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Britains got Talent


Active Member
Great article here that i wanted to share. Good copy and humour from a creative point of view. Enjoy

A fix? Never! We concoct conspiracy theories in order to excuse our twisted fascination with Simon Cowell’s talentless contest. This is such a great article from Marina Hyde at the Guardian I had to copy and paste it Some great writing and creativity here. Bill Bryson will be laughing too!

Roll up! Roll up! Take your seats for the hotly-denied Britain’s Got Talent conspiracy theory, in which an anonymous blogger claims Simon Cowell has fixed tonight’s final so it’s won by some tween singer – a tween Cowell has in fact had on his books for the past two years. Not since the alleged Islamist plot to target The X Factor has it been possible to give quite such a toss, and I’m thrilled to learn that lawyers for Cowell have attended a west London police station. Unfortunately, they reported the alleged crime of malicious communications, as opposed to the theft of an entire generation’s neurons.

If you can judge a society by its imagined enemies as well as its real ones, then I can’t help feeling Britain’s Got Problems. The point about being plugged into the Matrix was that it allowed humans to believe they were at the peak of their civilisation. On that model, Britain is plugged into a conspiracy in which the apogee of human cultural achievement consists of a merely adequate pre-pubescent singer, a keyboard-bashing granny, and a couple of performing dogs. Take the red pill,Keanu! Whatever the truth is, it couldn’t possibly be crapper than this.

Once again, we are obliged to confront the smallness of this septic isle. Not for us the suggestion that Pearl Harbour was secretly allowed to happen, or that alien remains are stored in a government facility. For us, it is the suggestion that a couple of talentless chihuahuas are going to be done out of their rightful victory by a kid with six months of disappointing record sales in him before his voice breaks.

Many of you will prefer to wait until Oliver Stone immortalises the tale on film, but for those in need of a recap, the facts are these: this week, someone claiming to be “a Sony music executive” posted detailed claims that Cowell had fixed Britain’s Got Talent – claims that spread round the internet like wildfire. That the story was arrant cobblers was obvious from the first paragraph, in which the notional executive claimed the business “has left me increasingly uncomfortable about the integrity of Britain’s Got Talent”. The what, love? The “integrity of Britain’s Got Talent”? I can’t imagine a more ludicrous concept, short of “the corporate social responsibility of Spectre“.

The claim that such programmes are secretly manipulated is not exactly new. Indeed, it was first made in the form of a cave painting. But we are talking low-level, amusingly ghastly manipulation, exemplified by shameless editing, or the former X Factor contestant whose father had died, who claims he was ordered by producers to sing Luther Vandross’s Dance With My Father.

In fact, the real conspiracy in all these shows is not secret. It is right up there on the screen, and that is Cowell’s greatest trick – all the greater for its preposterous blatancy. Put simply, the formula of a Simon Cowell talent contest is this: ordinary people queue in their tens of thousands for the chance to work for scale or nothing on a primetime, top-rating TV show, in which Cowell persuades the public to pay him (via phonelines) to tell him which acts he may sell back to them.

Lex Luthor it ain’t. But then it doesn’t need to be. Instead of the Great and Powerful Oz, I frequently imagine Simon Cowell as the man behind the curtain, working the levers of public taste while torn between opportunistic enthusiasm and gnawing inner despair at how easy it is.

So what are we to make of people’s need to believe in conspiracy theories such as the one floated above? In his famous essay on conspiracy theories in America, the historian Richard Hofstadter noted that a significant part of these tales is psychological projection – people ascribe their own worst traits to the imagined enemy, thus relieving themselves of various kinds of responsibility. And so with an increasingly savvy reality TV audience, who understand that Cowell always wins, yet watch in ever greater numbers and have to find a way of elevating their involvement into something more than a mug’s game.

Both fans and haters need to develop outlandish conspiracy theories because they can’t actually believe millions upon millions are genuinely in thrall to this stuff. The weeks after the finale of a Cowell show are a bit like that scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the drug wears off and Titania can’t actually believe she was carrying on with a donkey. What visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of Steve Brookstein! Even now, there will be countless folk who can’t believe they invested time and possibly money rooting for Matt Cardle – last year’s X Factor winner and a chap of absolutely zero star quality – or indeed for almost all the previous victors, who are essentially competing for the chance to be dropped by Cowell’s record company inside of a year.

The only bearable explanation is that we are being duped by some master villain. And as the steward of a deadly serious theory in which Cowell is designated the Karaoke Sauron, I am quite convinced I should know.

Britain's Got Talent? More like a very bizarre addiction | Marina Hyde | Comment is free | The Guardian