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Australia’s Guy Sebastian: It’s time for all of TV’s music talent shows to be “rested”

Guy Sebastian is one of Australia’s biggest stars, and also one of reality TV’s biggest success stories. He won the first season of Australian Idol back in 2003. He has since released eight albums, all reaching the top 10 in Australia. In addition, a remarkable 21 of his singles as lead artist reached the top 20 of his national singles chart. Furthermore, some of those singles have achieved international success.

Guy Sebastian: It’s time for talent shows to be rested

2012’s Battle Scars charted in Scandinavia and the United States. Tonight Again charted all over Europe in 2015 following Guy’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. Of course, Guy was Australia’s first ever Eurovision entrant when they were invited to Vienna to celebrate the contest’s 60th anniversary. So it may come as a surprise that today, Guy has called for television talent shows to be “rested” considering the huge career platform one was for himself.

A key problem: the “recycling” of talent

In an interview with KIIS FM in Australia, Guy explained that the TV talent show market had become too saturated. He believes the proof of this is that the various shows, such as The X Factor and The Voice, are now “recycling” talent:

“I think we just need to let talent mature a little bit. We need to let the pool of talent develop. I think everything has its time. We’re so saturated with all of this stuff and it’s probably a good time for it to be rested.”

“There’s a bunch of people on The Voice that I’ve seen on the promos that we’ve seen through the X Factor process as well.”

Evidence certainly proves this is the case

Guy certainly has a point. Here in the UK, various artists are trying their luck on more than one of our three biggest talent shows: The X Factor, The Voice UK and Britain’s Got Talent. Most recently, Jeanette Akua, who had previously reached the live shows of The X Factor as part of girlband Miss Dynamix, tried her luck again on the latest series of Britain’s Got Talent as part of a new girlband Miss Treat Vibe.

There’s also an argument to put this into a Eurovision context. After competing in the world’s biggest music competition in 2015, a year later Aminata Savadogo tried her luck in The Voice of Russia. 2015 Junior Eurovision winner Destiny Chukunyere also recently appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. Destiny, of course, won major selection shows in Malta to earn her Junior Eurovision participation. Furthermore, Zena Donnelly, who won an Irish selection show to take her to Junior Eurovision in 2016, is soon to appear on The Voice Kids UK.

Increasing number of talent show artists entering Eurovision

In addition, in recent years several of Eurovision’s participating artists have reached popularity in their countries via a talent show. Australia themselves are a prime example of this. Guy, Dami Im and Isaiah all took victory in singing talent shows in 2003, 2013 and 2016 respectively. In addition to Isaiah, the likes of Alex Florea, Anja, Blanche, Ilinca, Kristian Kostov, Lindita, Lucie Jones, Nathan Trent and more had all previously taken part in either The Voice or The X Factor prior to their appearances at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

Yet, talent shows themselves are falling out of favour

In Australia, and in the UK, talent shows are suffering from a decline in viewership. The X Factor in the UK now struggles to attract just half of the viewers that it did at its peak at the beginning of this decade. In Australia, the problem is similar. The Daily Mail explains why:

“[Guy’s] initial instincts [that he wasn’t going to do The X Factor in 2016] may have been on-point. Every episode of the formerly top-rating program failed to hit the generally accepted benchmark of 1 million viewers.”

“At one point, the show slumped to its worst-rated night in its 12-year history. Only 665,000 people tuned-in to watch Isaiah Firebrace win in 2016. This is a shadow of the 2 million plus viewers who saw Dami Im crowned the victor in 2013.”

These figures have led to the cancellation of The X Factor in Australia for the foreseeable future. So Guy certainly does have a point in regards to all things talent shows! But what impact would this have on Eurovision? It’s important to clarify Guy isn’t referring to Eurovision as one of these talent shows and rightly so. Nevertheless, the worlds of Eurovision and music TV talent shows have been colliding increasingly often in recent years. Therefore, a substantial change in the prominence of talent shows could have significant consequences for Eurovision.

If talent shows were to be rested around the world, what impact do you think it would have on the artists countries put forward to Eurovision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and via our social media channels @ESCXTRA!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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