The first, and most glaringly obvious reason is that television talent shows are not talent shows at all; they are popularity contests, and sometimes hardly even that. Sure the B-list celebrity judges make their comments, but then the voting is left up to the viewers at home. Of course, most of the viewers don’t actually vote because most ordinary people watch TV precisely because they don’t want to have to do anything. Which leaves the fanatics, and those who are, for whatever reason, overly emotionally invested (to the point where they feel the need to call in fifty times in a row to support their favorite teenage heartthrob or that slightly obese contestant who vaguely reminds them of themselves).
The second reason is loosely related to the first, and partially explains why these shows are so often skewed toward popularity and away from talent: human interest drama. The shows are typically split about 50/50 between actual singing/dancing/ice skating competitions and long video montages with plenty of teary eyed close-up shots capturing the emotion behind the story of how terribly difficult the contestants’ lives have been and how utterly heartbreaking their current struggles toward transient stardom are. Obviously, this kind of bleeding-hearts drama is great airtime filler, but it does nothing in the way of determining who is most talented.
Finally, last but not least, there is the simple fact that TV talent shows most often do very little for the careers of the winners. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and there are a few superstars today who made their name winning TV talent competitions like Leona Lewis and Kelly Clarkson, but by and large, the vast majority of these finalists put out one terrible album and head straight back to wedding singing and bar mitzvahs.
Anyway, I had better wraps things up with this article now. X Factor is about to start, and I need to have all five of my phones ready to cast as many votes as possible for that creepy old guy with the sweaty palms, the ponytail, and the gold chain who reminds me of me back when I used to be handsome.