Inspired art

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley

I’m usually skeptical to TV shows using sob stories to intensify a performance. Talent shows like Britian’s Got Talent or Idol are famous for that. It’s almost like the talent is irrelevant, and the main focus is the background story.

I didn’t watch those shows even when I had cable (I only stream nowadays), but I sometimes watch highlights on you tube. It’s not that I don’t like a sob story, but it has to be relevant. I love it when someone proves the judges wrong, like that time on America’s Got Talent when a guy who looked like the Hollywood stereotype of a poor, white man from the South did a very nice version of a Garth Brooks song. You could see that everyone expected this guy to embarass himself, but it was the judges and the audience that should be ashamed. I also remember Milton Patton, an African-American from Forrest City in Arkansas. The first time I heard the name of the place I assumed his town had been founded near a big forest or something like that, but it turned out it was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early member of KKK. That’s a real disadvantage! Hearing him sing was pretty good entertainment and his background was relevant.

Some of the background stories are touching enough, but I sometimes wonder why the judges, or the viewers voting, need to know that someone recently got divorced, lost a family member, had been out of a job for a long time, or had autism, before they decided who had the biggest talent. I have a lot of sympathy for some of these people having experienced a bit of adversity myself, but I am more interested in the talent.

I sometimes hear stories that are more relevant. Lucy Kay is one of those. She is from Nottingham in England, but moved to Glasgow to study music because she had to get away from bullying. Her mother described her childhood as pretty hard. That must have been one heck of a fight, but judging from one of several performances in Britain’s Got Talent I think we could conclude that she was somewhat successful:

She didn’t win the contest, but won big anyway. She signed a multi-album deal with Sony Music. It’s interestimg that many of the winners in the Norwegian editions of Idol didn’t have any career, but some of the finalists that didn’t win did. Lucy Kay is one of those people that can inspire me, both with her story and her music.

I also liked Charlotte and Jonathan from BGT 2012. He was concidered the biggest talent and Simon Cowell told him after the first audition that he would have had more success if he dumped the girl. He didn’t listen to him and I think this performance from the semi final shows what a good decision that was:


The problem with Britain’s Got Talent is that you can’t compare the different arts. Charlotte and Jonathan went on to the final, but it was almost painful to read the news that these two beauitiful voices were beaten by the two dancing dogs Ashleigh and Pudsey. There’s something wrong when we like animals mimicking human behaviour more than music.



2 thoughts on “Inspired art

  1. Ah, backstories. I can watch these kinds of shows (though I usually don’t) and find myself convinced my life isn’t nearly tragic enough to have produced any kind of talent.

    1. My sentiments exactly! Many of us feel that we would loose in any comparison. It’s like most of the geezers I’ve known. They never feel better than when they meet another old man they can compare notes with, and if they turn out to be the sickest, they really feel revitalized. My life hasn’t been spectacular, but Iike with most people there is still both drama and comedy. I’m hoping to use some of that.

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