Occasionally, and when I can remember to tune in, I like to watch music reality shows like 'Indian Idol' or 'Sa Re Ga Ma'
I like to watch these programs because I like music. And to me its a special experience listening to good singers with melodious voices render familiar songs from old films.
But one thing about the music competitions is invariably disturbing. Some of the best singers are among the first to be eliminated.
Not surprising, considering the format of the competition. The audience votes and decides.
(The judges are mere show pieces).
Through text messages and phone calls.
Cell phone operators mint millions and in turn sponsor the show.
The result is there for all to see. Aspirants who are genuine singers fail to make the grade because they don't get enough audience votes. Contestants who are less deserving by any stretch of imagination move up the competition rounds.
The deserving contestants who get eliminated early manage to get singing contracts anyway because they are good. The winners and finalists fade away into oblivion. They are seen next only as anchors in the subsequent editions of the show.
So what's all this about? The good guys do make it big in the end. But not on the show.
The not so good guys win in front of the camera but are losers otherwise.
And what does the viewer do? Enjoy the music or grapple with this 'warped' competition?