Instant Fame: Just Add TV

Geordie Shore cast memberHard work, determination and talent or just the ability to get yourself in front of a camera and on the television? I’m not sure exactly what it takes in order to make someone a star nowadays but sometimes it seems that talent doesn’t always have to be that involved.


Whether it’s Big Brother or The Only Way is Essex, Made In Chelsea or another programme those involved seem to be referred to as ‘stars’ purely after letting themselves be filmed for one reason or another. The X Factor is even quicker to elevate its participants to near celebrity status, with participants on the Saturday night being described in that way two days after when the papers come out the following Monday. Okay I get it, these people can sing (well mostly) but if they did the same performance at the local pub karaoke night would the same description apply? Kitty Brucknell appeared on the X Factor and The Sun promptly called her a ‘star’ but the question is whether they will share that same view once the competition moves on. Previously Olly Murs, Danyl Johnson and even Steve Brookstein were described with the same accolade but few of these predecessors have gone on to enjoy the long term success of people who I would personally consider deserved the name.


Reality television may have started its life as something of a novelty, with early contestants on programmes like Big Brother not knowing the extent of the show’s popularity until they rejoined the world outside after eviction night. Several years and one change of channel later, there is more awareness of how deals with magazines and gossip columns can be waiting upon leaving, with some participants even stating they are taking part simply with the intention of becoming well known. If you look at any of the major gossip magazines such as Heat, Star or Now there are often several pages of features on the latest reality show. Relationships are played out via the headlines, with almost no detail apparently too small or personal to be left unsaid. So just what do you think would happen if some of these people didn’t feature in the public eye for even a few weeks? In a time when people can be elevated to celebrity status almost overnight, it can be just as easy to slip back the other way to obscurity.


Olly MursWith the return of the X Factor recently, early shows have as before started with an open audition process. Even though contestants now perform in front of a live audience rather than only the judges, there are few restrictions on who can apply. Want to be on a stage in front of millions of viewers on a Saturday as well as a theatre full of people? Now’s your chance! Perform on the weekend and by Monday see yourself on chat shows, daytime television or the front page of major tabloids. At least, that is, until the next person comes along and your face is replaced by theirs in gossip columns and on the breakfast time sofa. Then again, if you may only be in the public eye for a short time maybe it makes sense to earn as much as you can while people are willing to pay and you have the attention of viewers.


Whether the trend for overnight fame and celebrity continues, or if viewers start to become tired of there being a new ‘star’ every week, remains to be seen but hopefully in the long term genuine talent will start to win out over instant fame. That might just mean that we focus on people with real abilities and not just those who are looking to make some money in the short period of time they can. The only problem is, what will the gossip and reality focused magazines write about then?


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