Sunday, October 27, 2002

IT MIGHT BE THE START OF THE END: We can but hope that the news that Pop Idol 2 has been put into a total holding pattern until next year - not even auditions before next spring - is a sign that the current generation of Opportunity Knocks is coming to an end. Amusingly, the programme makers are "aware there is a danger of overkill" - right up there with Henri Paul going "I think we might be travelling a bit fast." The pisspoor figures for Fame Academy are being cited as one the reasons for the realisation that this particular golden goose is shagged out.
See, the problem with Fame Academy isn't the big sing-off editions - they work quite well, in a Op Knocks meets Weakest Link way. But it's the endless programmes in mid-week that bring the whole thing down. Clearly, the BBC thought it was going to be Kids from Fame but with a Big Brother element, but of course its not. The endless hours of rehearsal are dull - there's a reason why behind the scenes stuff is usually behind the scenes, and while the odd spot of sneaking about round the back can be fun, lots of people in legwarmers being useless is a bit tedious. The other stuff, where Richard Park shares his knowledge with the wannabe musicians, is curious but also bad telly - he's giving them great, solid, valuable advice about the music industry, which is on a par with telling a swimsuit model how her bikini fabric was invented. People interested in the mechanics of a music industry career tend to take a more traditional route into the industry than go on Vince Purity's You Should Be So Lucky. In addition, of course, while music biz seminars are great for people who want to be label bosses or pluggers, they're incredibly dull things if you're not actively participating. So, in effect, the BBC is serving up live coverage of what amounts to a sales conference with participants who'd rather be off learning the moves from the Its Raining Men video all through the week. By the time the quite-well-thought-out sing off comes round, people have already associated Fame Academy with the equivalent of having museli rubbed into your face, and so they don't bother.

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