I've also seen the Paul Potts video doing the rounds in the blogosphere so on Saturday night, with nothing better to do and feeling a little curious, I decided to go hunt around on YouTube and before I knew it, 2 hours of my life had gone!

There are a couple of reasons why I think that the show has been so popular. Firstly, I think people think of variety shows as harking back to a more innocent time, regardless of whether such an age actually existed and notwithstanding some of the more risque acts on display here. Secondly, the show consummates a wish-fulfillment trope, for who doesn't like the idea of a dream coming true? Thirdly, the show is a great leveller, for it spotlights the Everyman, the guy or girl you see everyday on the street and gives hope to those who despair at the professionalization of well, everything. (This reminds me of something the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin said, something along the lines of how a carnival culture suspends all hierarchic distinctions in society, i.e that people whom you don't normally come into contact with are now mingling with each other). Lots of the good acts are genuinely likable as well. And of course, it's great fun!

Anyway, for your entertainment, here are some of the auditions. Warning: don't watch them if you have something more important to do! Also, for those of you who can't stand too much sweetness, they occasionally lay it over the top with the inspirational music at the end of some of the auditions. :)

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