It seems you can’t switch on your TV these days without coming across some wannabe belting out a song in the hopes of becoming the country’s next big pop star. There’s no denying that singing competition shows are hugely popular, but what does the future hold for them? Will they always be a mainstay of mainstream TV or are they just a passing fad?
If we’re talking about the likes of X Factor and The Voice, the two biggest singing competition shows on TV (not counting Britain’s Got Talent since it’s an all-round talent show), then it’s safe to say both are here for a few years at least. Viewer numbers may not be what they once were, but both shows still pull in millions of viewers and the figures are enough to satisfy the executives at ITV. Other singing competition shows such as Let It Shine and Pitch Battle haven’t fared so well, each lasting just one series. There’s also the newly launched All Together Now, which has 100 people as collective judges, though despite a lot of hype it hasn’t exactly soared in the ratings. So while some shows haven’t exactly taken off, there’s no doubt that some singing competition shows have longevity. The question is, when viewers do eventually tire of these shows and they get cancelled, what will replace them?
The premise of many of these shows is that they’re trying to find the next big chart-topping singing sensation. There’s no denying that The X Factor in particular has produced many chart successes (Leona Lewis, One Direction, Olly Murs, Little Mix and the like), but not every winner is guaranteed long-term chart success. Generally speaking, acts from singing competition shows sell fewer records overall than they would have done several years ago – this can be put down to decreasing viewers, for one thing. Even though the acts from these shows don’t necessarily sell as much, they still have some sort of impact on the charts. This goes to show that these shows are in many ways relevant. They may get criticised for offering singers fast-tracked tickets to success, but many singers who have been trying to make it for years are happy to go on these shows and have a shot at big-time success.
Though singing competition shows may on the whole have declining numbers of viewers and though their acts may be selling fewer records than they would have done several years ago, the format of singing shows will continue to be popular. There’s a clear demand for watching singers compete against one another and, chances are, there will always be some sort of show to fit this category. Individual shows will come and go, but the consistent viewing figures show that there’s still a good enough demand for these shows, so unless the ratings for them completely nosedive, which isn’t exactly likely, expect the singing competition show to be here for quite a while yet.