You know, if you were basing your assessment off last night's premiere of New Zealand's Got Talent, you might be tempted to say no, New Zealand does not have talent - because outside of a yodelling primary school kid and a crazy dance troupe, there actually wasn't much talent on display in a rather dismal introduction to this country's second attempt at adapting the Got Talent franchise for our shores.
I can't say I'm too surprised. TVNZ's decision to resurrect the Got Talent franchise - which came and went on Prime TV a few years ago - is baffling: Got Talent is arguably the least successful of the big talent shows, with international versions of the series lagging far behind the likes of American Idol and The X Factor, and more recently The Voice, in audience numbers and popularity in this country.
Not to mention that actually making the show is fraught with difficulty. How is it fair to compare Ocean, a yodelling nine-year-old schoolkid, with Andre Vegas and Company, a magic act that performed a version of the old "saw a woman in half" trick? Or with the J-Geeks, a dance crew who combined traditional Maori costumes with pop music? Trying to figure out who should go through must be near impossible - which is probably why the judges seemed to send people through at random.
Then there is the problem that, even when a 10-year-old singer comes out and does a bad job with her song (not terrible, but bad enough to make Randy Jackson say "yo, for me, for you, formeforyou, that was pitchy dawg"), none of the judges can bring themselves to say "hey, listen, keep working on it and come back next year" because she's a 10-year-old girl.
The judges are perhaps the biggest problem on this edition of the show. I'm not sure any of them have any idea what talent actually is - certainly, I don't think any of them can tell what constitutes a good singer, as they put through at least two who have no business appearing in a show that purports to celebrate talent.
Again, I can't say I'm too surprised. Jason Kerrison and Ali Campbell are simply decent singers who've done nothing to suggest they might be able to identify future stars, and I can't imagine that half-watching Rod Stewart gyrate around a stage for nine years even qualifies Rachel Hunter to comment on Rod Stewart, let alone any other performer.
It might not matter too much, luckily. As Tamati Coffey stated to the camera after Billy's Big Brass Band exited the stage, "the audience loved him and that's all that matters". If the team behind NZGT have any brains, they should adopt that as a mantra, because identifying someone who is actually good at what they are trying to do seems a secondary function behind dragging in enough entertaining people to top the Sunday night ratings until Christmas.
From the cheesy - and obviously scripted - opening sequence, in which apparent contestants were shown discussing the details of the show (prizes, judges, and so on), to the frightening "coming soon" montage at the end of the episode that didn't actually feature a single thing I might want to tune in for next week, this was an hour of television that merely confirmed, perhaps even went beyond, my worst fears about how bad NZ's Got Talent might actually be.
I can see how you might like the "we're all in this together" aspect of the show, and might be attracted to the "at least they're giving it a go" philosophy, but I don't think I'll be watching another second of NZGT.
Did you watch NZ's Got Talent last night? What did you think? Do you agree that it was terrible?
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