Some musical artists put their name out there by playing their music in live venues up and down the country. Others prefer to use social media to promote themselves, while some opt to enter some of the biggest musical talent shows. One of the most successful early incarnations of the musical talent show in the United Kingdom was the Idols franchise created by Simon Fuller in 2001. In the UK, this new show was called Pop Idol and it quickly became one of the most successful entertainment programmes on television, and was adapted in more than 46 regions around the world.
The formats of the Idols changed slightly depending on the country, but the usual format was to have singers audition and then sing for a number of weeks with the public voting for their favourite act. The overall winner would then win a recording contract with the title of their nation’s idol, star or superstar. Several major artists had their careers launched by the Idols franchise, including Will Young, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
Following on from the Idols franchise is the series that is still going strong in dozens of countries worldwide more than 15 years since its creation. We are, of course, talking about The X Factor. When The X Factor first aired, the similarities between it and the Idols’ programmes were so strong that Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Syco Entertainment. The case reached the High Court in November 2005, but the hearing was quickly adjourned after an out-of-court settlement was reached. The X Factor has been hugely successful over the years, and continues to be so today, but there are those who wish the contest did not exist because they believe it has a negative effect on the music industry, particularly in the United Kingdom.
One of the biggest issues people have about the X-Factor is how its winners seemingly dominate the Christmas Number One spot year on year. The show is timed so the winner of the X-Factor final releases a single in time for the Christmas charts and due to their popularity on the show, fans of the winner flock to buy the single and they dominate the charts. X Factor’s domination of the Xmas number one race was highlighted more in 2009 when Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name,” originally released in 1992, became the Christmas number one after a Facebook campaign persuaded more than 500,000 people to download the track.
The other music talent show we will mention here is The Voice. It differentiates itself from its rivals by holding blind auditions, so that the singers’ voices are what are prominent, not how the person looks. If one or more of the judges likes what they hear, their chair is spun around to face the singer. If more than one judge turns around, the singer has to choose one of them to mentor them for the show’s finals.
Since its launch in 2012, The Voice has produced several winners, although none of them are considered stars, but almost all of them are still working within the music industry and are continuing to release music to this day.