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Sunday, November 23, 2008

British TV - like the US - is awash with pro-celeb reality shows.

With all the behind-the-scenes gossip, the tantrums and the big wet tears they are addictive.

But it is the audience's participation (in deciding how goes or stays) which is causing a stir.

First, BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and then ITV's Xfactor have experienced the popular vote going directly against the "expert" advice.

Most tellingly, John Sergent [above] - 64 year old former political journo - is a "self-confessed non-dancer" but the public keep bringing him back. Which the expert panel of judges don't like at all: "this isn't Help the Aged, you know?" says one.

Seems the experts think these competitions are about who's the best at the particular skill, whereas the public seem to know the show (and thus the vote) are about something different and broader.

The Guardian quotes Fanofdancing on the BBC discussion boards who notes:
"This programme is called Strictly Come Dancing not Strictly Entertainment. If it's a popularity contest then why bother to have any dancing at all? People who think it's funny to vote for him are spoiling the competition for those who are lovers of dance"Clive Hurt, Ballroom dancing teacher says much the same:

"He is a good social dancer, but for him to go to the final would be like a pensioner competing at the European athletics. It might be rather enchanting, but it wouldn't be right."

Doesn't this have echoes in marketing and politics: if something gets to be popular it's likely to do so for other reasons than it's early afficionados - the experts -think.

The experts would probably say that the Public weren't being very wise - were not very good at distinguishing good from bad ballroom dancers - but I think having seen JS at work, I think they're just playing a different game all together...
Doesn't this have echoes in all kinds of places: experts think it's their game; the crowd

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