I’m not a big fan of ‘reality’ TV shows, but one of them has been keeping me entertained quite a lot over the last few weekends. Not the show itself, so much as all the banter that you get on the two main social networking sites when it’s on. In fact, it’s become something of a weekend ritual for me. The show starts; I fire up my laptop and read the barrage of sarky tweets and Facebook status updates that ensue as the show unfolds. Sometimes I don’t even have to have the telly on to enjoy the fun. I’ve been on a train from Sheffield to London with nothing but my laptop and a wifi connection, and still been thoroughly entertained.
Sadly, though, the fun only lasts until Sunday evening when we get the results of the previous night’s voting. That’s when (depending on how the results have gone) the tweets and status comments go from being light-hearted and fun to whiny and vitriolic.
I know that generally we all get upset when our favourite team loses. But for some unknown reason, the people who watch this show tend to take that disappointment to infinity and beyond. Suddenly it becomes a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the UK. Every now and then, some level-headed soul will try to restore some balance by reminding us that it is, after all, just a TV karaoke show and nothing to get too steamed up about. But that usually just seems to stir up more anger (why are the people who take ‘reality TV’ so seriously always so bloody angry? I thought it was supposed to be light entertainment?). Well, I don’t care anymore. It’s time to point out one simple fact the complainers have clearly forgotten.
So far this series, the highest audience figure this show has had is 12.6 million. That’s a lot of people. But here’s the thing: the population of the UK is 61.8 million. Big though it is, 12.6 million is just a fifth of the country’s population. And that’s just the number of people who watch the thing; the number that actually votes is even lower than that.
People, please bear that figure in mind before making any sweeping value judgements about the state of Britain based on however the results turn out. If the bottom two are black, it isn’t conclusive proof that the whole of Britain is racist (especially if Wagner gets through again, what with him being Brazilian and all). And if Wagner does get through again, please don’t whine about the British public having no taste (at least big them up for having a sense of humour). Remember: it’s (less than) one in five people.
Have a “glass half full” attitude. Instead of moaning about the (less than) one in five Brits who have bad taste in music, why not commend the four who have good taste in music (and who demonstrate that good taste in the most obvious way possible: by simply choosing NOT to watch this bloody programme)?
Oh, and of you’re going to moan generally about “this not really being a singing contest” or “the judges deliberately don’t choose the best singers” – change the record, please. You’ve been watching this show now for at least five years; surely by now you know how it works? Stop making exactly the same complaint every year. You’ve seen the pattern; you know they never deviate from the script; and yet you still choose to watch – so put up or shut up.
Now grab a beer and sit down, tune in and tweet; make those sarky comments on your Facebook statuses, and let’s all have a laugh. Mock the off-key singing, the dodgy hairstyles, the “drunk uncle at a wedding” dance moves and Louis (PLEASE, do mock Louis!). By all means root for your favourite… but keep it light-hearted. Don’t get too precious about the result – or the show itself. Definitely don’t see it in any way, shape or form as an indicator of how the whole country thinks.
Remember, it’s only a TV show.