By Miss Pollyanna, 28th August 2016

Simon Cowell’s YES isn’t a Benchmark of Your Talent

The Importance of Remembering Celebrity Judges are not Gods...

The Importance of Remembering Celebrity Judges are not Gods…

Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ricky from The Kaiser Chiefs (sorry mate I can’t remember your surname), Paloma Faith, Alesha Dixon, Mel B, Will.I.Am, David Walliams, Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Cole, Kylie and even the talent that is Boy George – once upon a time they were in your shoes. The £25 imitation trainers from the market stall, the £10 ballet pumps from Matalan. A relative unknown gazing as an outsider wishing to be let into the upper echelons of fame, fortune and bright lights.

Actually, no.

George would never have donned his feet in either specimens!

But I digress.

What I am trying to say is this:

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn’t matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.
Hindu teaching

Guess what? None of the above personalities got their cheaply adorned feet in any doors by appearing on a TV talent show (with the exception of Cheryl, say no more…).

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In other words, stop making Simon & Co your meal ticket.
The power is not in their hands, but your own. But we see it every year, don’t we? Now I’m not a fan of X Factor, much less Britain’s Got Talent (both shows with their ubiquitous ‘Flying without Wings’ signature tune to the backstory of every contestant, aren’t only as far removed from being my cuppa as a bottle of Diamond White, but they have little in the way of integrity when it comes to true, raw talent versus greasing the wheels of the mass market music industry money making machine.)

I suppose the same could be said for The Voice, but alas, I must confess my soft spot for it. Not only are the judges infinitely more talented when it comes to music – and thus able to spot talent themselves, but they are (at least in the initial round) basing their decision on, as the show would suggest, a voice… not the possible future angle of feathering in some teenage boy’s Manchester-band-haircut, nor the potential net sales of throwing together a bunch of beautiful stick thin early twenty-something women who don’t yet know each other (but will soon have no choice) to form ‘The Next Big Thing.’

Therein lies the difference.

Although, part of me questions whether Kevin Simms’ victory in The Voice’s final wasn’t mapped out from day dot. An amazing voice he may have… but it’s amazing in a two-a-penny kind of way. Certainly, in no way as distinctive as Cody Frost’s in a show which IS supposed to be about THE VOICE. Just saying.

And now I am totally digressing. And being as judgmental as those flippin’ judges.

I think that’s what these shows do to us.

What I am trying to say is this:
An appearance on a TV talent show, even if you are crowned the winner, is by far NOT the only route to success in your chosen field. In fact, as history has shown us, it is so often the runners up who fare the best in the long run. Yet so many of these contestants, visibly, emotionally, pin their every last hope on this.

From Bernie Clifton with his last ditch attempt to start a singing career (that ‘other side’ of him when he isn’t jerkily riding his ostrich puppet and making grown adults squeal, which we hitherto knew nowt about)…

I don’t know about you, but I think this man has an awesome voice. Don’t stop now, you’re just getting started, Bernie!

To the second act, ‘Unit X’ in this short clip of X Factor ‘rejects’…

What a nasty string of comments they got from Simon!

Who’d like to see him get up and perform in front of a TV audience, a live audience and a panel of critics ready to swipe their claws all at the same time?

And do not get me started on Cheryl who seems to think her status in the music industry is suddenly up there with Madonna…

Judge not lest ye be judged and all that.

But in all honesty, I heard something different when I listened to those three young women.
Beneath their palpable fear and nerves (and frankly who can blame them singing to that lot?), there’s the distinct undertone of harmony, a group of ladies who, when left to their own devices in their living room (without the scrutiny of a high-trouser wearing pessimist) would knock the socks off the Average Joe with a powerful, spine tingling rendition of any Whitney Houston ballad you care to throw at them. Smiles all round.

The fact they failed to replicate this on stage does not mean they have zero talent, as Lord Cowell and pals (including the condescending Nick Grimshaw – yep, perhaps you play records, it doesn’t mean you can bloody well sing though) would have us believe.

Yes, these women put themselves out there and risked getting reduced to rubble.
But they are a fab example to all of us of when it comes to handling unjust – unsolicited even – critique no matter what dream we are pursuing. By knowing our own selves first. By knowing our capabilities regardless of the negative opinions of others. By using the demeaning put downs, eye rolling and yawns as rocket fuel to go about it a whole other way.

These American Idol ‘rejects’ went on to do rather well for themselves. Plenty of leaves to be taken out of their books too.

Forget the merriment these celebrity judges like to make of your act…
And get your act together! At this point I must exclude The Voice, a show whose judges really do want everyone to succeed, to go home and tackle their career in another way. But as for the rest of these 24/7 big screen talent contests, stop giving them the air time!

Get YOUR act together and:

  • Be proactive and start asking about gigging/puppeteering/ventriloquisting/fire eating/ dancing in your local pub/bar/restaurant/community centre/wherever. The more imaginative a venue, the better.
  • Start up your own ‘public figure/group/singer’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages – Act As If and the universe will magically open up doors!
  • Record some demo tapes, research record labels and send them off. Like in the good old days. Doesn’t success taste sweeter when it is authentic?
  • Busk. You never know who could be walking past ready to take notice…
  • Contact your local theatre to see what opportunities they may have for putting on a show. Some of these small and regional theatres are even facing closure. Who’s to say that an idea generated by you might not start a ripple effect to save them?
  • Start your own village/town/city talent contest. As the organiser you will naturally be one of the acts!
  • Study the biographies of those who have made it big in your chosen industry (just not Cheryl’s) for some inspiration.
  • Set up a YouTube account and make some videos (in a relaxed state devoid of the Simon Cowell glare) and watch what happens…
  • Send demo tapes to small and medium sized bands who are about to go on tour and might be in need of support acts.
  • Send demo tapes to radio stations… you just never know, they might get curious enough to listen.
  • Set up camp outside Michael Eavis’s house and woo him into securing yourself a Glastonbury slot. (NB. Actually, make sure you have permission first!)

But you can see what I am getting at. Why are any of the above ideas any more or less ridiculous than thinking you are going to become an international super star via one show on the TV?

It’s all about thinking outside of the box, following hunches and above all, not giving up.

No matter what your talent, Simon (I know, I am giving him a bit of rap here, but only because he’s such a brilliant metaphor for anyone we put on a pedestal, forgetting they are only human) is not God. I am sure he is a very nice man. I am sure all of these judges are very decent people… hamming it up for the ratings, that’s all. But they are not always so helpful when it comes to the crunch.

None of these people, as filthy rich and famous and beautiful and well-connected as they may be, can even begin to compete with your determination and self belief.

Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Even you, Zoe… and they were pretty nice to you! If you haven’t seen this clip before and you are considering applying for one of these shows then whatever you do DON’T let it end like this. Walk away with your head held high, dignity in tact, knowing there isn’t just ANother way, but hundreds of other ways.

Whether your dream is to be a pop star, a writer or a celebrity chef, take the best bits your idols have taught you. And then be YOU, rocking it your very unique own way.

“You are unique to all of the world and to all of history. There has never been another like you in all of existence. You, as the creator of your life, are the center of the universe.”
Teachings of Joshua

Now that IS the best recipe for success.

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