Recalls, Wildcards and celebrations

Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.

The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes with some weird logic. When I switch on to watch a competition, I would be happy if there is one. Like for example Airtel Super Singer comes 4 days a week, and if there is a festival on that week they go into a celebration round. Celebration round means, there is no competition, no eliminations but just some time for the network to stretch the show.

Then comes the wildcard rounds, no idea what that means. Suddenly when they have a top 10 or 15 identified, they pop this in. No idea why, suddenly they have 2 weeks of getting the eliminated singers to comeback and compete and 2 or 3 of them are called back. So 15 becomes 18 after couple of weeks and then you are back to eliminating those 3 in another 6-8 weeks before we get to 15 again. Amidst all these we suddenly have the episodes where the judges become incredibly generous and after rigorous competition and judging they say that there will be no eliminations this round. This last minute revelation keeps the audience engaged till the fourth day, because they will have no clue that the judges are going to drop this bomb on them at the end of it.

The funniest of all is the recall round, not sure what’s the difference between a recall and wildcard. Different networks use different terminologies but all these exist on almost every talent show. I did not watch Hariyudan Naan completely but I remember Airtel Super singer when they had top 7 contestants and just when we were hoping to get to the finals soon, they pulled out this recall/wild card out of the hat and had two separate rounds of that too. First the contestants who were left judged and then the judges themselves did later. Well what a great trick to extend the show.

When these shows begin the producers probably wait for the TRP and once they know that it is a hit, they just try to prolong it as much as possible. Some people enjoy it but some get terribly frustrated. It’s fine with me if they have one recall/wildcard in the entire length of the show but having multiple of them and also having these celebration rounds gets on my nerves. I just hope that we get a show which after getting to the serious competition works towards completion rather than finding ways to stretch it as much as possible. In the day and age of mega serials, it will be great to have a decent and up to the point talent show. We don’t want a “Mega” talent show too as we have enough of the mind numbing TV serials already.

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